“I’ve had one bad melanoma and three other lesser melanomas over the years,”

Sonny and Linda Salsbury are of a certain age. The age before anybody knew just how harmful the sun’s rays could be.

“We’re both from L.A.,” Sonny says. “We went to the beach constantly and covered ourselves with baby oil and got as dark as we could.

“And, you know what? When I told my dermatologist that he said that he did the same thing!”

If only we had known then what we know now.

“I’ve had one bad melanoma and three other lesser melanomas over the years,” says Sonny, who’s 80. “I’ve also had basal cell and squamous cell (carcinoma).”

After years of back-and-forth between Southern California and Yakima, Sonny, a youth minister, and Linda recently returned to Yakima for good. “We’re back here in our house, a big, old Victorian built in 1904, and it’s our favorite house of all the places we’ve ever lived.”

Sonny figures he has thousands of kids, two of their own and the rest from his years of ministering to young people, some of those years spent at Yakima’s First Presbyterian Church. “Some of my kids even showed up (from both Yakima and California) to help us settle back into our home!”

And he is grateful. Not just for the help settling in, but for the care he’s gotten from Dr. Naseer Ahmad and the staff at Virginia Mason Memorial’s North Star Lodge. “Doctors found a small spot on my liver in fall 2017, and now I get an infusion of Keytruda every three weeks. It’s been great: I’ve had no side effects. In fact I’m going down to Emerald Cove Day Camp in San Juan Capistrano this summer to be the camp granddaddy: lead singing, take the kids on hikes, tell them stories.”

Washington ranks among the top 10 states for the highest rates of new cases of melanoma of the skin. So, what would Sonny like all of his kids and the rest of us to know about the sun and its effects on skin?

“Wear that sunscreen,” he says. “Get out of the tanning beds. And if you’ve ever had skin cancer, don’t miss your checkups: Get your moles checked.”

And finally, he says quietly, “It’s more important to be alive and be the color God made you.”

 

Cured of Hep C

Angel Perez and Macayla Smith work out at the gym. They try to eat a low-carb diet. They have two cars, a nice apartment and enjoy spending their weekends with the kids.

Just another typical Yakima Valley family, right? Not even close.

“It’s so awesome getting up and not chasing the dragon,” says Angel.

The dragon was heroin.

“We were very active in the drug scene,” Angel says. “I was in gangs. I’ve been in prison twice. Macayla and I were on the streets; We were homeless. We used everything from heroin to methamphetamines to alcohol, but heroin was our drug of choice.”

That was almost three years ago, when the couple began their long journey to get off the streets and out of addiction.

“We’d hit rock bottom; I was done,” Angel says. “Ever since they took my little boy it kinda woke me up and opened my eyes. I told Macayla, ‘No, the streets ain’t nothing for us. Our son is our little angel, and we’re going to get him back.”

Angel and Macayla got themselves into out-patient treatment; they go to classes, see counselors. As Angel says, “Whatever it takes, we did it and we did it as a couple. We set some goals and . . .”

“We met them one by one,” says Macayla, finishing Angel’s sentence, holding his hand.

One of those goals included dealing with Hepatitis C. Angel long knew he had Hep C, but “I was kinda scared, and when you’re using you don’t care.”

His doctor referred him to Virginia Mason Memorial’s Liver Clinic, and now the couple can add being Hep C free to their list of accomplishments.

“In the beginning it was hard,” says Macayla of their transformation from homelessness and addiction to being the parents of three with playdates and jobs.

How did they do it? “Well, we fell in love, that’s for sure!” she says, laughing. “We’ve had each other’s backs ever since.”

“We go to Planet Fitness,” says Angel. “I go five days a week. It gets your body back. I feel so good to be getting my health back, you know what I mean? Now, instead of smoking, I get ready for the gym.

“We did an awesome thing. We showed them. We tell other people, you got this, you can do this, too. We got rid of our old friends, but whenever they see us they say ‘Good job!’ ”

“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.”

 

 

 

 

Child and Babysitting Safety Classes coming to Yakima

Do you have an 11-15 year old at home that is looking to start babysitting? Are you 11-15 and want to start babysitting but aren’t sure about how to begin or if you’re ready for the responsibility? Come join us at Lakeview Pavilion for one of our new Child and Babysitter Safety (CABS) Classes. Our ASHI certified instructors will educate you in the basics of first aid, in responsible supervision, in handling emergency situations, and in building your babysitting business. Classes are just $40 and registration is just one click away. Grab a parent and go to https://yakimamemorial.org/medical-services-com-nutrition-and-fitness.asp#safe to sign up today!

1 in 30 baby boomers has HEP C. Are you at risk?

Hep C Facts:

  • Chronic (lasting a long time) hepatitis C (Hep C) is a virus that affects the liver. It is the most common blood-borne infection and affects about 3.5 million people in the US
  • Most people do not have symptoms of Hep C for years or even decades, which is why it is commonly called a silent disease
  • If left untreated, Hep C can cause liver damage and even lead to liver cancer

 

DO ANY OF THESE RISK FACTORS APPLY TO YOU?

