Flap Procedures for Natural Breast Reconstruction: Understanding Your Options

gap flapWhen a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, she will be faced with many decisions including “Do I want breast reconstruction?” and if so, “What kind of reconstruction is best for me?” With numerous options available, it is important to evaluate each choice and decide which is best for each woman individually.

Breast reconstruction using the patient’s own tissue, also known as autologous tissue reconstruction, is becoming more and more popular for many reasons. Here, we’ll discuss two options in more detail – the deep inferior epigastric (DIEP) flap and the (gluteal artery perforator) GAP flap.

What is the DIEP Flap?

The DIEP flap procedure reconstructs the breasts using tissue from the patient’s abdomen. The tissue consists of mostly skin and fat and never includes the muscle.

What Is the GAP Flap?

The GAP flap reconstructs the breasts using tissue from the patient’s buttocks. The tissue consists of mostly skin and fat as well and never includes the muscle.

What Are the Benefits of Each One?

Women who are considering natural reconstruction often choose one of these two flap procedures according to what benefits her individual needs. The DIEP flap is popular with many patients because of its potential to provide “tummy tuck” results – a flatter appearance to the lower belly. Meanwhile, patients who elect the GAP flap might prefer the benefit of removing tissue from the buttock area instead. In either case, muscles are spared, reducing recovery time. It is important to note that both procedures can be used for unilateral cases (only one breast needing reconstruction) or bilateral cases (both breasts needing reconstruction).

What Results Should a Patient Expect?

With both the DIEP and GAP flap procedures, the result is a breast reconstructed from the patient’s own bodily tissue. For this reason, patients are often more satisfied with a natural reconstruction than with implant reconstruction. However, the recovery time can be longer than with implant reconstruction and scars on both the breast and donor site are to be expected.

How Should a Patient Choose One Procedure or the Other?

A patient should first decide if natural reconstruction surgery is a viable option for her. Some women are not ideal candidates due to vascular (blood vessel) issues, as healthy blood vessels are necessary for the flap procedure to succeed. Once the patient decides on natural reconstruction, choosing reconstruction via the DIEP or GAP procedure depends on the health of the “donor site” from where the tissue is removed.

No woman should have to choose the best procedure for her alone – it should be an ongoing discussion with her medical professionals. At the Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, these and other issues are addressed in person within a compassionate and professional environment.

Want to know more? Call toll-free at (866) 374-2627 or visit NaturalBreastReconstruction.com.

Considering Nipple Tattoos? 4 Things Patients Should Know

nipple tattoo

When a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer and begins the journey of considering which reconstruction option is best for her, the hope for a natural looking and feeling breast is normally at the top of her list. A mastectomy may involve removing all of the breast tissue, including the nipples. Thankfully there are now many ways to restore the natural appearance of the breasts following mastectomy and reconstruction. If the original nipples must be removed, many patients with breast cancer opt to have their nipples reconstructed using their own tissue and, as part of the reconstruction, decide to get nipple tattoos.
Curious about how a nipple tattoo works and whether it might be a good option for you? Here are five important things to know.
1. A Nipple Tattoo is the Final Stage of Breast Reconstruction
Nipple tattoos are a beautiful solution to create natural-looking nipples, and most women are candidates for the tattoos. Tattooing is usually done 3-4 months after a woman’s final in-hospital surgery. This is normally when the skin has healed enough from any reconstruction surgeries. If surgical scars aren’t completely healed and mature when the tattoo is created, there is risk of the tattoo becoming distorted over time.
2. The Nipple Tattoo Is Customized to Look Real
The inks used for nipple tattooing are mixed to create the most realistic appearance possible for each patient. The tattoo artist strives to create a shade that resembles the patient’s original nipple and complements her natural skin tone. This is one of the reasons it is important to have a tattoo artist perform the procedure – there is an art to making each nipple unique to each patient.
nipple tattoo3. The Best Tattoos are Done By a Tattoo Artist
Some patients have the option to have their tattoos done within a medical setting by a medical professional; however, there is a fine art to nipple tattooing. This makes finding a tattoo artist who specializes in nipple tattooing key to achieving the best, most realistic results.
Tattoo artist Shannon Purvis Barron, owner of Indigo Rose Tattoo in Columbia, S.C., has been giving breast-cancer survivors tattoos for years, and provides her services once a month in the offices of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.
A lifelong artist, she shifted her focus in college from oil and canvas to ink and skin. She’s seen up close the toll breast cancer can take on women’s bodies and spirits, and believes feeling confident in their bodies is an integral part in the recovery process.
Barron, who will be in The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction office on September 27, 2018, says she can’t even count the number of scars she has covered with flowers, tree branches and feathers, or botched nipple tattoos she has fixed.
4. The Nipple Will Look Real, Thanks to 3-D Techniques
The 3-D nipple tattoo is a work of art that looks like an authentic nipple. Shading, shadows and other artistic skills make the tattoos look just like real nipples, and helps patients feel confident in their breasts once again.
Women who are interested in learning more about nipple tattoos within a medical environment can contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at 1-866-374-2627 or online at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com. Call the office to request an appointment for nipple tattooing with Shannon Purvis Barron for our next available date, September 27, 2018.

