5 Fun Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

What’s not to love about summer? Bright sunshine, weekend trips to the beach, and indulging in cool treats like ice cream make this season by far one of the best.

The only downside…extreme heat.

We’ll take hot weather over cooler temperatures any day. But, after weeks of scorching heat, we’re ready for a cooldown.

Good thing there are a lot ways to keep cool when the temperatures are just too hot. If you find yourself stuck inside due to the heat this year, give our following favorite activities a try.

Go for a Swim

Swimming is a classic summertime activity.

Living in Charleston, we are lucky to have access to beautiful beaches that are perfect for swimming. If you live in Charleston, or plan on visiting, we recommend you go for a dip at the following beaches…

  • Folly Beach
  • Isle of Palms
  • Sullivan’s Island

If you don’t live near a beach, grab a summer membership to a local pool or gym that has a pool. Places like the YMCA are typically very affordable and even offer swim classes for kids and adults that want to fine-tune their swimming skills.

Whether you’re at the beach or pool, don’t forget to pack lots of sunscreen to keep your skin protected! It’s possible to get sunburn even when you’re in the water swimming, so be careful and always apply sunscreen!

Create a Cool Body Mist

Regardless of how hot it is outside, chores like mowing the lawn, gardening, and walking the dog still have to get done.

If you’re about to head outdoors for a few hours in the heat, we recommend bringing a cooling body mist spray with you. The following recipe is safe and chemical-free, and will help keep your body temperature cool.

Peppermint Body Mist Spray

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 peppermint tea bags

Directions:

1. Boil 2 cups of water.

2. Steep 2 peppermint tea bags in the boiling water for 10 minutes.

3. Pour peppermint tea into a spray bottle and set in fridge. Do NOT add any sweetener or sugar.

4. Let peppermint tea sit in fridge for at least 1 hour.

5. Mist on body while you are outside to keep you feeling fresh and cool.

Go to a Movie

Movie theaters are notorious for cranking up the AC. That makes them the perfect place to cool down and get out of the hot sun.

Get your friends or family together, and make time to finally go to that movie you’ve been dying to see.

Treat your family to popcorn for dinner. (It’s ok to have some fun and have a treat for dinner every one in a while!) Not only will the kids love it, but you’ll be able to avoid turning your oven on to cook dinner when you get home so you can keep your house cool.

Set Up a Sprinkler

Call us old-fashioned, but there’s nothing better than running through a sprinkler on a hot summer day. And yes, adults, this activity is for you too!

If you don’t have a sprinkler, take a trip to your local garden center or home store. You can pick up a decent sprinkler for under $20 that can be used all summer long.

When you get home, simply change into a swimsuit, attach a garden hose to the sprinkler, and enjoy!

Indulge in an Icy Treat

Last, but certainly not least, is our very favorite way to stay cool—indulging in a tasty, ice-cold, refreshing treat.

If you’re an ice cream lover, head down to your local ice cream parlor. Love slushies? Take a trip to your nearest gas station. Or if you’re more of a smoothie connoisseur, grab your favorite fruits, juices, and yogurt, and whip up a refreshing smoothie.

Delish!

What’s your favorite way to cool down in the summer? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Ask the Doctor- What Are the Pro’s and Con’s of Over vs. Under the Muscle Breast Reconstruction Using Implants?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question:  I had a Dbl. Mastectomy 6 months ago. The expanders were placed & then removed 2 months later, (necrosis) I’ve lost confidence in the original plastic surgeon & went for 2 consults with new Dr’s. One wants to do above the muscle (as did the original Doctor.).

The other says that it needs to be under the muscle. In my research, I’ve found the pros & cons to both, but I’ve also read that in above the muscle technique there has to be enough breast tissue. So my question is that since I had mastectomy could I have enough tissue for above the muscle? Is there a better choice? One Dr suggested that above the muscle is the lazy way to do it.. is that the case?

Thank you.

Answer:  Thank you for your question. I’m sorry to hear you have had problems with your breast reconstruction. There is no one procedure or technique that is best for every patient or for every plastic surgeon. If you had necrosis after your mastectomy then any technique used for breast reconstruction could be very difficult. Breast reconstruction with implants is always difficult when there is necrosis and putting the expander under the muscle may not help in any way.

Normally the breast is above the chest muscle. When breast reconstruction with implants is performed with the expander or implant below the muscle then there is always distortion or unnatural movement of the breast when the chest muscles contract. For many patients this is a significant problem. The problem is avoidable when the implant is in a more natural position. We call this approach prepectoral breast reconstruction. If someone has a mastectomy they should have no breast tissue to cover an implant/expander. That is one of the downsides to breast reconstruction with implants. It is a problem regardless of whether the implant is above or below the chest muscle.

