“All of my doctors said I was overweight, but when I requested my medical records it said, “obese.

MaryKathleen Carpenter did not like going to the doctor. A lot. “All of my life I’ve hated going. My back and my knee go out occasionally, and I have a bad hip. But no matter what problem I had – my knee, whatever – the doctor would say it was because of my weight. They wouldn’t even consider anything else.”

MaryKathleen felt dismissed. And judged. But her health problems persisted, and her family convinced her to try again. “They said, if you don’t go to the doctor you won’t ever find out.”

So, reluctantly, she went. And, boy, was it an eye-opener. “All of my doctors said I was overweight, but when I requested my medical records it said, “obese.

“It said ‘obese.’ “

And that was it for MaryKathleen, 5-feet-11-inches tall and 278 pounds. One of her doctors had recommended Virginia Mason Memorial’s Diabetes Prevention Program, and she went.

“Everybody always said, ‘You’re big.’ That’s just how it was,” she says. “I was 5-11 in fourth grade.

“I’ve tried diets all my life. When I started the program I thought, ‘I don’t know if I can do this the rest of my life. Now I can’t see me not doing it. I promised myself when I started that I wasn’t going to make any changes to my eating habits that I did not want to.”

There’s a bag of broccoli on her desk and a phone in her hand; it’s open to the MyFitnessPal app. “Now I focus on looking at the nutrients I need: potassium, proteins, fiber, calcium and iron. That broccoli, it’s full of potassium and fiber.

“In the program, you need to increase activity by 50 minutes a week, and you’ve got to track fat and calories. I absolutely adore tracking: I did it for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day. I gives me the control I need.”

Also on New Year’s Eve, MaryKathleen, age 46, and her husband went out to welcome in 2018. MaryKathleen, 90 pounds lighter, wore her freshman high school homecoming dress, a form-fitting creamy white number with sequins.

MaryKathleen, however, does not adore physical fitness. That part she’s doing her way. “I don’t care how much you yell at me, I don’t care how much you tell me, I’m not joining a gym. What I do is walk during my breaks and at lunch. And I park in the farthest spot away in parking lots.”

As MaryKathleen closes out her year-long journey through Virginia Mason Memorial’s Diabetes Prevention Program she feels empowered and in charge. “The program gave me direction. It’s given me a method. And I’m not the only one. It gives you other people to share with.

“There aren’t a lot of things I take time away from my family to do for myself. This taught me that if I want to do something, I can do it. I now have the knowledge and power to make a knowing decision.”

 

 

 

“Cured of Hep C after 30 years”

Lisa Jaeger was 26 years old when she found out she was infected with Hepatitis C. She got it from her husband in the late 1980s.

Because there was no cure at the time, Lisa Jaeger lived with the deadly virus for the next 30 years. “I believe it was through drug activity. Billy had gotten in with some people he shouldn’t have,” she says.

Lisa, now 56, knew Billy had Hep C, “but, you know, that was back in the old-school days. Back then you didn’t worry about it. You didn’t know it was going come back and attack you later.”

Hep C is called “the silent killer” because people infected back then might only be showing symptoms now — most often cirrhosis and liver cancer. Hepatitis C was not even discovered until 1989. And that makes people born between 1945 and 1965, the baby boom generation, most susceptible to the disease. Before Hep C, sterilization standards were not what they are today, and donated blood wasn’t screened for the virus until 1992.

Although they had been long divorced, Lisa and Billy remained close — right up until he died of liver cancer about five years ago. “I sat with him and I watched him knowing he had cancer and he was dying,” says Lisa. “I sat with Billy until the day he died.

“Of course, I thought that was my path, too. Of course, I thought my liver would explode. I knew people who had Hepatitis C and they died. Nine years ago a friend of mine died. She said, ‘I so want to live, but my body’s shutting down on me.’

“I’ve seen a lot of people pass and I thought, wow, when is my time coming?”

But that was then. Lisa Jaeger today is cured — thanks to the Liver Clinic at Virginia Mason Memorial, Tanda Ferguson, the nurse practitioner who runs the clinic, and to the drug Harvoni. No longer does the Hep C virus course through her bloodstream.

“Now my whole body is coming together,” says Lisa, a smile of relief spreading across her face. She starts to cry, then stops. “I am blessed. When I went to see Tanda I had tried so many things that didn’t work, I didn’t think she could help me. But Tanda said, ‘No, we got it. I’m not giving up on you.

“When you have Hepatitis C you can’t give blood; you have pains in your stomach; it leads to cancer. Still, to this day I go in every six months to see Tanda because of all the medications I’ve taken over the years. We’re always watching for cancers. She’ll have me for the rest of my life.

