Central Florida Health News

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volume 9 | issue 10 | january 2020




New You! edition

TRUE TRANSFORMATION Dr. Seetahal: Bariatric Surgery Just One Part of Weight Loss REVAMP YOUR RESOLUTIONS Frame Your Goals For Success EXPANDING CARE Behavioral Health Center To Address Acute Need POP QUIZ Volunteer Crochets Figures For Premature Babies

POP QUIZ Do You Know All the Benefits Of Yoga? You'd Be Surprised Permit No. 335 Lakeland, Fl.




CFHN | 1 CentralFloridaHealthNews.com

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It’s Never too Early to Start Healthy Financial Habits DALE DREYER Regional President Central Florida

MIKE COMPTON Senior Vice President/ Winter Haven Area Executive


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Accepting New Primary Care Patients

Niyomi De Silva, MD

Welcome to BayCare Medical Group’s Family Health Center, where it’s our mission to deliver high-quality health care. Our board-certified physicians provide all primary care needs for newborn, pediatric and adult patients, including:

Nathan Falk, MD, FAAFP

■ Back-to-school and sports physicals ■ Lab services ■ Nonoperative orthopedic care including sprains, strains and arthritis ■ Osteopathic manipulation treatment (OMT) ■ Pharmacy consultations ■ Skin procedures ■ Sports medicine, including sports injuries and sports-related concussions ■ Women’s health care, including prenatal care Most major insurance plans accepted, included Medicaid HMO.

Ashley Wilk, DO

To schedule an appointment: (863) 280-6080 Florida State University College of Medicine Family Medicine Residency at BayCare Health System (Winter Haven) 1201 First St. S., Suite 100A | Winter Haven 19-990925-1219 centralfloridahealthnews.com

BayCareMedicalGroup.org CFHN


CONTENTS | j a n u a r y 2 0 2 0 ENROLL PA GE 12 volume 9 | issue 10 | january 2020 FRE





On the Cover

ed iti on

TRUE TRA NSFORMA TIO Dr. Seetaha l: Bariatric Surg N Just One Part ery of Weight Loss

The new year often brings thoughts of weight loss. For a growing number of people, the solution to their struggles is bariatric surgery. We talked with bariatric surgeon Dr. Shiva Seetahal to learn more about the procedure. Page 10 For more photos from photo by JOHN MAGEE

Yoga has been practiced for at least 5,000 years, and with good reason. It’s good for you in a number of different ways. The health benefits—physical, mental, and emotional—of yoga are numerous. Test your knowledge of the health benefits of yoga.

CARE 14 EXPANDING Mental and behavioral health issues are a major concern in Central Florida. In Polk

New You!


REVAMP YOU R RESOLU Frame Your TIONS Goals For Success

EXPANDING Behavioral Hea CARE lth Center To Address Acute Need POP QUIZ Volunteer Croc For Premature hets Figures Babies

POP QUIZ Do You Kno w All the Ben efits Of Yoga? You 'd Be Surprise d

Permit No. 335 Lakeland, Fl.







County, there is just one mental health provider for every 1,400 residents. Read about Lakeland Regional Health’s plans for a new Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness.

YOUR RESOLUTIONS 16 REVAMP As the last days of 2019 tick away, the blank canvas of 2020 stands dauntingly

HealthCFHN |1 News.com

this edition, follow us on Facebook. Scan the QR code here with your smart device.

ahead. Many of us will aim for self-improvement by way of New Year’s Resolutions. Licensed mental health counselor Mary Joye explains why some resolutions leave you feeling defeated and what you can do about it.

18 Winter Haven Hospital volunteer Gabriele Robinson crochets octopus dolls for babies in CREATURE COMFORTS

the Neonatal Infant Care Unit. Why octopuses? Nurses say the octopuses help remind the babies of being tethered to their umbilical cord. We talked with Robinson about her talents and desire to give her time.



Content is fire. Social media is gasoline.

tories sell. Great sales stories sell even more. The Central Florida Media Group can help you craft a business narrative that is captivating, convincing and inspiring. We’ll also show you how to distribute the right message, to the right audience at the right time. We have helped many businesses expand their reach, gain followers, and generate more leads. If this is something you’re challenged with too, we would love to help. Let’s set up a quick call. We have some ideas that might help. Call us today at 863-248-7537


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START your YEAR on a POSITIVE NOTE THANK YOU FOR ringing in the new year with Central Florida Health News! Since it’s a new year, you can bet that resolutions are on the forefront of many minds. It’s time to step back, take a fresh look at life, and make changes Weight often tops the list of resolutions. For many, bariatric surgery offers just the boost needed to jump-start a major life change. We talked to a patient and surgeon to bring you a complete picture of the procedure and how it can change lives. At Central Florida Health News, we feel it’s important to focus on the whole self. That means paying attention to how you feel in addition to how many miles you’ve run or how many cigarettes you’ve cut. So we talked with Mary Joye, a licensed mental health counselor and life coach in Winter Haven, to learn how to better frame resolutions so they set us up for success. She explains that the language in many resolutions is punitive in nature and simply rephrasing your goal can keep guilt from playing such a pivotal role in resolutions. One tool that many people use to balance their emotional and physical health is yoga, which can benefit the mind and body in many ways. Learn more about yoga by taking our Pop Quiz! Don’t miss our feature on a Winter Haven Hospital volunteer who makes plush toys for newborns in the NICU and our look at Lakeland Regional Health’s behavioral health facility that was just announced. We’ve packed the pages to give you as much positive news as

Some of the benefits of a PCMA membership include the following: ✱ Physician referrals ✱ Medical malpractice discounts with The Doctors Company ✱ Ongoing relevant communication ✱ Access to CME Programs ✱ Workers compensation insurance benefits ✱ Complimentary Socials/dinners ✱ Strong PCMA physician representation in Central Florida Health News and Central Florida Doctor publications ✱ Listing advantages in the annual Central Florida Physicians Directory & Medical Providers Guide ✱ Physician and medicine advocacy at all legislative levels. If you’d like more information about becoming a PCMA member or need to check your membership status for renewal, contact our Executive Director Jackie Courtney at (863) 644-4051 or email director@polkcountydoctors.com. hn

possible and help you get your year off to the best start!