The best breast reconstruction results with implants are when the implant is not below the muscle, but in the normal pre pectoral position. I strongly disagree with the “lazy” excuse. Breast reconstruction with expanders /implants in front of the muscle is much more work for the plastic surgeon compared to below the chest muscle. It also requires specialized expertise and judgement.

You should also be aware that if you have already had problems with your implant breast reconstruction then your best option for a permanent natural result may not be implants at all. Your own fatty tissue may be your best option. Please let me know if you would like more information about natural muscle sparing breast reconstruction without expander/implants. I hope that I answered your question. Please let me know!

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

5 Fun Late Spring Activities to Enjoy This Year

Here in Charleston, it’s beginning to feel a lot like summer.

But for many in the USA, spring is in full swing, which means it’s time to get outside and enjoying the warm weather, fresh air, and beautiful budding trees and flowers.

Need some inspiration on how to get out and enjoy this beautiful season before it comes to an end?

Not to worry. We, at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, have a few ideas we think you might enjoy. Check them out…

Do Some Spring Cleaning

At first thought, spring cleaning may not sound like such a fun activity. But, you can make it fun when you get your family…and even your neighborhood…involved!

Spring is a great time to finally clean out your home and garage and host a neighborhood yard sale.

Start by finding gently used clothing, toys, and other household items that you don’t use or want anymore, and assign price tags to them.

Then talk to your neighbors and see if they want you join you. Pick a date for a neighborhood yard sale, and before you know it, you’ll be clearing unused item out of your home while earning a little extra cash to spend on something you enjoy doing!

Bring Out the Bikes

Biking is a fun activity…especially when you can get a group of friends or family members to go biking with you.

This time of year is one of the best times to bring out the bikes and go for a ride. Not only is the weather nice, but the flowers and trees are all in bloom. This makes for a beautiful ride!

It doesn’t matter where you bike. Do a lap around your neighborhood, go to a local park, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try some biking trails at a local state park.

Here in Charleston, there are a variety of locations to enjoy biking. Here are some of our favorites…

Francis Marion National Forest

Mountain biking in the no-mountain Lowcountry is a blast. We recommend you try the trails in the Francis Marion National Forest, which is located on nearly 259,000 acres in the coastal forest north of Charleston.

Sullivan’s Island

This three-mile-long island has low traffic roadways, which makes it the perfect place for riding bikes. If you bike down to the Charleston Harbor end of the island, you can climb on former military grounds of Fort Moultrie.

Downtown Charleston

Want to get a good view of downtown Charleston, a 300+ year-old city, and take in all the history? If your answer was “yes,” we suggest you bike the city! Sunday morning is the best time to avoid heavy car traffic downtown, so plan your ride accordingly.

Plant a Veggie Garden

Why go to the grocery store when you can grow your own delicious and nutritious vegetables right in your backyard?

All you need to grow your own garden is a garden plot or raised garden bed (we recommend at least 4 foot by 4 foot), garden soil, a shovel, a hose, and some seeds.

Everything mentioned here can be purchased at your local home gardening center or home improvement store.

Then all you have to do is till the soil, plant your seeds, and water your garden every couple of days, and as summer arrives, you’ll have your very own homegrown veggies to eat.

Not sure what to plant? Check out our recommendations for spring veggies.

Visit a Botanical Garden

If you’re not a fan of gardening, but still enjoy the sight and smell of flowers, we recommend you visit a botanical garden.

Botanical gardens are filled with trees, shrubs, and flowers that are native to the area where the botanical garden is located. And because these gardens are planted and maintained by professional gardeners, they are stunning to go see.

Most botanical gardens charge a small entrance fee, so be sure to do some research on the garden you’re going to visit so you’re aware of costs and other important information.

Tip: A trip to a botanical garden makes a fun ladies’ day out! Get your girlfriends together to enjoy this activity.

Visit a Local Farm

If you love animals, springtime is the very best time tovisit your local farm.

The reason: it’s the time of the year when new baby farm animals start to make their grand entrance into the world. And boy, are they adorable!

Local farms that allow visitors also tend to have little shops where you can buy fresh produce, milk, and eggs. Not to mention, many places also make homemade ice cream with milk from their cows! Delish!

