Pressures mount for couples trying without success to have a baby as the weeks accumulate.
It’s a common problem, faced by about one in eight couples, according to Resolve: The National Infertility Association. Some feel isolated, and their friends don’t know what to say. Now, a Richmond artist, Holly Camp, has developed a series of infertility support cards so you can show you care to friends dealing with the pressures of trying to become pregnant.
“This collection is very special to me, and the topic is one I feel very passionate about,” Camp says by email.
That’s because it’s also personal for Camp, who notes that she’s been lucky to have a great support system of friends and family on whom she can rely, something many people lack.
“Infertility is already a devastating and all-consuming struggle, and it’s so unfortunate that, for the most part, people feel societal pressure to keep this particular pain and grief to themselves,” she says. “That can make an already challenging time infinitely more overwhelming.”
Camp also found support online, a community of women who have dealt personally with infertility. She found them a few years ago on Mothers Day, “a very complicated day,” according to Camp. “All these women — these mothers — [were] already prioritizing and doing everything they can for their future children, even though they haven’t had the opportunity to meet them yet,” she says.
For Camp, greeting cards are a way to connect people and start a conversation. “People want to be able to support their loved ones,” she says. “I'm proud to be making cards that speak up and I hope they can bring comfort and love.”
She’s a graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University Communications Arts program whose day job is serving as a designer for a jewelry company. She’s been creating greeting cards for about eight years.
“Initially, I saw it as a fun way to paint tipsy animals when I needed to take a break from other painting projects,” she says. “Creating greeting cards quickly became my passion and it has been so much fun.”
She has more than 50 card designs, with illustrations that are prints of original art and ink paintings. Her work is available at locations including Ellwood Thompson’s, Strawberry Street Fields Flowers and Finds and Mongrel.
Class Action Against Opioid Abuse
The war against opioid abuse has expanded to a new front: The medical school classroom.
The VCU School of Medicine is doing its part beginning with the fall semester, when it will offer required, enhanced prescriber education to its students. VCU is one of more than 60 medical schools that will offer the training, part of a national campaign announced in March.
The prescriber education programs align with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidelines for use of opioids in mitigating chronic pain. The basic thinking behind the new guidelines is that it’s best to go with alternative treatments to the opioids if possible, but otherwise to “start low, and go slow.”
The VCU curriculum changes will be led by Dr. Gerard Moeller of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. He says that second-year students will receive training through lectures and patient simulation in dealing with an opioid overdose. That’s in addition to the current training they receive in dealing with alcohol and cocaine addiction.
He says the school also is looking at ways to ensure that students in third- and fourth-year rotations are exposed to proper prescribing practices and usages.
So what’s the takeaway for you?
Moeller says that you need to be an educated patient, and be aware of what you’re being prescribed. Talk to your pharmacist, and your doctor. If pain is not affecting your ability to function, you may not need to take an opioid. The goal is not to eliminate pain, but to get you to where you can function to sleep, work and interact with your family.
CDC opioid chart
Substance Abuse and Young People Town Hall
You can learn about some of the latest research regarding youth and addiction, substance abuse and treatments in a symposium to be held this evening and Friday morning at VCU.
The sessions are titled From Research to Rehab: A Town Hall Meeting on Substance Use and Young People. Sessions are free and open to the public, but registration is required.
“This symposium is an effort to bring together VCU researchers, outside speakers and members of both our VCU and Richmond community to have a dialogue about substance use challenges and how we can work together to make a difference in the lives of our young people,” says Danielle Dick, a professor in the departments of Human and Molecular Genetics, African American Studies and Psychology. She’s also director of COBE, which seeks to promote behavioral and emotional health in college communities and is the organization behind the symposium.
Click here for a list of topics and times.
Healthy Living in Blooms
Learn about weight loss surgery and tendon disease in free lectures to be offered by VCU Health experts at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.
The session on weight loss surgery and other treatment programs for teens dealing with obesity will be led by David Lanning, surgeon-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU. It will be held 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Kelly Education Center, 1800 Lakeside Ave.
The session on treating chronic tendon disease with a new, minimally invasive, outpatient procedure will be presented by Jeff Elbich of the VCU Health Department of Radiology, and will be at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, at the Kelly Education Center.
Registration is recommended. Call 828-0123, or see vcuhealth.org/seminars.
It All Works Together
“The Connection,” a documentary on the connection between the mind and health, will be screened at no cost at 7 p.m. April 21 at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 6000 Grove Ave.
The documentary is from filmmaker Shannon Harvey and the screening will be followed with a panel discussion that will include Carol Zogran, a psychiatric advanced practice nurse; David Buxton, an adolescent and adult psychiatrist and palliative and hospice physician; cardiologist Christine Browning, Kirk Warren Brown, an associate professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University; Cindy Stutts, administrative director, employee wellness and EAP for Bon Secours Virginia Health System; and R. Keith Bell, a licensed acupuncturist and Oriental medicine specialist.
Fundraiser Gala Set
Enjoy an evening of food, music and entertainment courtesy of the School of the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community (SPARC) as part of a fundraising gala on April 29 for the disAbility Law Center of Virginia Foundation.
The event begins at 6 p.m. and will be held at the Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, 2880 Mountain Road. The foundation advocates for children with disabilities and their families on issues including, housing and employment, education, transportation and medical needs.