With the new year still upon us, you may find yourself particularly interested in your health. This happens for most people. New year, new you, right? Before that motivation dwindles, take control of your health by setting up all of your medical visits for the year. You might be thinking the whole year, that’s a lot! You’re right, but let’s face it, when the summer sun hits in Minnesota, you won’t be thinking about your next colonoscopy.
Okay, maybe you try never to think about that but you should! Taking care of your health not only impacts you but those around you. Many illnesses in life can be detected early or even prevented through regular screenings. So, if not for you, for your loved ones, make 2024 the year you take back your health.
Let’s start with the easy visits, your annual screenings.
When most people make to-do lists, they check off the easiest things to do first. The same method can be applied here. Your yearly exams should include an overall health check-up with your primary doctor, dental cleanings x 2, and a vision screening. There may be some exceptions to this rule, but generally, every individual from 0 to 100 should consider these visits as part of their annual screening.
It’s true when they say things can change in an instant, especially when it comes to your health. Not only do yearly check-ins act as a baseline if your health starts to take a turn, but they also allow the opportunity to get in tune with your body. Remember to ask the following questions when you’re at your annual screening with your primary care doctor.
1. Do I need additional health screenings?
Routine Screenings:When you go for an annual physical, your doctor will look at health markers such as weight, blood pressure, family history, etc. This will give them the proper baseline to suggest further screenings on things like thyroid, cholesterol, or even a comprehensive metabolic panel.
Preventative Screenings: Recommendations for preventive screenings to do with the heart, breast, or cancer change often but are typically based on a combination of your age and personal risk level. If you are 40 or older, communicating with your doctor about your specific needs for preventive screenings is of the utmost importance.
2. What do my numbers mean?
As we mentioned earlier, you are the expert on your body. However, you may not be an expert in understanding numbers, charts, and medical terminology. Ask the questions even if they seem silly. If something doesn’t make sense, ask your doctor to explain it. There are no stupid questions when it comes to your health.
3. Am I at risk of any medical conditions?
Many factors must be considered when assessing your risk for certain medical conditions. Your doctor will look at your age, lifestyle, ethnicity, family history, and other factors that may affect your risk for certain ailments. It’s important to be forthcoming about your circumstances so your physician can see the total picture.
4. What do I need to work on?
You may come away with homework, and that’s okay! Your yearly physical is meant to find gaps and red flags. Before you leave, make sure you have a game plan with your physician to improve in any areas if needed.
Now, onto the preventative screenings.
Preventative screenings may sound scary, but they are there to do the opposite. Nothing is worse than hearing, “You have [insert any health condition here].” Preventive screenings offer early detection, which can be the key to keeping you healthy. Recommendations for preventative screenings will vary based on individual risk factors, but these are the current guidelines for a healthy adult with no family history of disease.
Skin Exams – Once A Year
With 1 out of 5 Americans developing skin cancer by age 70, skin exams are recommended as part of your yearly routine. During a skin exam, your dermatologist will look at any worrisome moles, lumps, or bumps you may have. If needed, your primary care doctor can refer you to a dermatologist.
While every woman should be doing personal breast exams weekly when you reach a certain age, modern medicine steps in. There is much debate around this subject; however, per the American Cancer Society guidelines, women 40 and older should stick to the following schedule.
Women aged 40 to 44should have the choice to start annual breast cancer screening with mammograms (x-rays of the breast) if they wish to do so.
Women ages 45 to 54 should get mammograms every year.
Women 55 and oldershould switch to mammograms every two years or can continue yearly screening.
Screening should continue as long as a woman is in good health and is expected to live ten more years or longer.
Cervical Cancer – Varies By Age
For women ages 21 and older, a cervical cancer check should be completed by your primary care doctor or OBGYN on the following schedule.
Age 21 you should receive your first screening and have one yearly for the next three years.
Age 24 – 29 you should receive a screening every three years.
Age 30 – 64 you should receive a screening every five years.
Prostate Exams – Every Three to Five Years
Not to be confused with a colonoscopy, prostate exams are important for men 45 and older. The average age for a prostate exam is 50; however, depending on your family history and other risk factors, some doctors recommend an exam at 45. If your first exam comes back without concern, you can expect to have your second exam in 3 to 5 years.
Diabetes Screenings – Every Three Years
Diabetes Screenings are becoming more common as the U.S. continues to battle obesity. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends anyone between the ages of 40 to 70 who are overweight or obese start screening for high A1C levels. After your first screening, and if risk factors do not decrease, patients should receive a screening every three years.
You may be asking yourself what routine and preventative screenings have to do with my surgery at the St. Cloud Surgical Center. Patients need to be in good health to be a candidate for many procedures at our center. From pre-op to post-op and beyond, we care about our patients’ success; one risk factor is poor health.
At St. Cloud Surgical Center, we require most of our patients to undergo a preoperative exam. In that exam, we can deny you surgery for any reason. We don’t enjoy this as our goal is to help you feel better. By following the recommendations laid out in this blog, we believe you’ll be in a great place to not only qualify for surgery but also have a better handle on your health as a whole. It’s not too late to make 2024 the year you take back your health!