QQQ JACKIE COURTNEY Executive Director 4315 Highland Park Blvd Suite B


James J. Booker, MD James J. Booker, MD Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Winter Haven President, Polk County Medical Association

Lakeland, Florida 33813 centralfloridahealthnews.com

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www.CentralFloridaHealthNews.com NELSON KIRKLAND, Publisher nelson@centralfloridamediagroup.com

Start 2020 With the Basics


he holidays are officially over and the confetti is starting to settle. Go ahead and dust yourself off, the coast is clear. While the rest of the nation turns its attention to resolutions, we want to bring the focus back to the basics. Resolutions can be powerful, but often they get left by the wayside when the luster wears off. The basics, on the other hand, never get old. The American Medical Association just recently issued 10 recommendations to help Americans safeguard their health. The first bit of advice? Learn your risk for type 2 diabetes. As our readers know, this is an important issue we have explored in multiple articles through the years. Just as the AMA suggests, take the self-test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org and take action now to prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Next on the list: Be more physically active. The association recommends that adults get in “at least 150 minutes a week of

moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes a week of vigorousintensity activity.” Keep an eye on Central Florida Health News for our continued coverage on best places to take a walk and best ways to stay in shape. Also on the AMA’s list is making sure your family is up-to-date on their vaccines. They go on to explain that this recommendation includes the flu vaccine. We’re a big believer in the importance of vaccinations, and it’s been covered extensively in our editions. Protect yourself, folks. You have the power to protect yourself against illness. Don’t give that power up. Stress management is also big on their list. Licensed Mental Health Counselor Mary Joye’s monthly Body, Mind & Spirit columns are always packed with tools to help you better manage stress. Check out the rest of the recommendations by scanning the QR code at right. hn





Erika Aldrich, Joy Jackson, MD, Mary Joye, LMHC, Matt Cobble, Matt Norman, Nancy Stein, Paul Catala, Teresa Schiffer CONTRIBUTING COLUMNISTS

David Loewy, MD, Gerald Cerdan, DMD, CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS

Clyde Bielss, Eileen McHargue, Laurie Kornilow CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

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56 Fourth Street Northwest, Suite 100 Winter Haven, Florida PHONE 863.248.7537 Copyright © 2020 Central Florida Media Group. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This issue of Central Florida Health News is a trademark of Central Florida Media Group. Reproduction or use in whole or in part of the contents of this magazine without written permission is prohibited. Central Florida Health News makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of content published. In the event of an error found herein however, neither the publishers or advertisers will be held responsible, nor do the publishers accept any liability for the accuracy of statements made by advertisers in advertising and promotional materials. Furthermore, the opinions and claims expressed in advertisements and promotional materials do not necessarily reflect those of the Polk County Medical Association or Central Florida Media Group and do not imply an endorsement.


FEATURE | p r e v e n t i o n

POP QUIZ From Stress to Cholesterol, Yoga Is More Powerful Than You Think YOGA HAS BEEN practiced for at least 5,000 years, and with good reason. It’s good for you in a number of different ways. The health benefits—physical, mental, and emotional—of yoga are numerous, and it’s a practice that can be taken up at any age. Take our quiz and test your knowledge of the health benefits of yoga and find out why getting out on the mat is a good idea.

3. E. All of the above. Scientific studies have shown that yoga benefits those with anxiety, stress, depression, and fatigue. 2. True. Studies have shown that those doing yoga regularly had lower levels of cortisol than before starting a yoga regimen. ANSWERS: 1. B. A combination of meditation and mindfulness, controlled breathing, and specific body postures. There are many different kinds of yoga, with some focusing more on different aspects.

Which additional health benefits have studies linked to yoga? A. Increased strength, flexibility, and balance

4. D. All of the above. Yoga has been shown to improve anxiety, including PTSD.

True or False? Yoga has been shown to increase “mindful eating,” the concept that encourages being present in the moment while eating, especially when it comes to feeling full.

5. True. Results of yoga studies suggest a connection between yoga and a lessening of the inflammation that is a symptom of many chronic, debilitating diseases.


In terms of relieving pain, scientific studies have shown that yoga has done which of the following? A. For those with carpal tunnel syndrome, yoga was more effective in reducing pain and improving grip strength than wrist splinting B. In those with osteoarthritis of the knees, yoga helped decrease pain and improve physical function C. Could help reduce many types of chronic pain D. All of the above

6. E. All of the above. Study results have suggested a relationship between yoga and lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of heart disease, improved cholesterol, and more.

True or False? Some studies suggest that practicing yoga may reduce inflammation—pro-inflammatory diseases

True or False? One study showed an association between doing yoga and decreased symptoms of depression.

7. True. Study results have linked doing yoga and decreased symptoms of depression.

Where anxiety is concerned, scientific studies have found that practicing yoga could lead to which of the following results? A. Significantly lowered levels of anxiety B. Reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) C. Improved PTSD to the point participants no longer met the criteria for the illness. D. All of the above

Scientific studies have shown yoga can have which of the following benefits for heart health? A. Reduced risk factors for heart disease B. Lower blood pressure C. Possibly slower progression of heart disease D. Lower cholesterol, including “bad” LDL cholesterol E. All of the above

8. D. All of the above. Yoga has been shown to improve chronic pain in sufferers with carpal tunnel syndrome, osteoarthritis of the knees, and more.

Scientific studies have shown that yoga can improve mental health through which of the following? A. Lowering stress levels B. Decreasing anxiety C. Lessening fatigue D. Improving depression E. All of the above

include heart disease, diabetes and cancer—as well as improve mental health.

9. True. Participants in a study on food disorders who did yoga reported reduced symptoms.

True or False? Multiple studies have shown that doing yoga can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.

compiled by ERIKA ALDRICH; Resources: Information provided by Healthline.com, Harvard Health Publishing, and YogaJournal.com

10. E. All of the above. Additional studies have found that yoga can help increase strength, flexibility and balance; promote better sleep; improve breathing capacity; and help relieve migraines. hn

Which of the following defines the practice of yoga? A. Strenuous stretching exercises B. A combination of meditation and mindfulness, controlled breathing, and specific body postures C. Twisting into strange positions D. None of the above

B. Better sleep C. Improved breathing and vital capacity, important to those with lung disease, heart issues, and asthma D. Migraine relief E. All of the above

CFHN | 7

beautiful smiles Gerald V. Cerdan, DMD WH Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