Debunking 5 Misconceptions about Breast Reconstruction

“Breast cancer” are two of the scariest words for women. Adding to the pain and fear, options for breast reconstruction after a full or partial mastectomy or lumpectomy are fraught with myths and misinformation.

That’s why it’s important for women to separate the facts about breast reconstruction from the myths and mistruths, and make informed decisions that improve their health and self-image.

Here are five common misconceptions about breast reconstruction that need to be debunked.

  1. Breast Reconstruction Is Only for Complete Mastectomies

Breast reconstruction is not just for women who have had the mastectomy procedure. Because breast reconstruction has come a long way medically in recent years, more and more women are eligible, even if they have only had a lumpectomy. Of course, an individual’s health and history play a part as well, but options are more available than ever.

  1.  Breast Reconstruction Equals Artificial Implants

Good news for women who want to remain all-natural and still have reconstructed breasts: reconstruction methods nowadays offer the opportunity to obtain natural tissues from the woman’s own body, including her thigh, tummy or even rear end. Known as autologous breast reconstruction, these methods are constantly evolving through science and technology and, as a result, are becoming safer and more successful.

  1.  If I Have Chemotherapy or Radiation, I Am Not Eligible for Breast Reconstruction

Many women believe that if they opted to undergo radiation or chemotherapy as a form of breast cancer treatment (or if they plan to undergo such treatments in the future), it will render them ineligible for breast reconstruction. While it is true that certain treatments can mean limitations – again, this depends on the individual woman’s health and history – it does not mean reconstruction is impossible. Many times radiation will force a delay in reconstruction, but not prevent it altogether. This is a subject for each individual patient and her doctors to discuss.

  1.  After a Certain Age, Breast Reconstruction Is Not Possible

Even a woman who is diagnosed with breast cancer in the later years of life can still opt to seek breast reconstruction. While it is true that the body heals differently in our “golden years”, age should not be a factor when considering breast reconstruction, primarily because older women can still benefit from improved self-esteem following reconstruction. Federal law requires most insurance plans to cover breast reconstruction after mastectomy, irrespective of the age of the patient.

  1.  Breast Reconstruction Hinders Diagnosing the Return of Cancer

After successfully battling breast cancer, the idea of a recurrence is scary, but that fear should not deter women from seeking breast reconstruction. While it is true that certain factors can affect the risk of recurring cancer, breast reconstruction neither increases nor decreases the risk, according to the American Cancer Society.

To learn more about natural breast reconstruction and find out if it might be the right choice for you, contact The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction at NaturalBreastReconstruction.com or toll-free at (866) 374-2627

Making Peace with Your Body Post Breast Cancer

laughing women wearing pink for breast cance

Regardless of the severity, breast cancer takes a toll on your body.

Between chemo, radiation, and surgeries, many women struggle with their physical appearances after they’ve won their battles.

In a study published in The European Journal of Breast Health, researchers found that many of the 20 study participants who went through breast cancer treatment held a belief that breasts symbolize femininity, beauty, and motherhood.

