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!

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!

Give Yourself the Gift of Health This New Year


With the holidays behind us, it’s time to get excited and look forward to the new year ahead of us. Before we officially close out the season of giving, there is one more gift we want to talk about.

And that gift is the gift of health.

We believe that taking care of your body and being aware of your health are the keys to living a happy and healthy life. There’s no better time than right now to put yourself on the path to health and happiness as we begin a new year.

It doesn’t matter how good or poor your health currently is. There are many small lifestyle changes you can make to help ensure you’re giving your body the things it needs while also getting the medical care you need to stay happy and healthy.

The new year means starting fresh. We hope you’ll take advantage of this time to put in place a plan for the year that promotes your health and happiness.

Not sure where to start? No worries, we have a few suggestions!

Keep reading to discover a few things you can do to give yourself the gift of health this year.

Eat Healthy

Your health begins with what you put in your body.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a tasty treat every once in a while. But it’s also important to ensure that you are getting the nutrients from fresh meats (if you’re not a vegetarian), vegetables, and fruits.

Here are a few of our favorite recipes you can add to your weekly meal plan.

Go for Regular Physicals

Visiting your doctor for a yearly exam is a great way to make sure you’re in tip-top shape.
Most important, your doctor might be able to detect health problems before you notice them. And that’s important because early detection is the key to saving lives, especially for cancer patients.

You can’t go wrong with a yearly exam to make sure you’re in good health.

Get Exercise

Exercise is an important part of staying healthy. It helps you build muscles, burn excess fat, and keep your heart strong.

If you’re someone who feels as if you can’t exercise, don’t worry. It’s ok to start slow. Something as simple as a walk around the block is a great place to get started.

Check out some of our favorite ways to get into an exercise routine.

Perform At-Home Breast Exams

Ladies, this one is super important!

As we mentioned before, early detection saves lives. Which is why at-home breast exams are so important, even if you don’t have a family history of breast cancer.

BreastCancer.org gives a great overview on how to do an at-home breast exam. Check it out here.

Your doctor can also teach you how to do a self-exam. Ask your doctor to show you at your next appointment.

Take Note of Changes in Your Body

Nobody knows your body better than you do.

If you notice any changes—including lumps, spots, marks, bumps, rashes, or even less visible changes like unusual headaches or pains—be sure to report those changes to your doctor.

Your doctor can diagnose any health concerns and put you on the path to health and happiness.

What do you do to live a healthy life? Share with us below!

Our resident Canadian Geese are back and are expecting!

 

It’s  “Baby Watch” 2016 at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction!!!

 

 Meet Edith and Archie. These beautiful geese reside outside of our Mt. Pleasant office.  Edith began resting on her nest just a few weeks ago with her mate Archie right by her side protecting her and their eggs from harm.  Believe me, Archie will let you know when you get too close for comfort.  This picture was taken while he was warning me!    

We’ll keep an eye out on them over the next few months and share their progress aloing with lots of photos once the babies arrive.    

Keep watching & Happy Spring!!  

 

Gail

Our residents Edith and Archie                         archie goose

Recovery daze…..

By:  Richard M. Kline Jr., M.D

 

pain scaleI woke up and wasn’t sure where I was. I thought about it a while, and finally asked. A nurse said “the recovery room.” I asked how long I had been there, and she said “30 minutes.” I asked how long the surgery took, and they said “about two hours”. I knew this was longer than was planned, but I didn’t worry about it, as I felt pretty intact. They asked what my pain was on a scale of (0-10), and I said “3.5.” She asked if I wanted some Dilaudid, or if I wanted to go back to the room without it. I said I wanted it, so they gave me 1 mg i.v. While the pain hadn’t been terrible, it was significant, and the Dilaudid did a great job of reducing it. It didn’t get rid of it completely, but it did produce a kind of “warmth” that made me not care too much about the residual pain.

