Gratitude: Why You Don’t Need to Find a Pot of Gold to Feel Lucky This Month

 During the month of March, people often think of lucky four-leaf clovers, chasing leprechauns, and finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It’s the month of luck after all!

Sure, finding a pot of treasure or stumbling upon a stash of golden horseshoes would be lucky, but the chances of that happening—unless you’re a treasure hunter–are slim to none.

That’s ok.

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we believe it’s best to create your own luck, so that every day can be a great day!

Keep reading to discover some of our favorite ways you can remind yourself just how lucky you really are and show gratitude for everything you have.

Reflect on the Good Things in Life

It’s really easy to get caught reflecting on the bad things in life…like being diagnosed with cancer, losing a loved one, or being stressed out at work.

Yet, when we take a minute and begin to reflect on the good things in life, we realize there is often more good than bad happening in our lives.

Think about how lucky you are to have loving friends and family in your life that are there to support you whenever you need them. If you don’t have a lot of close friends or family, perhaps you have a pet that is always available for a snuggle.

Do you have a home, a warm bed to sleep in, and food to eat? Sadly, there are many people in the world that don’t. We consider ourselves lucky to have those things.

Chances are you’re reading this blog post from a computer or a smartphone. Just the fact that you have access to technology is very lucky! Not to mention other luxuries like electricity, a TV to watch, the ability to call friends and family via your cell phone, etc.

You see, when you start thinking about how many good things you have in your life, you don’t need “leprechaun magic” to realize just how good you have it!

Volunteer or Help Those in Need

Sometimes the best way to realize how lucky we are is put ourselves in the same room as those who aren’t as lucky.

The best way to do this is volunteering.

Working a soup kitchen is a great way to remind ourselves how lucky we are to have food in our stomach.

Volunteering at a homeless shelter is a wonderful way to remind ourselves how fortunate we are to have our own beds to sleep in.

And spending time with sick children or adults in a hospital is the best way to show us how lucky we are for our good health—regardless of the health issues you’ve faced in the past.

Volunteer for a cause that is close to your heart, and I promise you won’t need to find a pot of gold to feel rich in your blessings.

Create Your Own Luck

Good fortune is often the result of a lot of hard work.

Think about it…many millionaires who own thriving businesses started with nothing, working out of their garages. But, with hard work, they now live a very fortunate lifestyle.

If you feel as if you’ve been stuck in a rut without any good luck, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, follow your dreams, and create your own good luck for the future.

Have the tools and resources you need to start your dream business? Do it!

Need to finish your college degree to help make a comfortable life for you and your family? Hit the books!

Do you dream of traveling the world? Start saving a little money each month to make that dream a reality.

With a little hard work and planning, you’ll have the potential to do whatever you set your mind to—how lucky is that!

How do you make your own luck? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- Is reconstruction possible 14 years after radiation?

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

Question:  In 2003, I was diagnosed with DCIS, had a lumpectomy and radiation on the right breast. Years later I have a large lump and had an MRI today. It probably is nothing but I am considering have that breast removed and having reconstruction done at the same time. Is this possible 14 years after radiation?

Answer: We routinely do successful natural tissue reconstruction on patients who have had previous breast surgery and radiation, and the fact that your radiation was 14 years ago will have no bearing on our chances of success. We would be happy to call and discuss your situation in more detail, if you wish, just let us know.

Have great day!

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

The Benefits of Animal Therapy

 Different animals, such as dogs, cats, or horses, all have one thing in common. They all provide humans with unconditional love and affection.

This trait makes our furry friends perfect for animal therapy. And it’s certainly no secret.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world—from people battling cancer to children who are afraid of going to the dentist—reap the benefits of animal therapy on a daily basis in order to live a happy and healthy life.

Would you or someone you know benefit from animal therapy?

Check out a few of the most common reasons people seek out the comfort of therapy animal companions.

Anxiety

If you’ve ever noticed that you feel better when you’re around your pet, you’re not the only one.

