Thursday, October 20, 2016

Walking Families Through Breast Cancer Treatment

Elizabeth and Maria are our Patient Navigators. A Patient Navigator's role at The Rose is to offer support and guidance to women after diagnosis as they walk through treatment. Here is a story from Elizabeth and one of her patient's Nancy from last week: 

"A patient of mine came in to get a wig. As we went through the selection, I asked Nancy how she was doing. She began telling me that everything was going well until her 4th chemo treatment when she started losing her hair. She then had her brother finish the job that the chemo had started.  She went on to say that later she worried how her children would react to her new "look". She decided to tell her 9 year old daughter that she had lost her hair due to a reaction when she colored her hair. Her daughter was dismayed but told her to please be careful next time.

Nancy thought for a while about her "little white lie" and remembered the day when she came in for her consult at The Rose. She was so distraught after being told of her diagnosis that she didn't know how to give the news to her children. She had brought her 9 year daughter and 4 year old son with her and they were waiting in the reception area. I offered to help inform them of the news as well as explain what to expect in the coming months. Nancy agreed. Downstairs in the consult room, Elizabeth and I began educating the children of breast cancer and how it would be affecting their mother. We went through the side effects and how they could "help" their mother through some of these tough times. Elizabeth then told the children," when your mom starts to lose her hair don't get scared. No, instead say "YES", " She stated with an accompanying fist pump. " That means that the medicine is working and killing the cancer so your mom can get better." After our little teaching session, the children smiled as they left and hugs were shared all around.

Nancy stated that she had followed our advice and maintained open communication with her children up until then. This white lie had her worried and wondered how this would impact the trust she shared with her children. She decided to clarify things with her daughter. She later explained to her daughter that she was mistaken and that it was not the hair coloring that made her hair fall out but that it was the chemotherapy. She waited for her daughter's response.

A smile grew  from ear to ear. " Are you sure Mommy? It was the chemo?"

"Yes, It was the chemo." Nancy replied.

" YES!" she screamed as she jumped and completed a fist pump. " That means the chemo is working. You're getting better!" She then ran to wake up her brother and gave him the news. They had the proof that their mother was getting better. They both jumped for joy and showered their mother with hugs and kisses.

Nancy thanked us at The Rose for taking care of her and helping her children adjust to the new changes to their family's life. She stated that we were her angels that were placed in her path to help her and her family. Nancy left with her beautiful new wig and a swing in her step ready for anything."

Elizabeth and Maria with books we use to help guide families through the journey of treatment together. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Remembering An Original Trailblazer, Rosalie Kuntz.

This week we said goodbye to one of our first board members: Rosalie Kuntz. 

She was a woman of many talents, opened doors for women in business and achieved many ‘firsts,’ including being the first female insurance representative to also be elected as President of the Texas Association of Life Underwriters. She was a trail blazer, a glass ceiling breaker and dedicated to her family and church.  

If ever I had a mentor, it was Rosalie.  Back in 1985 when The Rose was just an idea in our minds, Rosalie was the ‘go to’ woman in Pasadena, a legend, a true icon.  I’ll never forget the first time I saw her. She was walking into the hospital, side by side, with the ‘big boys’ and about to make a presentation to the Board. She flashed that dazzling smile, the hint of white peeked through her front bangs, and her business suit was gorgeous.  “That’s someone you need to know.”  A colleague said to me.  And she was. 

Rosalie was part of every Chamber, at every major Civic event. If it mattered in Pasadena then she was there. 

I marveled at how she got so much done and asked her what was her ‘secret’ to being at so many events or on so many committees. 

Her response was simple: “If you want to get things done in this world, then put it on your calendar.  No matter what it is--a meeting, a Grand Opening ribbon cutting, a call to a client-- if it’s on my calendar, I’ll get to it one way or the other.”  And from then on, I put “it” on my calendar. 

Today it drives my executive assistant, Kelley, crazy when she’s trying to juggle an overbooked calendar, but that advice is as good then as it is now.

Rosalie helped guide us through our first fundraising event, The Bachelors of Distinction Auction, mopped the floors as we prepared for opening our first center and was always around for check presentations.  She was a hero in the best and deepest sense.  A woman of high ideals, and deep commitments.  Her generosity and care beyond amazing.

She was a woman who always made time for me and The Rose…and she made sure we were ‘on her calendar.’  

You’ll always be part of The Rose and in our hearts, Rosalie. 

Dorothy Gibbons, Dr. Dixie Melillo and Rosalie at the Soroptimists Gala. 

Rosalie and guest at the Bachelors Auction. 

