How Stress Can Play a Role at the Time of a Cancer Diagnosis

How Stress Can Play a Role at the Time of a Cancer Diagnosis from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

MPN Network Managers Jeff and Summer share how they’ve overcome and continue to overcome the stresses that follow a cancer diagnosis. 

Although, surprised at the time of her diagnosis Summer remained positive. As a care partner at the time of diagnosis, Jeff was fearful because he knew very little about myelofibrosis. To counteract this stress, he armored hisself with knowledge from various resources. Both Jeff and Summer use their hobbies as an outlet whether it’s nature photography or teaching improv classes to further relieve stress. 

Want to connect with Jeff and Summer? Email them at question@powerfulpatient.org or text EMPOWER to (833)213-6657. 

A Guide to Caring for Each Other: An MPN Patient and Care Partner

A Guide to Caring for Each Other: An MPN Patient and Care Partner from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

MPN Network Managers Jeff and Summer dive into how they care for one another. Although, Jeff is the sole care partner for Summer who is living with myelofibrosis admits to still having to care for him as well. Hear how our MPN Network Managers prioritize care for one another.

“Listen to each other really strongly and help give each other what you need.” — Jeff

Recording of Summer Golden’s Comedy Show Fundraiser

Recording of Summer Golden’s Comedy Show Fundraiser for the Patient Empowerment Network – April 24, 2021 from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

On April 24, 2021 Summer Golden and Jeff Bushnell—beloved PEN Managers—hosted a virtual comedy show to benefit the Patient Empowerment Network featuring comedians who have journeyed through cancer. In order of appearance: Summer Golden, Laura Hiltz, Josie Leavitt, Kat McCoy, Karin Tausan, and Mickey Zeichick.

Health Equity and Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs)

Health Equity and Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPNs) from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

MPN Network Managers Jeff and Summer share their thoughts on how health equity can impact various MPN patients. They focus on a big factor in equity and MPN patients being location. Unfortunately, not everyone may have access to a specialist due to their geographic location. Summer who is living with myelofibrosis and her care partner Jeff both admit they were lucky to find a specialist in San Diego. Hear Jeff and Summer share The Importance of Finding a Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) Specialist. 

Want to connect with Jeff and Summer? Email them at question@powerfulpatient.org or text EMPOWER to (833)213-6657.

Advocacy Through Various Mediums with an MPN Patient and Caregiver

Advocacy Through Various Mediums with an MPN Patient and Caregiver from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What is patient advocacy and how can you advocate? MPN Network Managers Jeff and Summer discuss the various ways in which they advocate. In addition to volunteering with PEN, Jeff actively participates in a support group. Summer who is living with MPN has decided to advocate through her humor. Make sure to watch to see a snippet of her stand-up routine! 

“Our challenge to you is, as a patient find a way to give your knowledge of how you’re handling your disease to others and you too can become a strong patient advocate.” 

Want to connect with Jeff and Summer? Email them at question@powerfulpatient.org or text EMPOWER to (833)213-6657.

MPN Patient and Caregiver Explain How Colors Impact Their Lives

MPN Patient and Caregiver Explain How Colors Impact Their Lives from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

Are you conscious of the colors in your home? MPN Network Manager Summer and her care partner Jeff have their respective homes filled with colors that bring them joy. They prioritize mindfulness and positivity as part of Summer’s healthcare journey.

Jeff challenges you to surround yourself with colors that put your mind and body at ease.

Want to connect with Jeff and Summer? Email them at question@powerfulpatients.org

Patient Advocates Turned Award-Winning Network Managers

The Patient Empowerment Network (PEN) is rolling out the red carpet to congratulate and celebrate two of our dedicated and passionate Network Managers, who are being recognized as outstanding patient advocates. Their enthusiasm for helping other patients navigate their cancer journeys exemplifies PEN’s mission of ensuring all patients have the resources they need to access the best possible healthcare and achieve the best possible health outcomes. We are proud of our growing team of Network Managers and grateful for their engagement in the PEN community.

Summer Golden, recognized for her advocacy through the PEN Network Manager program, has been named a Voice of MPN 2020 MPN Hero. The MPN Hero award is given to those who have demonstrated a strong commitment to making a difference in the lives of people with myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). Summer, who lives with myelofibrosis (MF), understands the MPN journey and has helped thousands of patients through the Network Manager Program. She, and her husband, Jeff Bushnell, who became her care partner when she was diagnosed, reach out to patients in the MPN community through e-newsletters, program development, and support groups. Summer makes connections with others through compassion and humor. Yes, humor. She says, “Everyone deals with this diagnosis differently, so whether it’s through education, support, or in my case, comedy, it’s important to face your disease head on and know you are more than a diagnosis.”