Dental Implants Help You Look Your Best


ot everyone is blessed with perfect teeth. Sometimes things happen that detract from our smile. Losing one or more teeth can cause a huge hit to one’s selfesteem, in addition to problems eating and speaking. For many years, the only solution for missing teeth was dentures. However, over the last 30 years, dental implants have become an increasingly popular fix for missing teeth. At Winter Haven Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we can help restore your confidence and oral health with dental implants. THE DENTAL IMPLANT PROCEDURE Although the concept of dental implants has been around for a long time, we no longer hammer pieces of shell into the jawbone, as was performed by the ancient Mayans. In 1951, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) was formed to promote the practice of implantology. Over the years the procedure has become standardized. ★ First, your dental care team will evaluate your situation using X-rays and develop a plan based on your specific needs. In addition to standard X-rays, we also incorporate the use of cone beam computed tomography, or CBCT scanner, to get a more accurate 3D image of our patients. ★ Next, a small titanium post is implanted into the bone socket of your missing tooth or teeth. The jawbone will grow around the post as it heals, anchoring it securely in place. It takes up to a few months for the bone to heal. ★ A small connector post, called an abutment, is then attached to the titanium post. The abutment will hold the new tooth. ★ A new tooth based on a model of your bite is then attached to the abutment. This replacement tooth is called a crown. ★ Instead of having a crown attached, it is also possible to have attachments placed on the implant to support a fixed or removable denture. DENTAL IMPLANT CARE There is minimal pain involved in the implant procedure, but good oral hygiene is necessary afterwards. You must continue brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash as normal, and be committed to regular dental check-ups. With proper care, most dental implants will last a lifetime. When you are ready to replace your missing teeth and return your smile to its shining glory, come see us at Winter Haven Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. This column is sponsored by Winter Haven Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFHN or of its advertisers. BIO: Dr. Gerald Cerdan has been practicing dentistry in Winter Haven since 2007. He is a member of the International Dental Implant Association, American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the Florida Dental Association, the American Dental Association, and the Polk County Dental Association. The team at Winter Haven Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is committed to providing high-quality care for all their patients, and Dr. Cerdan is skilled in using cutting-edge technologies to give patients beautiful, healthy smiles!.

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WHO CAN FORGET Debbie Downer on Saturday Night Live? No one wanted to be around her because she was so negative. It touched a funny nerve because we all know a Debbie. If you’re one, your mindset can be changed. When you expect the worst, it often happens. If something good happens, a pessimistic person may anticipate something will go wrong. Aviation engineer Edward A. Murphy Jr. made the “law,” “What can go wrong will go wrong.” Murphy’s law has no factual base. All those “what-if-something-goes-wrong” expectations can be changed by asking, “What if something goes right?” Positive thinking is a conscious choice and a practice. There was an old building being repurposed in Winter Haven and underneath the plaster was a very old sign that said, “Optimism can change the world.” When the construction was complete, they chose to leave the writing on the literal wall. I smile every time I walk past it. Positive psychology is more than positive thinking. It would be cruel and shallow to say to those who have suffered a tragedy, “Look on the bright side!” Many phrases we think are positive are unintentionally harmful: ★ There’s a reason for everything. ★ Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. ★ Let it go. Get over it! These statements are often made by those who don’t understand how horrific events can change you or they don’t want to relieve their own discomfort with glib remarks. This isn’t positive psychology; it’s a lack of

empathy. There isn’t a reason for everything, whatever doesn’t kill you can make you physiologically weaker and you can’t get over tragedy quickly. Being optimistic doesn’t patronize or try to make sense of the senseless. It seeks solutions and a change of perspective. Martin Seligman, the pioneer of positive psychology, is the same man who conceptualized “learned helplessness.” If your childhood was fraught with neglect or abuse, you may grow up feeling helpless. Seligman discovered you can also learn hopefulness or be born or taught resilience. Positive Psychology isn’t Pollyanna thinking. It is retraining the brain to find meaningful ways to live with a sense of purpose. Three quick ways to improve optimism are: 1. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. (Old school, but true) 2. Stop complaining. Practice gratitude. 3. Help someone worse off than you. There are more ways to recondition negativity. Finding meaningful and encouraging relationships helps. Debbie Downer would have more friends if she said less and smiled more. Smiling releases feel-good chemicals and increases happiness. When you cease focusing on what’s wrong and begin noticing what’s right, these positive perspectives will improve your outlook. The core of behavioral therapy is about changing your thoughts (cognitions) and in doing so, it can change your brain, behaviors and your life. Optimism releases dopamine and a sense of well-being. Pessimism releases and increases stress hormones and can make you ill. The next time you hear yourself criticize someone or something by saying, “That makes me sick,” you may do just that. Murphy should have known this. Planes have an attitude and altitude meter. Keep an optimistic attitude, it will uplift you and everyone around you. hn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Joye, LMHC, PA, is a licensed mental health counselor with offices in Lakeland and Winter Haven. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information, visit winterhavencounseling.com.


calendar ✷ january 2020 This is just a sampling of some of the many health events going on in your community. For more great events in your area, visit our comprehensive online calendar at CentralFloridaHealthNews.com.



ACCESS ART: SPECIAL NEEDS – Individuals with special needs and various exceptionalities are invited to this class held monthly at Polk Museum of Art to view and discuss exhibited artwork. Group meets on the first Saturday of each month (unless it is a holiday weekend) at 11 a.m. ALZHEIMER’S SUPPORT GROUP – Held the first Thursday of each month at Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center: 40100 U.S. 27 in Davenport. For more information or to register, call (863) 292-9210. BETTER BREATHERS PROGRAM – This course provides information and support for individuals with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Held the third Tuesday of each month from 1-3 p.m. at Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, 40100 US Highway 27 in Davenport. The program is endorsed by the American Lung Association. Preregistration is required by calling (863) 419-2247. BRAIN INJURY SUPPORT GROUP – This is an open forum for brain injury survivors and their caregivers on how to live life to the fullest after a traumatic injury. Group meets on fourth Tuesday from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Winter Haven Hospital Wellness Center conference room. For more information, call (863) 292-4060. BREASTFEEDING CLASS – Offered by the Winter Haven Women’s Hospital, this Breastfeeding Class will be held on Saturday, January 11, 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. in classroom A, 101 Avenue O SE in Winter Haven. Registration is required and the cost is $15. For more information and to register, call (855) 314-8352. CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP – This group is cosponsored by Watson Clinic Cancer & Research Center and Cornerstone Hospice. It meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Watson Clinic Cancer & Research Center, Arts in Medicine Studio 2nd Floor, 1730 Lakeland Hills Blvd in Lakeland. For more information, please call Cornerstone Hospice at (863) 899-8445. CAREGIVERS SUPPORT GROUP – Meetings are held the second Friday of each month at the Winter Haven Hospital Wellness Center conference room, 200 Ave F, Northeast, Winter Haven, from 1:30-2:30 p.m. For more information, please call (863) 291-6095. CONQUERING CHEMO – TThis weekly education class is offered to new patients before their chemotherapy session begins. It’s designed to empower patients and their family members/caregivers with the most up-to-date information on cancer treatment and side effect management. Classes are available every Monday (9:30-11 a.m.), Tuesday (121:30 p.m.), and Thursday 2-3:30 p.m.) at Watson Clinic Cancer Center Boardroom, 1730 Lakeland Hills Boulevard in Lakeland. For more information, please call (863) 603-4739.