I then went back to the same room I’d been in before surgery, and stayed only briefly before deciding I was ready to go home. When I got up to get dressed, I immediately got nauseous. The bubbly i.v. specialist nurse was there again, and she came over and held an alcohol wipe to my nose until the nausea went away. Then home I went, happy that it was over, and not feeling too badly.

For the first few days it hurt to get out of bed. I would lie there thinking about getting up for several minutes, planning the best way to do it, and only then proceeding. Once I was up, though, moving around wasn’t bad.

About two weeks postop, I noticed that coughing or sneezing didn’t make my incision hurt any more. I started walking on the treadmill at the gym. It hurt a little, but not bad. After that, I started to forget about the surgery.

The final installment of this 4 part series will post April 30.

The Doctor is Out…..

the doctor is outNo worries – he’s back already!  Dr. Kline shares with us his personal experience as a surgical patient and what he has learned from being on the other side of the exam table that will enhance the personal care of his own patients.

“The Doctor is Out” is part 1 of this 4 part series.  Enjoy and have a happy day! – Gail

Three weeks before my surgery, everything was fine. I felt good, a little heavier at 56 than at 26, but still hale and vigorous. Then, while operating late one afternoon, I felt a pain in my groin. “Probably just too much strenuous exercise,” I thought, and dismissed it. It didn’t go away. The next day, it was worse. I felt a bulge. DAMN. I had a hernia.

The whole concept of needing to get treatment, instead of needing to deliver it, was foreign and unsettling. For decades I’d been used to helping other people. Now, whether I liked it or not, I was potentially going to have to sit down and let others help me.

I called the same general surgeon who fixed my 86 year old Dad’s hernia last year (why did mine have to come 30 years sooner?). He told me there was no danger in watching the hernia for a while, and that if I wanted to try and lose some weight it might get better, but it was a long shot.  As it turned out, I didn’t actually have time to try and lose weight, because it started to get worse hurt towards the end of long workdays. I turned over all my long cases to my partner, and I started looking for the soonest, least disruptive time I could find to get it fixed.

I greatly respect the people I work with daily, but I didn’t want to have surgery at the hospital where I usually worked, because I wanted things to be as routine as possible for everyone. I felt that it would be much less stressful on me (and probably everyone else) if I wasn’t in an environment where I was used to giving the orders.

Fortunately for me, my wife is a surgeon, and she regularly works at a hospital I rarely visit. I thought this might be the best place to go – my wife could kind of “watch over” things, but I would not know anyone involved in my care personally.

When I visited the surgeon for my preoperative appointment, he examined me and confirmed that I did in fact have a hernia.  We discussed options, and decided to attempt a laparoscopic repair of the hernia. He advised me that it might turn out that it was too difficult to do the surgery laparoscopically, and that they might have to “open me up.” I assured him that after 20+ years of practicing surgery, I was well aware that things are not strictly predictable, and I asked him to please do whatever he felt he needed to at the time. This was the first time I started to “loosen up” a little bit, and I was actually kind of glad that it would be him, and not me, worrying about the details in surgery that day.

I also found out in his office that I had high blood pressure, for which they put me on medication. I began to limit my salt intake, and cut back on calories. Fortunately, jogging did not aggravate the hernia, so I also increased my aerobic exercise until two days before surgery. Yes, I was “in training” for this.

On the night before surgery, I went to bed early, woke at 2 a.m., and didn’t sleep the rest of the night.

(Part 2 of this series will post April 16)

 

Why Yoga is Best for Mind, Body, and Spirit

<alt="yoga"/>Yoga is now a major part of Western culture. It started off as a trend, but now it’s now deeply integrated into our mainstream culture. Most cities in America have several yoga studios and it’s become a major part of millions of people’s lives.

Is yoga here to stay? We think so. People love how yoga benefits the mind, body, and spirit. If you practice yoga, you will relate to this article. For those curious about yoga, perhaps this article will persuade you to try it out.

