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Ascension Via Christi's blog

Brachytherapy helps pilot stay active during prostate cancer treatment

Prostate cancer patient Pat Carden

As a lead helicopter pilot for a critical care ambulance service serving southeast Kansas, Pat Carden’s job was saving lives. Pat, 61, who retired from Joplin, Mo.-based MedFlight in April, played a critical role when seconds meant the difference between life and death. 

But last year he found out was the one in need of medical care when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Burn center staff cares for patient like family

Burn survivor Charlie Drussel
Charlie Drussel considers himself blessed — by angels on earth and in heaven.

They were watching over him on Dec. 26 when fumes from the gas can he was holding came in contact with flames from the wood stove in his rural Garden City machine shop.

And when that can exploded, saturating his jeans and work boots with gas and catching them on fire — burning both his legs so severely that they later had to be amputated slightly above the knee to save his life.

Repair artisan manages arthritis with attitude, activity

Arthritis patient Simon McHugh

A diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis at age 32 threatened Simon McHugh’s profession and overall lifestyle.

Simon is a luthier (pronounced loo-tee-ay). 

He repairs and restores orchestral stringed instruments — violins, violas, cellos and basses. Originally from Stratford-upon-Avon, England, and known throughout the regional string community, he’s operated McHugh Violins in Wichita since 1985. 

‘FAST’ thinking saves 26-year-old’s life

Young stroke patient Shareena Turley

Shareena Turley knows first-hand that a stroke can occur at any age.

Fortunately, the 26-year-old Park City life insurance agent also knew the signs and symptoms of stroke when her vision suddenly went “haywire” while she was driving in March.

“I was able to pull over, put the car in park and turn on my hazard lights,” says Shareena. Then her stomach began churning and she started throwing up.

Marathon hopeful won’t let cystic fibrosis ‘dictate her life’

Cystic fibrosis patient Michelle Herpolsheimer

Michelle Herpolsheimer is an unlikely runner.

She routinely runs more than 100 miles a month, a goal she’s attained for more than two years.

In 2012, she ran half-marathons in San Francisco and Las Vegas, as well as two in Wichita. She now is training for her first full marathon April 27 in Nashville.

Although these would be major accomplishments for anyone, they are even more impressive when you consider Michelle is living with the debilitating lung disease, cystic fibrosis.

Via Christi Pulmonary Rehab program helps emphysema patient

Pulmonary rehab patient Jan Gold

By the time Jan Gold was diagnosed with emphysema 20 years ago, some of life’s simplest tasks had become a chore.

Once perpetually on the go, climbing the stairs and cleaning the house now left her breathless as her lungs were no longer able to fully expand and contract, trapping old, stale air inside. 

“I used to go on walks, to the health club and took great pleasure in gardening,” says Jan. “But I started getting tired, short of breath and would start coughing, so I began to scale back.”

Gary Stone uses Via Christi Weight Management to lose 191 pounds

Weight management patient Gary Stone

In late 2009, Gary Stone weighed 402 pounds.

The excess pounds on Gary's 6-foot, 1-inch frame— along with his Type II diabetes and sleep apnea— left him feeling like he was "wearing out."

He could barely get in and out of the cab of the heavy equipment he operates at Spirit AeroSystems. And riding the new Harley Davidson bike sitting in his garage was no longer doable.

"I just had no get up and go and was barely existing," says Gary. "I knew I needed to do something."

Robot-assisted surgery lets lung cancer survivor with multiple sclerosis get on the path to healing

Robotic surgery patient Ruth Schmidt

One Sunday evening this past November, Ruth Schmidt and her son, Heath Schwartz, rocked out at the Aerosmith concert at Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita. Ruth was thrilled to be there — Aerosmith is her second-favorite band. (“Hair band” Poison holds the No. 1 position.)

Heath was thrilled to be there, too — he was celebrating his mother being alive. She had recently beaten lung cancer. She attributes her survival to some unusual circumstances and a robot that brought about, in her words, a miracle.

National clinical trials bring cutting-edge therapies home to Kansas patients

Cancer patient Jane Webb

At age 74, Jane Webb is a two-time survivor of cancer.

Just over 40 years ago, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent a total mastectomy, the best course of treatment at the time.

“We really didn’t have much in the way of chemotherapy back then,” she says. “Surgery was the best choice.”

Webb healed and moved on. Cancer-free for years, she decided to “pay back” her good fortune by becoming a volunteer at Victory in the Valley, a local cancer support group.


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