Jerod Loeb, Ph.D., and his wife, Sherri, are Buffalo Grove residents. Dr. Loeb has been considered an expert in the area of healthcare quality for decades. Sherri is a registered nurse. Ironically, it wasn't until Jerod received a cancer diagnosis at age 62, that they both realized how much they did NOT know about healthcare.
The Loeb’s personal experience has made them realize that drastic changes need to be made in healthcare administration. To that end, Jerod and Sherri are making it their personal challenge to educate others on how to best navigate the healthcare system as patients. They are involved in the SEA Blue Prostate Cancer Run/Walk on September 15 in Lincoln Park, an event designed to Support Educate and Advocate (hence, "SEA" Blue) for those with prostate cancer. Below Sherri describes some of her thoughts in relation to this dreadful disease:
“How do you ever start to explain the changes in your family’s life when someone is diagnosed with stage IV metastatic cancer? What was a perfectly normal life, changed on a single blood draw two years ago.. From a PSA of 1.2 to 535 in one year. The prostate cancer had already spread out of the prostate and throughout the bones. It was too late for surgery. Two highly educated health care individuals were suddenly thrust into the sharp edge of the medical system. Through standard treatment, clinical trials, having to travel 1000 miles for care that looked beyond the “standard of care”, we have done it all. Throughout this journey we have learned many things:
1. Diseases don’t read textbooks – thus what may be appropriate care for some is not for others.
2. Although you may be extremely bright and knowledgeable once you enter the health care system as a patient you tend to become deaf, dumb and blind.
3. The need for patient advocacy and family engagement is crucial for the best care possible
4. Communication is vital. Without it everything else is lost.
5. Epidemiologists who decide that PSA screening is not important need to look at patients individually and not make a generalized statement.
6. Shared decision making is the only way to appropriately approach care.
7. Stop treating patients like they are simply an icon on the computer and remember they are a person, with hopes, dreams and families.
8. Patient safety is not something to take haphazardly. Without it patients die or are harmed unnecessarily.
Friends and families have all been crucial to this journey. Without them, I don’t think we would have gotten through any of this. The men and women of the Buffalo Grove Fire Department, Police Department, Jerod’s co-workers at the Joint Commission and wonderful friends are absolutely amazing dedicated and caring individuals that have proven that family doesn’t have to be blood related. From all of the Loeb’s, we hope that our experiences and advocacy that we are trying to promote will help others in the future. Please join us in learning more about prostate cancer. Visit www.seablueprostatewalk.org. We hope to see you on September 15.