As a result, after mastectomies, some of the participants felt that half of themselves were missing, as individuals and women.

Fortunately, there are ways to rebuild your self-esteem and body image after surviving breast cancer.

Read on to discover five tips to make peace with your body post breast cancer…

#1: Surround yourself with supportive friends and family.

Supportive family

(Source)

As the author S. Kelley Harrell writes, “we don’t heal in isolation, but in community.”

Without the support of our loved ones–whether they be friends or family–getting through rough periods in our lives may seem insurmountable.

Don’t be afraid to express your feelings of shame, self-doubt, insecurities, or beyond with those who love you and are there to support you.

Loved ones are necessary sources of warmth who will remind you of the wonderful qualities that make you who you truly are.

#2: Acknowledge that some of your body’s changes may only be temporary.

Another important point to keep in mind is that not all physical changes will be permanent.

For example, though you may gain or lose weight during treatment due to side effects of medication, you can instill changes to get back to your pre-treatment weight once your body is ready.

Of course, your body may not bounce back to “the way it used to be,” but remembering that some things will eventually return to normal is a healthy practice in positivity.

#3: Give yourself time to adjust and accept the new you.

With any physical change–even those unrelated to breast cancer–it can take time to accept and get accustomed to the change.

It’s not realistic to expect that you’ll be able to accept your new body right away.

Perhaps you used to pride yourself on certain physical characteristics that have changed considerably since you went through your breast cancer experience.

Give yourself the time to adjust your perspective on what beauty means to you.

Focus on finding new aspects of your appearance or personality that you want to emphasize or embrace–and let them shine!

#4: Eat healthy and exercise.

balanced health and diet

(Source)

Although you may be used to hearing your doctor provide the following advice, we’ll chime in here for good measure:

If you want to maintain or improve your appearance to reflect one of improved health, follow a healthy diet and incorporate exercise into your weekly routine.

Eating well and exercising will not only make you feel good from the inside out, but will also help you regain strength in your recovery process.

#5: Consider reconstructive options.

As mentioned before, for many women, breasts symbolize femininity and other values that can be hard to let go of permanently.

Thanks to the miraculous nature of modern day surgery and medicine, reconstructive options for your breasts after a mastectomy are possible.

If what you truly desire is to bring back your shape, reconstructive breast surgery is always an option.

Talk to a doctor and see what your options are. If you’re interested in seeing what our options are, check out our website here.

As a breast cancer survivor, there is a lot to be proud of.

Though physical changes to your body can be incredibly difficult to experience and acknowledge, there are ways to make peace with the changes.

Keep these five tips in mind in your journey to living life with a new normal.

Have any additional suggestions for what you do to feel beautiful in the skin you’re in? Share them in the comments below!

Breast Reconstruction: What Are My Options after an Unsuccessful Reconstructive Surgery?

Making the decision to undergo breast reconstruction surgery is a decision that is not taken lightly.

That’s why it breaks our hearts when we discover that there are women out there who are unhappy with their reconstructive results.

Over the past few months, we’ve heard from several ladies who want to know what their options are when their surgery doesn’t turn out as planned.

We thought our insight would be helpful to others who are facing the same problems as these courageous women.

Here are our answers to what your options are after an unsuccessful reconstructive surgery.

What Are My Reconstruction Options after a Failed Implant Reconstruction?

Question: Do you do reconstruction after ex-plants from a ruptured implant?

Answer: If you have had mastectomies, we will attempt to do reconstruction no matter what has happened, as long as you want it, and it’s medically safe to do so.

If your breast sustained damage from a ruptured implant placed for cosmetic reasons, we will still be happy to help you, but this might not be covered by your insurance.

I hope this helps.

See the full post here.

I’m Unhappy with My Reconstructive Result from Another Surgeon – Are You Able to Make It Look More Natural?

Question: Three years ago, I had a double mastectomy and am now cancer free.

My plastic surgeon did a terrible job with the reconstruction.

The left side implant is way off to the outer side and looks larger than the right side. The right side is way too far to the outside. There is zero cleavage.

Is there any way to reposition the implants more to the natural position of the breast?