It’s safe to say that most of us are creatures of habit. We wake up at the same time. Eat the same breakfast. Drive the same way to work. Partake in the same activities. Yet, it’s hard to introduce new habits into our routine. And even though we’ve all heard the magic ‘21 day’ approach, we still fail to implement new, healthy habits into our lifestyle.
Research shows that many of us who try to create healthy habits go about it the wrong way. We shoot for the stars when we only need to shoot for the moon. For example, we’ll decide to exercise more and sign up for a gym membership without a second thought. Suddenly, two months have passed, and you haven’t made it to the gym since. While a go big or go home approach may work for some, many behavioral scientists agree that’s not the right way to go about it.
Our St. Cloud Surgical Center team wants to set you up for success this year with five easy steps to creating healthy habits. Follow these research-backed tips, and you’ll be well on your way to a happier you!
FIRST UP, MAKE A PLAN
When you commit to taking up a new habit, it’s essential to have a clear plan of action before you begin. Start with a long-term goal and keep it S.M.A.R.T:
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Achievable
R = Relevant
T = Timely
Habit: Eat More Leafy Greens
Habit Stack: Eat a side salad at dinner three times a week.
Before moving forward, you need to dig deep into your “why.” Why do you want to make this change? What do you want to be different about your life when you succeed? Write down your “why” and keep it close by; when you feel like stopping, pull it out and remember that you can do hard things.
Habit Stacking is exactly what it sounds like: putting two or more habits together. We recommend choosing times of the day when routines are strongest. For most people, this is usually the morning or before bed. We know day-to-day life can get a little crazy, but there are certain times when patterns are created, making them the perfect place for a positive change.
The best way to form a new habit is to tie it in with an existing one.
Habit: Drink More Water
Habit Stack: Drink water on your morning commute instead of coffee.
Remember that go big or go home thing we mentioned earlier? That doesn’t have a place here. Many experts agree that significant changes require high motivation levels, which can be hard to sustain. Instead, you should start with a slight change that will eventually lead to something bigger.
Habit: Exercise More
Baby Step: Take a small (5 to 10-minute) walk on your lunch break.
You can transition to something bigger once you have successfully implemented these daily walks for a designated amount of time. Let’s add weights! And yes, we just created another habit stack. Work break = walk.
Consistency is key. To make something a habit, you need to do it every day. We’ve all heard the magic ‘21 day’ fix, but the fact of the matter is, it’s not one size fits all. One study found that it can take up to 254 days, over half a year, to make a habit stick! Don’t give up.
Habit: Wake Up An Hour Earlier
Change: Your usual wake up call is 6:30 AM, set your alarm to 6:15. Once you’ve achieved that, go back another 15 minutes until you’re at the hour mark. But remember, you need to do this EVERY DAY.
Perhaps the most important part of habit-making is rewarding yourself. We know habits take time, but in order to not give up, you need to celebrate every win. Find the thing you love and allow yourself to experience it once you’ve hit a milestone on your habit-forming journey. Sometimes, the results of habits are not immediately apparent. Don’t give up!
HEALTHY HABITS FOR 2024
While the last three years have felt a little uneasy, we have a good feeling that 2024 is your year. Change is hard, but living an unhappy life is harder. Choose your hard. If you need help jump-starting your new healthy habit, check out this list below and get to work using the steps above.
Read Instead of Scroll
Practice Gratitude and Mindfulness
Drink More Water
Limit Alcohol Intake
Quit A Bad Habit
Find A Hobby
As we enter 2024, we are thrilled to be your local provider for same-day surgery. If you find yourself struggling with ailments from knee pain to blurry vision, the team at St. Cloud Surgical Center may be able to help. Remember to ask your doctor about having your next procedure at our center. Here’s to a happy, healthy new year!
“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.” – Hal Borland
It’s hard to believe we’re at this moment again, year-end. Over the past 365 days, we have celebrated many milestones, and it’s clear 2023 was a good year for us. We celebrated many work anniversaries, grew relationships in and out of our facility, and helped nearly 10,000 patients get back to living a life they love through our services.
One of the things that we are most proud of is our ability to do good in our community. When our founder, Dr. Joseph Belshe, who passed away this year at the age of 102, envisioned the future of St. Cloud Surgical Center, he prayed for a company that paid it forward whenever possible. To continue his wishes, we support various organizations that are near and dear to our hearts through fundraising.
In 2023, St. Cloud Surgical Center teamed up with the following organizations.
Pockets of Hope (Day of Service)
We started our year of good by packing backpacks for Pockets of Hope during our Annual Day of Service. This organization in our community does incredible work helping children who are rescued from abuse, neglect, and abandonment. When children leave these situations, they are often separated from belongings that give them comfort and enter foster care with nothing. Pockets of Hope provides these children with new backpacks filled with personal care items that they need and comfort items they can call their own. Our team was able to fill backpacks for 48 special children.
