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Rex Van Meter, president of INTEGRIS Deaconess.

INTEGRIS assumed operations of Deaconess Hospital and its affiliated family care clinics at midnight, Oct. 1.
Rex Van Meter is the newly named president of INTEGRIS Deaconess, as it is now called. The hospital is considered a campus under the INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center umbrella.
Van Meter has been a part of executive leadership at INTEGRIS since 2001. He joined as vice president of finance at INTEGRIS Blackwell Hospital and was promoted to president there four years later. In 2012, he was named president of INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital, and has led that facility to successive year-over-year record performances. Van Meter earned a bachelor of accounting from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a master of health care administration from Trinity University.

Dear Savvy Senior, Can you provide some tips on how to choose a good estate sale company who can sell all the leftover items in my mother’s house?  Inquiring Daughter

Dear Inquiring,
The estate sale business has become a huge industry over the past decade. There are roughly 22,000 estate sale companies that currently operate in the U.S., up nearly 60 percent from just 10 years ago. But not all estate sale companies are alike.
Unlike appraisal, auction and real estate companies, estate sale operators are largely unregulated, with no licensing or standard educational requirements. That leaves the door open for inexperienced, unethical or even illegal operators. Therefore, it’s up to you to decipher a good reputable company from a bad one. Here are some tips to help you choose.
Make a list: Start by asking friends, your real estate agent or attorney for recommendations. You can also search online. Websites like EstateSales.net and EstateSales.org let you find estate sale companies in your area.
Check their reviews: After you find a few companies, check them out on the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org), Angie’s List (AngiesList.com), Yelp (Yelp.com) and other online review sites to eliminate ones with legitimately negative reviews.
Call some companies: Once you identify some estate sale companies, select a few to interview over the phone. Ask them how long they’ve been in business and how many estate sales they conduct each month. Also find out about their staff, the services they provide, if they are insured and bonded and if they charge a flat fee or commission. The national average commission for an estate sale is around 35 percent, but commissions vary by city and region.
You may also want to ask them about visiting their next sale to get a better feel for how they operate. And be sure to get a list of references of their past clients and call them.
Schedule appointments: Set up two or three face-to-face interviews with the companies you felt provided you with satisfactory answers during the phone interviews.
During their visit, show the estate liquidator through the property. Point out any items that will not be included in the sale, and if you have any items where price is a concern, discuss it with them at that time. Many estate companies will give you a quote, after a quick walk through the home.
You also need to ask about their pricing (how do they research prices and is every item priced), how they track what items sell for, what credit cards do they accept, and how and where will they promote and market your sale. EstateSales.net is a leading site used to advertise sales, so check advertising approaches there.
Additionally, ask how many days will it take them to set up for the sale, how long will the sale last, and will they take care of getting any necessary permits to have the sale.
You also need to find out how and when you will be paid, and what types of services they provide when the sale is over. Will they clean up the house and dispose of the unsold items, and is there’s an extra charge for that? Also, make sure you get a copy of their contract and review it carefully before you sign it.
For more information on choosing an estate sale company, see National Estate Sales Association online guide at NESA-USA.com, and click on “Consumer Education” then on “Find the Right Company.

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy Senior” book.

Date/ Day/ Location/ Time/ Registration #/ Instructor
Nov 1/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Nov 9/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10
Nov 13/ Tuesday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3;30 pm/ 691-4091/ Palinsky
Rose State – 6191 Tinker Diagonal – room 203
Nov 14/ Wednesday/ Warr Acres/ 8:30 am – 3 pm/ 789-9892/ Kruck
Warr Acres Community Center – 4301 N. Ann Arbor Ave.
Nov 15/ Thursday/ Norman/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 307-3177/ Palinsky
Norman Regional Hospital – 901 N. Porter Ave.
Nov 17/ Saturday/ Shawnee/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 818-2916/ Brase
Gordon Cooper Tech Center – One John C. Burton Blvd.
Dec 6/ Thursday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Varacchi
Integris 3rd Age Life Center – 5100 N. Brookline, Suite 100
Dec 8/ Saturday/ Midwest City/ 9 am – 3 pm/ 473-9239/ Williams
First Christian Church – 11950 E. Reno Ave. (Activity Room
Dec 14/ Friday/ Okla. City/ 9 am – 3:30 pm/ 951-2277/ Edwards
S.W. Medical Center – 4200 S. Douglas, Suite B-10

The prices for the classes are: $15 for AARP members and $20 for Non-AARP. Call John Palinsky, zone coordinator for the Oklahoma City area at 405-691-4091 or send mail to: johnpalinsky@sbcglobal.net

Dr McKinney shows device to Crozier.

