Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Wholeness of the Person: Dr. Chona Antonio

What is the focus of your practice?

I practice family medicine, and I believe in the wholeness of the person. I take a holistic, integrated approach to health combining conventional medicine with other modalities such as acupuncture. It’s important to me that people understand what’s going on with their bodies. I spend time helping them do that. Above all, I would like my patients to understand their own health. To me, that is treatment.

What is meaningful to you about being a doctor?

It’s about being of service. It’s funny, when I was just 5 years old, my mother told me “you will be a doctor.” This is not because of her ambition for me, but because she just knew. I ended up being the first doctor in our family.


How did your education influence your practice?

In addition to traditional medical training, I was trained in the humanities as my pre-med degree. Music and art introduced me to different cultures, including Chinese and Ayurvedic medical cultures. This was the window through which I realized there is more to medicine than our North American medical system. I started spending my weekends going to different communities and learning from traditional practitioners in the Philippines. I also learned from Chinese and Japanese teachers. I continue learning in the U.S.

How does this background help your patients?

It helps me understand and relate better to the patient. I can recommend different tools, including acupuncture, energy medicine and meditation that can be used according to the patient’s own philosophy of health. I educate my patients, showing them that any health decision has risks and rewards. Their own health is their responsibility. Integrative medicine is a partnership. The doctor is not the dictator and neither is the patient.

How do you care for yourself?

I get a great deal from my own family life. My philosophy is moderation. I make sure that I eat well, move well, sleep well and think well. Best of all, I make sure that I am happy.

Why do your patients seek your style of care?

Health is not just about medication. Ministry is setting the stage for integrative health care. We have excellent physical therapy and massage services that are part of this model of care. We have started the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Program. Music Heals is an ongoing activity now. We keep working to develop it even more. There is more to come.

Dr. Sandra Martens: Partnering with Patients

You have a great deal of experience in the field of family medicine. Tell us about your practice.

I’ve been practicing family medicine for 17 years. I enjoy the variety, everything from lumps and bumps to small procedures, and all ages including children. I have a lot of women in my practice as well, and I enjoy the relationships.

How do you work with your patients?

I try to make them a partner, approach their health problems together. We discuss different options. We go along together.


What is one of the greatest health challenges your patients face?

I would say that it is stress. It affects the whole family. A lot of employers have cut jobs, and those people left as the breadwinners in the family often feel overwhelmed.

How do you help your patients deal with stress?

It’s important to take care of yourself, to make good choices in nutrition. To stay healthy, I encourage people to set aside some time for exercise, even if it’s 10 minutes a day.

You’ve seen a lot of changes in the medical field since you began your career. What is one of the most positive?

Having electronic medical records makes it possible to give patients a simple summary at the end of a visit. I think it’s nice to remind people in a nutshell what we discussed, what the recommendations are, and any medication information they need.

How do you stay healthy?

I try to eat well. I walk my dog once or twice a day, rain or shine, because she will insist on it. I also practice Qi Gong, a form of meditative movement, for energy and range of motion. My father has done that for a long time, he introduced me to it. It’s a nice way to start my day.

National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

March is National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. Among cancers that affect both men and women, colorectal cancer (cancer of the colon or rectum) is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Every year, about 140,000 Americans are diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and more than 50,000 people die from it. But this disease is highly preventable, by getting screened beginning at age 50.

Colorectal Cancer AwarenessEgg Harbor resident Pauline Peterson, now a 14-year survivor of colorectal cancer, received her chemotherapy treatment at Ministry, and has continued to be active in cancer support groups since her recovery. “It’s so important for people to be aware that this disease affects so many, and to be vigilent with screening for early detection,” she urges. Talk with your provider to find out which screening method is best for you.

What You Can Do

  • If you’re aged 50 to 75, get screened for colorectal cancer regularly. Screening tests help prevent colorectal cancer by finding precancerous polyps (abnormal growths) so they can be removed. Screening also finds this cancer early, when treatment can be most effective.
  • Be physically active.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Don’t drink too much alcohol.
  • Don’t smoke.

Fast Facts

  • Risk increases with age. More than 90% of colorectal cancers occur in people aged 50 and older.
  • Precancerous polyps and colorectal cancer don’t always cause symptoms, especially at first. You could have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. That is why having a screening test is so important. If you have symptoms, they may include: blood in or on the stool (bowel movement), stomach pain, aches, or cramps that do not go away, or unexplained weight loss. These symptoms may be caused by something other than cancer. If you have any of them, see your doctor.
  • Some people are at a higher risk than others for developing colorectal cancer. If you think you may be at high risk, talk to your doctor about when and how often to get tested.
  • There are several screening test options, including colonoscopy. Talk with your provider about which is right for you.

For more information on Colorectal Cancer Screenings, talk with your doctor or call the Door County Cancer Center. 

Dr. Kelton Reitz: Taking the Holistic View

Tell us about your practice.

