Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Greg Sutter moved to Las Vegas in early 2002. A firefighter from 1989 to 1995, he took a deferred retirement to run a landscaping and lawn service business he had started while still fighting fires. Then in 1996, Greg joined FedEx Express® (FedEx). He worked mornings six days a week at his landscaping business then afternoons five days a week at FedEx. He ultimately transferred to Las Vegas with FedEx.
“I fell in love with Las Vegas back in the early ‘80s,” says Greg. “I love its openness, climate, and the nearby mountains.” While living in southern Nevada, he has traveled extensively, accumulating about 85,000 miles touring the western and mid-western parts of the country on his 2000 Harley Davidson Springer Softail. “I’ve visited nearly every national park in the Western U.S.,” says Greg.
But Greg’s days of Harley riding came to an abrupt halt in September 2014 shortly after returning from a nine-day solo ride to Glacier National Park. “I was in relatively good health for a 51-year-old guy,” says Greg. “I took a low dose of blood pressure medicine but had stopped taking it for 6-7 weeks.” After suffering symptoms he thought might indicate heart trouble, he went immediately to his primary care physician who did EKGs and blood tests. The test results indicated an immediate need for him to go to the emergency room because his troponin levels were sky high. (Troponin is a combination of three proteins that are integral to cardiac muscle contraction).
“I had six people surrounding me within three minutes of arriving at the Rose de Lima emergency room,” says Greg. “They did a variety of tests, but everything kept coming back normal.” Even the cardio cath showed that Greg’s coronary arteries did not have any calcification or plaque buildup. Ultimately, a 3D arterial CT scan was done, which showed that his right coronary artery had grown between his pulmonary artery and his aorta. He was diagnosed with a coronary artery anomaly, a condition commonly heard of in elite athletes who die suddenly during games or practices.
Dr. Robert Wiencek, cardiothoracic surgeon “extraordinaire” (per Greg) with St. Rose|Stanford Clinics, performed coronary bypass surgery on Greg, which was a complete success, and he was up and walking less than 24 hours later.
Five days later, Greg’s condition suddenly changed. His hands and feet became swollen and discolored, so he was placed into an induced coma and ventilated for six days while doctors ran tests. Greg was diagnosed with Disseminating Intravascular Coagulation (DIC), which has an over 50 percent mortality rate. DIC is the body’s response to massive hemorrhage, but Greg’s body was not, in fact, hemorrhaging. Coagulated blood was being pushed into his extremities, so physicians had to draw off that blood and replace it with fresh blood, along with blood thinners, to prevent Greg from dying.
After recuperating at the San Martín Campus’ ICU for 10 days then spending an additional 13 days there, he was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Henderson at the Rose de Lima Campus where he rebuilt muscle and regained his strength. Greg was discharged with gangrene in two of his fingers and both of his feet, which were necrotic (the tissue had died).
Greg and his doctors decided together that amputation – below the knee on both legs and removal of both fingers – was the best course of action. But surgery could not be scheduled for nearly two months because they had to wait for the gangrene to stabilize (a line of demarcation would form to show the parts of his hands and feet that were alive and those that were not). He recovered at home with daily wound care, physical therapy, and nursing care.
Greg’s amputations took place at Rose de Lima. He spent 24 hours in the intermediate care unit followed by 21 days as an amputee patient in the Rehabilitation Institute where therapists helped him get ready to go home in a wheelchair. Greg healed at home for eight weeks then was readmitted to the Rehabilitation Institute for the third time for intensive prosthetic therapy and training – or what he jokingly refers to as Prosthetic Boot Camp.
“The rehab team custom fit a therapy program designed specifically for me,” he says. “Knowing that I’m a FedEx driver, the team had me climbing 8 foot step ladders and doing stairs from the first to the fourth floor and back nonstop. Initially, I had to use my upper body strength, then I learned to shift the emphasis to my lower body by using my new prosthetics.”
Greg’s favorite form of physical therapy was what is now called the “Sutter Hill Challenge” because he challenged his physical therapists to walk the hill with him. During his first stay, Greg had to stop 4-5 times before making it to the top. On his second visit, he conquered the hill while in a wheelchair. At one point, his therapist, Stephanie, said, “let’s go do the hill.” Greg’s response was “If I do it, you do it,” and she said, “You’re on. I accept your challenge.” That wheelchair challenge was closely followed by another with his therapist, Kim, who also succeeded the first time. The therapists still use the Sutter Hill Challenge with their patients.