I do not expect perfect, but don’t like looking like a botched job. Thank you.

Answer:  I’m glad to hear you have been cancer free and have your treatment for breast cancer behind you.

At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, it is part of our mission to help women move on with their lives after breast cancer. We focus our efforts on helping women get their bodies back together with permanent “natural results.”

I’m sorry you are disappointed with your reconstruction.

If you have had radiation, then it may be very hard to have your breasts match with implant reconstruction. If you have not had radiation, then perhaps your implants could be revised or adjusted for an improvement.

Unfortunately, these corrections are all too often temporary. It is possible that using your own fatty tissue would be a more permanent option without implants.

Sometimes it is hard to start over with another approach, but it may be necessary if you desire a more natural and permanent result.

If you would like more information about natural breast reconstruction with your own tissue, let me know.

See the full post here.

I Have Implants But They Feel Horrible and My Reconstruction Looks Terrible. Is There Any Hope after Reconstruction?

Question:  I have implants. I do not like them, they feel horrible, and my reconstruction looks terrible.

Is there any hope after reconstruction?

Answer:  Fortunately, your previous experiences with implants in all probability do not affect our ability to get you a satisfactory reconstruction using only your own tissue.

See the full post here.

Do you have breast reconstruction questions? Send us your questions here

5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List

reading

Summer…

The perfect time to relax poolside (or on the beach like us in Charleston) and catch up on some reading.

Not sure what to read?

No problem–we’ve got you covered.

Check out these 5 books we recommend you add to your summer reading list.

#1 – The Woman in the Window

 

the woman in the window

If you enjoy thriller novels, A.J. Finn’s book, The Woman in the Window, is a must-read for you this summer.

This book starts out with the main character, Anna Fox, spying on her neighbors from her Harlem townhouse.

Poor Anna suffers from agoraphobia and is house-bound.

While watching her neighbor, she believes she witnesses a crime.

Was she right? If so, what was the crime and who did it?

Read the book to find out!

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

#2 – Girl, Wash Your Face

girl wash your face

As women, we tell ourselves a lot of lies.

For instance, you might have said to yourself…

  • “I’m not good enough.
  • “I’m not thin enough.
  • “I’m not a good parent.

If you have, this honest, yet light-hearted look into the lies we tell ourselves each day is a must-read.

Join author Rachel Hollis as she gives advice on how to get rid of a limiting mindset that destroys self-confidence and keeps you from moving forward.

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

#3 – Little Women

little women

There’s nothing quite like revisiting the treasured classic Little Women.

In this epic tale, you’ll take a journey with the author Louisa May Alcott who tells the story of what it was like for her and her three sisters to grow up in Concord, Massachusetts, in the 1860s.

All in all, the story tells of how the sisters grow up, find love, and find their place in the world.

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

#4 – Brave New World

brave new world

Brave New World, written by Aldous Huxley, is based on a scientific empire that manufactures its citizens in the laboratory on a eugenic basis.

The story follows the fortunes of John, the illegitimate son of a senior governor, who has grown up in America, outside the new empire.

Will John be able to find a place in this new society?

Find out by reading the book!

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

#5 – Yes Please

yes please

If you’re in need of a laugh, we highly recommend picking up a copy of Amy Poehler’s book, Yes Please.

In this book, Amy shares comical and heartwarming stories about life, her time on SNL, and being a woman in show business.

Regardless of whether you know Amy from SNL or movies, she shares many stories that any woman (in show business or not) can relate to and connect with.

See if it’s in your local library or order it here.

What are your favorite books? Let us know in the comments below!

3 Tasty and Refreshing Homemade Ice Cream Sandwich Recipes

icecream sandwiches

I scream…

You scream…

We all scream for ice cream!

Satisfy your ice cream cravings with the following tasty and refreshing homemade ice cream sandwich recipes…

S’mores Ice Cream Sandwiches

Smores icecream

Nobody should have to choose between eating a delicious bowl of ice cream or an ooey gooey s’more.

For that reason, we suggest combining the two classic summertime desserts into a s’mores ice cream sandwich.