Medical Center holds this class on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 1-3 p.m. There is no charge for this course. For more information, please call (863) 676-1433. GRIEF SUPPORT GROUP – Cornerstone Hospice offers a weekly support group each Thursday to help you on your journey of grief recovery and rebuilding your life. This is a free support group that is facilitated by a trained counselor who understands the grieving process, and is held 9:30-11 a.m. at Highland Park Church, corner of Hallam Drive and 540A, at the Main Campus, 4777 Lakeland Highlands Rd, Room 101, Lakeland, FL 33813. Registration is required. For more information, call Cornerstone Hospice at (863) 291-5560. HEARING LOSS ASSOCIATION OF AMERICA, LAKELAND CHAPTER MEETING – The Hearing Loss Association - Lakeland Chapter extends an invitation to join them every second Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 175 Lake Hollingsworth Drive in Lakeland. The meeting will be held in Multipurpose Room A. To learn more about the Lakeland HLAA Chapter meetings, visit hla-lakeland.org. HEARTSMARTS CARDIAC CLASS – Lakeland Regional Health offers this free program on the second Tuesday of every month from 2-3 p.m. in the B-Wing Classroom B201. Registration is not required. For more information about HeartSmarts, please contact Kara Bailey, MSN, RN, CMSRN, CCCC at (863) 687-1100 ext. 7618 or kara.bailey@myLRH.org. LUPUS SUPPORT GROUP – Held on the third Monday of each month, 6:15-8:15 p.m. at Heart of Florida Regional Medical Center, 40100 US Hwy 27 in Davenport. For more information, call (800) 339-0586. MENTAL HEALTH PEER RECOVERY PROGRAM – This program is offered by Winter Haven Hospital Center for Behavioral Health on two different days per week. The first meets weekly on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lions Park Clubhouse, 820 Avenue L SW in Winter Haven. The second meets at the center, 1201 First Street North in Winter Haven on Wednesdays from 12:30-4:30 p.m. This program is free and registration is not required. OSTOMY SUPPORT GROUP – Meets in the Winter Haven Hospital Wellness Center conference room on the third Wednesday of each month from 10-11 a.m. For more information, please call (863) 293-1121 ext. 1511. PARKINSON’S DISEASE SUPPORT GROUP – Held the second Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m., this support group is located at Rath Senior ConNEXTions and Education Center. The address is in the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine building, 1021 Lakeland Hills Boulevard in Lakeland. Interested attendees can get more information at therathcenter.org or by calling (863) 937-8023.

DIABETES PREVENTION PROGRAM – Held every Thursday from 1 -2 p.m. at Plant City Community Resource Center, 307 N Michigan Ave in Plant City, you can learn to reduce your risk of diabetes by controlling your diet, losing weight, managing stress, and getting enough exercise.

PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH EDUCATION CLASS – TThis class is available for established Watson Clinic OB patients. It is designed to prepare couples for the miracle of childbirth and is held on Thursday evenings at Watson Clinic’s Bella Vista Building, 1755 North Florida Avenue in Lakeland. For more information or to register, go to WatsonClinic.com/events.




Wednesday you can have a date with Bonnie the Therapy Dog at Bruton Memorial Library in Plant City from 4 – 5 p.m. She is a good-natured dog that loves to snuggle with readers while getting some pats and pets. She will be on the couch in the children’s area, but is available to children of all ages. TOTAL JOINT REPLACEMENT CLASS – For any individual considering or scheduled for total joint replacement, this class teaches expectations pre- and postsurgery (i.e. pain, exercise, length of stay, equipment, and follow up care). The class is taught by orthopedic nurses and occupational and physical therapists, from 12:30-2 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday. Meets at Winter Haven Hospital’s Orthopedic Department Waiting Room, 200 Ave F NE, Winter Haven. Registration is required. For more information, please call (863) 293-1121 ext. 1806. WOMAN-TO-WOMAN CANCER SUPPORT GROUP – Meets on the second and fourth Monday of each month at the Winter Haven Hospital Wellness Center, 200 Ave F NE in Winter Haven at 6-7 p.m. For more information, call (863) 291-6095.



DECEMBER 30 – FEBRUARY 28 – COUCH TO 5K TRAINING Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, you can enjoy the natural beauty of Bok Tower Gardens while getting fit by training for the Carillon Classic 5K on February 29. The running training is designed to motivate someone who is “out of shape,” so all fitness levels are welcome. There is no additional fee for taking part in this training. Bok Tower Gardens is located at 1151 Tower Blvd in Lake Wales. You can find more information at www.boktowergardens.org. JANUARY 9, 16, 23, 30 – YOGA FOR EVERY BODY This Hatha yoga class is held at beautiful Bok Tower Gardens, located at 1151 Tower Blvd in Lake Wales. You will learn a core sequence of held postures combined with breath work. Participants of all adult ages, shapes, and abilities are welcome. The class is free with admission to the Gardens, but you must register beforehand at www.boktowergardens.org/calendar/ yoga-for-everyone. It will take place from 8:30 – 9:30 a.m. JANUARY 11 – CARING FOR YOUR NEWBORN CLASS This is a three-hour class taught by a licensed Registered Nurse designed for expectant parents who are patients of Watson Clinic. Students will learn the basics of newborn care including feeding, changing, bathing, and much more. It costs $25 per couple and includes a workbook, coupons, and educational information. The class will be from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. at Watson Clinic Main Clinic Library, 1600 Lakeland Hills Blvd in Lakeland. For more information or to register, please visit www.watsonclinic.com/events/. JANUARY 22 – LVIM: NOD TO NONPROFITS TOUR SERIES Learn more about the Lakeland Volunteers in Medicine and the important work they do providing high-quality medical care to working, uninsured residents of Polk County with the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce. The meeting will take place from 9 – 10 a.m. at 600 W Peachtree St in Lakeland. If you have any questions, please call (863) 688-8551, ext. 230. hn

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FEATURE | e d i t i o n

True TRANSFORMATION Doctor and Patient Explain Why Bariatric Surgery Is So Much More Than Weight Loss THE NEW YEAR often brings thoughts of weight loss. It seems that there are endless numbers of weight loss methods. Everything from the tried and true methods to schemes that seem too good to be true, and probably are. For a growing number of people, the solution to their struggles is bariatric surgery.

