Ask any patient: Nurses are as pivotal in their care as doctors. They answer the call of a patient in the middle of the night, they hold the patient’s hand as he or she takes on yet another round of treatment and, in the best-case scenario, they wave goodbye as the patient leaves the hospital, healthy and happy.
When everyone has gone home for the day and the family is finally sleeping, nurses remain. No matter what road a patient takes, nurses are the constant, supporting them along the ride.
Within three days in 2007, Stephanie Hosford, then 37, learned that she was pregnant with her long-awaited second child – and that she had triple-negative breast cancer. Soon afterward, Hosford discovered that she and her husband, Grant, had been approved to adopt a little girl from China.
After encountering many physicians who advised them to terminate the pregnancy, the Hosfords found doctors at City of Hope who were confident they could successfully treat Stephanie without harming the baby.
The Hosfords proceeded with both plans to expand their family, even while Hosford herself was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. In a previous Breakthroughs post, Hosford shared some advice with other patients, based on what she learned from her treatment experience.
Now Hosford has written a book about that experience, titled “Bald, Fat & Crazy: How I Beat Cancer While Pregnant With One Daughter and Adopting Another.”
Here, Hosford shares an excerpt from her new book.
“Livin’ on the Edge” — Aerosmith
I need a wig. An exceptionally fantastic wig, that doesn’t look at all like a wig. I don’t know if anything like that exists, especially in my non-pop star price range, but it’s time to get serious. I’m running out of time if I want to be prepared before chemo begins next week.
A couple of days later, Mom, Jenn and I pull into the tiny parking lot in the back of BigWigs, a small wig shop in Hollywood. We wander up and down the aisles, studying the mannequin heads that look back at us with frozen faces.
“How long should I go?” I ask Jenn, sounding stoic as I try to hold in my emotions. » Continue Reading
Dave Sobel’s philosophy had always been about living life to the fullest. He loved golfing, listening to rock music and tropical relaxation. As his daughter, Lauren Miller, recalled: “His dream was to retire in the Caribbean and spend his days running a boat, a lime wedge in his tropical drink.”
Sadly, Sobel’s dream never came to fruition. In 2010, at the age of 54, his life was cut short by angioimmunoblastic T cell lymphoma, a very rare and aggressive cancer.
In honor of her father’s memory, Miller , a legal secretary, created the Slice of Lime Foundation, named after her father’s retirement dream, as well as the lime green cancer ribbon for lymphoma. Since 2010, the charity has raised more than $35,000 for blood cancer research and treatment.
Recently, to mark Slice of Lime’s fifth anniversary, Miller resolved to make a direct impact on the Simi Valley community, where her father and mother, Anita, had raised her and her siblings, and where her mother still resides today. “I wanted to do something special for Simi Valley residents,” Miller said. After some initial research, she pledged $25,000 for City of Hope’s new community clinic in Simi Valley, to be raised by Slice of Lime.
This donation is the first to be specifically designated to the Simi Valley clinic. » Continue Reading
Updated: Sunday, June 7, 2015
On Saturday, for the second consecutive year, jockey Victor Espinoza attempted to capture the historic Triple Crown of horse racing. As in 2014, after wins at the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Espinoza rode in the Belmont Stakes in Elmont, New York, in an attempt to claim a title not won since 1978. This time, riding American Pharoah, he won, capturing the Triple Crown.
As before, Espinoza has promised to donate a portion of his winnings to City of Hope, continuing his record of support of the institution’s groundbreaking research and lifesaving, patient-focused care. Espinoza often visits City of Hope campus, sharing smiles, gifts and stories of his more than 3,200 career victories with patients.
“Good health — that’s what I want for everyone. With good health, people can enjoy life and do those things that make them happy,” Espinoza said. “By working to defeat cancer, City of Hope’s researchers and doctors are bringing a greater chance of health and happiness to people everywhere.”
In Southern California, fans cheered on Espinoza track side at neighboring Santa Anita Park.
Learn more about giving to City of Hope.
Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion by visiting our website or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). You may also request a new patient appointment online. City of Hope staff will explain what’s required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.
As public health experts know, health improvement starts in the community. Now, City of Hope has been recognized for its efforts to improve the lives of residents of its own community.
