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December 20th, 2010 - Staff

Get Healthy is proud to introduce a redesign of its website. We’ve packed it full of all the great content you’re used to, plus the site will be the new home for engaging news stories about health care in Northwest Indiana.

Please bookmark our new URL here.

With access to the leading health experts right here in the region, Get Healthy offers readers a local perspective on what’s best for your health, including nutrition, fitness, mental health and environmental health. Along with the magazine, email newsletter and Facebook page, Get Healthy offers an array of valuable content that is both relevant and proactive.

The easy-to-navigate Get Healthy site will have even more beneficial content in the near future—including blogs and expert columns—so stay tuned. We’re here for you 24/7, so check it out, and let us hear from you!

Crown Point native writes book about surviving breast cancer

December 13th, 2010 - By Jane Ammeson

Sarah Demmon conquered her fear of water by joining Indy Survivoars, a group of breast cancer survivors that race dragon boats. The group's mission is to provide breast cancer survivors with a strong message of hope. (Photograph provided.)

Sarah Demmon conquered her fear of water by joining Indy Survivoars, a group of breast cancer survivors that race dragon boats. The group's mission is to provide breast cancer survivors with a strong message of hope. (Photograph provided.)

For Sarah Demmon, the toughest time during her bout with breast cancer was the interim period between the initial diagnosis and getting the test results back which would tell her how far the cancer had spread.

“It’s very emotional,” says Demmon, a 1988 graduate of Crown Point High School who works as senior research scientist at a pharmaceutical company in Indianapolis. “You don’t know what to do and what to expect.”

As a breast cancer survivor, Demmon decided she wanted to help other women who were diagnosed with the disease. “My whole intent is to help in a very frank and honest way,” says Demmon, who has written Thanks for the Mammaries: A Breast Cancer Survivor’s Story (Strategic Publishing 2010; $11). “I have a dry sense of humor and can be sarcastic.”

Subtle Signs—When Heart Attack Symptoms Aren’t so Obvious

August 28th, 2010 - By Phillip Wieland

The words “chest pains” seemed a bit more urgent than the discomfort I had been feeling in my chest for the previous three days.

In fact, when the ER nurse at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart first announced them to an unseen assistant that Tuesday, I tried to assure her they weren’t “pains” but more like an ache in my chest and shoulders. “Chest pains” of the kind that could indicate a heart attack were supposed to be excruciating, shooting down the arm in near debilitating fashion. I hadn’t had anything like that.

(I thought heart attacks were for old, out-of-shape, bald guys, but then I remembered I am an old, out-of-shape, bald guy.)

A better birthday with help from Ronald McDonald house

August 2nd, 2010 - By Philip Potempa

Max Herrick of Barrington, Ill., celebrated his 6th birthday on July 24, 2010 and will join his parents Liz and Jared to attend the 12th Annual Macy's Glamorama charity event on Aug. 13, 2010, benefiting The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. The Herrick family, who have spent much of the past two years living at a Ronald McDonald House, are the 2010 Ambassador Family. (Photograph by The Times.)

Max Herrick of Barrington, Ill., celebrated his 6th birthday on July 24, 2010 and will join his parents Liz and Jared to attend the 12th Annual Macy's Glamorama charity event on Aug. 13, 2010, benefiting The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. The Herrick family, who have spent much of the past two years living at a Ronald McDonald House, are the 2010 Ambassador Family. (Photograph by The Times.)

Even though Max Herrick of Barrington, Illinois, turned 6 years old on July 24, he’s still waiting for his “big birthday party.”

Max has a much different life than most kids his age.

It’s one of the reasons he didn’t have a party right away to celebrate turning another year older.

Since birth, Max has been in and out of the hospital because he was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a condition in which the heart’s left side is underdeveloped. He spent the first seven months of his life at Children’s Memorial Hospital and underwent a series of surgical procedures to treat the condition.

Stricken with Guillain-Barre Syndrome

July 25th, 2010 - By Erika Rose

In April, Lacey Bradigan, 19, of Grant Park, Ill., was transferred to St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Center in Dyer where she became a patient of Dr. Revathy Ameeruddin, medical director of The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at St. Margaret's south campus. (Photograph by The Times.)

In April, Lacey Bradigan, 19, of Grant Park, Ill., was transferred to St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Center in Dyer where she became a patient of Dr. Revathy Ameeruddin, medical director of The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago at St. Margaret's south campus. (Photograph by The Times.)

Imagine the baffling feeling of suddenly not being able to lift an arm or leg, repeatedly dropping things, not having the strength to perform the simplest tasks.

On the afternoon of March 18, when these things started happening to Lacey Bradigan, 19, of Grant Park, Ill., she admits she sort of laughed, calling the whole experience “weird.”

But soon, “weird” became a little more worrisome when the freshman at Parkland College in Champagne, Ill., began falling down repeatedly, her muscles failing her at every turn.

Surviving ‘the big one’

July 22nd, 2010 - By Erika Rose
Lucy Guzman, 81, shows her appreciation to Virginia Madrinia, R.N. and coordinator of the Chest Pain Center at St. Catherine's in East Chicago. In April, Guzman suffered the most critical type of heart attack. (Photograph by The Times.)

