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Minnesota Oncology News                                                                                   November 2016
In This Issue
Upcoming Events & Support Groups

12/26 - MNO Clinics CLOSED

1/2 - MNO Clinics OPEN
SurvivorSurviving and Thriving: After Beating Breast Cancer, Minnesota Oncology Patient Sunday Burquest Takes on Fiji (and Millennials) in CBS's Survivor: Millennials vs Gen X

Sunday Burquest on Survivor
Breast cancer survivor Sunday Burquest on  Survivor

Minnesota Oncology patient   Sunday Burquest  is a survivor in more ways than one. After beating breast cancer, she is still in the game as a contestant on the current season of  Survivor  on  CBS . Read her story  of surviving and thriving here and tune in to CBS TONIGHT (Wednesday) at 8/7 Central to see her compete for the $1 Million prize on Survivor: Millennials vs GenX .

Sunday Burquest with her physician Dr. Paul Zander and nurse Jane Marostica at the Plymouth Clinic
HolidaysCancer and the Holidays

The holidays are usually a busy, fun and festive time of year. But when you are dealing with managing a cancer diagnosis, the holidays can be very stressful. Going through cancer treatment during the holidays changes your interpretation of one of the most celebratory times of the year. It is difficult to feel festive when you are worried about your health care needs and you may not have the energy to "tackle" the holidays the way you have in the past.
It is impossible to completely eliminate the extra stress brought on by the holiday season but if you and your family are handling the impact of cancer and treatment here are a few tips to keep in mind during this holiday season.
Take care of yourself  
  • Eat balanced meals and make time for exercise. 
  • Allow time for simple comforts such as favorite foods, hot baths, watching movies, or reading a good book next to the fire place.
  • Do not overextend yourself, carefully schedule holiday visits to family and friends and be mindful of the physical stress that traveling puts on your body.
Reserve your energy and focus on keeping things simple
  • Do your shopping online or ask a family member to do some shopping for you.
  • Wrap gifts in gift bags.
  • Order a holiday meal from Cub FoodsHy-VeeLunds & Byerlys, or Kowalski's Market.
  • If finances are tight, stick to a budget. Keep in mind that homemade gifts or small thoughtful gifts are often more meaningful or precious then expensive presents.
Allow yourself to express your feelings 

The holiday season often adds pressure to act cheerful, but you may be feeling unhappy and distressed. Don't force yourself to be something you are not.  Allow yourself to share your feelings with those that support you. It is common to have a mixture of feelings such as sadness, anger, apprehension, joy and excitement.  Don't bottle up your feelings, laughing or crying helps relieve stress.

Appreciate the true meaning of the holidays

Do not focus on the traditions and the differences of this holiday season from those in the past. Remember the true meaning of the season is to spend it with those you love, to be thankful, and to celebrate in the present moment.

Lisa Thelemann is a Licensed Social Worker available to meet with patients at our Burnsville, Chaska, Maplewood, St. Paul, Waconia, and Woodbury Clinic. To make an appointment with a Minnesota Oncology social worker, please contact your clinic.
ChemoBrainDr. Michaela Tsai Chats on Facebook about "Chemo Brain"
Dr Tsai Video on Chemo Brain
Minnesota Oncology physician Dr. Michaela Tsai recently shared information and answered questions about "chemo brain" live on Facebook. Dr. Tsai is conducting research on the phenomenon of chemo brain at Minnesota Oncology and Virgina Piper Cancer Institute. Watch the video here:
JulieDeSpainMedical Assistant Julie DeSpain Recognized by American Medical Technologists for Outstanding Patient Service

Julie DeSpain
Julie DeSpain
Minnesota Oncology medical assistant Julie DeSpain was recently  recognized by American Medical Technologists for her outstanding service and care of patients. Currently at our Chaska Clinic, Julie's passion for her work truly comes through every day. We are proud to have her as part of the Minnesota Oncology care team.