Here’s how to make this yummy treat…

Ingredients:

  • 7 ounces miniature marshmallows (about 4 cups)
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon fat-free milk
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable shortening
  • 2 teaspoons light-colored corn syrup
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 8 graham crackers, halved crosswise

Directions:

  1. Preheat broiler to high.
  2. Place marshmallows in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment coated with cooking spray. Broil 30 seconds or until golden brown and toasted. Cool.
  3. Combine half-and-half and granulated sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat; bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Place yolks in a medium bowl; stir with a whisk until smooth. Gradually add hot half-and-half mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  4. Return egg mixture to pan; cook over medium heat 6 minutes or until mixture thickens slightly and reaches 160°, stirring constantly.
  5. Strain through a fine sieve into a large bowl set over a larger ice water-filled bowl. Let stand until cold, stirring occasionally. Place half-and-half mixture, marshmallows, and vanilla in a blender; process until smooth.
  6. Chill mixture 3 hours.
  7. Pour marshmallow mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  8. Line an 11 x 7-inch freezer-safe dish with plastic wrap, allowing wrap to extend over ends of dish; spread ice cream in bottom of dish.
  9. Freeze 3 hours or until firm and then enjoy!

Recipe Source: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/smores-ice-cream-sandwiches-0

Fruity Pebbles Ice Cream Sandwiches

fruity pebbles icecream

We firmly believe that the two most important meals of the day are breakfast and dessert!

So, why not mix these two mealtime staples together?

Indulge your sweet tooth with this sweet, cereal-coated ice cream sandwich.

Give it a try…

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 10 oz. bag marshmallows
  • 6 c. Fruity Pebbles cereal
  • 1 pt. vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  1. Grease a medium sheet pan.
  2. In a large saucepan over low heat, melt butter. Once completely melted, add marshmallows and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove from heat and quickly stir in Fruity Pebbles until well coated.
  3. Using wax paper or spatula, press mixture into sheet pan until about 1/2″ thick. Let cool at least 20 minutes.
  4. Using a cookie or biscuit cutter, punch out 8 circles.
  5. Place 1 big scoop of vanilla ice cream in between two Fruity Pebble circles and press down. Repeat to make 3 more sandwiches.
  6. Freeze until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/recipes/a47654/fruity-pebbles-ice-cream-sandwiches-recipe/

Blueberry Pie Ice Cream Sandwiches

blueberry icecream

Add fruit to your ice cream, and your dessert automatically becomes healthy, right?

We think so!

Get a full serving of antioxidant-rich blueberries when you give this delicious blueberry ice cream sandwich a try.

Here’s how it’s made…

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 5 tbs. sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup of ice water
  • 2 cups of blueberries
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • pinch of lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • vanilla ice cream

Directions:

  1. Sift flour, sugar and salt into the bowl of a food processor. Cube cold butter into small squares and place inside food processor.
  2. Pulse until butter is no larger than the size of a pea.
  3. Slowly stream ice water in the feeder, a few tablespoons at a time, until the dough just slightly starts to hold together. If the dough is a bit too wet, meaning it sticks to your hands when you pick it up, you can dip your hands in some flour and give it a few good kneads.
  4. Divide the dough in two, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a couple of hours.
  5. Toss blueberries in lemon juice, zest and cornstarch and set aside.
  6. Preheat oven to 350° F and line the bottom of a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. Dust a surface with flour and roll out one of the dough halves until it’s very thin but not too fragile.
  8. Use a round cutter (I used a 2.5″ biscuit cutter) and cut out 20 rounds
  9. Place 10 on the baking sheet and spoon a few blueberries onto each round.
  10. Cover the blueberries with the other 10 pie crust rounds and press down the edges. I like to use the end of a chopstick, dipped in flour. If the two crusts don’t stick, you can seal them with an egg wash.
  11. Once all the pie cookies are sealed, brush with an egg wash.
  12. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the pies are a nice golden brown.
  13. Cool on a wire rack for a few hours.
  14. Sandwich a small scoop of vanilla ice cream between two pie cookies.
  15. Serve immediately or keep covered in the freezer until ready to serve.

