Tag Archives: cancer

Nurse Finds Inspiration After Cancer Journey

NurseCancerJourney0713 (400 x 267)As a longtime nurse in the intensive care unit and clinical education coordinator for University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton, Kim Brice, RN, knows the high level of care that is available to Mid-Shore residents close to home and family. She never knew just how good that care was however, until she began her own cancer journey. The Easton resident and mother of four was diagnosed with Advanced Stage IIIC ovarian cancer in the summer of 2012. From that moment on, she says she understood for the first time what many of her patients had gone through.

“I had always been healthy so I was fortunate that I had never received such a life-changing diagnosis before,” says Brice. “Now that I have been through my journey, I understand that ‘blank look’ you get after you receive unexpected news about your health and how it feels to suddenly be dependent on others to take care of you. I think that today, having been through that, I can relate better to them.”

While Brice’s ovarian cancer protocol was one that had never been performed at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health’s cancer center, the physicians and staff did not hesitate – and neither did Brice.

“It was a unique dose of chemotherapy with a unique port location but they never hesitated in offering me the option to get my treatments here,” says Brice, whose care was coordinated seamlessly between a designated nurse at UM Shore Medical Center at Easton and an oncology nurse at UM Shore Regional Health’s outpatient cancer. “They did an amazing job — no one should ever have to leave the Mid-Shore to get the care that they need. To be able to get those treatments close to home made a world of difference for me and my family.”

Now that Brice has completed her treatments and is one-year cancer free, she is finding new ways to give back to the community – and to the patients that she cares for.

“I understand how badly you feel after chemotherapy – how even the slightest movement around your port can be so painful,” says Brice. “When I see these patients in the ICU, I understand the extra emotional and physical needs that they have and can be a better nurse to them in the process.”

In addition to improving her nursing practice, one of the ways Brice plans to give back is to share her story of success with other cancer patients.

“They were amazing with my treatments,” adds Brice. “Everyone was in sync and went the extra mile to make sure I was getting the best possible care. I saw others that were getting care who were treated the same way – it wasn’t just because I was a fellow nurse. They are truly the best at what they do.”

Kim plans to participate in a 5K walk to benefit the Central Maryland Chapter of the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition later this fall. Brice is raising funds and looking for teammates for the walk, which takes place on September 29.

“When you go through the kind of journey that I have been through and received the kind of care I have, you feel compelled to give back,” adds Brice. “I just want people to know the kind of services and people that we have right here on the Mid-Shore.”

In photo: Kim Brice, MSN, RN, CCRN, a nurse for UM Shore Medical Center at Easton and an ovarian cancer survivor, third from left, takes a moment to thank members of the nursing team who took care of her during her recent cancer journey. Pictured from left are Jennifer Miles, BS, RN, Nurse Manager for, 2 East Multi-Specialty Care Unit, UM Shore Medical Center at Easton; Mary Collins, RN-BC, Clinical Nurse Coordinator, UM Shore Medical Center at Easton; Brice and Shannon Seek, RN, OCN, University of Maryland Shore Regional Health. Brice attributes the exceptional care she received locally as being the motivation behind her quest to give back to the community and raise awareness for ovarian cancer.

Center for Integrative Medicine Partners Offers Specialized Massage Services for Cancer Patients

As cancer continues to affect the quality of life for residents on the Mid Shore, Shore Regional Cancer Center is partnering with Shore Health System’s Center for Integrative Medicine to develop new services to address the needs of cancer patients. Within the past three years, specialties have emerged within certain modalities of complementary medicine, including massage therapy, acupuncture and guided imagery, which are proving to be effective in helping cancer patients cope with their diseases.

Locally, licensed massage therapists, Colin Perry and Stephanie Latham at Shore Health System’s Center for Integrative Medicine, have acquired specialty certifications in order to better assist cancer patients in their treatment and recovery. Both are nationally certified in therapeutic massage.Colin Perry, LMT, CLT, who has been practicing massage since 2007 completed a 157-hour certification program in Complete Decongestive Therapy at the Norton School of Lymphatic Therapy in 2011. This modality enables her to perform manual lymph drainage, addressing the medical needs of cancer survivors, as well as people suffering from chronic pain, migraines, and allergies. The therapists also work with Shore Health System’s Wound Center to help patients with chronic lymphedema.

Perry comments, “Lymphatic massage can help cancer patients with pre-treatment, helping their immune system to accept the treatment; during treatment, to help maintain the immune system; and post-treatment, to help the immune system flush the chemotherapy chemicals out of the body. It can be used with all types of cancers, including breast, colon, tongue and throat cancers.”

Perry explains that cancer survivors often suffer from lymphedema because lymph nodes are often removed in cancer surgeries and the body is not able to absorb the excess lymph fluid, thus causing lymphedema. Swelling from lymphedema may cause pain, discomfort, loss of motion and/or function associated with the affected limb, poor body image, and increased risk of infection. Manual lymph drainage helps manually drain the excess lymph fluid to reduce the swelling associated with lymphedema. This is common among breast cancer patients who may have several lymph nodes removed during surgery.

The Center for Integrative Medicine has begun a new collaboration with Shore Regional Cancer Center’s innovative CARES program. Cancer Recovery & Survivorship Program (CARES), a formalized pathway to cancer rehabilitation, puts patients in touch with support groups, community resources and services for healthier living – including the Center’s massage and acupuncture services.

Stephanie Latham, LMT, has been practicing massage since 2005. She is also trained in oncology massage and is a certified member of the Society for Oncology Massage. She completed over 50 hours in oncology massage training and uses massage to support her patients physically and emotionally as they move through cancer treatment into survivorship.
She comments, “There is a misconception that you can’t have massage if you have cancer. Massage is safe for someone with cancer when the proper techniques are used by a trained therapist. Oncology massage is the adaptation of massage to safely nurture the body, mind and spirit of anyone dealing with cancer. Massage is not only safe, it is beneficial for anyone dealing with the side effects of treatment, such as insomnia, depression, fatigue, bone pain and neuropathy.”

For cancer survivor Beth Hurley of Hurlock, an employee of Shore Health System’s Rehabilitation Services Department, the Center for Integrative Medicine helped her in 2012 during her treatment for stage three colon cancer. Hurley reached out to Perry and Latham as she faced severe symptoms from her chemotherapy, including neuropathy in her hands and feet, lymphedema, and nausea.

She comments, “They really helped my inner spirit and helped me cope with the symptoms from the chemotherapy. When I left my appointment at the Center, all of the anxiety from the chemotherapy went away and I felt relaxed. Mentally, I couldn’t have done it without their support. I was even able to work every day through my treatments.” Hurley has continued with her massage even though her treatments are done, getting maintenance treatments every month, which she thinks are well worth it in her continued recovery.

Latham reflects, “Oncology massage is the most rewarding work I have ever done. It is wonderful helping people with cancer live their day- to-day lives. The greatest compliment I have ever received was from a cancer patient who said I helped her feel normal again.”

Monika Armbruster, L. Ac., M. Ac., Clinical Acupuncture Specialist, who oversees the Center for Integrative Medicine, adds, “Our services are growing since we opened in 2000. Our commitment to meeting the needs of the community is evidenced by our massage therapists taking the extra courses needed to enrich their practices, while enhancing the well-being of our community. The Center can offer clients an interdisciplinary approach, providing complementary services to achieve their optimal health.”

For further information about Shore Healthy System’s Center for Integrative Medicine, contact them at 410-770-9400.