Note: Before you visit a farm, always make sure that they allow visitors. It’s a good idea to give a courtesy call before you visit, unless the farm you’re going to has established public visiting hours.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the spring? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Ask the Doctor- Can You Improve the Contour of My Chest Wall Resulting from Mastectomy?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question:  I have had a double mastectomy Dec 2015. I did not rebuild. I went from a full c cup to flat or uneven bumpy. I am mutilated and was looking into perhaps “cleaning” up my chest by removing uneven skin and scars. I am trying to achieve a chest where I can use a prosthetic nipple. I do not want reconstruction. Your thoughts? Thank you.

Answer: I’m sorry you have ended up with what sounds like an unsatisfactory result.

It may well be possible to move closer to the result you seek, with a few caveats. Through a combination of skin and / or fat removal, and possibly fat grafting, it is often possible to achieve a smoother overall contour. While it is not generally possible to completely remove scars, sometimes they can be improved, both in appearance and position.

I can’t really give you more information at this point, because specific recommendations beyond the above generalizations would depend heavily on your precise situation. Ideally, a prospective surgeon would be able see you in person, and then give his best estimate of what would be needed, and what might be the expected outcome.

Hope this helps a little, have a great day!

Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

Spring Gardening: Beautiful Flowers to Grow This Year

 

You know what they say…April showers bring May flowers. And at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we think there’s nothing better than taking a stroll through a garden full of fresh, beautiful, fragrant flowers.

Aside from adding beauty, planting a flower garden at your house has a lot of benefits.

First, gardening is great exercise!

Digging holes, planting, watering, and weeding your garden are all activities that require you to get up and moving. And, as an added bonus, caring for your garden gets you outside and into the fresh air.

Second, gardening is always a great hobby and social activity. Across the country, there are numerous gardening clubs and societies you can join if flowers are your passion. Attending garden society meetings and flower shows is a great way to make friends and learn new things.

And last, but certainly not least, planting a flower garden helps the bees. While you may not care for these flying critters, they are extremely important for pollination. Without their help, many of the foods we love would not be able to grow.

Whatever your reason for wanting to garden, the best part is that as long as you have access to flower seeds, gardening tools, a patch of soil, and live in a climate zone that’s suitable, you can easily grow your very own garden—no green thumb needed!

Ready to start your own garden this spring? Let’s take a look at the different climate zones so you can determine what flowers grow best in your area.

Zones 3 and 4 – Carnations, Hyacinths, and Black-Eyed Susans

In the United States, zones 3 and 4 sit in the large area of land between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Lakes north of Nebraska.

This region has cold winters and short summers, yet despite the cool temperatures, a few flower varieties thrive in these areas.

If you live in zonez 3 or 4, try your hand at planting carnations, hyacinths, and black-eyed Susans.

Zones 5 and 6 – Marigolds, Roses, and Hydrangeas

Zones 5 and 6 are located in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, and Ohio. These states tend to have dry summers, which means drought-tolerant flowers are key for this area.

Flowers like marigolds, roses, and hydrangeas will do best here. If you want to plant non-drought-tolerant flowers, be sure to water them often during the hot summer months.

Zones 7 and 8 – Hibiscus, Freckled Geisha Japanese Iris, and the Climbing Tea Rose

Texas, California, the Carolinas, and the southern half of Oregon are classified as zones 7 and 8. These zones are known for mild winters and warm, dry summers.

The cool thing about this zone is that flowers can be grown year-round due to temperate climates.

Beautiful flowers like the hibiscus, Freckled Geisha Japanese iris, and the climbing tea rose do well in this environment.  If you live in zones 7 or 8, give those flower varieties a try!

If you’re a South Carolina native, you might know that South Carolina’s state flower is the Gelsemium sempervirens—a vibrant yellow, trumpet-shaped blossom.

These flowers grow very well in the Charleston area. If you’re local to the area, try planting this flower variety in your garden this year!

Zones 9 and 10 – Fanfare Gaillardia, Summer Breeze Agastache, and the Casablanca Lily

Zones 9 and 10 include California, Florida, and Hawaii.

These regions are known for stable, hot temperatures throughout the year. In the winter months, these zones experience high humidity and rain.

Because of the heat and humidity, flowers like the Fanfare Gaillardia, Summer Breeze Agastache, and the Casablanca lily grow best in this zone.

Best of luck in your new spring flower garden!

Do you have a favorite spring flower you plant every year?

Share that with us in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- Can I Leave In My Old Silicone and Saline Implants and Just Get A Breast Lift?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question:  I had my breast done once when 25 with silicone implants, once when I was 55 with saline. Now I need a breast lift. My only question is can the same implants stay there and just lift everything? Is that ridiculous. I want to leave the old implants and just lift the breast and move the nipple up some. I think it will be less expensive not to add a new implant.