Throughout his treatment, Greg has stayed positive. He feels his journey unfolded because God was preparing him for what was happening. “I had time to prepare emotionally because I was kept fully informed about what was coming by my medical teams,” he says. “I was at peace with everything until the morning before my amputations. I lay in bed very anxious and began to pray, and I was overcome with a calm, peaceful message that everything would be okay. I haven’t had an anxious moment since.”
“Greg has an attitude of empowerment that is contagious,” says Dr. Tony Chin, physiatrist, and Medical Director of the Rehabilitation Institute. “He participated at a level that was encouraging and inspiring to both the patients and the staff … our nurses and therapists would get daily hugs and ‘doses of Greg’ before starting their shifts. God’s light literally seemed to shine through him.”
Greg now has a customized set of prosthetics that he is becoming more comfortable with. “They reflect my ‘fiery’ personality,” he says. “If I have to wear them, I figure I might as well have some fun with it.” He’s even been to Christian music festivals where the musicians have signed his prosthetics, and “they spur some interesting conversations almost everywhere I go,” he laughs.
And his Harley? Greg met his goal of being back on his bike with the wind in his face in late August. In fact, Greg went on his first overnight ride – he and his cousin rode to the North Rim in mid-September – on the one year anniversary of his experience starting.
If you would like to communicate with Greg, e-mail him at email@example.com.
The wait is finally over! The new Emergency Room at the Siena Campus – one area for adults and another specifically for children – is now open and accepting patients!
More than twice as many treatment rooms – 32 have been added for a total of 56 – will now provide quiet, comfortable, private healing environments for our emergency room patients and their loved ones.
The Children’s Emergency Room has also been expanded and includes 11 kid-friendly treatment rooms. Board-certified pediatric emergency medicine physicians and specialized pediatric emergency nurses will provide the best “kid-sized” care for our smaller patients!
The Level III Trauma Unit has also been expanded to four treatment areas.
While the emergency Room has expanded and is much more comfortable, waiting in an Emergency Room is never fun, so our InQuicker online emergency waiting room service continues to be available at StRoseHospitals.org.
Sister Mary Kieffer, OP, has a calm, soothing manner that would lead you to believe that she has been a woman religious her entire adult life. But there’s much more to Sr. Mary’s story and life journey.
As a young adult, Sr. Mary worked as a bartender and bar manager at a variety of restaurants in San Francisco and New York City. Next, she spent nearly a decade working at the Marine Exchange of the San Francisco Bay Region. There, she and her staff managed a 24/7, 365-day information clearinghouse for vessel operations throughout nine port districts. “I loved the different jobs I’d held, but always felt there was a hole in my life,” she says.
Religion had always been an important part of Sr. Mary’s life, so in her early 40s, she began researching different sister congregations on the Internet. “I truly felt I’d missed the boat,” she says, “because age limits ranged from the early 20s to around 40.”
While at church one day, she saw a flyer for the Sisters of San Rafael’s Come & See Day. She considered attending, but it wasn’t until a Sister handed her the same flyer a few days later that she decided to go. “I thought, ‘Just go, find out you’re too old, then get on with your life,’” she says.
She did attend. And toward the end of the day, she sat on the grounds reflecting and looking at the stained glass windows of the church. One of the Sisters approached and asked what she thought. “I told her that I felt as though I had come home,” says Sr. Mary.
In 2000, at the age of 47, Sr. Mary joined the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael. The Dominican Order, also known as the Order of Preachers, live their lives supported by four common values. They’re often referred to as the Four Pillars: community life, prayer, study, and ministry. “The congregation drew me to them because they are contemplative and apostolic, meaning they spend time in prayer yet they are also active in ministry,” she says.
As she looks back, Sr. Mary believes the people she met while working at her various jobs in San Francisco, many of whom lost their lives to AIDS, got her headed toward her spiritual vocation. “Visiting these friends in the hospital and assuring them of God’s love began paving my way.”
Sister Mary Kieffer, OP, vice president of mission integration, joined the St. Rose Dominican family in 2013. “The commitment and passion I saw in the staff to furthering the healing mission of Jesus, especially for our brothers and sisters in the community who are underserved, drew me to St. Rose,” says Sr. Mary.
Access Your Patient Records Online
Dignity Health Medical Group now offers an Online Patient Center for our patients! You or a designated family member can view your health records and communicate by e-mail with your personal physician.
The Dignity Health Medical Group Online Patient Center provides a convenient, secure, and electronic way for you to access your clinic visit records (as well as your St. Rose Dominican hospital information). You can also communicate with your Dignity Health Medical Group care team. All you need is Internet access and an e-mail address.