Many doctors and scientists claim that petting an animal releases “feel good” hormones into your bloodstream, which make you feel calm and relaxed. Many studies also claim that the action of petting an animal helps lower blood pressure.

These things combined help the body relax—something very important for someone who suffers from anxiety.

If you’re ever feeling anxious, and you have a pet in your home, trying spending a little time curled up on the couch with your furry buddy…it may help!

Warning: If you ever find yourself suffering from an anxiety attack and the comfort of an animal doesn’t help, contact a friend, family member, or your doctor immediately for help.

Trauma

If you or a loved one has ever experienced some sort of trauma in life, you know how hard it can be to pick up the pieces and move forward.

Healing from trauma—whether it be physical, mental, or emotional—takes time, patience, and love.

The good news…most of our fluffy friends are experts at providing unconditional love and affection. Not to mention, as long as some petting is involved, most animals are willing to lie down with their owners (or the people they are visiting) and provide support as long as it’s needed.

There’s nothing like having a loyal buddy to stick with you when the times are rough.

Depression

When people fall into a depression due to illness, life-changing events, stress, etc., it can be very lonely.

Yet, despite the loneliness, it’s not common for people who are depressed to have the desire to socialize with others. Time spent in isolation can make depression worse.

It’s an awful cycle of feeling sad and lonely—a cycle no one should have to experience.

Therapy animals are great for people who are depressed because they open up a low-pressure outlet for socialization. They provide people with a “friend” during the times they need companionship most.

Even better—because animals require exercise and time outside—they can even help people get up and moving who would otherwise be confined to their bed or couch.

An Extra Set of “Paws”

Aside from emotional support, many people use therapy animals if they have a disability or are recovering from an illness, as an extra set of “paws” around the house.

Dogs can be trained to retrieve items, call people in case of emergencies, detect if an owner is going to have a seizure, and so much more.

Cats, with their keen sense of smell, can also be trained to sniff out danger and warn their owner if a medical emergency is about to occur.

Even horses—typically miniature horses—can be trained and used as “guide services” for the blind.

It’s truly incredible what our four-legged friends are capable of.

If you or someone you love enjoys animals and is in need of emotional or physical support, ask your doctor if a therapy animal would be appropriate!

Do you have a therapy pet? Tell us about your furbaby in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- Can you help me if I am without insurance and money?

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

Question:  I have no insurance and have no money and looking to get a mammogram I have not had a mammogram in four or five years and I am 64.

Answer: Our office is solely dedicated to the reconstruction process after mastectomy. For a screening mammogram you might contact Komen Lowcountry http://komenlowcountry.org/, and ask them about any community resources or financial aid you can investigate within your county of residence. This list is included on their website and includes information on the Best Chance Network among others. http://komenlowcountry.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/FA-TriCounty-Colleton.pdf. Hope you can find the help you need with this information.

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

The Best Places to Take a Stroll in Charleston

 Between the history, warm weather, and charming Southern-town feel, Charleston, South Carolina, is a wonderful place to visit. In fact, it’s been voted the #1 city to travel to in the United States by multiple travel and leisure publications.

If you’ve never been to Charleston or are planning a trip here in the next few weeks, you’re in luck! We’re just about to enter one of the best seasons in Charleston—springtime.

With warm temperatures, beautiful gardens in bloom, and increased amount of water activity on the coastline, the city of Charleston comes alive during the spring months.

There’s so much to do and so much to see that we thought we’d highlight a few of our favorite places to take a stroll in this beautiful city.

Be sure to put at least one of these places on your list during your trip…

Battery & White Point Gardens

Located in Charleston’s historic district, this landmark provides a spectacular view of Fort Sumter and the Charleston Harbor. It was first used as a public garden in 1837. With the outbreak of the Civil War, it became a fortification for the city.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll definitely enjoy checking out the old Civil War cannons located throughout the park along with a gazebo-style bandstand from 1907. Statues and memorials are also located throughout the park and give visitors a chance to learn a little about the history of the area.

