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St. Luke's Blogs

Access to Integrative Medicine Through Financial Assistance

September 13, 2013
Jacki Dunne relies on humor to get her through rough times. That was certainly true with her diagnosis and treatment of early stage breast cancer. "I figure you can laugh or you can cry," she says. "Do you want to be around someone who has cancer who is mopey all the time?"

Jacki also relies on integrative therapies at St. Luke's MSTI. She underwent two separate mastectomies and hormone therapy, which left her with side effects such as hot flashes and severe joint inflammation. Easy access to high quality yet affordable massage and acupuncture "made life livable during treatment," she says.

Acupuncture and massage aren't typically covered by insurance, but because St. Luke's MSTI encourages patients to use integrative medicine therapies, we also offer financial assistance. Jacki's oncology social worker gave her two gift certificates to use on integrative therapies during her cancer treatment.

The acupuncture eased her hot flashes, while massage relieved the pain of her inflamed joints. Regular massage also helps with shoulder pain that comes from a "pulling forward" feeling of tightness in her chest due to the mastectomies. "Massage keeps my shoulders loose," she says.

Jacki has been off all drugs since January 2013, but she continues to see her massage therapist, Amie Bartholomeus, once a month. And at age 64 she trained to run her first half-marathon—at Disneyland. "I don't even like running," she laughs. "I thought I was agreeing to a 5K."

As part of "Team Jacki," Amie helped Jacki stay loose and strong as she trained. "I would just like more people to know what's available at St. Luke's MSTI," she says. "The integrative medicine, social worker, dietitian…how they treat the whole person."

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