Answer: It might be possible to leave the implants in place, but it would depend on your particular anatomy, and how much of a lift you needed. Even if you do try to use the same implants, it will be necessary to have “extras” in the operating room in case one is damaged during the surgery and must be replaced.

 Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

3 Decadent Dessert Recipes for a Treat Yourself Day

Every day people go to work, run a business, care of their children, take care of their pets, volunteer, and do many other tiring jobs.

It’s possible you do at least one, or even more, of the things we just mentioned above.

The bottom line is that we know you work hard every day to make ends meet, care for your family, and help those in need. And most of the time, you probably even do it without getting one “thank-you” in return.

Well, we believe it’s time to thank yourself. And one of the best ways to do that is to set aside a time to indulge in a decadent “treat yourself” dessert.

We, at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, love to indulge in a sweet treat from time to time ourselves. So, we thought we’d share 3 delicious recipes that we think you’ll enjoy.

Ready for a much-needed treat yourself day? Give one of the following recipes a try!

Chocolate Lava Cake Recipe

There’s nothing more decadent than a warm, gooey piece of cake filled with rich, molten chocolate lava. If you’re a chocolate lover, this recipe is for you.

The best part, it’s super simple to make. Check it out…

Ingredients:

  • Baking spray, for spraying custard cups
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray four custard cups with baking spray and place on a baking sheet.

2. Microwave the butter, bittersweet chocolate and semisweet chocolate in a large bowl on high until the butter is melted, about 1 minute. Whisk until the chocolate is also melted. Stir in the sugar until well blended. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks, then add the vanilla. Stir in the flour. Divide the mixture among the custard cups.

3. Bake until the sides are firm and the centers are soft, about 13 minutes. Let stand 1 minute. Invert on individual plates while warm and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Recipe Source: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/chocolate-lava-cakes

Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

If you prefer a dessert made from fresh, sweet, and juicy berries, you’re going to want to give this strawberry shortcake recipe a try.

This light, yet decadent dessert, topped with a sweet homemade whipped cream, is so easy to make even a novice chef can do it. Give it a try.

Ingredients:

  • 3 pints fresh strawberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup shortening
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups whipped heavy cream

Directions:

1. Slice the strawberries and toss them with 1/2 cup of white sugar. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Grease and flour one 8-inch round cake pan.

3. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, 2 tablespoons white sugar and the salt. With a pastry blender, cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the beaten egg and milk. Stir until just combined.

4. Spread the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 425 degrees F (220 degrees C) for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool partially in pan on wire rack.

5. Slice partially cooled cake in half, making two layers. Place half of the strawberries on one layer and top with the other layer. Top with remaining strawberries and cover with the whipped cream.

Recipe Source: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/8201/strawberry-shortcake/

Vanilla Bean Mousse Recipe

Vanilla lovers, rejoice!

This 4-ingredient recipe is simple and delicious, and leaves you wanting to come back for seconds. And we say, go ahead and grab that extra serving—today is a day to indulge, right? The next time you have a vanilla craving, whip this recipe up…

Ingredients:

  • One vanilla bean, seeds scraped from the pod
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Directions:

1. Whip heavy cream with vanilla bean seeds and 1/3 cup sugar until soft peaks form (err on the side of slightly overwhipped). Set aside.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add 1/3 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

3. Fold together the whipped cream mixture and the egg mixture (I folded the eggs into the whipped cream).

4. Gently pour into individual serving dishes and refrigerate at least six hours, or overnight.

5. Serve!

Recipe Source: http://www.sugarlaws.com/vanilla-bean-mousse

Do you have a favorite decadent dessert recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!

 

Ask the Doctor- Is the Fat from the Stomach Area Okay to Use for Breast Reconstruction?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: Is the fat from the stomach area okay to use for breast reconstruction?

Answer: If there is enough stomach fat, it is our preferred donor site to reconstruct the breasts. The exact technique used is the “DIEP flap,” which does not take any muscle at all. If there is not enough stomach fat, our next choice is the buttocks, but we prefer to use stomach if it is adequate.

Thanks for your question, and please let us know if you would like additional information.

 Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!

5 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

On April 22, 192 countries from around the world will all celebrate a very important holiday—Earth Day!

Schools will plant trees, groups will pick up trash in community parks, and thousands of people will pitch in to help clean up our earth in an effort to keep it beautiful for generations to come. This holiday is such a great reminder to all of us about how we must take care of the earth we live on.

