Archive | LMC People RSS feed for this section

Healing Icons: An Art Class for Cancer Patients

Lisa Phillips is a breast cancer survivor. She also works with cancer patients at Lexington Oncology.

Today, she’s taking a break from work to participate in an art class for cancer patients called Healing Icons. She’s making the border of a frame for artwork representing the healing process of her cancer journey.

“It’s so calming,” Phillips said. “And it helps bring into focus feelings about your cancer diagnosis that you were not even aware you had.”

amberg_120802_326Columbia artist Heidi Darr-Hope leads the class. It’s open to any cancer patient at the hospital for free and paid for through the Lexington Medical Center Foundation.

Each week, students meet on the hospital campus.

During a series of six weekly classes, students create art including black and white pencil drawings, masks and paintings. They are in all stages of treatment from the beginning of chemotherapy to grappling with a recurrence of cancer.

“It’s an amazing experience,” Darr-Hope said. “It seems simplistic, but there’s rich information under it,”

Darr-Hope says the artwork helps patients express the range of emotions they often feel about a cancer diagnosis and how it will impact them and their family.

“Once people can freely express the anger and anxiety, they lay them on the shoulders of their artwork and become lighter,” Darr-Hope said.

Darr-Hope calls it a different kind of support group.

“I’m encouraging anyone who feels lost in their cancer diagnosis to consider it because it’s a wonderful group,” she said.

For more information, visit www.lexmed.com/cancer-care or call the Lexington Medical Center Volunteer Services office at 803-791-2573.

The Lexington Medical Center Foundation provides important programs and services that help people in our community, including cancer patients. Please consider giving to the Lexington Medical Center Foundation during the Central Carolina Community Foundation’s “Midlands Gives” challenge on May 5. Learn more at MidlandsGives.org.

“Lean On Me”

Lexington Medical Center invites you to view our hospital’s new music video, “Lean On Me.” Featuring hundreds of community leaders, law enforcement officers, families and hospital employees, it celebrates all that makes the Midlands special, while highlighting the kindness and generosity of community members with a beautiful arrangement of the famous song “Lean On Me.”

“A community is more than just a place. It’s a group of people who achieve great things with unity and purpose,” said Lexington Medical Center Vice President of Marketing & Communications Mark Shelley, who directed the music video. “At Lexington Medical Center, we celebrate the compassion found in our community every day. We believe we all need someone to lean on.”

leanonlexmed1

Filmed at River Bluff High School, the video stars Jonathan Wyndham, a Lexington County native who impressed judges on NBC’s The Voice last fall. Midlands residents performing with Wyndham include local singing sensation Cayla Fralick, River Bluff High School senior Bri Benedict, who is the daughter of Lexington Medical Center hospitalist Dr. James Benedict, and the Brookland Baptist Church young adult choir.

leanonlexmed2

Jonathan Wyndham, a 23-year-old Lexington High School graduate, currently lives in Nashville as a full-time musician. He attended Middle Tennessee State University where he studied commercial song writing, music business and entrepreneurship. He’s been singing since he was 3 years old.

After viewing “Lean On Me,” please share it with your friends and family on social media. Let’s show the world the power of community at Lexington Medical Center.

Spring Is In the Air… So Is Pollen

Sneezing, wheezing, hives, nasal congestion and itchy, watery eyes – more than 67 million Americans suffer from these and other seasonal allergy symptoms.

Here’s what the experts say:
• Hot, dry, windy days usually mean more pollens and molds are in the air.
• Rain showers tend to wash pollens out of the air.
• Generally, at ground level, the peak pollen count is between 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. and between 5:00 and 9:00 p.m.
• Pollen counts fall during times of higher humidity and rise during low humidity.
• The warmer the temperature, the greater the pollen.

According to Andrew Battiata, MD, a physician at Lexington ENT & Allergy, the severity of an allergic reaction can vary from mild discomfort to life threatening situations.

Dr. Battiata

Dr. Battiata

“An allergy is characterized by an overreaction of the immune system to a foreign substance (called an allergen) that is eaten, inhaled, injected or touched. This overreaction can result in symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose and scratchy throat. In severe cases, it can also result in rashes, hives, lower blood pressure, difficulty breathing, asthma attacks and even death,” said Dr. Battiata.

For people with allergies, their immune systems work too hard and react even when relatively harmless substances, such as pollen, are present. And left untreated, allergies can lead to chronic health problems.

“By far, the most common side effect from an untreated allergy is frequent sinus infections that require steroids and/or antibiotics, or even sinus surgery. People with untreated allergies also miss time from school or work and have decreased quality of life,” said Dr. Battiata.

field of flowers_1In the spring, the most common allergen is tree pollen, which begins to release between January and April, depending on the climate and location. The trees include elm, pine, birch, ash, hickory, poplar and cypress…just to name a few. Grass pollen takes over in summertime, and weed pollen appears in the fall.

And allergies can be both environmental and genetic.

“If one parent has allergies of any type, chances are 1 in 3 that each child will have an allergy. If both parents have allergies, it is much more likely (7 in 10) that their children will have allergies,” he said.

So testing is important, too.

Dr. Battiata recommends skin testing as the most accurate way to determine allergies. Blood testing, known as radioallergosorbent (RAST) testing, is also available.

Allergies and their symptoms can be a big problem, but there are ways to find relief.

“There are three types of treatments that can be used in combination: avoidance of the allergen, use of anti-histamines, steroids or other medications, and immunotherapy (allergy shots) to desensitize the allergic response,” said Dr. Battiata.

Although avoiding all airborne allergens is virtually impossible, knowing the peak pollen season and tracking daily pollen counts can help minimize exposure.

You can also use allergy devices in your home, such as an air cleaner and air conditioner, which will help remove pollen and mold spores from the air. Be sure to keep the filters clean!