Rosalie and Nadine Cook at the grand opening of The Rose in 1986. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Celebrate Giving Tuesday with The Rose

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that everyone is invited to participate in. Today, we're asking our community to support The Rose in any way you can. Here are a few ways you can join in on #GivingTuesday:

Every donation to The Rose helps provide women with access to quality breast health care. A donation of $150 helps to sponsor a mammogram for one woman in need. Donate here.

Have you heard George’s story of how a $1 donation traveled 800 miles to The Rose? Read it here.

Every 3 insured women who have a mammogram at The Rose help provide 1 uninsured woman with a mammogram. We encourage you to schedule your annual appointment with us and invite two of your friends to do the same. Request an appointment.

3. Spread the Word

We ask that you spread the word about The Rose to your friends and family. You can ask your friends to donate or schedule their mammogram with us, or you can share information about the importance of annual screenings and early detection.

Studies show women often put personal needs on hold while tending to the needs of others. Many women cite cost and lack of access as reasons they delay preventive services. Yet, early detection mammography screenings are the most powerful weapons in the fight against breast cancer - which is 98% curable when detected early.

The Power Of A Dollar

George was delivering a new replacement mammography van for our Mobile Unit 1, driving from Phoenix, Arizona to Houston. Our logo and the van’s bright pink color sparkled in the sunshine and could be seen for miles. About 20 miles outside of El Paso, he stopped at a service station. While waiting for the tank to fill, a very beat-up pick-up truck pulled up beside him. The driver reached out of his window and pushed a waded, partly torn dollar bill into George’s hand. In broken English he said, “For The Rose!” George, stunned, tried to explain that he was just a driver and that he didn’t actually work for The Rose. The man continued to talk and finally George understood: The Rose had cared for his mother. At the man’s insistence that The Rose needed this $1 bill, George accepted the crumpled bill and sat it on the dashboard. After an 800 mile trip, he arrived safely at The Rose with the dollar bill and a touching story to share.

The Infinity of Giving

At The Rose, we reduce deaths from breast cancer by providing access to screening, diagnostics, and treatment services to any woman regardless of her ability to pay. Women often find The Rose during a time of need in their life and because of the treatment they receive through us, are able to go on to make a better life for themselves, cancer-free.  Family members and friends of these women and others, also feel the care The Rose provides to their loved one.

Many times, the same men and women who are touched by The Rose during their time of need make a special effort to give back to The Rose. Some events from friends and family that have become special contributors to The Rose include 30 for Ana and Jump for The Rose.

Other times, friends and family remember the warmth that The Rose gave to their family and give what they can, even if it’s $1. Each contribution, no matter the size, is valued by The Rose. With each dollar, we can provide more women with access to quality breast health care.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Rose Pink Friday Gift Guide

When we hear a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, our first reaction is to ask how we can help. This Thanksgiving season, we’ve put together a gift guide just in time for Black Friday that will make your loved one’s treatment just a little easier to bear. Make this Black Friday a Pink Friday and shop for good.

          1. Kindle complete with The Women of The Rose

The Women of The Rose, written by Dorothy Gibbons, shares the stories of tenacity, strength, and how The Rose began with a mission to serve all women, including the uninsured.

A Kindle makes a great gift for your loved one during treatment as the E-reader is lightweight and can hold thousands of books. Find out more about The Women of The Rose and Amazon Kindles.

           2. A New Journal

Going through breast cancer treatment is like nothing else. Gift your loved one with a journal in which she can write her thoughts, memories, prayers, and stories. To get her started, have members of your family begin her journal by writing encouraging messages.

           3. A Warm Blanket
Staying warm during chemotherapy and radiation treatment can be tricky. Find a warm, soft, lightweight blanket that can be wrapped around your loved one during treatment. A larger blanket is better so that nurses can tuck and wrap the blanket around treatment areas.

           4. A Hat
Heat can easily escape the body through the scalp. Look for a soft knit hat to keep your loved one comfortable during treatment.
          5. Lip balm, hand cream, and sanitizer

During treatment, skin becomes drier and more fragile than your loved one has likely ever experienced. Keeping skin healthy during treatment becomes important for the immune system. Dry, sensitive skin is prone to eczema, itching, and sores that can easily become infected. We suggest a hydrating skin care routine that includes gentle cleansers, moisturizers, and sanitizers. Giving a hydrating skin routine gift basket will make your loved one more comfortable and help prevent infection during treatment. 

On behalf of our team at The Rose, we wish you and your loved ones a very warm, happy Thanksgiving.