Recipe Source: https://honestlyyum.com/13887/blueberry-pie-ice-cream-sandwiches/

What is your favorite type of ice cream sandwich? Share with us in the comments below!

3 Common Questions about Breast Reconstruction Pain and Discomfort

After breast reconstruction surgery, patients are bound to experience some sort of recovery pain or discomfort.

This mild pain often leads patients to ask questions such as…

  • How long will the pain last?
  • Is my pain normal?
  • Should I call my doctor?

At the time, a person’s pain or discomfort might seem unusual or scary…and the last thing we want is for patients to worry.

For that reason, we’ve decided to put together the answers to a few of our most common pain-related questions.

Find out what our surgeons and staff have to say about the following concerns…

What Are Your Suggestions for Muscle Spasms after Breast Reconstruction?

Question: I had breast reconstruction on my left breast in 2006. I have had muscle spasms in it ever since. Recently they have gotten bad again.

Any suggestions?

Answer: I’m sorry you are having problems with your reconstruction.

You didn’t mention if you were reconstructed with an implant or with your own tissue, so I will answer as if you are reconstructed with an implant. Please let me know if I have assumed wrongly.

There are several potential reasons why you could have spasms.

If the implant was placed under the pectoralis chest muscle, it can lead to pains in the pectoralis muscle or other muscles, as the muscle is no longer functioning in precisely the way it was designed to. Most people tolerate the implants well, but there is no question some have more problems than others.

The muscle can also sometimes separate from attachments to the chest wall over time, which could cause changes in symptoms.

Additionally, if you are radiated, this could potentially cause additional problems, as the muscle may be less flexible.

View the full post here.

I’m Having Pain after My Last Latissimus Flap/Implant Reconstruction. What Can I Do Now?

Question: I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and had a mastectomy on my left side followed by chemo.

In 2014, my mammogram began showing tumors and I would have an ultrasound every time. This caused panic attacks and I choose to have my right breast removed because the type of cancer I had was Stage 4 Aggressive.

In April 2015, I had a bilateral latissimus flat and received implants. Now I am experiencing pain across my back where I was cut and my chest gets uncomfortably tight.

The site of the drainage tube is swollen and doesn’t feel good. I stopped seeing my reconstruction doctor because he did things I was not informed of. I am worried because I do not know what is going on anymore.

Could you please advise me as to what might be going on or what to do?

Answer: I’m sorry you are continuing to have problems, but you are not alone.

I can’t speak about your situation specifically because I haven’t examined you, but here are some thoughts in general about patients with symptoms like yours.

There is no question that many people with implants describe symptoms such as yours. Often, there is no discernible reason why they should feel discomfort, but they do. Nonetheless, many of them feel relief when the implants are removed. This does not mean that you would or should, it is just an observation.

The latissimus flap can be done with or without dividing the nerve that makes it contract. I have known some patients with latissimus flaps done without dividing the nerve to have discomfort associated with the muscle contracting. Some have experienced relief when the nerve was subsequently divided. Obviously, I don’t know if this is your situation or not.

Sometimes people have complex, persistent pain after surgery or injury which is out of all proportion to what would be expected. This can be difficult to treat but thankfully is rare.

When evaluating a patient with symptoms like yours, we usually start with a careful history and physical evaluation.

Sometimes, especially if we have concerns about implant rupture, fluid collections, infection, etc., we then get an MRI and/or CT scan. Following the complete evaluation, we then decide together how to proceed.

View the full post here.

Are These Normal Problems to Have 2 Years after a Breast Reduction?

Question: I had a breast reduction over two years ago. It still feels like I have scar tissue in some areas and nipple tends to be a little sore at times.

Is that normal?

Answer: No, that’s not normal, and I’m sorry you’re having to endure it.

I can’t tell what is going on by your description, but it’s possible that you have some residual dead fat in your breasts which has not been resorbed.

An MRI scan would be the best way to determine this.

It’s also possible that you have pain for no discernible reason, which is unusual, but it happens from time to time. That doesn’t mean it can’t be treated, however, as pain therapists can be very effective in helping manage that type of pain.

View the full post here.

