Carol Moon

For her, it was a small sign in her
doctor's medical office building
that changed - and probably
even saved - her life...

read more

Rondi Crowley, RN

Every work day is a little different,
and yet every day also has a common
thread: She will be helping to change
lives, a reward...

read more

Profile: Carol Moon

Carol Moon

Heart Screening Provides Lifesaving Diagnosis

For Carol Moon, it was a small sign in her doctor's medical office building that changed - and probably even saved - her life." I saw a little sign for a heart and vascular screening," Carol remembers. "I thought to myself - hmm, that might be a good idea for me."

Born with a heart murmur, Carol had suffered through health problems in the past. At that time, however, Carol had been feeling pretty good - maybe a little tired, but nothing worrisome. So when she decided to take advantage of Dignity Health Heart & Vascular Institute's affordable vascular screening, she thought she would get a clean bill of health. However, the screening showed a very different story. "Through the vascular screening, they were able to see that my right carotid artery was 95% blocked," Carol says. "I was in bad shape and had no idea. My symptoms were very atypical - which is why the screening was so important for me." The Dignity Health Heart & Vascular team immediately called Dr. Ali Tajlil, a vascular surgeon at Mercy General Hospital, who confirmed that Carol needed surgery to prevent a stroke.

"Within four or five days, I was at Mercy General ready for surgery," Carol says. "The doctors couldn't believe I'd been walking around with that blockage." Carol's carotid artery was surgically opened up in a procedure called a carotid endarterectomy. The surgery was successful, leaving Carol relieved - and grateful. "My doctor said I was a ticking time bomb - a stroke waiting to happen."

Carol has taken to heart the advice the Dignity Health Heart & Vascular team gave her on how to improve her heart health. She eats a low fat, low cholesterol diet and she looks for every opportunity to exercise. "I live just a few blocks from Mercy General," Carol says. "I will walk to the hospital, eat a heart healthy lunch in the hospital café, and then walk home. I also choose to live on the second floor, which forces me to use the stairs." Carol's small dog, Barkley, also keeps her active - she walks him several times a day and will lift and carry him to improve her upper body strength.

Little Barkley has also helped with another aspect of Carol's prescription for heart healthy living - he helps keep her stress levels in check. "For me, reducing stress was a big component of maintaining my heart health," explains Carol. "It's a choice I make in order to stay healthy."

But Carol says the most important choice she has made is to seek out a vascular health screening. "After my surgery, I told everyone I know to go get a vascular screening. I thought I was healthy - but little did I know I had a problem that could have killed me." Now, Carol's doctors monitor her arteries and her heart regularly. She is back to work as a poet and is active in educating others about maintaining their heart health. "Thanks to the vascular health screen and the surgeons at Mercy General, I'm alive. I got a second chance. I want others to have the same chance."

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Profile: Rondi Crowley

Rondi Crowley

Methodist Nurse Dedicates Career to Changing Lives

For Rondi Crowley, RN and Certified Bariatric Nurse, every work day is a little different, and yet every day also has a common thread: She will be helping to change lives, a reward that keeps her passionate about her job and the patients she serves.

"Rondi is the Bariatric Program Manager at Methodist Hospital of Sacramento (a Dignity Health facility), a program which offers three types of weight loss surgery in a multidisciplinary, team-centered approach. In her job, Rondi performs a variety of tasks however she says her most important role is that of patient advocate. "Whatever I am doing, I try to make sure that the bariatric patient population is represented," says Rondi. "Whether it is the type of chairs we have in the lobby or specialized training for new RNs, I want to help everyone serve our bariatric patients the best we can."

Rondi has been serving patients at Methodist for more than 35 years, long before bariatric surgery even existed. She began as an operating room nurse and eventually became the Director of Surgical Services. When Methodist launched their bariatric program in 2004, Rondi was part of the original team. "I had read about bariatric procedures and was fascinated," she says. "I started to see that the impact on people's lives was amazing. I knew I wanted to become more involved."

In 2009, Rondi changed her career focus and moved from Director of Surgery to fulltime Bariatric Program Manager. In April 2010, she led the hospital team to gain Center of Excellence designation with the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. "This program is such a great example of teamwork," Rondi says. "Everyone is committed to the success of our program and our patients - the bariatric surgeons and dietitian, the nursing staff, the pharmacists along with many others - the whole team works together to ensure positive outcomes."

Rondi is a familiar face for the bariatric patient's journey to better health. She guides them through introductory education sessions, preoperative evaluations, surgery, and is there for post-surgery support. Rondi is present during all of these phases serving as a source of information and encouragement for patients and families. "After their surgery, I am there to answer questions and to offer support," she explains. "I give patients my cell phone number because I would rather they voice concerns no matter how small instead of being fearful something is wrong."

Many patients have improved their health so significantly that they are no longer on the diabetic, antihypertensive and high cholesterol medications they were taking before surgery. While every patient responds differently to bariatric surgery, Rondi helps them all through the challenges they face. She says, "For some patients, their diet is the problem and I can connect them to our Bariatric Dietitian and for others it is the emotional changes they encounter. Our goal is to help them through any new struggle."

This year, an estimated 225 people will undergo weight-loss surgery with the Methodist Hospital Bariatric Program. Rondi will be supporting each and every patient. "My greatest reward is to see people regaining their life back. Once their lives revolved around what they couldn't do, but after surgery they are often off many of their medications, they are able to hang up their walkers, they are joining family activities, and they are even getting on roller coasters or even sky diving. It's remarkable. After a long career in healthcare it doesn't get any better than that!"

To learn more about the Methodist Hospital Bariatric Program call 916.691.8887. If you are interested in learning if weight loss through Bariatric Surgery is right for you join us at a Bariatric Seminar.

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