Yoga Improves Your Mind

Because yoga involves a series of poses while in a flow-like state, you strengthen your mind as you work out your body.

Yoga benefits your mind because it teaches you how to breathe deeply and slowly. Unlike short and nervous breathing, long and controlled breaths train your brain to focus on consistent thinking. If you feel like you’re constantly distracted, a yoga session will bring attention back to your inner thoughts.

If you’ve ever been in an anxious state, you know what it’s like to feel your heart rate climb and you lose your ability to think clearly. Because yoga puts you in a state of calm and control, you become more familiar with your body’s way of coping with stress.

Yoga Benefits Your Body

Doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of activity to increase your heart rate every day. A typical yoga session lasts for one hour—twice the minimum requirement for living a healthy life.

Because yoga is a flexible workout, you can receive the health benefits at your own pace. Unlike intense workouts like Crossfit or a high-impact sport, you can go about your yoga poses at your own pace.

Plus, it’s a challenge to see how much better you do each session. You may struggle with certain poses, but as you practice over time, you will eventually amaze yourself at what you can do with your body. Practicing yoga allows you to become more fit and flexible.

Yoga Benefits Your Spirit

Yoga is more than a physical and mental workout—it’s a lesson in spirituality, too. Yoga has no affiliation with religion, so you can do yoga regardless of your religious background or lifestyle. The spiritual benefits of yoga are simply universal ways you can use a yoga session to connect yourself to the world.

For example, many people remain in a state of calmness after yoga. Even if you’re not a spiritual person, you cannot help but feel closer to the Earth when you practice yoga. Yoga opens up your senses, so you can experience more of what life has to offer you.

How to Get Started With Yoga

Here are several things to keep in mind if you want to start practicing yoga:

–    DVD or face-to-face? You don’t need to visit a class to do yoga. With a DVD or online program, you can practice yoga in the comfort of your own home. It’s entirely up to you. You may want to begin on your own first so you’re familiar with the poses before a class. It’s a personal decision. There’s zero judgment in yoga, so even if you know nothing about yoga, you can still take a class and not feel unwelcome.

–    Learn the basic poses. A quick YouTube search for “basic yoga poses” will give you all you need to practice a downward facing dog, cat-cow, and warrior’s pose. This BuzzFeed list may also help.

–    Buy a mat. While yoga studios normally offer mats, you probably want to use your own. You will sweat quite a bit during your yoga sessions.

–    Dress appropriately. Wear light clothing that won’t get in the way during poses. Most retail stores carry yoga clothing now, so it’s not hard to put together an outfit that’s suitable for yoga.

–    Find a class you like. If you go a class and dislike it, don’t let it discourage you. You may just need to find an instructor who teaches in a style you prefer.

Getting started with yoga is easy. You simply show up, do your best, and feel good when you’re done. Namaste!

Photo Credit: BrittneyBush

How to Unwind After Work

<img src="image.gif" alt="A bench in a park" />

Is it just us, or does time seem to slow down toward the end of the workday?

Don’t get us wrong – we’re passionate about what we do! But even if you enjoy your career or business very deeply, unwinding is important for your health. In fact, taking time off leads to even greater productivity and increased happiness.

Shutting down your workday means not opening any work until tomorrow! Even if you have several more things to do in the evening (we know what it’s like to be a woman with a lot responsibility!), you must make time to unwind. Just one hour of “me time” can make a day’s worth of difference.

One hour is recommended, but even if you spend fifteen minutes by yourself, you’ll get the benefits of ridding stress and tension. Here’s how:

Unwind by Napping

Being well-rested is key to regenerating your energy for the following day. A small nap in the evening provides the perfect transformation from “work mode” to “home mode.”

According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are three different ways to nap.