Lucy Guzman, 81, shows her appreciation to Virginia Madrinia, R.N. and coordinator of the Chest Pain Center at St. Catherine's in East Chicago. In April, Guzman suffered the most critical type of heart attack.
(Photograph by The Times.)

When 81–year–old Lucy Guzman came home after babysitting a grandchild in April, she felt ill. Stricken with sudden pain and nausea , her hand shaking as she struggled to drink a glass of water, she approached two sons who were in the living room.

“Please take me to the doctor’s office,” she told them, “I don’t feel good.”

Something told the sons this was serious. One son called 911 while the other gave her an aspirin, known to be a smart first aid move in the event of a possible heart attack.

In minutes, the mother of 12 from East Chicago found herself in an ambulance en route to St. Catherine’s Hospital in East Chicago. The astute emergency medical technicians had alerted the emergency department and had them lined up at the door waiting to treat her when she flew through the big entry doors.

Almost immediately, an electrocardiogram (ECG) was done which proved Guzman was having an ST–segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the most critical type of heart attack, in which the coronary artery is entirely occluded by a blood clot.

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Seeing the Light

June 29th, 2010 - By Rob Earnshaw

Edward Jagiela always had problems with his vision. The 62-year-old Merrillville man was diagnosed with kerataconus in both eyes as a child. Kerataconus is a degenerative disorder in which the cornea becomes progressively thin and bulges. In 1996 a severe strep infection caused him to lose his left eye.

“The infection just ate it out,” Jagiela says. Nevertheless, Jagiela returned to his job as an inspector at Ford Motor Company on Chicago’s South Side. Then, as Jagiela puts it, “the unthinkable occurred.”

In December of 2000 the kerataconus in his remaining eye developed acute corneal hydrops, a condition causing corneal edema (swelling) due to a rupture of the Descemet’s membrane. “I was totally blind,” Jagiela says.

Jagiela’s blindness lasted four months before he saw a specialist in Indianapolis and the subject of corneal transplant (“my only hope of ever seeing again”) was discussed. Hope arrived April 12, 2001, when Jagiela received a new cornea—his donor a young California girl who tragically died in a car accident.

Fighting Back

April 21st, 2010 - By Lu Ann Franklin

Jodi and her mother, Kathy Brownn. (Photograph by Robert Wray.)

Jodi and her mother, Kathy Brownn. (Photograph by Robert Wray.)

Jodi Phelan woke up one morning in January 2009 unable to move.

“My whole body shut down,” says the 31-year-old Joliet resident. In the hospital emergency room, Phelan went through a battery of tests including a CAT scan and MRIs. “They tested for lupus and they thought I had multiple sclerosis,” she recalls.

Consultations with several medical specialists eventually resulted in a diagnosis of fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) in March 2009.

Never Say Never

February 27th, 2010 - By Erika Rose

(Photograph by Robert Wray.)

(Photograph by Robert Wray.)

At age 6, Lisa Mosher, now 50, of LaPorte was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, in which the pancreas does not make insulin, a hormone necessary to move glucose from the blood to the cells for energy. When too much glucose stays in the blood, it leads to complications, often with the heart, eyes, kidneys and nerves.

Even when taking insulin exactly as prescribed, Mosher’s blood glucose level fluctuated wildly without explanation. This is the most severe form of the disease, known as “brittle” diabetes, setting her up for a lifetime of damage being inflicted on her body.

The first major complication was diabetic retinopathy, in which the blood vessels in the retina are damaged and can lead to blindness. Thankfully, this condition, which struck her in college, was controlled.

A Hero’s Fight

August 22nd, 2009 - By Terri Gordon

We all know someone with arthritis—a parent, a grandparent, a friend. Maybe we even experience the occasional stiff or achy joint. Arthritis is the number one cause of physical disability in the United States. For most people, it is an age-related condition, brought on by years of wear and tear. Some people, however, deal with the more debilitating rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that makes a person’s body attack itself.

Jennifer Wescott, 36, of Crown Point, has been battling this form of arthritis most of her life.

It started with a sprained ankle when Wescott was 3. When the ankle wouldn’t heal, doctors dismissed the continued swelling, saying she must be “babying” it. But the pain and swelling persisted. Her wrists began to hurt, her knees swelled. Finally, blood tests revealed the truth. Wescott was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA).

Second Chances—Pearl Thompson

June 7th, 2009 - By Erika Rose

One morning last July, Pearl Thompson returned home after her physical therapy session feeling a little dizzy.

“And then it hit—big time,” the 65-year-old Dyer woman says of the heavy feeling that “takes your breath away and knocks you down.” With pain radiating all through her chest and left side, Thompson says, “I knew I was going to drop.”

Slumping over the sink to keep from hitting the floor, Thompson nodded feebly when her husband asked if he should call an ambulance.

Six minutes later, the paramedics were there, hoisting her up and undoing the progress therapists had made with her injured shoulder, and she was on her way to St. Margaret Mercy Healthcare Centers’ south campus in Dyer, setting in motion a tumultuous several months as she struggled to pick up the pieces after the devastating stroke.

Barely able to move and difficult to understand when she spoke, the worst of Thompson’s paralysis was in her throat muscles, which meant she had to be fed through a tube, not even able to force down the tiniest amount of water. After three weeks in the hospital, she moved to a nursing home and began the long, arduous rehabilitation process.

Filed under: Healthy Living. Tags: , , .

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