Do you have breast reconstruction questions? Send us your questions here!

5 Fun Charleston Summer Activities to Add to Your Calendar

Charleston bridge

Between the sandy beaches, beautiful parks, and a hopping downtown area, Charleston is the perfect place to have fun.

For that reason, we thought we’d share some of our favorite events that are happening this summer.

Add these activities to your calendar and, you’ll be sure to plan a summer you’ll remember for a lifetime!

Keep reading to discover what we recommend…

Party at the Point – June 15, 22, and 29

party on the beach at sunset

Charleston’s premiere Happy Hour concert series will be taking place for the next 3 Friday events–June 15, 22, and 29. The event will be hosted from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

This fun beachfront event features live music, food, and drinks.

The best part…Party at the Point is a family-friendly activity so be sure to bring the kiddos if you desire.

Admission is $8. Kids 12 and under get in FREE!

Find out more about the event here.

July 4 Fireworks – July 4

fireworks

Feeling patriotic, enjoy a good old-fashioned 4th of July celebration, or simply like sparkly things?

If your answer is yes to any of the questions above, then be sure to join us for 4th of July fireworks!

Every year fireworks celebrations are hosted all over Charleston. Here are a few of our favorite spots…

4th of July Blast at Patriots Point

Enjoy a professional fireworks display and shoreside party with a beach music band at Patriots Point.

Location: 40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt. Pleasant, SC

Fourth of July Fireworks on Folly Beach

Gather for a dazzling fireworks show at Folly Beach County Park, on the west end of the island.

Location: Folly Beach County Park

Take part in the Uncle Sam Jam + Fireworks Show

The Mount Pleasant Pier sets the perfect stage for a 4th of July celebration, featuring fireworks, great views, and groovy music at the Uncle Sam Jam.

Location: Mount Pleasant Pier, 71 Harry Hallman Boulevard

Rum Dinner – July 26

rum in a tasting glass

Charleston’s love of rum comes from the big Caribbean influence in the Lowcountry.

Enjoy a spirited evening at Circa 1886 where chef Collins will share info on how rum from the West Indies and Caribbean islands has influenced Lowcountry cooking.

There will be plenty of delicious dishes to eat as well!

Find out more about the event here.

Take a Trip to the Beach – ALL SUMMER

waves splashing on the beach

One of the best things about Charleston is the beaches–and boy, do we have a lot of them!

Whether you enjoy exciting water activities like wakeboarding and surfing or prefer to go for a leisurely swim, we have a beach for you.

Here are some of our favorite spots to check out…

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

Enjoy Charleston Cuisine – ALL SUMMER

beautiful pork dinner

Hot, cold, rain, or shine–all weather is good eating weather.

Between shopping in Charleston’s finest boutiques and taking a stroll through the historic city, we hope you’ll find the time to eat at some of our favorite restaurants.

Here’s what we recommend…

Classic Southern Comfort Foods:

Fresh Seafood:

Steak Houses:

What is your favorite summertime Charleston event? Let us know in the comments below! 

How to Help a Loved One Cope: 5 Common Breast Cancer Diagnosis Emotions

happy face balls with different emotions

After a breast cancer diagnosis, there are 5 common emotions people usually experience.

These emotions include…

  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Sadness
  • Fear
  • Anger

If you have a friend or family member who’s recently been diagnosed, it can be difficult to help her navigate these emotions.

After all, what can you say or do to truly make someone feel better after receiving this type of news.

Unfortunately, not everything you say/do will make someone’s battle with breast cancer easier.

However, choosing carefully how you respond to these common emotions can give a loved one the support and encouragement she needs.

Keep reading to discover our tips for helping your loved one cope with the following 5 emotions.

Emotion #1: Shock

Nobody expects to leave a doctor’s appointment with a breast cancer diagnosis.

Therefore, it’s likely that your loved ones will leave an appointment feeling shocked or at a loss for words about the news they received.

When someone is in a shocked state, it’s often best to…

  • Sit quietly with your loved one. Let her do the talking if she wants to.
  • Provide support. Give your friend/family member the time to process the diagnosis while you help out with other things, like taking care of kids or cleaning the house.
  • Help your loved one feel safe and secure. While in a shocked state, things can become overwhelming very quickly. Remind your loved one that she is safe and that you will be there to provide comfort and support.