As an osteopath, I take a holistic view. I see a patient as a whole person. I believe health care is changing for the better in that we’re focusing on health and wellness, not just illness. I work with a lot of people in the geriatric population, so I’m helping people manage chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension.

Dr. Kelton Reitz, Ministry Door County Medical CenterWhat’s special about working at Door County Medical Center?

With so many specialists under one roof, I can walk down the hall and consult with another provider who has expertise my patients need. We have a wonderful, stable staff and little turnover. There’s a great deal of continuity of care between providers, which is all about communication.

What’s your top piece of advice to your patients?

It’s important to exercise to the best of your abilities, to try to find the time to fit it in. In our community, many people are very busy during the summer months. Find some downtime when you can during your year, relax, take a vacation. It’s so important to decompress.

You’re quite involved in the community. How does that enhance your practice?

DCMC really is leading the health and wellness of our community. I stay active by serving on the Board of Directors here, and I’m also the medical director for Unity Hospice. Like other providers, I’m out in the community, and my patients are also my friends and neighbors. You can’t find that kind of personal healthcare in other places, it’s special.

DCMC’s Rehab Services Serves Patients at Scandia Village Facility

Those living in Northern Door County now have a new, improved Rehab Services Facility located at Good Samaritan Society Scandia Village in Sister Bay. “Door County Medical Center’s (DCMC) rehab facility has been providing care in Sister Bay for nine years, and demand for our services keeps growing,” says Deb Whitelaw-Gorski, Director of Rehab Services. “We are so grateful that the newly renovated facility at Scandia Village allows us to provide physical, occupational and speech therapies in a bigger, brighter space that will be even more comfortable and inviting for the patients we serve.”

Deb Whitelaw-Gorksi and Michele Notz at the new rehab facility

Deb Whitelaw-Gorksi and Michele Notz at the new rehab facility

“We’re blessed to be a collaborative partner with DCMC to provide the space for rehab services,” says Michelle Notz, administrator at Scandia Village. “Not only do our residents benefit, but DCMC can continue to serve the greater community as well.”

Fourteen staff members, including therapy, support, and Memory Clinic staff, will work out of the new space. Ministry’s rehab staff has won many awards for the high quality of their care and their approach to each individual patient’s needs. “There’s a lot of excitement in the air about the new rehab space,” adds Notz, “and it’s such a benefit that our Scandia Village residents and the community have these services close to home.”

Dr. Tomasz Michalski: Enjoy Every Stage of Life

You’ve been caring for patients at Door County Medical Center since 2008. Why family medicine?

It’s amazing what you can do in family medicine. We can make a huge difference by identifying a patient’s risk factors and changing the course of a disease. Best of all, we can prevent disease in the first place.

How has your international training affected the way you look at patient care?

Having done my undergraduate work in Canada and medical school in Poland, as well as my residency in the U.S., I’ve got a lot of perspective. I think it has made me more open to what the patient wants. I work with my patients, giving them information but asking them how they want to get better. When we get the answer from the patient, we succeed so much more.

michalski headshot

What is your philosophy of care?

I want to help my patients understand that their body is the vehicle that they are given, and it’s up to them to take care of it. You have only one shot in life. It’s important to enjoy every stage of life and be responsible for your own health.

With a family and four young children, you must be very busy. How do you take care of yourself?

We spend a lot of time being active: camping, skiing and swimming. Living here in Door County, it’s my wish to do more sailing as well. Everyone needs to identify their own coping skills. For me, my faith plays a big part.

What made you decide to be a doctor?

I always enjoyed science, but connecting it to the human factor is much more exciting for me. I enjoy being part of the connection between the biological, clinical and psychological. In the end, it’s about making a difference in human life.

Local Patients Benefit from David Spude Cancer Center Fund

While the Door County Cancer Center (DCCC) installs a new, state-of-the-art linear accelerator to offer patients ultra-precise radiation treatments, patient who need to travel to Green Bay for radiation therapy in the interim are benefitting from a local charitable fund.

David Spude Cancer Center Fund committee members with items donated by the fund.

David Spude Cancer Center Fund committee members with items donated by the fund.

“The David Spude Cancer Center Fund was created to give local patients comfort, care and support as they receive treatment at the Door County Cancer Center,” says Mike Herlache, director of the Door County Medical Center Foundation who administers the fund. With the temporary interruption of radiation services at the DCCC, the fund is providing gas cards to local patients needing to travel to Green Bay for radiation services. “We’ve heard from many patients about what a help this has been,” says Herlache.

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Some patients are also finding relief in Integrative Medicine therapies offered at Ministry. “We know that therapies such as acupuncture, meditation and massage can be enormously beneficial to people being treated for cancer,” says Dr. Chona Antonio, a Ministry provider who specializes in Integrative Medicine. “Combining western and eastern medical approaches serves the whole person, alleviating pain and improving patient comfort.” In addition to clinic services for Integrative Medicine, The Community Clinic of Door County also sponsors The Healing Project in collaboration with Ministry. The Healing Project provides free integrative health care services to Door County men and women with cancer at any stage.