“Being cured gives me strength to do things I couldn’t before. Now I can go out and help people, which makes me feel real good. There’s a battle with everything all your life. We all have to worry about what we end up with at the end.”

But for Lisa Jaeger, mother of two and grandmother of four, it will not be Hepatitis C.

“Three years — and more than 200 pounds — ago”

Yakima resident Maury Riker has been a lot of things during his years spent in the working world: paramedic, facilities manager, recycling specialist, company owner, billing expert. But in retirement, he’s got an entirely new gig: healthy lifestyle crusader for Virginia Mason Memorial’s Diabetic Prevention Program.

“My wife’s doctor suggested the program to her. We decided, why not? Let’s go to the orientation.

“I was skeptical, but we went anyway. There was a class starting the very next night.”

That was about three years — and more than 200 pounds — ago. That’s when the Riker family—Maury, Patsy and son Michael — joined Virginia Mason Memorial’s year-long Diabetes Prevention Program and began attending classes, tracking the food they ate, weighing in and adding exercise to their lives. Maury also discovered that he was prediabetic.

And this is Maury Riker now — down from 307 pounds to 218: “All I’ve ever done to lose weight is walk. Now I’m up to 1.5 to 2 hours every day walking at the YMCA, seven days a week except on Sundays in the summer when they’re closed. When I started, I was really lucky if I could walk around the block, but three months into the class I was no longer prediabetic.

“I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve gotten into the program from the Y. A lot of guys have gone through it. One of them was a guy sitting on a couch in the locker room. He was saying, ‘I don’t know what I’m gonna do. I don’t know what I’m gonna do.’ I took his hand and he said, ‘My name is Dave, and I’ve already a heart attack and the doctor says I have to change my life dramatically.’ I told him this program would do that. That’s a big step for me, putting myself out there. But he walked up to me at the Y the first part of October, grabbed my hand and said, ‘Maury, you saved my life.’ “

Maury tells anyone who will listen about the Diabetes Prevention Program. In fact, Lori Gibbons, the program’s coordinator, made up cards to hand out especially for him.

“I go to every orientation,” says Maury. “They show a video of me, and then I walk into the room to show them that this is not some clown from New York City or Hollywood, it’s me right here in Yakima. I tell them that it’s actually fun to go through the program. It’s easy once you get the hang of it.”

 

Maury’s a big fan of the program, but he’s also human. He, and the program, allow for that.

“Life is not a level playing field, there are ups and downs,” he says. “For me, the tracking was a pain in the behind having to write it all down. But I track on an app now and it’s great; I know how many calories I’ve eaten and what I have left for dinner.”

Is there room for any guilty pleasures in the Rikers’ lives? “I have a couple,” says Maury. “Cheezit crackers and peanut butter, and we’ve discovered frozen yogurt instead of ice cream!”

Patsy says simply, “The program has changed our lives.”

 

 

 

 

Donated organs save lives.

Virginia Mason Memorial hospital has received both the 2017 Organ Donation Achievement Award and the Organ Donation Referral Achievement Award from LifeCenter Northwest. The federally designated organ procurement organization serves Alaska, Montana, North Idaho, and Washington.
VMM is one of 15 hospitals in this four-state area to receive the donation achievement award, and one of just 6 to get the referral achievement award.

If you would like to register to be an organ, eye, and tissue donor, please visit www.lcnw.org.

Good food for good health!

Virginia Mason Memorial’s executive chef Jason Patel is one of five finalists in Practice Greenhealth’s Health Care Culinary Contest from among hospitals across the country. His recipe for plant-based butternut squash enchiladas was chosen for local and sustainable sourcing and providing a meal that is healthy for people and the planet. Practice Greenhealth is the nation’s leading organization dedicated to environmental sustainability in health care. The winner will be announced May 9 in San Diego.

Meet the finalists here:
https://medium.com/@HCWH/5-recipe-contest-finalists-revealed-1d3fb63ee1b8?mc_cid=83d1676328&mc_eid=cf6e65e235

 

You can find the recipe here >>

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners in Yakima

Diane Patterson talks to reporter Alex de Leon about just how important Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners are.

There’s a bill currently in the Legislature supporting training and the work of SANE nurses. Virginia Mason Memorial has 5 of these highly trained nurses who help patients through the trauma and also work with legal system.

Diane Patterson is Virginia Mason Memorial’s chief nursing officer, chief operating officer and senior vice president.

KNDO-TV

NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |