How to Be a Friend to Someone with Cancer

two girls, one with cancerYou’re trying to be supportive to your friend with cancer. But are you? Sometimes, even when we have the best intentions, we may hit a sour note.

The women our team sees every day have gone through tremendous challenges to overcome cancer, and are incredibly inspirational to us all. We often have the opportunity to meet their support systems—the loved ones who have been by their side throughout the journey.

There isn’t a defined guidebook about how to talk to your friend or family member battling cancer.  So we came up with a few things to keep in mind when trying to support your loved one:

Minimalizing

When a friend tells you they have cancer, you may think you’re being helpful by saying, “It could be a worse type of cancer” or “Don’t worry; everything will be fine” or “You don’t even look sick.” Although you’re trying to be helpful and positive, you don’t know how they’re feeling inside. They may be having a really bad day, and these comments may unknowingly make them feel minimized.

What to do instead: Sometimes, it’s just best to listen. If they’re willing to share their feelings, let them express how they’re feeling.

Offering to Help

Someone dealing with cancer has a TON on his or her plate. They are likely hearing a lot of “Let us know if you need anything at all.”

While intentions to help are good, remember that your loved one might have so much going on that he or she doesn’t know where to begin to ask for help. Or, they may be too embarrassed to ask for help when they need it.

How do you help? Just do it. If you’re at the grocery, give your friend a call and ask what they need or just pick up some essentials. Or if you do ask, get specific. Offer to pick up the kids from school or bring them to their after-school activities. These small generosities can help relieve a lot of stress.

Don’t Bring Up Insecurities

Women often feel their hair and breasts define their femininity. Asking questions such as “Are you going to lose your hair?” might stir up feelings unknowingly. Also, making jokes such as “I wish my insurance paid for a boob job” may not lighten the mood as much as you’d think. They’re fighting cancer. Not getting plastic surgery. 

What to do instead: This isn’t to say you can’t joke around—but maybe let your friend take the lead! And, above all, if you notice your friend is looking spectacular, be sure to mention it.

Comment on our Facebook page with more suggestions on how to be a supportive friend!

Resolutions 101: How to Actually Keep Your Resolutions This Year


8242590657_89f52abeee_oDon’t shoot the messenger, but it’s that time of year again. You know what I’m talking about—it’s time to make this year’s New Year’s Resolution. Before you start groaning about resolution failures of years past, we are here to help. We have set up 4 methods to SUCCEED this time.

Honestly, this time of year can be really refreshing. It’s a whole new start. If you had a not-so-stellar last year, here’s your chance to shake it off (excuse the Taylor Swift reference) and be a new and improved you!

Make It with a Friend

When someone else is holding you accountable, it’s much easier to stay motivated. Choose a friend who has a similar goal, and be each other’s support group! If your resolution is to go to the gym 3 times each week, going together will raise the odds of sticking to your mission. The two of you could even come up with a rewards system. After 4 weeks of going to the gym 3 times a week, treat yourselves to a mani/pedi or a round of golf!

Make It Realistic

Did swearing off all foods except fruits and vegetables not turn out how you planned last year? Make this year’s resolution something that is challenging but still maintainable with your lifestyle. Instead of giving up everything, try eliminating just soda and sugar from your diet. And what happens if you blow it on week 2? DON’T STOP, just because you feel defeated! Realize that there may be slip-ups, but what matters is getting back on track right away.

Make It New

Have you not succeeded with the same resolution year after year? Get creative! Your resolution doesn’t always have to be about dieting or exercising. It can be as simple as vowing to be more patient with your in-laws (easier said than done!) or even keeping up with old friends. Choosing something you’ve never done before can help shake things up and help make your goals feel attainable.

Make It Your Own

Who says your resolution has to start January 1? Actually, that may not the best day to start a lifestyle change. If you’re a little under the weather from the parties the night before or if you still have a lot of holiday food lying around, you’re not setting yourself up for success. Choose a date like January 2 or the day you go back to work to start your resolution, so that you’re prepared and in a positive mindset.

Have a New Year’s Resolution Success Story? We’d LOVE for you to share it on our Facebook page!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving - What Are You Thankful For?