1. Planned napping. This is when you nap before you’re sleeping. It’s like keeping your gas tank half full instead of full or empty.
2. Emergency napping. If you feel extremely fatigued after work, then you need this kind of nap. Don’t try to fight drowsiness. Nothing is more important than your health.
3. Habitual napping. These are scheduled naps you take daily. When you know in advance what your evening looks like, you can take planned naps.

Of these three, habitual napping is the best way to unwind. Why? Because when your body is used to always resting at a certain time, it will provide you a deeper period of sleep.

Get Physical

Are you having trouble sleeping at night? Try doing 15-30 minutes of exercise in the evening. Even if your mind is racing, having a tired body will kindly force you to rest. It’s a win-win, because you’ll wake up feeling healthier and rested (aside from the sore muscles).

Working out to unwind may seem contradictory. Just keep in mind how your post-workout euphoria will put you at ease.

Make New Friends

Sites like meetup.com provide a place for you to go and make new friends. Perhaps you have a hobby like painting or hiking. With Meetup, you can schedule regular gatherings in the evening.

Many people share the desire to unwind after work. Mingling with like-minded people may be that helpful boost in energy you’ve been looking for!

Social Media Time

You don’t have to leave home to catch up with friends. Sites like facebook.com are a way to see what everyone is up to. Instead of using Facebook throughout the day, try Facebooking on a schedule (as weird as it sounds, this is a healthier way to use social media):

Schedule a time to use Facebook (e.g., 6:00-6:30 P.M).

Post something positive, leave positive comments on your friend’s posts, and share things you like on your wall.
At 6:30, shut down Facebook. Don’t let it suck you in — it will still be there tomorrow.

These are just a few ways to unwind after work. Do you have a favorite way? Please let us know by sharing it in a comment below!

Photo Credit: alexcoitus

7 Great Ways to Support a Friend Who Has Cancer

best friendsIf you know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to be there for her during the journey through treatment, recovery, and beyond. Your friend or loved one needs friends, supporters, a shoulder to lean on, and people around them that will keep their spirits high, keep fun in their lives, and take their minds off of their battle.

It’s important to help your friend have some fun, let loose, and keep her positive and happy during this difficult time. Here are some fantastic ways to support a friend with cancer during her journey:

1. Be a great listener.

This is a learning experience, not only for your friend, but for you, too. Most people want to give unsolicited advice to friends when they’re going through rough times, but the best thing you can do for a friend with cancer is to listen.

If she wants to talk about her diagnosis, her fears, her dreams, and her worries, then let her. It’s important to be a confidante and a trusted friend who will listen, no matter what subject may come to light. Let her talk out her decisions. Let her cry to you, laugh with you, and get frustrated with her cancer. Don’t give advice, rather sit there and let your friend talk out whatever is bothering her.

Consider taking notes for her and ask if she needs someone to come with her to appointments and treatments. You can help her document important information so she can focus on other things.

2. Create a Facebook page for her fight.

Social media is so powerful. Create a Facebook page that’s dedicated to your friend’s fight and her journey. Celebrate her milestones, gather support, and ask your friends to share their well wishes on the page. Take photos of your friend at different stages in her journey, having fun with her family and friends, trying new things, and doing whatever makes her happiest.

If you don’t want to create a Facebook page, there are dozens of websites that are created for cancer support, survivor networks, patient websites, and more. You can even start a blog, too! Be a cheerleader for your friend during this difficult time.

3. Send her daily inspiration and surprise her with gifts.

Sometimes the smallest gestures make the biggest impacts in someone’s life. While your friend goes through this journey, send her small gifts every week. Don’t just send her gifts on special milestones or goals; every day is a special day for someone who’s battling a disease like cancer. These gifts will take her mind off of the cancer and will boost her spirits.

Send her a vase of her favorite flowers. Write cards, send emails, and drop notes in her mailbox. Text her inspirational quotes when she wakes up and before she goes to bed. Create special gift boxes, such as spa gifts to pamper herself, a stack of classic novels, fun magazines to take to treatments with her, a handmade blanket, or a basket of wine and chocolate. Sending her favorite things will make her feel loved and cared for.