Cutting-edge, non-surgical treatment at OU Medicine targets chronic stuffy nose
An Oklahoma woman is one of the first patients outside of a clinical trial to experience the benefits of a new, non-surgical treatment for her chronic stuffy nose.
Most of us have experienced a head cold so bad that it leaves you so stuffed up you can no longer breathe through your nose. For Denise Crozier, 56, it wasn’t a cold causing her chronic stuffed up nose or the pain and pressure that accompanied it. The Oklahoma City woman suffered from nasal polyps, soft, non-cancerous growths on the lining of the nose or sinuses.
“When you get a lot of inflammation, the lining of the nose becomes very swollen and redundant, and it forms a round structure that basically fills the nasal cavity,” explained Dr. Kibwei McKinney, an ear, nose and throat specialist with OU Medicine.
Surgery had been the first line of defense for patients like Crozier for whom treatment with oral steroids has failed.
“I had four surgeries in Seattle before moving to Oklahoma, and then since I have been here, I’ve had three,” Crozier said.
Each time, the surgery would initially bring relief, but before she knew it, the polyps would be back.
“Each time, she got some temporary relief, but almost like clockwork, it would come back and she would have a return of her symptoms,” McKinney said.
This time, though, McKinney returned from a recent conference with a new treatment option for Crozier a newly-approved, non-surgical treatment. It utilizes a tiny sinus implant. He explained to her that it could be placed without pain during a visit to his office at OU Medicine.
The implant is a small teardrop-shaped device that when deployed appears a bit like a badminton birdie. It’s placed under the guidance of an endoscope.
“I actually have a camera and scope that I look through to see the anatomical structures and then I place the splint with minimal discomfort,” McKinney said. “It basically stints open the cavity and then over time it treats the surrounding tissue with steroids, which are very effective at controlling polyp growth. As the steroid is leached out, the polyps occupying the space begin to melt away and the pressure associated with them also goes away.”
As a nurse, Crozier did her homework and quickly realized that this treatment could offer relief and save her from another trip to the operating room.
“Anything to keep me out of the OR is fantastic,” she remarked.
The device was placed quickly and without pain during an office visit with McKinney.
“They numbed me up, so I really didn’t feel a thing,” Crozier said.
After several months, she returned to McKinney’s office to have the device removed; and just as it had gone into place under endoscopic guidance, it also was removed that way in just a matter of seconds.
Crozier’s eyes watered just a bit, but she said there was no pain and the relief she has experienced has been incredible.
“It’s wide open in there. There are no polyps or anything. It works. It’s great,” she exclaimed, adding that she would easily recommend the procedure to anyone else facing the same battle she has faced with nasal polyps.
Specialists at OU Medicine say the new treatment provides a valuable option for patients unable to take oral steroids, as well as for those who are not good candidates for surgery or for whom repeated surgeries have failed to bring relief.

Mandy Nelson, APRN in the medicine specialty unit at OU Medical Center, was named Nurse of the Year in the Advanced Practice category.

The March of Dimes Oklahoma Chapter recently honored an OU Medicine nurse at its annual Nurse of the Year awards. Mandy Nelson, APRN in the medicine specialty unit at OU Medical Center, was named Nurse of the Year in the Advanced Practice category.
The Oct. 4 event celebrated nurses in more than a dozen categories, all of which were nominated by colleagues, supervisors or families they have served, according to the March of Dimes website. A selection committee of health care professionals selects the most outstanding nurse in each category.
Two additional OU Medicine nurses, Callie Tkach, RN in the NICU at The Children’s Hospital, and Susie Jones, APRN and Vice President of Quality/Safety and Nursing Practice at OU Medicine, were finalists in the Neonatal/Pediatric and Advanced Practice categories, respectively.
“Mandy and our finalists, Callie and Susie, are incredibly deserving of this honor,” said Cathy Pierce, Chief Nurse Executive at OU Medicine. “Our nurses work tirelessly to improve the lives of our patients and families. They truly represent the best in their fields and the best of OU Medicine.”

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019, the Social Security Administration announced today.
The 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2019. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2018. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits). The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some other adjustments that take effect in January of each year are based on the increase in average wages. Based on that increase, the maximum amount of earnings subject to the Social Security tax (taxable maximum) will increase to $132,900 from $128,400.
Social Security and SSI beneficiaries are normally notified by mail in early December about their new benefit amount. This year, for the first time, most people who receive Social Security payments will be able to view their COLA notice online through their my Social Security account. People may create or access their my Social Security account online at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount.
Information about Medicare changes for 2019, when announced, will be available at www.medicare.gov. For Social Security beneficiaries receiving Medicare, Social Security will not be able to compute their new benefit amount until after the Medicare premium amounts for 2019 are announced. Final 2019 benefit amounts will be communicated to beneficiaries in December through the mailed COLA notice and my Social Security’s Message Center.
The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated. To read more, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov/cola.