Ocean views, large shady oak trees, and oyster shell pathways make this park a beautiful place your entire family can enjoy.

Find out more.

The Old City Market

The Old City Market is known as the cultural heart of the city of Charleston.

As one of the nation’s oldest public markets, this market plays a leading role in the preservation of American history. Bringing your family out to the market to shop for a day is almost like taking a step back into history.

At the market, you can shop, eat, or just enjoy the ambiance of the city as you stroll down the streets.

Find out more.

Folly Beach

Travel 15 miles from downtown Charleston and you’ll find beautiful Folly Beach.

Its large beaches—a hot spot for surfing–eclectic neighborhoods, and community of locally owned restaurants and shops make it the perfect place to explore, unwind, and rest with your family.

If you’re a wildlife enthusiast, we highly recommend you talk a walk on the beach.  There’s a good chance you’ll be able to spot loggerhead turtles, dolphins, bald eagles, and various types of sea birds.

Find out more.

Magnolia Plantation & Gardens

If you love strolling through gardens, smelling the roses, and identifying countless varieties of flowers, trees, and shrubs, Magnolia Plantation & Gardens is the place for you.

Founded in 1676 by the Drayton family, Magnolia Plantation has been around for centuries. This incredible estate has witnessed everything from the American Revolution through the Civil War and beyond.

It’s also the oldest public tourist site in the Lowcountry and the oldest public gardens in America, opening its doors to visitors in 1870. Every day hundreds of people visit to view the thousands of beautiful flowers and plants in its famous gardens.

Find out more.

Do you have a favorite place to stroll around in Charleston?

Share in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- Can I have my silicone implants removed?

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

Question:  Three years ago I had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Can I have my silicone implants removed? And what is the recovery time?

Answer: You can always choose to have your implants removed. If no further reconstruction is done, recovery time ranges from a few days to two weeks, possibly longer, depending on your individual situation.

If you have the implants removed and then have reconstruction with your own tissue, recovery is a lot longer, usually about two months.

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

5 Self-Care Tips

 

Between working full-time jobs, taking care of our families, and juggling day-to-day activities, it’s easy to forget about self-care and put everyone and everything else before our own needs.

Think about it…

How many times have you put your own desires on the back burner in order to cater to someone else, whether it be work, your partner, or your children?

There’s nothing wrong with taking care of others.

In fact, the ability to put others before yourself is a beautiful gift that not everyone has. But serving others doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of yourself.

Self-care, especially when you are someone who puts yourself last, is an extremely important topic. That’s why, this week, we’re sharing with you easy tips to ensure you get the self-care you need so you can live a happy, healthy, and balanced life.

Keep reading to discover a few self-care tips that you can easily implement into your schedule every week.

Schedule Weekly “Me Time”

Long work days, carpooling your kids to various activities, being there for a friend who needs a shoulder to cry on, and other similar activities eat up a lot of your time. And when you have a servant’s heart, it can be really hard to say no when someone needs you.

That’s why it is so important to block time off during your week that is “me time.”

Some people need an hour every night to relax and refresh, while others need an hour every other day. It’s up to you how much time you think you’ll need.

The idea is that whatever amount of time you block off is for you and you only.

Don’t let anyone schedule plans with you during that time. Tell your partner you will be unavailable during your “you time” so he or she can help with the chores or kids or manage anything else that needs to get done.

Turn off your phone and computer so people don’t have access to you.

Use your time to relax, unwind, and enjoy the things you love to do.

Cook a Meal You Love Once a Week

For those of you that have children and/or a picky partner, cooking can often be a chore.

You may find yourself making mac-n-cheese 3 nights a week because your children won’t eat anything else. Or maybe you refrain from making your favorite vegetarian dish because your significant other doesn’t enjoy veggies.

It’s ok to compromise and make meals that will make everyone happy…but what about you?

Every once in a while, you deserve to indulge in your favorite foods, too. That’s why, once a week, you should treat yourself to cooking your favorite meal.