  • Baby Boomer (born 1945 – 1965)
  • Received blood transfusion, an organ transplant, or kidney dialysis before 1992
  • Tattoos or body piercings iwht unsterilized tools
  • Sharing needles or straws for recreational use (even just one time)
  • Accidental needle sticks (most common with healthcare professionals)
  • Vietnam-era veteran
  • Being born to a mother with Hep C

GET TESTED

  • The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends all Baby Boomers (born 1945 – 1965) get tested for Hep C
  • Ask your healthcare provider to test you for Hep C – this simple blood test is not part of routine blood work

HEP C CAN BE CURED

Cure means the Hep C virus is not detected in the blood when measured 3 months after treatment is completed.

Have questions about Hep C? Contact The Liver Clinic at Memorial Cornerstone Medicine at 509-573 3819.

Source: HEPCHOPE.com

5 RESOLUTIONS FOR YOU AND THE PLANET

Happy New Year! Still in need of a resolution? Consider these for 2018:

  1. Follow the Healthy Eating Plate to create balanced and nutritious meals (and eat less red meat). Check out the Plant Based Menu items in the Café.
  2. Fly and drive less: Use a telecommuting service; and walk, bike or opt for public transportation. Employee indoor bike rack and showers coming in the Spring!
  3. Power down and cut your screen time: Commit to putting away your devices two hours before bed to reduce your exposure to blue light (and remember to unplug your chargers when not in use)
  4. Prioritize reusable and toxic-free products (some chemicals added to products do not break down in the environment), and reduce your own exposure to harmful chemicals
  5. Get active! Get outside to enjoy the great outdoors or join a gym. Consider 10 minute walking breaks, 3x a day for your 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.

The Picture of Health: Chicken Soup, the Flu & You!

This month, beginning Jan. 1, we visit with Deborah Brown and Jeremy Slowe. Physician Assistant Deborah has advice for what to do if you get the flu (and what you can do to prevent it!). Then we talk to Jeremy Slowe, who we call “The Healthiest Man in the World.”

Find the Picture of Health on Channel 192 if you’re a Charter Cable subscriber. Don’t get Charter cable? Find the show online and watch any episode at any time at http://205.172.45.10/CablecastPublicSite/search?channel=2&query=picture%20of%20health.

Virginia Mason Memorial recognized as a national leader in safe sleep for babies

Dec. 19, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rebecca Teagarden, Memorial Communications: (509) 577-5051

YAKIMA — Virginia Mason Memorial is excited to announce that it has been recognized as a Cribs for Kids National Silver Certified Safe Sleep Leader. The Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program awards recognition to hospitals that demonstrate a commitment to reducing infant sleep-related deaths by promoting and educating on best safe sleep practices. VMM is one of the first hospitals in Washington to receive this title.

Health care facilities that achieve silver-level certification have demonstrated a commitment to community leadership for best practices and education on infant safe sleep through the development of a hospital policy, staff training, parent education, modeling through a wearable blanket program, and a pledge to participate in ongoing audits. VMM achieved the designation through its commitment to reduce infant sleep-related deaths by establishing a hospital infant safe-sleep policy, and modeling infant safe sleep throughout the hospital.

“Safe sleep for babies is a top priority,” said Jenifer Rhea, assistant nurse manager of Memorial’s Family Birth Place. “Education is crucial to ensuring a safe sleep environment for babies, and being certified ensures that we are following best practices.”

The Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program awards recognition to hospitals that demonstrate a commitment to reducing infant sleep-related deaths by suffocation by promoting best safe sleep practices and by educating on infant sleep safety.  By becoming certified, a hospital is demonstrating that it is committed to being a community leader and is pro-actively eliminating as many sleep-related deaths as possible.

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To be designated a Silver Certified Safe Sleep Leader, in addition to the above criteria, the hospital must make use of wearable blankets in the Well-Baby Nursery and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as applicable, and record progress and report successes.
“Sleep-Related Death results in the loss of more than 3,500 infants every year in the U.S.,” said Michael H. Goodstein, M.D., neonatologist and medical director of research at Cribs for Kids. “We know that consistent education can have a profound effect on infant mortality, and this program is designed to encourage safe sleep education and to recognize those hospitals that are taking an active role in reducing these preventable deaths.”
Since 1998, Cribs for Kids has been making an impact on the rates of babies dying of accidental, sleep-related death in unsafe sleeping environments by educating parents and caregivers on the importance of practicing safe sleep for infants by providing Graco Pack ‘n Play portable cribs to families who, otherwise, cannot afford a safe place for their babies to sleep. Cribs for Kids currently has more than 800 licensed partners throughout the United States that implement its infant safe sleep program in their communities.

 

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For more information on the Cribs for Kids National Safe Sleep Hospital Certification program visit http://www.cribsforkids.org/safesleephospitalcertification, or call Tiffany Price, the Director of Hospital and Community Initiatives @ 412-322-5680 ext.112.

 

About Virginia Mason Memorial

Virginia Mason Memorial, part of the Virginia Mason Health System, is a 226-bed, acute-care, nonprofit, community hospital serving Central Washington’s Yakima Valley. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow, winner of the Circle of Life Award from the American Hospital Association for innovative palliative and end-of-life care; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit, the only place in Central Washington that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation, a separate 501c(3) organization that raises funds for innovative health care programs in the Yakima Valley (www.memfound.org).