sutures newsletter


Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee Approvals

Pharmacy Focus

Highlights of the June meeting of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee are summarized in the PDF link below.

P and T Approvals - June 2016 (PDF)  

Mark Your Calendar

Grand Rounds

Click here to view a schedule of all upcoming grand rounds.

Education Schedule

Click the PDF link below to see the Department of Surgery's education schedule.

Education Schedule - July 2016 (PDF)

Surgery Scheduling

Click the "read more" for hours and contact information for surgery scheduling.

Share Your News

Know an interesting colleague we should profile? A story we should tell? Submit your ideas, meetings and events for consideration.

Click here to submit your news to Sutures

Cancer Survivors Gather to Reconnect, Reflect and 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."