If your kids or spouse doesn’t enjoy what you make one night a week, there’s always bread and peanut butter in the pantry.

If you don’t want to search for a good recipe, check out some of our favorites:

Quick and Easy Soup Recipes

Quick and Healthy Meal Recipes 

Simple Charleston-Area Recipes 

Visit a Spa

Everyone deserves to be pampered once in a while—even you!

If you are able, a trip to the spa to get your nails done or get a massage is a great way to relax and take care of yourself. Let someone take care of you for a change!

If you know a handful of other women that need some self-care, get a group of girlfriends together and make it a fun outing.

If you’re in the Charleston, South Carolina area, we recommend these local spas.

Get Some Exercise

Part of self-care is ensuring your body is healthy and happy. This means partaking in some form of exercise every week to keep your mind clear and your body strong.

This doesn’t mean spending hours breaking your back at the gym. That’s no fun. We encourage you to pick activities you love, like yoga, walking, Zumba, etc.

There are many forms of exercise, like hiking or dance classes, that you can do in groups. Make your self-care exercise time more fun by inviting your friends to join these types of activities with you if you enjoy having company.

Just Be

At times, life can be hard, stressful, and challenging. For that reason, sometimes the best form of self-care is to simply sit quietly and just be.

This can be accomplished in many ways.

Some people prefer meditation, a time where they can sit in peace, reflect, and free their mind. Others enjoy things like taking a hot bath with calming music in the background, or sitting in nature and admiring the views for a while.

The idea is to lose yourself in the stillness and calmness of the moment so you can free your mind, relax, and enjoy yourself.

The laundry, business reports, and doctors’ appointments will all still be there when you’re done relaxing, so take some time and just be.

 What do you do regularly for self-care? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- Can you have reconstruction after a full body lipo suction?

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

Question:  Hello I’m a cancer survivor and I have a question. I’ve been on this roller coaster ride for the last past six years and I’m ready to get off of it six years with the painful mishaps of reconstruction NOT the cancer. So my question is…it possible to have breast reconstruction after you have had a full body lipo suction everywhere. I mean where would a doctor get any fat or tissue from? I’ve had several failed breast augmentation and several capsules therefore the skin is very thin.

I now have my 8th capsule (ROCK ) I’m just about ready to cut them OFF myself, totally miserable. I have just about given up my faith and search and doctors because every time I go under the knife and get my hopes up high. I end up in the same boat. Is safe to say I feel like cutting them off myself I’m sick off these rocks are very painful is there anything that can be done? Thanks in advance

Answer:  It may be possible to reconstruct your breasts with your own natural tissue, but I can’t give you odds without examining you, and then probably ordering an MRI angiogram to evaluate the status of the perforating blood vessels that we use to transfer tissue.

The first question is whether you have enough extra tissue left after liposuction to make it worthwhile doing a microvascular transfer to the breast area. The areas we commonly use are the abdomen, the buttocks, and the posterior thigh. “Enough” is a relative term, to a large extent defined by your personal breast size goals.

The second issue is whether you have usable blood vessels in any areas which we could potentially transfer as flaps. This can usually be determined by a pre-operative MRI angiogram. Unfortunately, this requires an unusually strong (3T) MRI machine, and a specialized exam protocol, so ordinarily it must be done at a special facility here in Charleston.

Thanks very much for your question. I would be happy to discuss your situation further by phone or in person, if you wish..

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

How to Make Exercising More Fun

 

Exercise is good for our heart, muscles, and lungs, and helps us release stress and extra energy that builds up inside ourselves.

It’s something that, no matter how old or young we are, we all need to do in order to keep our bodies strong and stay healthy.

Unfortunately, many people avoid exercise because they feel incapable of it, or are intimidated by it. Part of the problem is that many people believe you need to spend hours at a gym lifting heavy weights or running miles on a treadmill to get a good workout.

This is simply not true.