Just a few years ago Nancy Hughes could lift mountains of paperwork, rearrange office furniture and stand on her feet for hours at a time. As executive assistant at the Oklahoma Public Employees Association, the petite fiery redhead put in long hours at her job helping give state employees a voice in government.
Back in 2003, Nancy learned she had breast cancer. She underwent a mastectomy, rounds of chemotherapy and the cancer went into remission. In 2014, however, it came back with a vengeance.
“I first noticed something was wrong when I bent over to pick up something,” she said. “I felt something pull, and had trouble walking. After about a month I went to a chiropractor about my back. He took x-rays, and they showed either severe osteoporosis or the cancer was back and in my bones.”
A trip to her oncologist revealed the cancer had indeed spread.
“I had no idea breast cancer could come back like that,” Nancy said. “This time I was scared. During the time I was cancer-free, I had been participating in the Oklahoma American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk, and the Relay For Life. I liked being a beacon of hope for others that this disease could be beat.”
So once again she began the treatments, hoping for a positive result.
“This time it was radiation to my hip, spine and right arm,” she said. “It helped with the pain I was having but I do not remember much about that time. I lost control of my body functions, could barely walk and did not eat much. My employer offered me six months of leave to keep my insurance and then social security kicked in, so I took it. I could no longer do my job and was actually a liability to them.”
More than four years after her cancer re-occurrence, the disease has been relentless.
“When it came back, it had spread throughout my bones,” Nancy said. “My right arm fractured, and I had to wear a brace for two years to keep it stable. The bone was almost clear and looked like Swiss cheese. I had the option of getting surgery to put a rod in to stabilize it, but there was a possibility I could lose all the use of that arm. Even having limited use was better than losing it all, so I chose to not have the surgery.”
Using the services offered at the Oklahoma American Cancer Society has been a godsend, Nancy says. The organization offers wigs, scarves, and turbans, all free of charge to cancer patients. They also provide free rides to and from treatment in the Road to Recovery Program.
“Helping people like Nancy is at the heart of what we do every day,” said Jennifer Redman, OKACS program manager. “Not only do we have an entire wig room, but transportation is consistently named as one of the top needs for cancer patients. Our volunteer driver program ensures patients complete their treatment and we can increase the number of cancer survivors. We always need more volunteer drivers and have our own fleet of vehicles. So if you have some time to volunteer, we can always use the help.”
While each day is a struggle, Nancy refuses to let the disease dampen the positive attitude that has carried her through life.
“When I wake up every morning, it is a gift of life,” she said. “I could choose to wallow in pity and feel sorry for myself, but what does that do? I choose to enjoy each day and hope a cure will be found in my lifetime. Sometimes the dark side will come through. Like a day or so ago I realized once my hair is gone this time, I will most likely be bald the rest of my life. That sucks. But I must play the cards I am dealt, so I will save a few bucks on shampoo and conditioner! It’s all about re-framing the negatives and finding the positives.”
Nancy says her family is her foundation. Her husband Mike, their two daughters and four grandsons all pitch in to make life as normal as possible. And throughout her journey, she continually finds new ways to reinvent herself and help others.
“Sharing my story with the Oklahoma American Cancer Society and others is so important,” Nancy said. “I want everyone to know the big ‘C’ word is not always a death sentence. It does not always return like it did for me. Stay hopeful, happy and enjoy what you can. Don’t dwell on the horrible parts, just try to look for the good in everything. Believe me, it is there.”

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Satish Srinivasan, Ph.D.

Scientists at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation have broken new ground in understanding how the lymphatic system works, potentially opening the door for future therapies.
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and lymph nodes that spans the entire body. It is critical for good health and for the body to function properly. Defects in lymphatic vessels cause lymphedema, a disease characterized by dramatic and painful swelling in the limbs that often leads to infections.
Lymphedema can result from congenital mutations, surgery, radiation treatment for cancer or infection, and there is currently no cure. In addition to lymphedema, defects in the lymphatic system have been linked to a wide range of health consequences: cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and obesity.
Sathish Srinivasan, Ph.D., and Boksik Cha, Ph.D., at OMRF previously discovered that a particular pathway—known as the Wnt signaling pathway—regulates the development of the human lymphatic vascular system. In new research, published in the journal Cell Reports, they’ve found “the nuts and bolts of this important pathway.”
“We have identified the signaling molecules that activate this pathway,” said Srinivasan. “We also have learned which cells produce the signaling molecules, how they are sensed by the cells and how they are used in lymphatic development.”
Srinivasan was recruited to OMRF from St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in 2013. His lab at OMRF has already identified several target genes for lymphedema. Srinivasan said that, after further study, this new information could eventually help researchers develop better therapeutic options for lymphedema and associated disorders.
“This signaling pathway has proved difficult to study, because it is complex and so little is known about how it functions normally, let alone when it goes wrong,” said Srinivasan. “Wnt signaling is aggravated and increased in breast cancer and colon cancer, but it is deregulated in diseases like Alzheimer’s and lymphedema.”
Srinivasan said drug companies are interested in finding molecules that can be targeted, either to promote or inhibit Wnt signaling, depending on the disease. “Our goal is to find whether such drugs could be used to treat humans with lymphedema and see if their disease can be managed, made less severe or even cured,” he said.
Other OMRF researchers who contributed to this research were Xin Geng, Ph.D., Riaj Mahamud, Lijuan Chen and Lorin Olson, Ph.D.

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