Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

medical staff pulse newsletter

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A BI-WEEKLY PUBLICATION FROM THE CEDARS-SINAI CHIEF OF STAFF July 15, 2016 | Archived Issues

Meetings and Events


Grand Rounds

Click here to view upcoming grand rounds.


Upcoming CME Conferences

Click below to view a complete list of all scheduled Continuing Medical Education conferences.

CME Newsletter - June 2016 (PDF)


Milestones

Do you know of a significant event in the life of a medical staff member? Please let us know, and we'll post these milestones in Medical Staff Pulse. Also, feel free to submit comments on milestones, and we'll post the comments in the next issue. Click here to submit your milestones and comments.

Meetings and Events

Physician Efficiency Training
July 20

Transcranial Doppler for Comprehensive Stroke Care
Aug. 11-13

Pancreatic Cancer Conference
Sept. 10

These events and more are listed in the medical staff calendar on the Cedars-Sinai website.


Grand Rounds

Click here to view upcoming grand rounds.


Upcoming CME Conferences

Click below to view a complete list of all scheduled Continuing Medical Education conferences.

CME Newsletter - July 2016 (PDF)


Milestones

Do you know of a significant event in the life of a medical staff member? Please let us know, and we'll post these milestones in Medical Staff Pulse. Also, feel free to submit comments on milestones, and we'll post the comments in the next issue. Click here to submit your milestones and comments.

Share Your News

Won any awards or had an article accepted for publication? Share your news about professional achievements and other items of interest.

Click here to share your news

Cancer Survivors Gather to Reconnect, Celebrate

Frank and Shirley La Commare celebrate their victories over cancer. She was diagnosed with stomach cancer more than two decades ago, and he had liver cancer four years ago.

Years ago, Demetra Stalling would not have worn a cranberry blouse accented with colorful spring flowers.

But the 45-year-old health information technician at Cedars-Sinai purposefully chose the eye-catching outfit for the Cancer Survivors Day luncheon on Friday, June 17.

"I used to only wear neutral colors like beige and black," said Stalling, who works in the Health Information Department. "After fighting for my life, the world became more colorful, so I reflect that in what I wear."

Demetra Stalling smiles at the Cancer Survivors Day luncheon.

Stalling was one of more than 400 survivors, family guests and physicians who gathered at the Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills to reconnect, reflect and celebrate at the annual Cedars-Sinai event, now in its second decade. The invitation-only lunch is open to cancer survivors from throughout the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute, including affiliates.

"Managing cancer often can be isolating, and many patients feel lonely and disconnected from their previous identities," said Arash Asher, MD, director of the Cancer Rehabilitation and Survivorship program at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. "Being with people who know exactly what you're going through — the joys, the sorrows — there's something healing and validating about that."

Stalling had more to celebrate than most, even in a room with more than 200 cancer survivors. She has battled the deadly disease twice — once as a teenager and later as a single mother.

When Stalling turned 17, she was rushed to the emergency room with severe shortness of breath. An X-ray revealed a cantaloupe-sized tumor on her lungs; a diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma followed. She soon underwent a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

"I really didn't understand the severity of what was happening," Stalling recalled. "My main concern was that I would be bald for the prom."

In 2011, cancer returned. She was now a single mother of a teenage son and had been working at Cedars-Sinai for three years. A mammogram and biopsy led to a diagnosis of stage III C inflammatory breast cancer caused by the radiation therapy she received as a senior in high school.

"I just felt numb," said Stalling. "All I could think was, 'Not again.'"

Her treatment meant spending three hours every third Friday at the cancer institute being infused with a powerful cocktail of chemotherapy drugs. A severe allergic reaction to her fourth cycle of chemo landed her in the intensive care unit.

After finally completing her chemotherapy, she underwent a double mastectomy; during the surgery, she went into respiratory arrest.

"I was truly being tested," Stalling said. So much so, that after a particularly difficult night, she left a note for her care team that simply read: "I can't do this anymore."

But Stalling persevered. On Valentine's Day 2012, she was declared cancer free. She credits her spirituality and care team at Cedars-Sinai with her hard-fought victory

"I love my care team," said Stalling. "They all are — and will always be — near and dear to my heart."