What is bariatric surgery? Commonly known as weight loss surgery, this is surgery intended to result in weight loss. A variety of options exist, all aimed at decreasing the amount of food that a person is able to eat, resulting in weight loss. The type and method of surgery depends on the patient, his or her goals, and the advice of the surgeon.

Why bariatric surgery? Dr. Shiva Seetahal is a local surgeon specializing in bariatric surgery at AdventHealth Heart of Florida. When asked why he chose this specialty, he says he saw many people suffering from obesity. Aware of the health concerns this causes, he wanted to help. Seetahal says many of his patients seek bariatric surgery after trying other weight loss methods with limited success. He goes on to say that, while some of them are looking to correct medical issues, most come in hopes of preventing them. Teresa Coombs, 27, of Orlando, had bariatric surgery two years ago and lost 110 pounds. She says it was her decision to have the surgery was about weight, but also about much more. Her initial motivation was the hope of having a baby. She said she got tired of being told that she could not get pregnant unless she lost weight. One person even told her, “You’ll either have to get taller or lose weight.” At about 5 feet tall and in her mid-20s, she knew she was not likely to get any taller. So, she decided to lose weight.

What surprises came after the surgery? While she’s very happy with the results, Coombs said wasn’t easy. Having never had any surgery, she was surprised by the amount of discomfort she had. She said she didn’t really have a lot of pain, but she was very uncomfortable. While this sort of discomfort is common with laparoscopic abdominal surgeries, it was new to Coombs. The other big surprise was that she didn’t want to eat. She had struggled with her weight for years, and thought that after the surgery she would still be hungry and want to eat. Instead, she had to force herself to eat. She said that even looking at or thinking about food in the early weeks would make

10 | CFHN


her nauseous. As a nurse, she knew she needed to eat in order to give her body the energy it needed to heal, so she forced herself. As the weeks passed she found that it became easier to eat and she began to enjoy eating again. Still, it was not the same. Her family was very supportive and often ate meals that they knew she could take part in, but she said she often cried as she could not enjoy much of the food that she used to, or that the people around her were eating. Coombs likens her experience to that of an infant learning how to eat. She said her brain still thought she could eat the way she did before, but her new stomach simply couldn’t handle many of the same foods. For this reason, she had to start with very soft foods like apple sauce. Over time she moved on to more solid foods, but to this day finds there are foods she still can’t eat. Coombs admits the early days and weeks after her surgery were not easy. Seetahal warns that while many think of this as a quick fix or even “cheating,” “bariatric surgery is simply one part of a complete lifestyle change that has to happen in order to experience long-term, sustained weight loss.” The surgery certainly helps, but it still requires making good food choices and finding ways to be more active. It’s hard work.

Was it worth it?

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When asked if it was worth it, Coombs answers with an enthusiastic YES! While she is careful not to downplay the early difficulties, she has no trouble saying she’s glad she did it. She said her attitude changed the first time someone who had known her before the surgery did a double-take and said, “Wow, you look happy.”

continued on page 22

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FEATURE | h e a l t h c a r e



Lakeland Regional's Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness to Address Acute Need in Area by TERESA SCHIFFER

MENTAL AND BEHAVIORAL health issues continue to be a major concern in the United States, and Central Florida is not immune to these problems. The unfortunate reality is that in Polk County, there is just one mental health provider for every 1,400 residents. Needless to say, area mental health services are often overwhelmed by the needs of the public. The good news is that the city of Lakeland and Lakeland Regional Health have recognized this crisis and implemented a plan to alleviate some of the burden. The Lakeland Planning and Zoning Board recently gave approval for Lakeland Regional Health to begin construction on a new Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness on the Medical Center Campus. Lakeland Regional Health has been planning the new center for the past year after a community health needs assessment in 2017 indicated a lack of sufficient behavioral health services in Polk County. Construction on the free-standing, 96-bed acute psychiatric facility is expected to be complete in 2021.

The Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness will provide services for adolescents and adults, allowing for expanded care and co-location of inpatient and behavioral health services to provide an enhanced continuum of care in an environment that is safe, welcoming, and accessible. According to Alice Nuttall, director of Behavioral Health at Lakeland Regional Health, the hospital is currently licensed for 68 beds in its Behavioral Health Sciences department. When the hospital reaches capacity, they must transfer patients to other facilities. Additionally, there are insufficient resources available for geriatric and pediatric care. Children who are Baker Acted or seniors suffering with dementia may need to travel to Orlando or Tampa for care. This can present a significant challenge for families already in the midst of turmoil. The new Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness will increase Lakeland Regional Health’s inpatient capacity by 28. While the hospital does currently have an outpatient facility that serves the behavioral health needs of children and adults, the new center will help to decrease wait times for care. One major benefit of the new center is that it will offer a range of services not currently available in the area, such as intensive outpatient care and partial hospitalization. These types of services will benefit individuals who need more help than just therapy and medication, but not quite so much as needing a hospital stay. Research shows that partial hospitalization often results in highly favorable outcomes. It is an approach that combines intensive behavioral health services with the comfort of remaining in the patient’s own home and routine. While at times it may be necessary for a patient to completely remove themselves from a situation to escape their stressors, in many cases true recovery happens at home. “As far as the true work of getting better with your therapy,” Nuttall explains, “we can help get you stabilized and get the right plan in place, and it is crucial that the acute care in the hospital is done well to get you on the right path, but what really matters is the behaviors that you do every day.” This approach can be especially helpful for patients struggling with substance abuse problems who may need consistent support in the early stages of their recovery. Substance abuse issues have a direct correlation to many social problems, including crime rates, job performance, economic health, and more.

