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One patient's story on her experience with art therapy

Jolyn Hull

Jolyn Hull
Health Education Specialist, Swedish Cancer Institute

Art will continue to play an important role in my staying healthy
– Mary Stevens-Zarich, art therapy participant & patient at the Swedish Cancer Institute


The Swedish Cancer Institute offers a variety of Supportive Care Services for patients, families, and caregivers to enhance and individualize your care. We want to meet your needs at every step along the way. One of the many services we offer is art therapy.


Our art therapist, Nicole Stiver, has been with us for 10 years in August. She has been described as sensitive, professional, present, and tactful by her patients and patients use a variety of art methods in her sessions.

Mary says, “For the past two years, a weekly session with Nicole Stiver has been central to my healing emotionally, and by extension, physically, from a difficult treatment and (statistically) grim prognosis. That experience was shattering, but it gave me the opportunity to become stronger and more alive by exploring the places that had limited my life up until then.”

Patients ...

Getting help when you don’t know what to do about your symptoms

Debra Cadiente, RN,BC

Debra Cadiente, RN,BC
Nurse Navigator, Swedish Digestive Health Network

When you’re not feeling well, sometimes it’s hard to know where to turn. As the Nurse Navigator with Swedish Digestive Health Network, I get these calls every day.  Below are a few tips to help you advocate for yourself if you are not feeling well. (Remember to first and foremost get established with a primary care doctor before you become ill!)

1. If you’re not feeling well:

Different treatment options for acid reflux

Ralph W. Aye, MD, FACS

Ralph W. Aye, MD, FACS
Thoracic and Esophageal Surgeon

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the most common disorder of the upper gastrointestinal track, affecting nearly 40% of the American population.  Antisecretory medications such as omeprazole are the mainstay of treatment, but 40% of patients have incomplete control of symptoms.  While surgical repair (fundoplication) is highly effective, only 1% of patients have an operation, leaving a large group of individuals incompletely treated.

The Stretta procedure is another option to treat GERD. 

Do healthy young adults need a yearly physical?

Mary B. Weiss

Ezekiel J. Emanuel, M.D., an oncologist and vice provost at the University of Pennsylvania, recently wrote an op-ed piece for the New York Times called “Skip Your Annual Physical.” He stated his new year’s resolution was to skip his check-up with his primary care provider. He said it was one small way he could help reduce health care costs – because, from a health perspective, the exam was “basically worthless.”

That’s a pretty bold statement – one which might cause head scratching and confusion among the general population. After all, it goes against everything we’ve been told. And while his article makes some valid points, I don’t agree with his assessment that there’s no value in regular visits with your primary care provider unless you have a medical issue or complaint.

Tips for parents dealing with toddler’s diarrhea

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP

Uma Pisharody, MD, FAAP
Pediatric Gastroenterologist

Toddlerhood is a time when children are going through a lot of changes.  Children enter pre-school, toilet-training begins, diets change, and sometimes stooling patterns become different as well.  The latter issue often leads to parental worry.   One of the most common changes that parents of toddlers bring up during visits with me is that their toddler’s stools seem very loose or watery (“diarrhea”).  More often than not, the diagnosis ends up being “toddler’s diarrhea”, a harmless type of diarrhea that generally starts after a child is weaned.  (Other names for this condition include “functional diarrhea of childhood” or “chronic non-specific diarrhea of childhood”.)

Toddler’s diarrhea occurs due to a relative immaturity of the intestinal tract of young children.  Relatively speaking, sugars and some fluid get poorly absorbed.  The stools often contain undigested food particles (carrots and corn being the most commonly noticed).  The key differentiating factor that sets toddler’s diarrhea apart from other causes of diarrhea at this age is that except for loose stools, there are no other symptoms.  There is no malabsorption of nutrients, so children with toddler’s diarrhea have normal growth and weight gain.  Otherwise, they are perfectly healthy.  There won’t be anything abnormal found during their physical exam.  Tests are not generally needed, because those, too, will be normal.

Even though toddler’s diarrhea resolves on its own, I often tell families to follow the “4 Fs” as a guide to treatment:

Bladder control problems are not a normal part of aging

Lora Plaskon, MD, MS

Lora Plaskon, MD, MS
Urogynecologist

I remember hearing a lecture about 15 years ago, learning that by the year 2020 there will be more adults in diapers than babies!

It was hard to imagine that day back in 2000, but shopping in my local drugstore I realize that day is upon us. There is a whole double aisle dedicated to "Adult Continence Products" and only a quarter of the floor space dedicated to baby diapers. There is a tsunami wave of baby boomers, and bladder control is a big deal for many of us.

Over half of American women over 50 years old have some daily bother with bladder control - we are in the midst of an epidemic and women need to know this isn't a normal part of aging. Many women ...

Visiting Your Hospitalized Child

Deborah Worthington, RN, CPN

Deborah Worthington, RN, CPN
Registered Nurse, Swedish Pediatric Specialty Care

When your child is hospitalized, it’s understandable that family and friends will want to visit. This is often a help to both the patient and the parent at the bedside. To maximize the benefit of this support, keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • Visiting hours: Check with your nurse for the visiting hours and let your nurse know when you are able to visit. If there are extenuating circumstances for your family’s situation (e.g., a parent works night or swing shift and can only visit before or after), let the nursing staff know.

  • Security ...

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