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction believe we should take care of our earth as if every day is earth day. Which is why, on this holiday, we want to share a few ideas of things you can do to celebrate earth day that will help keep our planet clean and safe.

This Earth Day, and every day after, see if you can put some of these activities into action.

Picnic and Park Cleanup

Every now and then it’s nice to pack up a picnic lunch, head to your favorite park, and enjoy time outside with your friends and family.

The next time you head out for a picnic, we suggest you bring a few trash bags with you.

Before you dig into your delicious picnic basket, spend 15 minutes with your friends or family walking around the park, picking up trash. The more people you have, the quicker you’ll be able to clean up your park.

After you’ve collected your trash, dump it in the nearest trash can, wash up with some hand sanitizer or wet wipes, and then reward yourself for a job well done by diving into your picnic feast.

Take a Bike Trip

There’s nothing more fun than a bike ride on a nice sunny day—except maybe taking a bike ride to grab some ice cream or another one of your favorite treats.

If you live in town and can bike to your local ice cream parlor, celebrate Earth Day with a bike ride to grab a sweet treat.

Taking your bike instead of a car cuts down on gas emissions, which pollute the earth. Plus, you’ll get some good exercise as you ride your bike.

We then encourage you, if you feel safe enough, to take your bike instead of a car wherever you can. We understand this isn’t possible for everyone, but if you live in a community with safe bike paths, give it a try!

Plant a Garden in Your Yard

Planting a garden is a great way to make your yard look beautiful while helping the earth.

Planting a flower garden helps the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds get the food they need from nectar to thrive. More important, flowers provide bees with the energy they need to pollenate our food sources so we can eat fresh produce.

If you’re a tree lover, planting trees is great, too! Adding a few new trees in your backyard is good for increasing oxygen levels as trees take unbreathable CO2 emissions and turn it into oxygen.

Last but not least, you can also plant a veggie garden. The flowers on the vegetables provide bees with food. In return, the bees pollinate the flowers so that your vegetables can bud and grow. Bonus, you get the reward of having fresh organic veggies when you grow your own garden!

Make a Recycle Bin for Your Home

Every day people throw recyclable materials, like plastic, in the trash. And this is a problem because plastic doesn’t decompose.

When nonbiodegradable products are put in landfills, they pollute the earth and can even put animals at risk. If you’ve ever seen pictures of animals caught in plastic soda rings or images of birds and other critters tangled in plastic bags, you know what we’re talking about.

The good news is you can help change this problem.

All you have to do is go out to the store and get a bin. If you’d like, you can decorate it and label it “recycle.” Then all you need to do is throw your plastic containers, cardboard, and glass products in the recycle bin instead of the trash.

Once you’ve collected a full bin of recyclable materials, dump it in your outdoor recycle trash bin, or bring it to your local recycling center.

Turn Trash into Treasure with Repairing and Repurposing

These days, people are quick to throw things in the trash without trying to fix or reuse what they are throwing away.

A great example is a basketball that has a leak. Instead of throwing away the basketball, you may be able to fix it with a simple patch job. When you can repair instead of throwing away your things, you create less waste.

On the other hand, there are things that can’t be repaired or used in the same way again.

One example is an old t-shirt that no longer fits because you’ve grown. Instead of just throwing it in the trash, there are several things you can do with it.

First, you could donate it to someone in need, as long as it’s in good condition.

If it’s not in good condition, consider cutting it up into small cleaning rags and using those pieces of clothes to clean instead of buying a new package of washcloths at the store.

If you use some creativity, there are many ways you can repurpose older things into new things.

Do you do anything special to celebrate Earth Day? Share it with us in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- Is It Possible To Have a Bilateral DIEP after Having a Bilateral Mastectomy?

This week, James E. Craigie, MD, of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your question.

Question: I had bilateral mastectomy in Dec 2009. Is it possible for me to have bilateral DIEP now?

Answer: Thanks for your great question! There is no limit on the time elapsed from your mastectomies for you to have DIEP flaps. In fact, it is not terribly unusual to reconstruct people who, for various reasons, have delayed reconstruction for 10-15 years. Generally speaking, they do at least as well as patients who have immediate reconstruction, and sometimes better. If you have a suitable donor site (which most people do), and you are in reasonably good health, it is very likely that you could have reconstruction with your own tissue.

I would be more than happy to speak with you by phone, or, if you are able, evaluate you in person. If you wish, we could have our NP Lindsey or PA Audrey contact you to get more information.

 Have a question about breast reconstruction or post-surgical you’d like answered from our surgical team? Just ask!