Alice Nuttall, director of Behavioral Health at Lakeland Regional Health

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healthy aging DAVID LOEWY, M.D. Eye Specialists of Mid Florida

Learn About LASIK and Other Refractive Procedures

The building itself is designed around the needs of patients, families, and the community. It will make use of the therapeutic qualities of natural light and include indoor and outdoor spaces for activities. The goal for Lakeland Regional Health is for the Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness to become a hub from which patients transfer to various partners in the community to continue their care. This new facility is expected to be a boon to Polk County, providing much needed mental health services to an underserved population. Those who have had first-hand experience with the Behavioral Health Sciences department at Lakeland Regional Health, such as Patti Wagner, are pleased with the development. Patti Wagner’s 78-year-old husband, Ed, was admitted to the hospital in March of this year after his dementia became psychotic. “Lakeland Regional Health was the only hope I had for Ed,” Patti Wagner recalls. Ed Wagner had already been in two other hospitals in the preceding weeks before his wife was forced to Baker Act him. He was not responding to any medication. Upon their arrival at Lakeland Regional Health, Patti Wagner was immediately struck by the cleanliness of the facility and the care with which the nurses treated their charges. “It was a godsend,” she describes. “The people there were just so amazing, not only to Ed. They cared for Ed. I knew he was safe there. I knew he wasn’t going to wander off.” Patti Wagner deeply appreciated that the staff in the Memory Disorders Unit not only looked after her husband’s medical well-being, but also strove to keep him comfortable. The doctors communicated with Patti Wagner regularly and were flexible with her regarding visiting hours because she had to drive from Ocala, after working all day, to see her husband of 42 years. The nurses facilitated telephone calls between the couple so Patti Wagner could hear her husband’s voice when she wasn’t with him. Patti Wagner emphasizes that there is such a need for this type of care. “I know there are so many needs in this world, but there is a need for that.” hn


s you decide on your new year’s resolutions and goals, you should also consider your eye health as part of those resolutions and goals. Why not make 2020, “The Year of Vision” the year you get back to seeing better. It would be the perfect time to consider LASIK or other refractive procedures to help your vision. Refractive surgery is designed to correct many levels of myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism to effectively reduce dependency on eyeglasses and contacts. The most popular refractive procedure is LASIK, which stands for laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis. It involves shaping the cornea using a laser. Other refractive procedures include photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) and refractive lens exchange (RLE). Those who are not good candidates for LASIK may benefit from either PRK or RLE. Thin or flat corneas, high degrees of refractive error, irregularly shaped corneas, and certain hereditary corneal diseases are some of the conditions that can make a candidate unsuitable for refractive surgery. The procedure is often painless and will take less than 30 minutes. During the surgery, the patient may feel some pressure on their eyes. After surgery, the patient’s eyes may feel irritated or itchy, and their eyes may water; however, by not rubbing or touching the eyes and using eye drops as directed by the doctor, these symptoms will soon pass. Refractive surgery is not covered by insurance and must be paid “out of pocket” or financed. One should consider that some of the expense is offset by savings incurred in no longer purchasing contacts, contact solution, glasses, etc.; however, the freedom of not worrying about visual aids is certainly an improvement in lifestyle that is priceless. A consultation with an ophthalmologist will determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK or other refractive procedures. Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida would love to help you with your vision needs. We currently have 8 locations to better serve you, call 800-282-3937 to schedule your consultation. This column is sponsored by Eye Specialists of MidFlorida, and the opinions expressed herein may not reflect those of CFHN or of its advertisers. BIO: David Loewy, MD has been a practicing eye surgeon at Eye Specialists of Mid-Florida for over 30 years. He specializes in laser and cataract surgery.


CFHN | 15

FEATURE | p a t i e n t



RESOLUTIONS Frame Your Goals for the New Year in Positive Language by MATT COBBLE

AS THE LAST days of 2019 tick away, the blank canvas of 2020 stands dauntingly ahead. Many of us will aim for selfimprovement by way of New Year’s Resolutions. However, statistically speaking, the majority of resolutions are disregarded or forgotten by the time Punxsutawney Phil goes looking for his shadow. So why is it that, despite our best intentions on New Year’s Day, our plans for change usually don’t make it off the first page of the calendar? Mary Joye, a licensed mental health counselor and life coach in Winter Haven, believes she knows why resolutions fail: “Resolutions are RE-Solutions. They can be punitive in nature as they are all about deprivation of calories or increasing exercise you don’t enjoy. A SOLUTION is better. You aren’t trying to re-solve how to get rid of all those holiday calories.” Joye says this initial negative framework sets our brains on a slippery slope away from the change we desire. “If failure is perceived, negative guilt sets in and positive change stops.”

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Luckily for all of us who are wanting to start 2020 on a stronger foot, Joye does have advice on what to do instead: “Solve this problem by adding something good to your life or reframing the language of what you are attempting.” She uses the example of one of the most common resolutions: I need to try and lose weight. In one sentence, she points out three word choices that put us on the defensive. “‘Needing’ implies lack. ‘Trying’ implies a failure mindset is in place, and ‘lose’ is a negative word.” Instead, she reframes the same idea using

positive language: I want and am going to live a healthy, happy life this year. “Feel the difference from negative to positive? ‘I want’ and ‘I am’ statements are more positive, and will result in being good to yourself by incrementally adding healthier lifestyle choices.” Why does such a small change have such an big impact? “Small semantic adjustments result in huge mindset changes,” Joye says. “Think of how people say, ‘I need chocolate’ versus ‘I want a piece of chocolate’....The person who needs chocolate may eat the whole candy bar. The person who wants it will self-regulate better.” But sometimes our goals do leave us a little discouraged, especially when they are for significant change and our progress is not as quick as we would like. For these instances, Joye recommends guided meditation. “Meditation is the mediator between the subconscious and the conscious through brain wave intercommunication. Soft music, shutting your eyes and solitude for as little as 10-15 minutes a day will help you.” In the long run, using visualizations to picture yourself as you wish to be — a thinner, kinder, or more prosperous version of yourself — can help you to push past the


subconscious urges that drove you toward the bad habits you wish to break. In the short term, of course, meditation is also relaxing. “Get professional help if you can’t get the hang of it,” Joye adds. “Or use guided meditations on YouTube.” Making New Year’s Resolutions is not right for everyone, Joye feels. “Merely making a decision to give up something bad is less effective than adding something good to life.” As an example, if you are someone who wishes to stop using profanities, Joye suggests setting up a swear jar; where every time you swear, you add a bit of money to it. “When you stop the behavior, reward yourself with something nice!” In certain cases, Joye recommends individuals not make resolutions. “Anyone who has a tendency to be hard on themselves or has feelings of guilt or shame should not make resolutions.” Instead, her advice to anyone like this “is seek the root of the guilt or shame with a professional or personal insight and seek to resolve negative emotions.”