We participated in Jersey Mike’s Subs Day of Giving for the second year in a row. This year, all sales, not just profits, from their Minnesota-based sub-shops, were donated to Make-A-Wish Minnesota. To join their mission, we catered in subs for our staff, who were also celebrating National Doctor Day, and collectively raised $357 for Make-A-Wish. In total, Jersey Mike’s was able to raise $580,844 for the foundation, and we are proud to be a small part of that.
Pack The Porches
In March, our generous team partnered with Catholic Charities to raise $1595 and 20 lbs of food for their Pack the Porches Food and Fund Drive. Did you know monetary donations allow the food shelf to purchase three times the amount of money raised?
Harvest to Holidays
The holiday season is all about giving, and we do just that at the St. Cloud Surgical Center. Our Harvest to Holidays basket fundraiser is a fan favorite. Each department puts together themed baskets, and employees bid to take them home. This year, we adopted seven families to receive the money raised from bidding. The holidays can be a challenging time for many and there is nothing sweeter than putting a smile on the faces of our adoptive families.
SCA Values Heroes Program
St. Cloud Surgical Center is partnered with SCA, a national surgical solutions provider committed to improving healthcare in America. For more than a decade, all SCA Health teammates and physician partners come together to nominate and recognize those who best represent our values through the Values Heroes program.
At St. Cloud Surgical Center, we turn this opportunity into a special celebration for our employees by honoring a select few who go above and beyond for our patients and community. This annual event allows us to recognize outstanding teammates who are committed to our seven core values and showcase the care, inclusion, and effort our patients expect and deserve. Simply put, team members who do GOOD.
Values Heroes is a nomination of peers. We ask our employees to nominate a co-worker they feel represents our organization the best. This year, six St. Cloud Surgical Center Employees from all different teams were nominated.
Ashley Bischof, RN
Cheri Korman, CST
Robine Schaap, CST
Mary Storms, Cook
Cameron Schroeder, Maintenance
Melissa Stang, BO Manager
Our Good Neighbor
To round out the year of good, we couldn’t forget to mention Our Good Neighbor, Bob. If you follow us on Facebook or Instagram (if you don’t, you should), you may have heard of Neighbor Bob. He came into our lives during the height of the pandemic when he would visit our team outside in the testing shed. With him, he would always bring his “Share A Smile with a Stranger” buttons, which he designed in honor of his wife Evie, who passed away in 2018. Bob cared for Evie during her journey through Alzheimer’s and is passionate about early detection and community support for caregivers.
This year, Bob turned 90, and we threw a big party at our facility to celebrate. His contribution to our team during the pandemic and beyond has been uplifting. We devise ways to visit with him often, and our staff enjoys hearing about his adventures. Bob has lived an enormous life filled with so much love and happiness. He’s even authored three books and has appeared in several Minnesota movies! Read more about his living legacy here.
We are all better because of Our Good Neighbor, Bob!
Happy Holidays from Us to You.
Our staff would like to thank you for supporting St. Cloud Surgical Center this year. Every blog read, every photo liked, every comment cheering on our staff, and everyone who chose our facility for their surgery, you made our year. We exist to bring good back into your life and good into our community. It is with the utmost gratitude that we continue to serve you!
As we approach the six-month mark of Dr. Joseph Belshe’s passing, we feel compelled to honor him one final time. The following story has been on our desk for over a year, and it’s too good not to share with the community he built. TIME Magazine even published an article about the heroic act back in 1957! Whenever we think of Dr. Belshe, we are reminded how fortunate we are to have been a part of his legacy..
Shocking The Heart
In January 1957, in the small Wisconsin town of St. Croix Falls (pop. 1,500 at the time), history was made when three doctors conquered a medical first. When resident William F. suffered a massive heart attack and his heart stopped beating, it was assumed he was dead upon arrival. However, no one knew that his team of doctors had other plans, our very own Dr. Joseph Belshe among them.
Given the town’s size, the St. Croix Memorial Valley Hospital was small and slightly underfunded. This meant technology was lacking, and there was no fancy defibrillator on site. When the patient arrived, Dr. Belshe made an instant decision to act. He ripped open his clothes, made an incision, and plunged his hand into the man’s chest to massage the stilled organ. After 10 to 15 minutes of massage, all the team received was a flutter – “ventricular fibrillation,” usually a sure sign of a dying heart. With no aforementioned defibrillator, the team had to get creative.
Dr. Riegel, one of the other doctors on staff that day, looked around the room and spied an extension cord. Quickly getting to work, he cut the outlet off the cord in the emergency room, stripped the insulation off the ends of the wires, and plugged the other end into the other ordinary house current. With gloves on, he touched the wires to the opposite sides of the patient’s heart. The results were not immediate. The shock failed twice. Yet, the team did not get discouraged. Dr. Riegel wrapped each wire around the base of a hypodermic needle and plunged the needles into the heart muscle. Under this heroic stimulus, William’s heart resumed its natural beat.
After a week in the hospital, William was able to go home, and he went on to live a long, healthy life into his mid-80s. All because of our founder, Dr. Joseph Belshe, and the incredible doctors on his team who devoted their lives to saving others.