Whether it is time for a well-child visit, a preventive exam or a bigger health concern, Cheryl and Dan Meyer and family, including their adult daughters and young grandchildren, call Sarah Strahm, a family nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. As a Family Medicine provider, Strahm takes care of patients of all ages and life stages.
“Families and individuals in different stages of life have different needs,” Strahm says. “When multiple members of a family follow with the same provider or team of providers, it’s easier to take those different needs into account.”
And the Meyer family demonstrates just how different those needs can be. Over the years, Strahm has cared for the family during countless well-child visits and annual preventive exams.
But Strahm has also helped family members navigate some bigger health concerns, including migraine headaches, prediabetes, thyroid nodules, anxiety and two cancer diagnoses (breast cancer in Cheryl’s case; multiple myeloma in Dan’s).
Cheryl appreciates how Strahm helps her manage the conditions. “Sarah keeps tabs on my thyroid function and helped me with genetic testing for breast cancer,” she says.
That information is important to the Meyers’ daughters. Having a family history of cancer or other conditions can affect screening timelines.
“Sarah always knows what we need to do for screening,” says Danielle Barka, one of their daughters. “She remembers everything.”
Barka’s sister, Carrie Halvorson, appreciates that as well. “I don’t have to repeat my health history, because Sarah already knows,” says Halvorson.
That type of knowledge benefits patients in a number of ways.
“When a family member has had a major health condition, we as providers need to be aware of the anxiety of all family members,” Strahm explains. “Health problems don’t affect just one person. They have an effect on the whole family. Children worry about developing the disease or about their parents having a recurrence.”
Strahm says she’s grateful to have the opportunity to care for families like the Meyers.
“Life is about connection and relationships,” she says. “It’s a gift to be able to walk with families through potty training trials, sleepless nights, job transitions, the tribulations of parenting a high schooler or of being one, or loss of a parent or grandparent. I appreciate and value being trusted enough to be part of a family’s journey.”