Thursday, June 7, 2012

In My Words: Breast Cancer Knows No Age

Avid golfer Erin Taylor received the shock of her life when she was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 25. Despite her grueling treatment regimen, Erin refused to let cancer get the best of her. This is her story, in her own words.

At age 25, cancer was the last thing on my mind.  So when I felt a lump in my left breast, I wasn’t immediately concerned.

However, when it didn’t go away after my next menstrual cycle, I knew it might be something more than a harmless lump. After an ultrasound, mammogram and biopsy at GBMC, I heard the words that changed my life: “You have breast cancer.”

I barely had time to process it before my team of doctors sprung into action. My diagnosis of Stage IIB Invasive Breast Cancer brought me back to GBMC where a team of physicians and nurses sat down with me and my family and explained my case in detail. I was amazed at how quick and thorough they were.

First, I was scheduled for a lumpectomy and lymph node dissection to remove the aggressive tumor(s), followed by fertility egg retrieval and preservation. Then, I faced eighteen weeks of chemotherapy and eight weeks of radiation. It was a lot to go through, but I knew if I was going to fight this disease, I would need a positive attitude. I said to myself, “I’m a competitor and a fighter at heart. That’s something cancer can’t take away from me. It will not kill my good spirits, my hope and it will certainly not take away my smile.”

The caring team at GBMC helped me through my battle. The staff, doctors and nurses became a second family. They knew all about my treatments, offering expert advice on diet, exercise and managing chemo side effects so that the odds were stacked more in my favor.  Just as importantly to me, they also took time to get to know me as a person.  

To say that this experience has been life-changing is an understatement. It changed my perspective, attitude and gave me a greater appreciation for life. And, as a result of an essay I wrote to chronicle my journey, I was chosen as a spokesperson for Under Armour’s Power in Pink Campaign this past fall. The campaign celebrates women who use fitness and exercise in the fight against breast cancer. I have always been active, but exercise took on a new purpose during and after cancer, fueling me physically and emotionally. Because of the campaign, I’ve been able to tell my story and meet inspiring people around the country.  Not only that, they’ve given me $5,000 to donate to a breast cancer charity of my choice, and I plan to donate this money to the Sandra and Malcolm Berman Comprehensive Breast Care Center at GBMC. Because of their wonderful treatment, I’m now 27 years old and living cancer-free!

For additional information about services at GBMC’s Sandra & Malcolm Berman Cancer Institute, including videos, “Ask a GBMC Expert” forum, appointment requests and registration for cancer screenings, visit Or, call us at 443-849-GBMC (4262).

GBMC’s Parent Retail Store Connects Mothers to Essentials

For decades, women have trusted GBMC for their maternity care, from prenatal appointments to the birth of their babies. GBMC is dedicated to making a woman’s journey into motherhood as positive as possible, and its Parent Connection Store is just one of many amenities it offers to its maternity patients.

The Parent Connection Store is located conveniently on GBMC’s main campus and offers a variety of essentials for mothers and their newborns.

Popular products and support offered include:

• Numerous styles of nursing bras and nursing support products
• Free bra fittings
• Medela and Ameda Breast Pump Sales and Supplies
• Ameda Breast Pump Rentals and Replacement Parts 
• Bravado, Medela, Anita, Royce and Melinda G. Nursing Bras and Tank Tops
• Easy Expression Hands Free Pumping Bra 
• My Brest Friend Nursing Pillows (single and twin pillows)
• Nipple shields, bottles, special feeders, breast milk storage containers, etc. 
• JJ Cole Diaper Bags and Accessories
• Bebe au Lait Nursing Covers and Matching Burp Cloths
• Over the Shoulder Baby Slings
• My Tiny Hands Reminder Signs for Handwashing
• Lactation Consultations
• Car Seat Installation

“Becoming a parent is life changing, and although the transition is never truly seamless, our goal is to help make it as seamless as possible,” says Lanny Dowell, Parent Education and Doula Coordinator. “From breast- and bottle-feeding supplies to helpful parenting books and DVDs like The Happiest Baby on the Block, we serve as a resource for all mothers alike.”

Ms. Dowell elaborates on another passion held by the staff of the Parent Education Department and Parent Connection Store: “We want women to feel good about themselves during their transitions into motherhood, and the products we carry reflect that priority,” she says. “By offering a large selection of sleek and sophisticated products, we aim to help women embrace the body changes associated with pregnancy and keep their confidence levels high.”