Jeff/Summer 2020 MPN Hero Red Carpet Debut from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

 Dr. Gerri Smoluk was a PEN Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Network Manager and was recently named a finalist for the Reuters Patient Champion Award in the Patient Advocate category. Gerri was a drug development scientist and patient advocate who was diagnosed with AML in 2016. She made it her mission to help patients ask the right questions of their care teams. She used her knowledge to help patients learn about medications for and the latest information about their disease. Using her science background, Gerri developed tangible resources to help other AML patients. She felt she had an advantage and made it her mission to use that advantage to help empower others to make better decisions. Gerri passed away July 27, 2020. Her legacy lives on inspiring other Network Managers to help more patients become empowered.

Gerri Smoluk – PEN AML Network Manager from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

 The PEN Network Manager program is a volunteer group of patient empowerment ambassadors from around the country. Designed to further enhance health literacy, the program was launched in March 2020 and has grown exponentially. The volunteers engage with PEN’s network of cancer patients and families with the goal of providing support and navigation on their path to empowerment. Find out how you can get involved here.

How an MPN Patient and Caregiver Make the Most of Life

How an MPN Patient and Caregiver Make the Most of Life from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

 MPN Network Manager Summer who lives with myelofibrosis and her care partner Jeff discuss the importance of not putting your life on hold. Summer continues to work on her comedy routine and Jeff has been enjoying ZOOM photography classes. Watch to hear how else Summer and Jeff continue to make the most of life despite any challenges that may present itself. 

“We have not put our lives on hold during COVID or as a result of Summer’s MF diagnosis. Our challenge to you is to do the same.” 

Want to connect with Jeff and Summer? Email them at question@powerfulpatient.org

Counteracting MPN Fatigue and Finding Adequate Rest

Counteracting MPN Fatigue and Finding Adequate Rest from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

MPN Network Manager Summer Golden who lives with myelofibrosis, and her care partner Jeff, discuss how they handle her fatigue. From tracking sleep on smartwatches to choosing optimal dinner and travel times — they do not let fatigue boggle them down. Watch as Summer shares her personal experience with fatigue and provides tips to overcome. 

“We challenge you to find a way to make changes in your life that you get adequate rest. It’s really, really important.” 

 Want to connect with Jeff and Summer? Email them at question@powerfulpatient.org

Tips for Traveling During COVID with a Blood Disorder

Tips for Traveling During COVID with a Blood Disorder from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

PEN MPN network managers Summer and Jeff take us on the road for their annual camping trip in the Julian forest in Southern California. What are some of the challenges of traveling with a blood disorder?

Both share tips on how to make the best of traveling during COVID.

“Planning is key when you are traveling during COVID.”

The Importance of Finding a Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) Specialist

The Importance of Finding a Myeloproliferative Neoplasm (MPN) Specialist from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

How can MPN patients find a specialist? Patient Empowerment Network MPN managers Summer and Jeff share how they met their myelofibrosis specialist, Dr. Tiffany Tanaka, who gave them confidence about their path to empowerment.

Listen as Summer and Jeff share specific valuable tips for connecting to the best resources.

How to Be a Good Care Partner 101

How to Be a Good Care Partner 101 from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

 What is the most important aspect of being a good care partner? MPN Network Managers, Jeff and Summer give tips on best practices for being a phenomenal care partner. Jeff breaks down his strategy for managing Summer’s myelofibrosis, including modifying their schedules due to Summer’s fatigue.

Most important tip?
Jeff: “To be a good caregiver, you have to take care of yourself.”

Want to connect our MPN Network Managers, Jeff and Summer? Email them, question@powerfulpatients.org

MPN Patient and Care Partner Share the Importance of Staying Positive and Setting Goals

MPN Patient and Care Partner Share the Importance of Staying Positive and Setting Goals from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

In the midst of a crisis, it’s quite difficult to set goals. With so much changing rapidly, how can we keep focus?

PEN MPN Network Managers Jeff and Summer share tips for tapping into resilience, keeping focus and setting goals. Both share their rituals for staying focused and having fun.

Want to connect with Jeff and Summer? Email them at question@powerfulpatients.org

Cancer Patient and Care Partner Tips for Keeping Busy During A Pandemic

Cancer Patient and Care Partner Tips for Keeping Busy During Pandemic from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

MPN managers Summer and Jeff share tips for keeping busy during a crisis. They both share how exercise, scrapbooking, and zoom improvisational theater has kept them occupied.

Summer, who lives with myelofibrosis, shares her experience with getting her regular blood draw and some of the new procedures in place allowing her visit to be smooth.

How are you keeping busy? Let Summer and Jeff know: question@powerfulpatients.org

Service as Medicine: Cheer Someone Else Up and Cheer Yourself Up

Service as Medicine: Cheer Someone Else Up and Cheer Yourself Up from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

MPN Network Managers, Summer and Jeff sheltering in place from San Diego, California, challenge listeners to be less consumed with worry by looking at service as medicine. They share how their theater programs, mentoring others and church activities have empowered them to give more of themselves and focus on the positive.

What activities do you enjoy that help you serve others? Share it with Jeff and Summer! question@powerfulpatients.org