4. Throw a head shaving party!

If your friend is going through rigorous treatments and needs to shave her head, don’t let her do it alone. Do it together! Consider shaving your head in honor of her and invite your friends to do the same. Host a head shaving party so everyone can be together and celebrate the occasion.

Bake a cake, invite your friends, and ask them to donate to a fund in her name to support her treatment and medical costs. Host a potluck and ask everyone to bring one of your friend’s favorite dishes. Buy beautiful scarves and wigs you can all try on and take home as party favors. Snap some photos of the group and post to your Facebook page for support!

5. Take a cooking class together.

Grab a group of friends and attend cooking classes together with your friend who’s battling cancer. Don’t feel like going out to learn the art of cooking? Create your own home cooking party with your favorite ingredients.

You can help keep your friend’s strength up with healthy, hearty meals that are full of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Include as many organic, seasonal ingredients as possible. Help your friend plan ahead and create meals for the next few days or the week. Food prep will help keep her life less stressful, and when she’s hungry, all she has to do is heat up her meal and go!

6. Exercise with her.

Exercise is very important for those battling cancer. It’s important to keep your body—and your mind—strong and stress-free. Go for long walks together. Jog or run together around the neighborhood or in the park. Take yoga and practice meditation. Try a unique or one-of-a-kind fitness class, like paddle boarding or something that’s relaxing, fun, and a great workout! Whatever you choose, try to get your body moving, have some fun with your friend, and keep her mind in the present moment.

7. If she has kids or pets, help her out.

For someone battling cancer, it can be difficult to keep up with everyday tasks and help keep everyone’s minds off of cancer and her battle. If your friend has kids or pets, ask if you can help her with making life a bit more normal for her.

Take her kids out for meals or fun activities. Give her a “girls night out” and arrange for childcare for her. Take her pets for walks and to get groomed. Go with her kids to their appointments, pick them up from school, and get them out of the house when she just needs some time alone or needs to rest. Be her go-to person when she needs to make life more normal.

Have you helped out a friend with cancer? Share your favorite ideas to help someone who’s battling this disease below!

5 Fun Ways to Reduce Stress

For many of us, stress is a permanent part of our lives, and all too often, we feel consumed by the tension and anxiety. We don’t take the time to release or relieve stress as we should, or we use unhealthy coping mechanisms such as eating or drinking too much. Suggestions for relieving stress sometimes aren’t much fun, so we thought we’d change that.

Sometimes feeling better is as simple as going back to an easier, more carefree time of life. Look below for some entertaining ways to release tension.

Dance, dance, dance!

Put on your favorite music (tunes from high school are a good choice), and dance like no one’s watching. Spin your kids or your spouse around, and feel yourself let loose. The more you release your inhibitions, the more you let go of tension and anxiety.

Sing, sing, sing!

Singing releases endorphins and helps you feel better, and you also breathe in more oxygen during each song. Belt it out at the top of your lungs if you wish! If you prefer, take it to the next level and go to a karaoke bar with some friends.

Make fun food.

What was your favorite food growing up? Which foods do you find completely silly? Whether it’s jello or grilled cheese sandwiches with the crusts cut off, make some simple, fun food you love. Remember those simpler times, and feel the stress melt away.

Go outside and play.

What do you truly enjoy doing? We’re so engrossed in our daily lives that we forget how to have some good, clean fun. Playing doesn’t have to stop just because we’re adults. Do you enjoy roller skating or hula hooping? How about simply lying on a chaise in the back yard reading a book? Do something you enjoy but haven’t been able to do for a while.

Pamper yourself.

That could look like a massage, yoga, acupuncture, a pedicure and manicure, or spending a couple of hours in the bathtub with a good book. Decadent is the name of the game. Indulge yourself in luxury, and stress won’t dare to stick around.

Visit our Facebook page and give us some of your stress-busting tips!