Tag Archives: Tacoma

Does a tumor mean Cancer

Yesterday I graduated from Harrison Home Health services; an organization I didn’t know existed two months ago and where I learned firsthand that Kitsap County has the greatest group of  RN’s and LPN’s                     on this planet for medical home care.

My June 11, 2012 belly tumor operation at the University of Washington was a rip roaring success, thanks to surgeon, .Renata R. Urban, MD and her superb medical team.

Six days after the operation I returned home to husband and dogs and into the caring, capable hands of the Harrison Home Health services team.

The Harrison Home Health services team followed doctor’s orders exactly – a team care RN or LPN came every three days to change the dressing, including weekends.  The vacuum machine hooked to and inside my belly became my best friend 24/7.

At 73, I am lucky to be alive.  I’ve learned several health lessons along the way since 1997 – the key one being to continue to do whatever I can to promote early detection Spirometry testing for COPD.(Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) the third leading cause of death behind heart disease and cancer.

Getting COPD for many of us means taking a nosedive into the immune system and developing other unpleasant medical conditions. COPD is slow developing, taking about twenty years to develop symptoms enough to tell your doctor.  By then usually 50 % of the lungs have flipped from the healthy state – they are destroyed.

The fact is I was a healthy physically fit person until I was hospitalized with COPD in 1997.  Since then I have gathered one disease after another.

This latest – a fluid filled belly tumor squeezed my lungs making it harder to breathe.  It squeezed everything in its path and seemed to shut down my system with a growing hard belly and pain especially in my bone on bone left hip until I reluctantly shuffled from place to place. I canceled and rescheduled doctor appointments thinking the pain would ease with time.

As time passed and my ability to get around decreased, Chuck called various agencies in Kitsap County thinking Kitsap County must have public transportation with a lift available for patients trying to get to medical appointments.  The problem was I could not lift my left leg to step up and couldn’t use the right leg either – too painful on my left hip.  I could not lift it…only pull it after me.

We discovered one source in Kitsap but it would cost us over $400. to drive around from  Poulsbo through Tacoma to the University of Washington Medical Center for my lung appointment.

It felt like something was growing in my belly but the only possibility was impossible so I shrugged it off to imagination.  I never imagined a tumor nor mentioned it to my doctors.

Funny thing, a complete physical might well have discovered the hard as a rock-growing belly and tumor, had I not sworn off getting physicals.

It was only when I tried to cancel and reschedule my third week canceled appointment in a row with my pulmonologist, Christopher Goss, MD at the University of Washington Medical Center that I was told ”…couldn’t reschedule for the foreseeable future…” ( the doctor was off to Europe the end of the week)

I told my husband we had to make that appointment no matter what happened because I didn’t think I could manage much longer.  We HAD to make that appointment and I asked him to get what I thought would help get me into the Suburban.

It included tying a rope across the back of the front seats to pull me into the back seat once I shuffled my way up the dog plank and it should balance me into turning to sit down.  The plank was supported by the borrowed Poulsbo Wal-Mart milk crates he placed underneath the plank.

I shuffled up the plank aided by my walking sticks but the rope failed after I pulled myself inside and let go of one end.  The rope wasn’t tied off and I fell forward and twisted with my neck strained across the top of the back seat.

As soon as I could talk, I asked Chuck to get in and drive “We’re making my lung appointment…we’re going to Seattle and ferries don’t wait.”

At the UW’s parking garage, Chuck ran to get a wheelchair and I pulled myself out of the car and into the chair.  He raced us to my appointment on the third floor.

I told Dr. Goss about my hard belly and the pain.  Thank heavens he looked.  When my hard belly wouldn’t budge, Dr. Goss scheduled an x-ray and blood testing.  The x-ray showed up black and by the time Chuck wheeled me out of the blood lab, Dr. Goss was there and told us I had a room and that an ultrasound was scheduled in a few hours..

Most medical folks are cool about letting me take photos and allowing me to use them here once I explain about my purpose –  COPD and Other Stuff.

Its important that people understand that COPD is only the beginning – an opening door to really nasty, painful medical conditions that follow for too many of us.

Ask your doctor for an early detection Spirometry test.  Please.

COPD itself is a long slow smother – not painful.  Some of the medical Other Stuff can be really nasty.

Renata R. Urban, MD – Assistant Professor 

Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology – Division of Gynecologic Oncology

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Following are the photos Dr. Urban sent taken during the operation.

Tumor weight: 1,881 grams

Tumor weight:  1,881 grams

Somehow, I thought of operations as messy and bloody – see the tumor?

The pain from the tumor and the 1.5 gallons of black fluid they drained out twice had taken over my life.

The wonderful team of doctors – and their ability to verbalize with patients was superb…

Great doctors and teamwork

Dr. Urban and team – thanks!

I think this was the pain medicine machine that was available to me checked by a helpful nurse.

I had super docs with a great patient connection.  The gowns were worn by everyone who came into my room – MRSA.

Molly Blackley Jackson, M.D. – Attending Physician

Medicine Consult Service, Division of General Internal Medicine.  UW Medicine

Dr.Salahi will be a wonderful Radiologist if patient rapport matters.  He did a super job of making me feel at ease during an intensive pre-patient interview.  I am glad for the opportunity to meet him on his last day in Internal Medicine.

Dr. Jackson was a bright spirit this day and every time she visited after the operation.  She and the other docs were incredibly verbal, friendly and informative…Just what this patient would order.

Thanks for reading…Sharon.

Part 2 of 4     Next time… the machine that acts like a sump pump was inserted into my belly and more ….

Sarcoidosis Support Group Meeting TOMORROW

Sarcoidosis Support Group meeting Saturday, 10 December 2011.

Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00pm
Where: Good Sam Hospital – 401 15th Ave SE, Puyallup, WA 98372
Mt Saint Helen’s room.