Features of the Online Patient Center:
- View lab, imaging, and pathology results (for tests performed at a Dignity Health facility)
- See a list of your procedures and diagnoses
- Review your medications and allergies
- View upcoming Dignity Health Medical Group and St. Rose Dominican appointments and add them to your personal calendar
- Send a secure message to request, reschedule or cancel an appointment
- Send secure messages to DHMG physicians and clinic staff
- Read a summary of your visit
It’s as easy as 1-2-3
- Provide your e-mail address when you check in for your appointment.
- Check your e-mail for an invitation to enroll in the Online Patient Center, and click on the link provided.
- Follow the quick, easy steps to enroll, and start managing all of your health records online!
Signing Up Is Easy!
Simply visit your Dignity Health Medical Group clinic and provide your e-mail address to the front desk staff. You will receive an e-mail invitation to the Online Patient Center. Click on the link provided in the e-mail and follow the quick, easy steps to complete your enrollment and start managing all of your health records online.
For More Help
Once you’ve enrolled, the Dignity Health Online Patient Center offers support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling 877.621.8014, or on the web at DignityHealth.org/Patients.
With the Summer 2015 issue of St. Rose’s quarterly magazine, we are launching the inaugural edition of Reach, formerly WomensCare magazine. After talking with local men and women in focus groups, we found that first, the name WomensCare made it appear the publication was not pertinent to men, which isn’t the case, and second, while people really like our articles, they would prefer that they are shorter and that we cover broader health and wellness topics.
The name “Reach” was chosen because we want our readers to think about all of the goals they aspire to reach – health, wellness, emotional, etc. – and we want to inspire them to reach those goals.
Readers will notice that the magazine doesn’t have as many pages as it did before – that is because we removed all 10 pages of advertisements.
We will continue to write stories featuring our patients and employees, and we will use our original photographs.
If you have any comments about the magazine – or story ideas for future issues – I’d love to hear them. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see Reach online, visit strosereach.org
Caring support means the world to one of our own.
For more than a decade, Marcie Mynatt, RN, has dedicated herself to caring for patients and being there for her fellow employees at St. Rose Dominican. In July 2011, Marcie learned she had Stage IIIC ovarian cancer. Suddenly, she found herself the patient—and when she needed it most, she also found incredible support.
Listening to her body
Severe bloating and pelvic pain had troubled Marcie for months. “I knew something was not right,” she says. “It wasn’t until I had a CT scan at St. Rose Dominican’s Rose de Lima Campus that the cancer was found.”
Unfortunately, this is often the case with ovarian cancer. It can occur and grow silently. And early signs may be dismissed as not serious. But when it is cancer, it’s one of the most dangerous types. According to the American Cancer Society, ovarian cancer accounts for only about 3 percent of cancers among women. But it causes more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system.
After she was diagnosed, Marcie’s treatment began immediately. She had a complete hysterectomy. Lymph nodes in her pelvis and abdomen were removed along with a section of her colon.
“For those whose cancer has spread widely throughout the abdomen as Marcie’s had, it is important that as much of the
tumor is removed as possible,” says Anthony Nguyen, MD, oncologist. “The goal is to leave no tumors larger than 1 centimeter.”
Strengthened by humankindness
“Those who have or have had any type of cancer know that it takes strength and a will to fight,” says Marcie. “But it also takes support, and I honestly couldn’t have made it this far without my family and friends as well as the assistance I
received from St. Rose Dominican and its employees. I am so thankful for their amazing generosity.”
Marcie’s co-workers donated PTO (paid time off), prepared meals for her family, and covered for her when treatments left her exhausted. “I was able to focus on recovering without worrying about work,” she says.
If you have concerns about your gynecologic health and need a doctor, please call 702.616.4900 for a referral.
Tuesdays, July 21 – August 25, 2015
10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
WomensCare Center of Excellence – Green Valley
2651 Paseo Verde Pkwy., Suite 180
Henderson, NV 89074
Research studies show there are high rates of depression and anxiety among caregivers because they often feel they have no control over events. That feeling of powerlessness has a significant negative impact on caregivers’ physical and emotional health.
This evidence-based workshop is designed to have positive impact on the health of a diverse group of caregivers, including adult children of aging parents, spouses/partners, caregivers at differing stages in their caregiving roles, living situations, financial, and educational backgrounds.
In the six weekly classes, caregivers learn self-care behaviors, how to manage emotions, increase self-efficacy and find community resources.
- Taking Care of You
- Communicating in Challenging Situations
- Identifying and Reducing Personal Stress
- Learning From Our Emotions
- Communicating Feelings, Needs, and Concerns
- Mastering Caregiving Decisions
Call 702.616.4900 to enroll in this free program.