Emotion #2 – Confusion

Chalkboard question mark

No one deserves to get cancer.

For this reason, your loved one might be confused, wondering “How could this happen?” or “Why me?”

During this emotional time, it’s vital to…

  • Remind your loved one that she didn’t do anything to deserve this. It may sound silly at first, but it’s always a good reminder that sometimes bad things happen in life for no good reason.
  • Help your loved one put the puzzle pieces together. It’s possible that your loved one ended up with cancer for no logical reason. However, it’s also possible that she was genetically predisposed to breast cancer. Having a better understanding of why your loved one developed cancer might help bring some peace into her life. Uncovering a family member who also had cancer and won her battle might bring comfort to your loved one.
  • Be a listening ear when your loved one asks questions. You might not know all the answers, but providing a listening ear to your friend/family member who has so many questions is a great outlet for her.

Emotion #3 – Sadness

A sudden cancer diagnosis can easily bring up feelings of sadness.

After all, your loved one might have to leave work, cancel a vacation, miss family events, etc., in order to get treatment.

In order to help a friend/family member who is feeling sadness, we recommend that you…

  • Make yourself available. Be willing to sit quietly with a friend, go out for coffee, or pick up your phone to chat with your loved one. Simply being available when the person you care about is experiencing grief is very important.
  • Send your loved one an uplifting card. It’s amazing how much a simple card with a thoughtful message can do. Grab a pen, a piece of paper, and remind your loved one about how much you care for her.
  • Grab a box of tissues. One of the best ways to release pent-up sadness is a good, old-fashioned cry session. Make the time to sit with your friend, uncover the reasons behind her grief, and allow yourself to be vulnerable and share in her grief.

Emotion #4 – Fear

elderly woman looking worried

Thanks to donations, research, and hardworking volunteers, doctors, and scientists, the prognosis for many breast cancer patients is wonderful.

That being said, a breast cancer diagnosis often makes people think the worst, which causes a lot of fear.

When a loved one with a new breast cancer diagnosis is feeling fearful, it’s a good idea to…

  • Talk about her diagnosis. After testing, most doctors can determine if a person has a good prognosis or not. If your loved one has a good prognosis, remind her that she is strong and able to win her cancer battle.
  • Put action steps in place. Fear often occurs because someone feels she is losing control. With permission of her doctor, help your loved one gain back control with a special cancer-fighting diet plan, supplement plan, etc. Having a little control can help the one you love ward off feelings of fear.
  • Hit the books. Fear of the unknown is a very scary thing. In order to help your loved one curb this type of fear, get educated together. Read about breast cancer. Go with your loved one to doctor’s appointments. Ask questions. Every piece of info you get can help put both you and your loved ones worries to rest.

Emotion #5 – Anger

Finally, it’s likely that your loved one will feel anger–and she has every right to feel that way!

While anger is usually an emotion we try to avoid, experiencing it can actually help with the healing process. In fact, anger is a motivating emotion!

If your loved one is angry at her cancer diagnosis, there’s a good change that she’s going to be more motivated to conquer her battle.

To help your loved one express her anger, we suggest you…

  • Set aside time to let your loved one share her honest thoughts. We often have to hide our true emotions so we don’t upset people. This is why letting your friend/family member be real and honest with you about her diagnosis–even if it means screaming, crying, swearing, etc.–is very helpful.
  • Offer constructive ways to release anger. It’s important to remind your friend/family member that there are healthy ways of releasing anger. Let her know it’s ok to hit her pillows, scream at the top of her lungs, do some kickboxing, etc., to channel her inner feelings.
  • Provide support. Sometimes anger causes people to say things or do things that don’t make sense. For instance, your loved one might blame a doctor for her cancer diagnosis. As long as no one is being harmed, stand by your friend’s side and just agree. Once the anger blows over, she’ll realize that not everything she said or did was right. However, in the midst of being angry, your friend doesn’t need an argument, she just needs to know that you have her back.

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