The institution will receive funding from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement to support promising community-based work on health improvement, as part of the SCALE (Spreading Community Accelerators through Learning and Evaluation) initiative. Made possible by a $4.8 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and led by IHI, Community Solutions, Communities Joined in Action and the Collaborative Health Network, SCALE will help communities further their ability to improve the health of targeted populations and develop ways to share and spread community-driven approaches across the country.
SCALE matches four “mentor communities” – those with a recent track record of achieving better health – with 20 “pacesetter communities” that are seeking to accelerate their pace of change.
City of Hope has been named a pacesetter community and will design and implement a multilevel plan to reduce chronic disease health inequities due to obesity and sedentary lifestyle, through community-based resources, supportive physical environments and businesses, policies for healthful eating and an emphasis on physical activity.
Updated June 16, 2015
Take it from City of Hope researchers: Medical science isn’t just for scientists, but something the whole family can enjoy. On Saturday, May 16, the institution illustrated that lesson by offering a variety of educational and fun-filled science and healthy living activities at its second Community Science Festival.
The goal was to engage the local community to share how City of Hope’s researchers are leading the way in advancing knowledge about the causes of, and treatments for, cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. To so so, researchers offered valuable prevention and wellness information to community members to better equip them with tools to lead healthier lives.
The free event, which was geared to the San Gabriel Valley’s sixth- through eighth-graders and their families, featured hands-on science activities, educational lectures and demonstrations by scientists from City of Hope’s research facilities and laboratories.
Festival sessions included:
Take Control of Your Health: Visitors learned about the factors that can cause or contribute to disease, including genetics, lifestyle and environment. Shiuan Chen, Ph.D., and Jessica Clague DeHart, Ph.D., M.P.H., helped guests create a chart of their families’ medical traits and conditions, and explained how exercise and healthy foods, along with clean air and water, can reduce the risk of various diseases. » Continue Reading
Older adults, by far, represent the largest population of cancer patients globally. With the median age of U.S. citizens projected to increase sharply in the next few years, the incidence of cancer is expected to rise higher, as well. City of Hope is at the forefront of geriatric cancer care, and an important new grant will help transform how these older adult patients are treated.
Arti Hurria, M.D., director of City of Hope’s Cancer and Aging Research Program, garnered a $733,951 award from UniHealth Foundation. The grant is the largest ever obtained from the foundation by a City of Hope investigator.
Through previous research, Hurria and her team have developed a method to assess older adult patients’ risk of chemotherapy side effects and other complications. They will use the UniHealth Foundation award to integrate that assessment method into everyday care. In addition, they will establish a multidisciplinary team of health care professionals to rapidly address each patient’s needs, as indicated by the assessments.
City of Hope has long known what researchers increasingly are confirming: Gardens and natural surroundings help seriously ill people recover from their treatment ordeals.
Already a trailblazer in the creation of beautiful natural spaces for cancer patients and their families, on Jan. 15, City of Hope dedicated the newest in a series of healing landscapes: the Argyros Family Garden of Hope.
Supported by the Argyros Family Foundation – led by former U.S. Ambassador to Spain George Argyros and his wife, Julia – the garden provides a natural space of light, water, trees and native plants designed to encourage emotional, mental and physical healing.
Strategically positioned between City of Hope Helford Clinical Research Hospital, where patients undergo treatment, and Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, where researchers work to find cures, the Argyros Family Garden of Hope provides patients with easily accessible places to walk and to rest – complete with new and mature trees, gurgling fountains and the soothing use of sand and rock – all artfully integrated into an intimate Southern California vignette. » Continue Reading
Explaining a prostate cancer diagnosis to a young child can be difficult — especially when the cancer is incurable. But conveying the need for prostate cancer research, as it turns out, is easily done. And that leads to action.
Earlier this year, Gerald Rustad, 71, who is living with a very aggressive form of metastatic prostate cancer, found himself trying to explain his heath condition to 10-year-old granddaughter Aurora.
He told her that his cancer couldn’t be cured, but that scientists at City of Hope were busily conducting research so they could help patients like himself. His doctor, for example, Sumanta Pal, M.D., co-director of City of Hope’s Kidney Cancer Program, was working with other City of Hope researchers to develop a drug that could treat metastatic prostate cancer without targeting testosterone.
The targeting of testosterone is too arcane for most 10-year-olds, but the need for scientific answers isn’t. Aurora asked if there were any way she could help. » Continue Reading