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Joye also offers some simple advice to help you achieve some common resolutions. WORRY LESS – “If you worry you are already meditating, but to the negative…Exercise relieves and reduces stress hormones. Gratitude is also wonderful as worry and thankfulness don’t coexist in the brain well.” GET ORGANIZED – “It’s overwhelming to clean the WHOLE garage. Begin with one shelf or one corner…Learn to purge, not merge. If you buy a new shirt, release an old one to someone in need.” ENJOY LIFE TO THE FULLEST – “Do less of what you feel obligated to do and more of what you want to do.” BE KINDER TO OTHERS – “Pay compliments. Write good reviews instead of angry ones. Complain less. Praise more…Kindness is so rewarding. Anger is exhausting.” EXERCISE MORE – “Just do it! It relieves anxiety, depression and achieves a sense of wellbeing.”

STOP PROCRASTINATING – “Find the root of it. Do you fear failure or success?…Perfectionists obsess so much about doing things right they don’t do them at all.” SAVE MONEY – “Do more than save. Invest in your future. It pays compounded interest. Just a little bit early in life can make you a millionaire at 50 or 60…Instant gratification is fleeting happiness. Delayed gratification pays great dividends in every area of your life. As for her own resolutions? “I don’t make them.…I choose my birthday to begin healthier changes…It’s more personalized. The best gift you can receive is self-care in body, mind and spirit.” Focusing on one time of the year as a time of selfimprovement puts too much pressure to succeed. “It’s just a day…Invest in your entire life. If you live to be 100, you only have 36,500 days on this planet…Time is the most precious commodity and can’t be bought or sold, but it can be spent wisely and happily. Make that your resolution every day!” hn

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FEATURE | v o l u n t e e r

CREATURE COMFORTS Winter Haven Hospital Volunteer Crochets Octopuses to Soothe NICU Babies by PAUL CATALA

GABRIELE ROBINSON has found a unique way to help premature babies. The Winter Haven Hospital volunteer crochets miniature octopus dolls for newborns in the Women’s Hospital Neonatal Infant Care Unit. Gabriele Robinson

Robinson, who has been creating the creatures of comfort since October, says each one takes about five hours to make. So far, she has made about 12 for the hospital. The octopuses help comfort premature babies. During a recent day volunteering at the hospital, where she spends about 10 hours a week donating her time, Robinson brought in knitted hats for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

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With her most recent octopus donation, she also donated stuffed snowmen. She also knitted eight caps for newborn babies, each made using yarn with the calming colors of baby blue, sunshine orange, lemon yellow and light, lime green, and pink. From the basket, Robinson pulls out a snowman made of stuffed, white socks and holds it up. She says each one takes her about two hours

to complete, but it’s a labor of love as opposed to a chore. “I love to do it, and I’m thankful that I can do it,” says Robinson, who moved to Winter Haven from Fayetteville, North Carolina, in 1996. “I’m the kind of person, I can’t stand still; I need to be doing something and I’m happy I can do it. It makes me happy to make other people happy.” Robinson has made about 50 of the miniature


snowmen — made with 100 percent cotton socks and washable, sanitized stuffing. It was in September, when Robinson brought in the hats, that chaplain Harvey Lester asked her to make the octopuses. “I thought, ‘I can figure that out.’ So I did. I made one of them in about five hours, and I did 10-12. It came easy to me once I knew what I was doing,” she says. The nursing staff first gives each octopus to the baby’s mother so the mother can hold it and get her scent on it. “Then the babies can get their mothers’ essence from the doll,” she explains. It’s all about making the newborns feel at ease, says Nicci Lambert, WHWH nurse supervisor who oversees the mother-baby and labor and delivery units. Lambert, who has spent 18 years with the hospital(not sure if she’s ever worked at the main hospital and can’t reach her, says infants in the NICU unit are all at risk. She says the toy octopuses help remind the babies of being tethered to their umbilical cords and gives them a feeling of “calm, comforting and familiar surroundings.” “They provide the babies with a more developmentally friendly environment,” she says. “There has been such an overwhelmingly great


response to this. We’re so thankful for her kindness and donations, not only for our NICU babies, but also for their families.” Robinson, 75, learned how to crochet when she was 5 years old from her grandmother in her hometown of Bavaria, Germany. She began to knit with yarn at 13 and continued the craft through adulthood, knitting for her sons, William and Richard, when they were young. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies worldwide are born prematurely — that’s more than one in 10 babies. These babies are more susceptible to serious health issues such as breathing and feeding difficulties and developmental delays. Helping to ease the trauma or physical problems associated with premature birth for babies and mothers through the handcrafted octopuses and other dolls has also been a mission of the Crochet Guild of America, Central Florida Chapter, Schalamar Creek. That guild with currently about 10 members was the first group WHWH reached out to when the new dolls-for-infants project began and the first crochet doll was brought to the hospital for trial use in August, according to Guild President Phyllis Bullard. By October, the hospital had more than 25 and Bullard says the Guild’s work to donate

and help the hospital and NICU is a worthwhile endeavor, along with projects that include Good Shepherd Hospice, Guardian Ad Litem and the oncology unit of Winter Haven Hospital. “We do have several charity projects and this came up and we thought it was a good thing,” says Bullard of Lakeland. “We like to feel we’ve done some good in the community and it makes the Guild more meaningful. Out ladies are proud to be of service and to show we’re not just sitting around, playing with yarn.” As for her ambition to continue her crafts and carry on her donation of handmade octopuses and other figures – which cost her about 2 dollars each in supplies – Robinson says she’s happy to knit away. “I make no money doing this. I just give them to the mothers because I like to make people happy; I’ve always been a giving person, not a taker,” she says. hn

CFHN | 19

Healthy Cook Start the Year With a Decadent Dessert That Serves Up Less Guilt by NANCY STEIN, Whole Foods 4 Healthy Living

