CancerCare Center | Updates and Events

Trinity CancerCare Center: Updates and Events

Foundation Purchases Garments for Patients with Lymphedema

October 2015 HealthTalk

Each day, physicians and caregivers at the Trinity Health CancerCare Center help patients and their families fight cancer. Like every patient, every donation the Trinity Health Foundation receives is special and important. Each gift provides the Foundation with the necessary resources to support the CancerCare Center and the patients receiving oncology or infusion related services.

Most recently, the Foundation has purchased lymphedema compression garments for CancerCare Center patients that have a high risk of developing lymphedema from their diagnosis or treatments. Lymphedema is the swelling caused by the accumulation of lymph fluid and occurs when lymph vessels or lymph nodes are blocked or removed. Men and women who undergo cancer treatments that involve surgery and/or radiation that include the removal or damage of lymph nodes may be at risk for lymphedema. Compression garments can help keep the swelling down once the extremity is decongested.

Shane Jordan, RT(R)(T), CMD, director of the CancerCare Center, noted that a recent survey conducted by the North Dakota Department of Health and participated in by Trinity CancerCare noted out-of-pocket expenses as a high barrier for patients undergoing oncology treatment. Patients in need often find that these compression garments aren’t always covered by insurance; if they are, it may not be fully covered, Jordan noted. “To help ease this burden, we will begin providing one compression garment at no cost for these oncology patients.”

The Trinity CancerCare Center, Trinity Health Foundation, Trinity's Physical Therapy department and KeyCare Medical have all played a part in helping patients with lymphedema, through garments to help patients. Pictured are: Cody McManigal, Foundation assistant; Nicole Kutch and Aimee Clemens, physical therapy; Roxcy Reiter, manager of KeyCare Medical; and Shane Jordan, director of the Trinity CancerCare Center.

The garments are supplied by KeyCare Medical, which offers them to the CancerCare Center at cost. Jordan estimates that, annually, 50 patients will benefit from the Foundation’s generosity.

Painting the Pain Away

October 2015 HealthTalk

Symbolism can often times be found in art, and the painting by Michelle Schmidt is one of them. It is of a green pasture, lush and dotted with pink flowers. The sky is a dark orange hue – a storm, but it is dissipating, making way for the sunshine which is peeking through. This is a metaphor of Schmidt’s life, with the storm symbolizing cancer; the sun is her life, now that she is cancer-free.

The conference room at the Trinity CancerCare Center is set up as a makeshift studio. A long blue tarp covers the executive-looking table. Here, five women have met weekly for the past five weeks to paint, the painting part of art therapy, one of the holistic approaches to therapeutic treatment explored at the Trinity CancerCare Center.

The group were led by Bill Harbort, an art department professor at Minot State University. “I think it was a fantastic pilot experience,” Harbort said, calling the classes “a wonderful healing opportunity.”

“We had conversation about painting and painting in the style of the impressionist painters, like Claude Monet. The impressionists are notorious for using daubs of paint, showing brush strokes, and using a lot of color,” Harbort said. “We also had conversation about landscapes and how landscapes could be symbols in our lives. A flower could be a flower, but if there are five flowers in the painting, those flowers could represent each of the people in your family. The patient artists were asked to imagine a landscape and how that related to their life. To paint that vision, in the spirit of an impressionist painter.”

Art therapy was one of the facets of the CancerCare Center’s survivorship program, which was created to provide different activities for people to cope; reduce pain, anxiety, stress, or depression, or to increase coping mechanisms to cancer patients – either those who are currently undergoing treatment for cancer or for those whose cancer is in remission.

For participant Tamara McNeiley, “the world seems to stop” when she was painting. “Even though I’m not any good, it’s fun,” McNeiley said, “It’s a great hobby and it might get me started on something else.”

“The intent of the experience is to foster healing through visual means and through the act of painting,” Harbort said. “I think we all made an authentic connection with each other. It was a really warm experience. There’s a bond that cancer patients experience, that’s something akin to sisterhood.”

The exhibition, “Painting Away The Pain,” will be up at the Trinity CancerCare Center and available for viewing. According to Mohagen, there are plans to continue with the art therapy classes although a definite date is not set at this time.

Bill Harbort, an art professor at Minot State University, discusses Tamara McNeily’s painting with her during the last art therapy class on September 1.

Susie Scott, Tamara McNeiley, Michelle Schmidt, Lori Carbno, and Theresa Calleaux (clockwise, from left), toiled over their artwork during the last class.

Art therapy participants Michelle Schmidt and Lori Carbno look at and discuss Schmidt’s painting “The Storm.”

 Providers in this field:
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Michael Grant MD

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Pamela Holwegner FNP-C, AOCNP

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Ebony Peterson FNP-BC

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Madhu Unnikrishnan MD, MS

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Patanit Watanaboonyakhet DO

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