How to Unwind After Work

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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 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 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

Ask the Doctor: Do you have a recommendation for a topical that will help scars heal or fade?

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This week, Dr. James Craigie of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your questions.

Q: Do you have a recommendation for a topical that will help scars heal or fade?

A: Unfortunately, nothing of which we are aware does this reliably. Avoidance of sun exposure is critically important to give scars their best chance of fading, but no topical preparations routinely make scars better. If scars are heavy or raised, Mederma can help, but it should not be used on scars which are already flat.


Dr. James Craigie

Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

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

Ask the Doctor: Questions About Reconstruction Surgery Years After A Mastectomy

<img src="image.gif" alt=A pink rose" />This week, Dr. Richard Kline of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction answers your questions.

Q: I have been cancer free for 4 years, and have been very undecided about reconstruction. My surgery removed the underside of my right breast. I am very lumpy and the scar is very hard. Would I need to have a reduction in the other side or can the surgery site be repaired? I am “usually” a D in size currently. Also, is this surgery considered a “tummy tuck” type operation?

A:  You have several potential options, depending on your present physical situation, and your wishes.

I’m assuming you are radiated (please correct me if I’m wrong). With this in mind, an implant to increase the size of the right breast is not likely to work. Increasing the size of the right breast with a DIEP flap (I assume this is what you meant by “tummy tuck”) is potentially a large operation for a lumpectomy defect, but sometimes it is actually the best option.

If you don’t mind being smaller than you were, reducing the size of the left breast may well be your best (and simplest) option to get better symmetry. That’s probably all I should try to say without knowing more details about your particular situation. We’d be happy to have our nurse Chris or PA Kim call you to discuss your situation further, if you wish. Thanks for your question, and have a great day!

Q: I had bilateral mastectomy in 2011, but didn’t have insurance. Now that I do have insurance, can I get reconstructive surgery? And how do I go about it?

A:  Thanks for your question. There is no time limit to when you can have reconstruction surgery. Your next step would be to start researching what kind of procedure would achieve your goals. If you’d like a permanent reconstructive procedure, the ones we offer might be what you are looking for. We use excess tissue of your abdomen, buttock or upper thigh and transfer that along with it’s blood supply to build a new warm natural breast.

Richard M. Kline, Jr., MD
The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction

What Changes Can I Expect After an SGAP Procedure?

The below question is answered by Richard M. Kline Jr., M.D. of The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction.

What changes will I notice, if any, from an SGAP procedure after the first stage?

That is an extremely variable thing, some patients scarcely notice a difference in their buttocks after harvest of an SGAP from one side, while other patients noticed a significant difference.  In almost all situations, the buttock shape will not be optimized however after the first stage, whether it is a unilateral or bilateral SGAP.  The second stage of the SGAP, which can occur as early as three months after the first stage, typically involves a fairly extensive revision of the GAP flap donor site.  Our present feeling is that the GAP flap scar is ideally placed as high as possible, so that it may fit within most bathing suits, but still fit comfortably under shorts.

Learn More About Our Surgical Team

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction was created by two surgeons, Dr. James Craigie and Dr. Richard Kline. Through their work at East Cooper Plastic Surgery, they saw patients benefit from breakthroughs in microsurgery and breast reconstruction. Their combined skills helped women achieve the very best results possible.

The result: a center devoted completely to helping women gain the breast shape and fullness they seek, without the loss of muscle or use of artificial implants.

Dr. Richard M. Kline Jr., MD

Home: James Island

Education: M.D., Medical University of South Carolina; B.S., Furman University

Residencies: The Cleveland Clinic, Louisiana State University Medical Center

Specialties: Perforator flap breast reconstruction

Certification: American Board of Plastic Surgery

Personal: Married with two children

Dr. Kline trained in microsurgery with Dr. Robert Allen, who was pioneering the DIEP, SIEA, and GAP flaps at LSU while Dr. Kline was a plastic surgery resident. “We knew that he (Dr. Allen) was on to something very exciting,” remembers Dr. Kline, “but I doubt anyone back then foresaw just how sought-after those procedures would become.”