Any time you are up and moving, you are getting exercise. That means you can turn daily activities into exercise and, most importantly, have fun while you’re doing it!

Keep reading to discover a few ways you can have fun while exercising—without the expensive gym membership or insane workout plans!

Dance

Dancing is a wonderful form of exercise, and it’s a total body workout.

When you dance, you get a solid cardio workout, strengthen your muscles, and improve your flexibility. The best part is that it only takes about a half hour of dancing to your favorite tunes to provide you with your daily dose of exercise.

If you want a more structured form of dance exercise, we recommend taking a class, like salsa dancing or Zumba. You can find these classes available at local community centers, dance studios, or gyms.

Play Outside with Your Kids

The next time your children, grandchildren, or nieces or nephews ask you to play outside, unleash your inner child and go for it!

Playing a game of tag, hopscotch, or jump rope is a fun way to get fresh air while moving your body. You’ll have so much fun, you’ll forget you’re even exercising.

It’s important for both kids and adults to get out and move, so try scheduling a half hour of outdoor play every day.

Join a Club Sport

If you love watching football, basketball, baseball, or any other sport on the big screen, we know you will enjoy getting off the couch and playing your favorite sport.

It doesn’t matter if you your were colleges all-star player, or if you have two left feet. Anyone can participate and have a good time when she participates in club sports.

Rally a bunch of your friends or family members together, join a team, and get a workout on the field together.

Take a Hike

If you dislike running on a treadmill, but want to improve your endurance, build strength, and get a good cardio work out ,take a hike!

When you hit the trails, you get the same amount of exercise as you would on a treadmill, but you get to enjoy the beautiful outdoors and work out at a more comfortable pace. Most people get so wrapped up in the beauty of nature that they forget they are even working out!

Pick a cool day, invite a friend, be sure to bring plenty of water, and plan an exciting day on the trails.

What’s your favorite fun exercise routine? Share in the comments below!

Ask the Doctor- Can you you improve my issues and tell me the cost?

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

Question: Due to strong family history of breast cancer, I had a bi-lateral subcutaneous mastectomy. I had this surgery shortly after my husband died suddenly from a MI. I was in my early thirties with two young children to raise. I had such a poor result and complications from that procedure, I am now interested in using abdominal fat for both breasts. Until this year, I had no fat @ 123lbs.

I now have abdominal fat, @ 137lbs. The poor result of the surgery destroyed my self-confidence as a woman. I am 68 yrs. old in great health but, because of the way I look, I have never accepted an invitation for a “date,” in all those years. My chest is tight, painful, with random indentions that were cuts made into the muscle in an effort to give me some relief.

I got no relief, just exacerbated the look, the shape of both breasts. Does this sound like an issue you could improve? Also, could you give me just a ballpark cost, a guesstimate, the range of lowest to highest cost? Thank you.

Answer:  Good questions. I’m going to copy our doctors and physician assistant to answer the clinical questions for you. There are other options for you to consider and they can ask some questions to be able to help you decide what might work out best for you. The whole team is in surgery right now but I am sure they will reply as soon as they have a chance to catch up on their e-mail.

In the meantime, here are some basic ideas of cost. This would be for a “self pay” patient. We do accept most insurances so ultimately your financial responsibility would be based on the contract between you and your insurance company. This is a very rough estimate based on some research into the same question for a patient early last year. We’d have to update for you if you choose to proceed but it’s a good starting point.

The fee for a DIEP flap for a private pay patient is $10,000.00 per side. Rib cartilage resection to access vein $1604.78. Mesh placement to repair abdomen $1032.00. Second side/procedures are discounted by 50%.

Anesthesia is per hour at $500 for the first hour and then $300 each hour after. These procedures typically take 4 to 5 hours for one side.
Pre-operative imaging $3015.44 (MRA pelvis/abdomen)

East Cooper Hospital $ 25,000.00 – covers operating room and 4 day inpatient stay.

Hope this information is useful, please feel free to send any additional questions you may have, we’re always happy to help!

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