For more information contact:
Lynn Short, Executive Director
Sarcoidosis Networking Association
5302 South Sheridan Avenue
Tacoma, Washington 98408 USA

If anyone needs a ride, let me know.
Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

You are Invited! Sarcoidosis Annual Picnic Saturday

The Sarcoidosis Networking Association annual picnic is Saturday at the home of Executive Director, Lynn Short.

9 July 2011 – 12:00pm – 4:00pm.

Hamburgers and hot dogs provided.

Bring a side dish and come prepared to have a great time – good food!  camaraderie!  fun!

5302 South Sheridan Avenue

Tacoma WA

*RSVP *   253-471-0423

Close to the Tacoma Mall, look for a grey house and white picket fence on the corner between 56th and 48th.

Sarcoidosis Networking Association

5302 South Sheridan Avenue

Tacoma, Washington 98408 USA



If anyone needs a ride, let me know.

See you Saturday!

Thanks for reading… Sharon O’Hara

Sarcoidosis r Us Support – Tomorrow!

Sarcoidosis Support Group Meeting

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Mt. St. Helens Room from 1 pm to 3pm

Good Samantha Hospital:  407 14th Ave SE – Puyallup, WA 98372-3770

Lynn asked… “How many of you tried the Celica diet?”

…and I have to say the O’Hara household got only as far as the mayo.  That’s right, mayonnaise.  The road to a gluten free mayo in our kitchen was curvy with cheese and mayo at every turn – thanks to Registered Voter responding to Angela Dice’s inquisitive nature, love of good food and telling us where to find it in the Kitsap Sun.  The Cheese Sandwich with a mayo crust is apparently notorious. And delicious.


Directions from Silverdale


Lynn Short,  Executive Director

Sarcoidosis Networking Association

5302 South Sheridan Avenue

Tacoma, Washington 98408 USA


  1. Meetings for the year 2011 are:
  2. May 14, 2011 – Good Sam Hospital
  3. July 9th, 2011 -Picnic at Lynn Short’s home
  4. October 8, 2011 – SNA Medical Conference – Oregon State University Hospital, Portland Oregon
  5. December 10, 2011 – Christmas get together, Good Sam Hospital

FYI:  We Sarcoid’ites are lucky to have such an active support group in Washington State.  To my knowledge, Lynn heads the only support group we have in this state.

More about Sarcoidosis:  http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/sarc/sar_whatis.html

Read more: http://pugetsoundblogs.com/copd-and-other-stuff/2011/03/07/sarcoidosis-gluten-free-a-gluten-free-rn-speaker/#ixzz1MGJzC2c5

Rides are available…let me know if you need a ride.

Thanks for reading …. Sharon O’Hara

Sarcoidites, Ribs, Hamburgers, Hot Dogs All Provided = A PICNIC

Sarcoidosis Networking is getting ready for their annual picnic Saturday, 10 July 2010 from 1 pm to 5 pm.

Sarcoidites. – get ready for the provided scrumptious ribs – hot dogs – hamburgers.

All we have to do is bring our choice of dessert, chips or a side dish. That’s easy. Getting ready to have a great time is even easier.

. If anyone wants a ride or to car pool, let me know…

More later… Sharon O’Hara


[Once again Sarcoid Networking Assoc is holding it’s annual picnic at Lynn & Mel Short’s home July 10th from 1 pm until 5 pm. All are invited to spend the day with new and old friends. We will provide the ribs, hot dog’s and hamburgers. All you need to bring is either a side dish or chips or dessert. Please RSVP me, so I know how much to cook.

Thanks –

Lynn Short,
Executive Director

Sarcoidosis Networking Association
5302 South Sheridan Avenue
Tacoma, Washington 98408 USA

253-471-0423 home
253-826-7737 office
lynn@sarcoidosisnetwork.org e-mail ]

Sarcoidosis Support Group

Sarcoidosis Support Group for our area (Sarcoidosis Networking Association) is having a meeting this Saturday, 10 April 2010 from 1:00 pm – 3:00pm in the Mt. St. Helen’s Room at Good Sam Hospital in Puyallup.

Lynn Short asks that we bring our questions and ideas to share with other Sarcoidosis’ites.

Anyone need a ride to the meeting? Let me know.


Lynn Short, Director
Sarcoidosis Networking Association
5302 South Sheridan Avenue
Tacoma, Washington 98408 USA

More later…. Sharon O’Hara

Sarcoidosis Support Group Meeting Meets the Puyallup Fair

Sarcoid patients…we are in luck!

For those of us some distance from Tacoma, we can visit The Puyallup Fair AND share the camaraderie of the Sarcoidosis Support Group on the same day!

The next Sarcoidosis Support Group meeting is Saturday, 12 September 2009 from 1 – 3 pm.
The meeting place is the Baker Room in Good Sam Hospital, Tacoma.

No charge, of course…volunteering works…yes!

For more information contact:
Lynn Short,
Executive Director
Sarcoidosis Networking Association
5302 South Sheridan Avenue
Tacoma, Washington 98408 USA

If anyone wants to car pool, let me know.

More later … Sharon O’Hara

Sarcoidosis’ites Picnic


You are invited to the 2009 Annual Sarcoid Summer Picnic by the patient volunteer, Sarcoidosis Networking Association in Tacoma, WA.

The annual potluck for 2009 is July 11, 2009 – from 1 pm – 4 pm.

If you haven’t been to a Sarcoidosis support group meeting or the potluck picnic, now might be the time to get acquainted and share a few hours of summer fun and camaraderie with other Sarcoid folks.

RSVP: (253) 826-7737 or (253) 471-0423 or e-mail Lynn@sarcoidosisnetwork.org

Sharon O’Hara