After completing his training, Dr. Kline spent several years in full-time academic surgical practice, first at LSU in New Orleans, then at the Medical University of South Carolina, during which time he performed the first successful DIEP flap in the southeastern United States. He entered private practice in 2000, and the practice rapidly became a regional referral center for complex microsurgical reconstruction. The practice has since evolved to focus almost exclusively on microsurgical breast reconstruction. “Our passion” says Dr. Kline “is restoring women’s body image after mastectomy using only their own natural tissue. We and our entire staff feel very privileged to be able to use our skills to help so many people in this way.”

A Charleston native, Dr. Kline lives near his childhood home and his parents. His wife, Elizabeth, is a thoracic surgeon, and the two met in the operating room. They have two children, daughter Bellamy and son Mahlon.

Dr. James E. Criagie

Home: James Island

Education: M.D. Medical University of South Carolina: B.S. Erskine College

Residencies: Medical University of South Carolina; Fellowship. Louisiana State University Medical Center

Specialties: Muscle sparing Breast reconstruction with the patient’s own fatty tissue

Certifications: American Board of Plastic Surgery

Personal: Married with two children

Some of Dr. James Craigie’s earliest memories are of afternoons spent at hospitals with his father, a general surgeon. “I liked to go with him on call and see the things that he did,” Dr. Craigie says. Today, Dr. Craigie is an accomplished surgeon himself, conducting 70-100 breast reconstruction surgeries each year, along with all types of body contouring and cosmetic breast surgery that is part of the process of breast reconstruction. “As plastic surgeon’s we use techniques that are often cosmetic in nature but included as part of the reconstructive process. My main goal is to help people,” he says.

His constant aim is to bring state-of-the-art techniques and the best possible results. Before joining our practice, Dr. Craigie opened a general plastic surgery practice in North Carolina and completed advanced training in micro-vascular breast reconstruction in New Orleans. He is one of a limited number of doctors who perform the specialized surgery, considered the “gold standard” in breast reconstruction techniques. “To do this complicated surgery, you have to have extensive training and a strong commitment.” Dr. Craigie says. “We saw a real need for this procedure, that many women could be helped.”

Do you have a question for the Charleston breast surgeons at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction? We’d love to hear from you.

A Journey of Power and Purpose

We are so happy to share with you another In Her Words post, this time with Blaire Holloway, a breast cancer survivor and reconstruction success story!

Blaire was a patient of ours at The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction and shared her inspirational journey in last month’s issue of Lowcountry Health & Wellness Magazine and we would like to share this article with our readers!

See below for Blaire’s Story (*Don’t forget to grab a downloadable copy of Low Country Health & Wellness Magazine at their website)

Click the article below to be taken to the full online version.






















Have you downloaded the June issue of Lowcountry Health & Wellness Magazine? If not, click here.

East Cooper Medical Center’s We Know Women Event

The Center for Natural Breast Reconstruction was thrilled to participate in the East Cooper Medical Center’s We Know Women Event on Thursday, May 17th.This was the third annual We Know Women Event which featured physician panel talks, one-on-one Q&A with physicians, retail therapy with more than 20 vendors and a wine tasting compliments of Whole Foods Market. Our very own Dr. James Craigie served on the panel “Save the Tatas:  Breast Cancer-Diagnosis to Treatment” alongside Dr. Baron of The Charleston Breast Center and others. We had an Ask The Doctor table set up on the lawn where we raffled off a beach bag filled with goodies. Although the rain did make its way to the event, uninvited, we didn’t let it stop us, as we came prepared with CNBR logo ponchos. See below for a look back at this years event!

Click here to watch Dr. Craigie answer questions on natural breast reconstruction.

Check out our pictures below for all the fun we had!

Dr. Craigie answering questions during the panel discussion-Save the Tatas: Breast Cancer-Diagnosis to Treatmen

Other panelists joining Dr. Craigie included – Dr. Lisa Baron – Charleston Breast Center, Dr. Jennifer Beatty – General Surgery Dr. Matthew Beldner – Hematology/Oncology

Fresh pink gerbers, just like our logo!!