The Parent Connection store is located on the second floor of GBMC’s main hospital, past the Harvey Institute for Human Genetics. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For more information on the Parent Connection Store as well as GBMC’s many other Parent Education services, visit

Improved Website Helps Kids and Parents Prepare for Surgery

As many parents will confirm, having a sick child is no picnic. Along with the physical symptoms, there are often emotional ones for both child and parent – concern over missed school and social activities, along with fear of long-term health problems. Add the possibility of surgery to a child’s illness and the stress mounts even more.

Recently, the Virginia Sherwood Surgical Center at GBMC added some features to its page on to help ease the anxiety of parents and children alike.

“We wanted parents to be able to show their kids what it would be like for them to go through the typical surgical process,” says Kate Devan, RN, BSN, at Virginia Sherwood Surgical Center. “Providing visual scenarios of what to expect is helpful to decrease fears and reassure parents.”

On the website, parents will find a photo slideshow of the surgical experience as seen through the eyes of a child, outlining and explaining each step of the process from registration to waking up in the recovery room. Additionally, parents will find a helpful Frequently Asked Questions page that answers common questions from “Can my child bring her favorite teddy bear?” to “What do I do if my child has a fever post-surgery?”

Sherwood Surgical Center has always strived to be as kid-friendly as possible, because of the large number of pediatric cases they see. “We treat children with procedures such as tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies, hernia repairs, cleft palate repairs, gallbladder removal and PE tube insertion into the ears,” says Ms. Devan. There’s a special area of the waiting room designated for children with books, games and toys. The doors to the surgical suite are painted with fun rainbow colors, a welcome distraction for a child about to have surgery. Employees are all friendly and attentive to children, especially during the moments before they undergo anesthesia and when they wake up in the recovery room.

“We think it’s important to pay particular attention to the needs of a child, especially before their parents make their way back to the recovery room,” says Ms. Devan. “That can be a stressful time and having a friendly face makes it a little easier.”

For more information about the Virginia Sherwood Surgical Center, visit

Protect You and Your Family from Lyme Disease

Every year, Lyme Disease affects thousands of Americans across the country. The cause of these cases? Ticks carrying the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme Disease.

Ticks are small insects that feed on blood. Many attach themselves to fur-coated animals like deer and even your family dog or cat. They’re typically found in wooded areas or anywhere there is long grass and vegetation.

Though ticks are tiny and sometimes hard to spot, there are several ways you and your family can prevent tick bites.

1. Know where to find ticks. Most species, like deer ticks, live in tall grass and vegetation. Or simply in shrubs around your home.

2. Use an insect repellent with DEET. This will keep ticks away for several hours.

3. Check your body for ticks after coming in from outside, even if it’s just your own yard. Pay special attention to:

• Under arms
• In and around ears
• Backs of knees
• Between legs
• Around waist

If you do find a tick, don’t panic. Not all of them carry Lyme Disease. To remove the tick, use a pair of pointed tweezers and grasp the tick by the head, right where it enters the skin. Pull firmly and steadily upward. Do not twist it out or apply petroleum jelly to get it to try and back out. When the tick is removed, place it in a small dish of alcohol to kill it, and then clean the wound with disinfectant.

Monitor the site of the bite for the appearance of a rash. If a rash or other early symptoms of Lyme Disease, such as generalized achiness, headaches, or stiff neck appear, contact your physician.

Remember, you can still enjoy the great outdoors this summer if you take a few extra steps to protect yourself and your family from ticks.

Perfect Summer Fruit Salad


• 2/3 cup fresh orange juice
• 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
• 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
• 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple
• 2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
• 3 kiwi fruit, peeled and sliced
• 3 bananas, sliced
• 2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
• 1 cup seedless grapes
• 2 cups blueberries


1. Bring orange juice, lemon juice, brown sugar, orange zest, and lemon zest to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract. Set aside to cool.

2. Layer the fruit in a large, clear glass bowl in this order: pineapple, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bananas, oranges, grapes, and blueberries. Pour the cooled sauce over the fruit. Cover and refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Nutritional Information 
Amount Per Serving  Calories: 155 | Total Fat: 0.6g | Cholesterol: 0mg
Recipe courtesy of