Below is what AMT had to say about the amazing Julie:

After losing her parents at an early age, Julie DeSpain knew she needed to do something to help. Obtaining her Registered Medical Assistant (RMA) Certification from AMT came naturally to Julie. Her compassion and care for others fit right in with the field. Today, she is a wonderful asset to the Minnesota Oncology Clinic in the Twin Cities region of Minnesota.

Julie exemplified the passion of AMT-certified RMAs: She goes above and beyond what is required of her to make sure each patient's experience can be as positive as can be.

Julie works for find a personal connection with each patient, helping them feel more relaxed and at home. Patients often share their journeys with Julie, and she is attentive and listens with open ears. Each patient is different, and Julie works hard to tailor her care to every individual's needs.

Julie recalls a cancer patient who came in and smiled every time he saw her. Even when they did not exchange words, Julie knew she brought light to that patient's day, and she strives to pass that light to every patient that walks through Minnesota Oncology's doors.

Julie exmplifies the passion of AMT-certified RMAs: She goes abive and beyond what is required of her to make sure each patient's experience can be as positive as possible.

When asked what the future holds, Julie says she sees herself at Minnesota Oncology until she retires. "Why do something else when you love what you do now?" Julie says. "If you like what you are doing, there are no words to describe that satisfaction."

When Julie is not at work, she enjoys meditating. Julie meditates at least three times a week to clear her mind and reengergize for the next day.

Julie was nominated for the AMT Medical Assistant Employee Contest by her colleague Alicia Wojchik, MAN, RN, CNP, AOCNP.
HaitiMNO LPN Provides Medical Aid in Hurricane-Ravaged Haiti

LPN Eve Varghese with Haitian child
LPN Eve Varghese with a Haitian child

On October 4, 2016, Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti as a Category 4 storm with winds at 130 mph, killing more than 1,000 people, destroying homes and schools, and devastating Haiti's natural resources. Before the hurricane was even on the radar, Minnesota Oncology nurse Eve Varghese and her husband Justin had already planned to travel to Haiti on a medical mission trip. Despite warnings of heightened spread of disease and decreased access to parts of Haiti, the couple decided to continue with their plans to provide medical assistance to the people of the hurricane-ravaged country.

It was something Eve says she has been wanting to do, so she had done her research and settled on   Missions of Hope Haiti, an organization with efforts focused on educational development, health care, orphan care, nutrition, and church advancement in Haiti. "I had heard about other people going on volunteer trips, and I was inspired by them," Eve says. "I knew I wanted to do a medical trip overseas, and I found a lot of need in Haiti."
DrHartungDr. Nicole Hartung Joins Minnesota Oncology & Ridgeview Cancer & Infusion Center in Chaska 

Nicole Hartung_ MD
Nicole Hartung_ MD
CHASKA, MN - Minnesota Oncology is pleased to announce that  Nicole Hartung, MD, is now seeing patients at Minnesota Oncology & Ridgeview Cancer & Infusion Center in Chaska.

Dr. Hartung joined Minnesota Oncology in 2001 and has cared for patients at various Minnesota Oncology locations over the years. "My philosophy is to offer compassionate, evidence-based medical oncology care to my patients, while educating them and their families about their disease, treatment, and overall care," Dr. Hartung says.

Dr. Hartung is a graduate of University of Missouri Medical School in Kansas City. She completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Missouri Truman Medical Center and a fellowship in Medical Oncology, at Scripps Clinic/Green Hospital in La Jolla, Calif.

Dr. Hartung treats all types of cancer, with a special interest in the treatment of breast cancer, lung cancer, and colon cancer. She is a member of the Minnesota Board of Directors for Susan G. KomenĀ® Race for the Cure.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Hartung at  Minnesota Oncology & Ridgeview Cancer & Infusion Center in Chaska, please call 952-361-5800.