It pays to come prepared!!! (With ponchos)

Amy McCarthy, winner of our big beach tote filled with goodies that we raffled off!

Make sure to like our Facebook page to stay up to date on all our events and happenings!


Stop Smoking Series: All about Tobacco Quitlines

Tobacco QuitlinesEvery state has a tobacco quitline, typically paid for with funds from the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement. In 1998, the states settled Medicaid lawsuits against the tobacco companies to recover their costs for treating tobacco-related illness, and the tobacco companies agreed to pay the state over $200 billion over 25 years.

Hundreds of thousands of smokers and chewers call quitlines every year, and the North American Quitline Consortium reports that depending on whether nicotine replacement therapy is part of the program, 30-day success rate ranges from 14–36%

The quitlines are telephonic tobacco cessation services that help smokers and chewers quit through phone coaching or counseling, medications, and education. Each quitline coach or counselor has had extensive training in tobacco addiction and best practices in quitting. The staff of each quitline stays up-to-date on the latest research in tobacco cessation and relapse prevention, and is trained to coach in the use of the various medications such as nicotine replacement therapy (NRT), antidepressants, and Chantix.

Each state determines how its quitline will provide services, including the hours of operation, whether medication will be offered, whether there will be a charge for participants, and the duration of the program. To find out more about your state’s quitline, call 1-800-QUIT NOW.

The coaching that you receive from a quitline is instrumental in helping you quit. The coach will discuss your smoking history with you, including your previous quit attempts. He or she will give you tips on quitting and strategies to deal with cravings. Many of these coaches are former smokers themselves and know what you’re going through; however, even if they have never smoked, the coaches are highly trained in helping you quit.

You will be encouraged to set a quit date either on the initial call or during a follow-up call. Setting a quit date is an important first step in your quit plan and signals your commitment to stop tobacco. The coaches will call you on a regular schedule throughout the program, and you are encouraged to call in any time you have issues or uncontrollable cravings.

All you have to lose is your tobacco addiction. Call your state’s quitline at 1-800-QUIT NOW and get started creating a healthier you today.


Tips for Reducing Restless Nights of Tossing and Turning

It happens to all of us: nights we can’t sleep no matter what we do. Even if your insomnia is caused by stress or some other outside influence, simply changing a few habits will help you sleep like a baby.

Don’t sleep during the day.

We know how refreshing naps are during a hectic day. However, they can also be responsible for an awful night’s sleep. If you feel drowsy during the day, resist the urge to nap. Get out of the house—go for a walk, visit a friend, or try some retail therapy.

You may be sleepy during the day due to your food choices. Try adding a little more healthy protein to your lunch, reduce sugar or simple carbs, and drink more water. Too much caffeine can leave you tired later, so perhaps you should stop drinking coffee midmorning.

Go to bed at the same time every night, and get up at the same time every morning.

If you’re having trouble sleeping, it’s time to set up a sleep schedule. While sleeping in on the weekends is a glorious thing, a schedule will keep you alert and refreshed every day.

Make sure your mattress is right for you and in good shape.

A worn-out mattress set does more harm than just keeping you awake—it can cause back and joint pain. If your mattress is more than 5 years old, it may be time to replace it. Make sure it is big enough for you and your partner to stretch out without disturbing the other. A queen mattress is the minimum size you should have if you sleep with someone else or with pets.

Avoid drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed.

Not only can caffeine and alcohol stimulate you and keep you from falling asleep, but they can also wake you up in the middle of the night. You don’t want to go to bed hungry or overly full for the same reasons. If you feel hungry before bed, have a light snack, such as a piece of cheese or half an apple with peanut butter.

Do any vigorous exercising a few hours before bed. Meditating or yoga is fine to do closer to bedtime, as it relaxes you.

Create an environment that helps you sleep.

Everyone’s preferences are different, but some general tips will help you sleep. Wind down by reading a book or creating your own calming ritual. Keep the room dark and cool, and turn your alarm clock around so you don’t see its light. If your neighborhood tends to be noisy, use a white noise machine or a fan.