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our faithful blog readers, Facebook friends, and Twitter followers.  

We sincerely hope you have the most blessed of days, safe travels, and happy hearts as you celebrate.   

  Most of all we are thankful for you!   

Charleston’s Best Running Trails

We’re fortunate in that we can run, bike, and walk year-round here in Charleston. We love finding new places to explore and imagine you do too. Here are a few we like and hope you’ll try.

Awendaw Passage

Distance: 7 miles

For an amazing sensory experience of the Lowcountry’s salt marshes, take the Awendaw Passage. Part of the Palmetto Trail, the passage meanders through a forest of palmetto trees along the Awendaw Creek.

Sawmill Branch Multi-Use Trail

Distance: 6.5 miles

Walk or ride this wide trail, and follow the Sawmill Branch Canal. You can start at either of two entry points, Gahagan Road or Ashley Drive in Summerville. This trail is safe, as most of the road crossings go under the roads. The quiet brings out the wildlife, so keep an eye out for animals, but beware—alligators have been known to live in the canal.

Swamp Fox Passage

Distance: 42 miles

One of the area’s oldest trails, the Swamp Fox Trail courses through the swamplands and pine forests of Francis Marion National Forest. It is named after Francis Marion, the Revolutionary War office who was known as the “Swamp Fox” because he hid from the British in the swamps of the Lowcountry.

While the trail itself is 42 miles long, only 27 miles are recognized as a National Recreation Trail. Expect to see turkeys, birds of all kinds, and deer along the trail.

West Ashley Bikeway

Distance: 2.5 miles

The West Ashley Bikeway runs in a straight line from the Ashley River to Wappoo Road, giving the families in the area a short yet lovely 2.5-mile running and cycling trail. The trail is not regularly maintained and does have one hazardous intersection: cyclists and runners must cross St. Andrews Boulevard without a crosswalk or a light. The West Ashley Greenway is nearby—simply cross over Savannah Highway on Wappoo Road.

West Ashley Greenway

Distance: 10.5 miles

The West Ashley Greenway goes from suburban Charleston to the wetlands and is a favorite of runners and mountain bikers. The greenway begins at South Windermere Shopping Center and connects several neighborhoods via a 100-foot-wide trail. After coming to Johns Island, the trail narrows into gravel, so after this point, you’ll need a bike. However, the breathtaking views are worth taking your bike along.

Which trails are your favorites?

Lowcountry Cancer Survivors Celebrate at Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon Boat CharlestonDid you know that the Chinese sport of dragon boat paddling is alive and well right here in Charleston?

Founded in 2003, Dragon Boat Charleston (DBC) aids mental and physical wellness for cancer survivors through dragon boating. According to DBC’s website, the group’s goals are . . .

  • To encourage healthy healing and healthy lifestyles through goal oriented exercise, good nutrition, education, and fellowship.
  • To support the beneficial effects of physical activity in survival through research.
  • To provide a positive model for our community demonstrating courage, determination, and team cooperation.
  • To advance the sport of dragon boating.

For many of its participants, dragon boat paddling is a celebration of life. They love becoming one with the river, using the paddles to break the surface, and experiencing the cool evening air or the sun’s empowering warmth. Paddling any time of day is energizing and helps them celebrate life as cancer survivors. DBC also helps them promote their own health through other programs, such as yoga and nutrition education.

Research shows that physical activity and an active lifestyle may improve breast cancer survival rates as well as help survivors heal emotionally from their ordeal. Dragon boat paddling is unusual, pleasantly strenuous, and a lot of fun!

DBC participates in several races each year, and its members enjoy the camaraderie of other breast cancer survivors and friends year-round. If you walk along the Ashley River, you’re likely to see DBC members doing what they enjoy—paddling hard to prepare for their next race, which is the 6th Annual Charleston Dragon Boat Festival on May 4.

Dragon Boat Charleston

The Festival will be held on the shores of the Ashley River at Brittlebank Park, off Lockwood Drive. You’ll enjoy dragon boating races along with a cancer survivor celebration that includes plenty of food, costumes, and tents. The first heat begins at 8 a.m. While registration is now closed, there is a wait list you can add yourself to by emailing melabriola@gmail.com.