Ridgeview Medical Center and Minnesota Oncology began a joint venture partnership in September 2016 to form consolidated oncology services program with clinics conveniently located in Chaska and Waconia. This new, formal partnership strengthens the existing, long-term relationship between the two health care providers while providing the most comprehensive, convenient and highest quality of oncology/hematology and specialty infusion care in the region.

The new Minnesota Oncology & Ridgeview Cancer & Infusion Center brings together competing services and clinics, and consolidate them into the two current Minnesota Oncology locations in  Chaska (Lakeview Professional Building, 110105 Pioneer Trail, Suite 302) and  Waconia (Ridgeview Professional Building, 560 S. Maple Street, Suite 100).
ImmunotherapyMinnesota Oncology Physician Dr. Thomas Amatruda Explains Cancer Immunotherapy in New Video

What is   immunotherapy ? Who is a candidate for this new form of treatment? Minnesota Oncology's Dr. Thomas Amatruda explains.
CookieAngel Foundation Holiday Cookie Exchange Fundraiser

The season of baking is upon us! If you're planning a cookie exchange with co-workers, friends and/or family, consider using this event as a way to give back this year. Wendy Kaufmann, Angel Foundation's Community Philanthropy Manager, has created a step-by-step packet outlining how to turn your holiday tradition into a fundraiser for Angel Foundation! Have questions? We are here to help! Contact Wendy: .
If cookies aren't your thing, never fear! This fundraising model can work for just about an exchange party (clothing, books, etc.) Tap into your philanthropic side: let us know if you're interested in hosting an exchange of any kind on behalf of Angel.

Innovations in Health Care Award Earlier this month, HealthPartners presented Minnesota Oncology with an Innovation Partners in Excellence Award. The award highlights the progressive work Minnesota Oncology has done in applying the Triple Aim in oncology care.  The   Triple Aim  is a framework developed by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to optimize health system performance, and includes:
  • Improving health
    • Minnesota Oncology improved the quality of care we deliver by decreasing unexplained clinical variation in chemotherapy prescribing
  • Enhancing the patient experience (quality and satisfaction)
    • Minnesota Oncology implemented the one-on-one patient education for self-management of chemotherapy side effects, created access to same day urgent provider visits, established a direct admission process from the office to avoid the Emergency Department when possible, and implemented the My Choices, My Wishes Values & Goals Assessment to address patients' goals for end of life care.
  • Taking aim at affordability
    • Minnesota Oncology reduced the rate of chemotherapy-related Emergency Department visits by 31% at the Minneapolis Clinic, and reduced total cost of drug spend through implementation of the Off-Pathway Approval Process by up to 30% based on previously published data. 
BowlingMinnesota Oncology Employees Raise $13K for Angel Foundation at Annual Bowling Event

MNO employees in costume
A costume competition adds another level of creativity and challenge to the annual bowling fundraiser.

On Saturday, November 5, 2016, Minnesota Oncology held its annual Bowling for Angel event at Park Tavern in St. Louis Park. Teams of Minnesota Oncology employees met on the bowling lanes for some healthy competition, a great time, and a wonderful cause. Overall, Minnesota Oncology raised more than $13,000 to help fund  Angel Foundation  in the coming year as they provide support and non-medical financial assistance to patients and families facing cancer. 
Throughout the year, employees came up with creative fundraising ideas and donated time, energy and money to help make Bowling for Angel a success. 

The following Minnesota Oncology locations participated:
  • Minneapolis
  • CBO
  • Maplewood
  • Edina
  • Fridley
  • Coon Rapids
  • St Paul
  • Burnsville
This year, the awards went to:
  • First Place (game 3) - Maplewood (Wizard of Oz theme)
  • Best of the Worst (game 3) - Fridley
  • Team Spirit Award - Minneapolis (Stuey and the Blooms)
  • Team with most new employees - CBO - Centralized schedulers and switchboard
Prizes were also awarded for:
  • Most strikes per team in a game
  • Highest score while Bowling Backwards

MNO bowlers
Minnesota Oncology bowlers show their varying techniques.