If your insomnia lasts longer than a week or two, contact your doctor.

What do you do to help yourself sleep?


Healthier Ways to Make Your Favorite Winter Comfort Foods

comfort foodsAh, winter comfort foods—is anything better than curling up in a blanket and eating your favorite?

However, many comfort foods, such as macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, and creamy stews and soups, are full of fat and calories we don’t need. Following are a few tips to reduce the fat and calories without sacrificing the taste and comfort you want.

Cut down the butter.

If a recipe calls for three tablespoons of butter, try using only two tablespoons (or less). Chances are you won’t notice a difference in taste. Using margarine presents its own problems, as most of them have hydrogenated oil you need to completely stay away from.

Try using lower-fat dairy products.

Instead of heavy cream, try using half-and-half, or use 2% milk instead of full-fat milk. Sour cream and cottage cheese come in low-fat varieties. You can find lower-fat cheeses, or use a smaller amount of high-quality cheese.

For some recipes, a lower-fat substitution might not work, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Reduce sugar by half.

While sugar doesn’t have that many calories, reducing it is always a good idea when trying to eat healthier. If you don’t like the taste with less sugar, try adding a little bit of honey.

Add more lean protein, fruit, and vegetables.

If you’re making a chicken potpie, use the leanest cuts of the chicken and add more vegetables. Try some broccoli, cauliflower, and beans.

Try pan-frying instead of deep-frying.

You’ll use less oil and have fewer calories. Try frying in olive oil or coconut oil for a change of taste. Taking the skin off will reduce fat, as will baking or oven-frying.

If all else fails, simply eat smaller portions, or make adjustments elsewhere in your diet.

If you can’t stand the way your mac ‘n cheese tastes with lower-fat substitutions, by all means, cook it the right way—just eat from a smaller bowl or plate. If you don’t want to do that, then plan your mac feast and eat less during the other meals of the day.

What do you do to reduce the fat and calories in your comfort foods?

5 Things You Wish You Were Told About Menopause

menopause symptomsEven though the majority of women experience menopausal symptoms, and menopause is regularly discussed on talk shows and in magazines, the symptoms still take women by surprise. This can be a very stressful time for all your personal relationships, especially your marriage. Do not hesitate to get professional help if relationships become strained.

Following are a few things our patients wish they had been told about menopause.

You may start having symptoms 10 years before you actually enter menopause.

Beginning in your mid-forties or even earlier, you may begin experiencing menstrual irregularity, mood swings, hot flashes, and sleep problems. This stage, called perimenopause, can last several years.

According to the Mayo Clinic, once you have gone 12 consecutive months without a period, perimenopause is over, and you have reached menopause. You can find more information on perimenopause by clicking here.

You won’t feel like yourself.

The symptoms of menopause include hot flashes and cold flushes, night sweats, irregular periods, hair loss, facial hair, memory lapses, and inability to concentrate. You won’t feel like yourself, and you may not act like yourself either. It will pass, but it will take time. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms; he or she may be able to help you get some relief.

Your sex drive may go down.

Fluctuating hormone levels, mood swings, and vaginal dryness may make you less desirous of sex. Make the effort to stay connected with your spouse or significant other, even if you don’t want to have intercourse, and consider other ways to please each other.

You may have severe mood swings and outbursts.

Many of our patients have been surprised at the speed and severity of their mood swings. Understandably, their families feel confused about the sudden changes in mood. Talk to your doctor if your mood swings are severe, and consider other ways of relieving stress, such as yoga or exercise. Don’t be afraid to let your family know when you need time alone to work through your moods.

You won’t want to hear any advice.

It’s human nature to try to come up with solutions for problems, and your family may feel your menopausal symptoms are an issue they can solve. If their well-intended advice grates on your nerves, lovingly tell them that you appreciate their concern, but that you need them to listen and just be there for you.

For more information on possible symptoms of menopause, click here.

If you have been through this, what advice do you have for other women?