The new linear accelerator is currently being calibrated, and is expected to be operational by April. Patients needing chemotherapy and cancer consultations are still being seen as usual at the DCCC. For questions about the David Spude Cancer Center Fund, integrative therapies or the Door County Cancer Center, call 920.746.7580.

Ministry’s Sleep Facility: Quality Sleep for a Better Life

If you have trouble sleeping at night, you’re not alone.  Up to 15% of Americans have a chronic sleep disorder, and many more don’t get the recommended amount of sleep each night. Ministry Door County Medical Center’s Sleep Facility offers the support, information, and treatment that patients need for a better quality of life.

Studies show that quality sleep is linked to better immunity, more physical and mental energy, increased ability to learn and retain information, and many more positive outcomes.  During National Sleep Awareness Week, the facility’s staff is on a mission to educate the community about the importance of sleep.  “Sleeping well is the key to living well,” says Nancy Ruff, director of the Sleep Facility. “Our goal is to reduce or eliminate sleep problems to improve people’s health and quality of life.”

Beautiful woman sleeping in white bed

The nationally accredited facility, which is located in a tranquil corner of Ministry’s Sturgeon Bay campus, offers several different options for diagnosis and treatment.   Patients can choose an overnight diagnostic session, where they will sleep in a quiet suite with a whirlpool, comfortable beds, a private bathroom, wi-fi access, and complimentary breakfast.  Or, they may opt for an at-home sleep test.  “We are the only facility in the area that offers this at-home test, which is very accurate and qualifies patients to go straight into treatment,” says Ruff.

There are many factors that affect sleep, including diet, physical activity, alcohol use, medication, anxiety, and even sharing a bed with children or pets.  Providers take all of these factors into account, as well as using the latest technology to monitor heart rate, breathing patterns, brainwave activity and other key indicators. The procedures are safe and totally non-invasive.

The most common diagnosis for patients with sleep disorders is sleep apnea, though sleep lab staff also see patients with insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and other problems.  “Sleep apnea is the cessation of breathing for periods during the night,” explains Ruff.  “It’s a serious condition that is linked to stroke, hypertension, and even type-2 diabetes.”  Symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring at night and sleepiness during the day.  The cumulative lack of oxygen to the brain also results in decreased reaction time, a real concern when drowsy drivers are behind the wheel.

Providers at the sleep facility are Dr. Richard Hogan and Dr. Andrzej Kurek, who meet personally with each patient the morning after their testing to explain results and lay out treatment options.  The most common treatment for apnea is a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine, and Ruff reports that patients who choose this therapy are often elated with the results.  “I hear comments like ‘You saved my life.  My wife is so happy, because she’s sleeping better, too!’”  Ruff says that people should not be satisfied with sleep that is fraught with problems.  “Sometimes patients, especially older adults, think that this kind of fatigue is normal, but it’s not.  And we can help.”

Ministry’s Sleep Lab also offers free screenings to the community.  Screenings indicate a patient’s risk for a sleep disorder, and individuals can self-refer for this service.  To schedule a free screening, sleep evaluation, or to get more information, call Ministry’s Sleep Facility at (920)746-3570.

It’s Not Just a Job, It’s a Vocation: A Conversation with Dr. Richard Hogan

You were the first internist here at DCMC nearly 22 years ago. Tell us why you’ve stayed.

It’s the community. Having come here with my family from Chicago, I can say that Door County has the nicest people in the world, both my patients and my colleagues. We have a beautiful, modern, up-to-date facility and excellent nursing care. I can’t imagine a better place to practice.

What is your philosophy of care?

We’re given the precious gift of life. My job is to help all of my patients be as healthy as they can be. My specialties in internal medicine, pulmonary medicine and sleep medicine, help me offer specific expertise in theses areas.

For my older patients, of whom I have many, I help them be as healthy as they can possibly be with the limitations they may have. I love being part of the drama of life. It’s not just a job, it’s a vocation.

Tell us about your colleagues.

My patients, some of whom have been with me for 20 years or more, know that they can trust me and my team: that includes nurses, LPNs and support staff. If I tell them that someone is going to follow up with them about test results or medication, they know it will get done. We truly are a medical home for the people in this community.

Did you always know you would be a physician?

My father was a pharmacist’s assistant, but he would have liked to become a doctor. When I was seven years old growing up in Chicago, our class took a trip to the Museum of Science and Industy, and a classmate told a reporter who photographed our class that she was going to marry me and I’d become a doctor. I married my lovely bride Deb instead, but my classmate was right about the doctor part.

How do you take care of yourself?

Staying connected with my family, including my five children, is a big part of it. I also work out three times a week and do a relaxation technique every day for 10 or 15 minutes. I love to read. I’m part of a book club with a small group of other physicians. We’ve been going for 6 or 7 years…it’s a real joy.