DBC is attempting to raise $100,000 this year, and they are almost halfway there. The funds pay for cancer survivors’ participation in races around the country, year-round paddling several times a week, and the Carolina Celebration Cup.

The sponsors of Dragon Boat Charleston include The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, MUSC, Pure Insurance, Roper St. Francis Cancer Center, Piggly Wiggly, and Trident Health.

To find out more, please visit http://www.dragonboatcharleston.org or www.charlestondragonboatfestival.com.

 

Have you ever paddled on a dragon boat, and what did you think of it?

Happy Holidays!

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction wish you and your family a holiday season full of peace and love!

 

6 Tips for a Thinner Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the most challenging times of year when it comes to watching your weight. Temptations are everywhere—from that buttery bird, to the table glowing with homemade pecan pies and pumpkin cheesecake.

Check out these simple tips, and you’ll be ready to spare your waistline while still enjoying your family’s holiday feast.

Prepare a dish or two you can eat guilt-free.

Sure, vegetables are never the stars of Thanksgiving meals. However, if you make a lovely salad, butternut soup, mashed sweet potatoes, or creamed spinach, you can make sure you have healthy dishes to snack on throughout the evening. Besides, every table needs some color to spruce up the spread!

Don’t fast before the feast.

While waiting for the turkey to cook, it’s tradition to save our appetites for the main event. Yet, fasting throughout the day is an easy way to overeat once you sit down for the feast. Have a light snack before the finale so you won’t overindulge at dinnertime.

Decide how many drinks you can have.

If you decide to indulge in the festive beverages, be sure to decide how many you’ll have over the course of the evening and stick to it. Remember, every glass of wine, every bottle of beer, and each shot rack up the extra calories, so plan accordingly.

Follow the 30-minute rule.

Take half of the amount you really want to eat, enjoy it, and then wait 30 minutes before you eat anything more. It takes that long for your stomach to signal to your brain that it’s full. In that 30 minutes, you’re likely to get involved doing something else and won’t miss eating more.

Eat two or three bites of anything you wish.

If you can’t resist Aunt Millie’s Mississippi mud pie, have a small slice and eat just a couple of bites. You’ll get the taste you want without too many extra calories. The same applies to high-calorie drinks—take that raspberry margarita, enjoy three sips, and then give it to someone else.

If you overindulge, make up for it the next day.

Don’t skip meals, but if you overindulge one day, eat less the next couple of days, and be sure to make selections that are low in fat and full of nutrients. Also, make sure you drink plenty of water!

 We Hope Everyone Has A Happy Thanksgiving Holiday!

Have a Happy and Safe Labor Day

We hope everyone has a happy and safe Labor Day!

Happy Fourth of July!

 

We at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction wish our readers a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday!

 

The Only Safe Tan: Tips to Achieve a Perfect Faux Tan

self tanningA golden tan is the perfect summer accessory. But devoting yourself to achieving that enviable glow is both time consuming and damaging to your skin. At The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction, we prefer to use the healthy alternative to sunbathing—faux tanning.

Applying sunless tanner can seem very daunting, but it’s as easy as four simple steps.

1. Exfoliate

Many women fear sunless tanner because it can streak and leave orange patches when applied incorrectly. Proper exfoliation prior to application will help smooth the skin and prepare it to accept the tanner evenly.

2. Moisturize

Another reason sunless tanner can appear fake is due to improper moisturization beforehand. Dry skin, especially on your elbows and knees, will absorb more tanner than the rest of your skin, so be sure to moisturize those areas well.

3. Use Gloves

To avoid ending up with bright orange palms, wear thin, tight-fitting rubber or latex gloves during the application process. After you have tanned the rest of your body, place a small amount on the backs of your hands, and rub them together before briefly interlacing your fingers.

4. Buff

If you see any spots that are drying slightly darker than the rest of your skin, take a cotton pad and gently buff the offending area—it will help blend your tan more evenly.

These simple tips will help you to achieve that perfect summer glow—without the damaging effects of the sun! Flaunt those faux tans with confidence, ladies.