THE NEW YEAR is here, and like most, we all become more health conscious as we enter into the new year. This wonderful, easy to make, no-bake chocolate peanut butter pie will become a family favorite for special occasions with its decadent flavor and creamy texture. This pie fits into the healthy dessert category with no refined oils, all-natural peanut butter and very little added sugar aside from what’s already in the dark chocolate (nondairy) chips. This recipe doesn’t use eggs or dairy, which is perfect for those who may have an allergy to eggs or may be lactose intolerant. This pie is made using organic tofu, which has many surprising health benefits including a good protein source while maintaining our cardiovascular health. Tofu has zero cholesterol improving lipid profiles and is low in sodium and may reduce our risk of estrogen type cancers, osteoporosis and even kidney diseases. Tofu is low in calories and has minimal saturated fat and offers vitamins and minerals essential for good health. This recipe can also be made gluten-free by using a gluten free pie shell and gluten free dark nondairy chocolate chips. SILKEN CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER PIE (NO-BAKE) (adapted from Yummly.com) Equipment needed: Blender Servings: 8 • 12 Oz. Organic “Silken” tofu (must be “silken tofu” not firm or extra firm) • 1/2 Cup Non-GMO Peanut Butter • 1/3 Cup Organic pure Maple Syrup • 2 T. Pure Vanilla • 1 Cup Non-Dairy Chocolate Chips • 1-2 Cans of Reddi Whip Almond or Coconut Whip cream • 1 Single Pie shell (can be homemade or store bought such as graham cracker or nut-based shell)

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• Note: this is a no bake pie, however, you can use a pastry pie shell. You will need to bake your pie shell first and then add blender ingredients and refrigerate. Both types of pie shells work great for this recipe. Directions: 1. Add Silken tofu, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla to your blender and blend until smooth stopping to scrape down sides of blender. 2. Melt chocolate chips in a microwave at 30 second intervals until soft. 3. Stir chocolate chips until smooth and add to blender ingredients. 4. Blend until well combined stopping to scrape sides of blender as needed. 5. When combined add to pie shell and place in refrigerator for 6 hours or overnight. 6. Serve with whip cream and drizzle of melted chocolate. hn


Zooming in on health in your community.

Out of the Darkness Walk

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention held the Fifth Annual Polk County Out of the Darkness Walk on December 7. This year, the 664 registered walkers and more than 40 volunteers raised over $30,000. The funds raised by the AFSP support four areas — advocacy, research, education, and support for survivors of suicide loss. With the help of funds raised from this walk, the Central Florida chapter has been able to send advocates from Polk County to Tallahassee and Washington to meet with members of the legislature to advocate for mental health and suicide prevention measures. The AFSP is the largest private funder for suicide prevention research in the country. photos provided by JESSICA TOY, Polk County Out of the Darkness Walk


CFHN | 21

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very new year, we get the familiar feeling that time has crept up on us. Before we can blink, it will be new year 2021 and we’ll be caught wide-eyed and wondering where the year went. It’s easy to get caught up in the planning, minutiae, and stress of each day. It’s natural to lose sight of the greater picture when you’re mired in the details. But what is it all worth if you don’t take the time to enjoy the little things that make each day special? Central Florida Health News believes there’s more to health than the basics. Mental and emotional health are just as important. Being present is a big part of our mental health The best part is that to be present, you don’t have to be a pro at meditation. (Though that likely would help!) There are simple things you can

do to help you be present, and in turn, enjoy the present more. • Remember to breathe — and breathe deeply • Unplug. Turn your phone off, silence the email and put all of your energy into the activity at hand. • Reclaim your time. While it may not seem like it, our time is indeed limited. Stop spending time on things that haven’t happened or already happened. Use that time to enjoy the here and now. • Put your mind where your body is. You can’t relax if you’re thinking about deadlines and expenses. If you are with your family, make sure they have all your attention. • Book it! Make plans to do things you really enjoy and keep them! hn

EDITION | c o n t i n u e d f r o m p a g e 1 1 As she tried on clothes that she could have only dreamed of fitting in before she had a moment when she realized just how much her weight had affected her emotionally. She never thought it did but in that moment, as she looked back, she realized it had really held her down. Seetahal says the vast majority of his patients would agree with Coombs. He says, for him, it’s the most rewarding surgery he does. His office staff often comment on how great it is to see patients come in looking not only healthier but also happier. His patients regularly report how the surgery has changed their lives. For many, it allows them to be more active and to do things that they would not have even considered doing before.

What difference did it make? For Coombs, weight loss and buying smaller clothes was a big deal, but there was much more. While she was fairly healthy, the weight loss eliminated some health problems that she did have or that were threatening. These health benefits are obvious. But Coombs reports that it was so much more than that. “I’m so much more confident now. I was also shy before and I’m not now,” Coombs said. She now has a job traveling around the country training other oncology nurses. She says she would never have even applied for this job before. The surgery certainly changed her body, but that’s not all that changed. hn




CALLING ALL PHYSICIANS! Renew your 2020 Membership with Polk County Medical Association now!

National Birth Defects Prevention Month by JOY JACKSON, MD, Director of DOH-Polk BIRTH DEFECTS AFFECT 1 in every 33 babies born each year in the United States. This means that birth defects impact the lives of approximately 120,000 babies born each year. January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month and a time to raise awareness about birth defects, their causes and how they impact a child and family. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth defects are structural changes present at birth that can affect almost any part or parts of the body. Conditions can affect or alter how a child’s body moves, functions, and sometimes even both. The severity of these limitations vary mostly on which organ or part of the body is affected. Some may be mild, while others can more much more severe. Life expectancy may or may not be altered as well depending on the condition’s severity. Birth defects can develop at any stage of pregnancy; however, most of them occur within the first three months when a baby’s organs are forming. This is a crucial stage of development. Other birth defects can occur in the last six months of pregnancy when the tissues and organs continue to grow and develop. Birth defects can be found before, during, and after birth but are more commonly found within the first year of life. The exact causes of most birth defects are unknown. According to the CDC, experts believe causes can be a complex mix of factors such as gene makeup, lifestyle behaviors, and things within the environment. However, how these factors work together to cause birth defects are still not fully understood. Folic acid is a crucial vitamin recommended during pregnancy that can help prevent major birth defects in the baby’s brain and spine. These defects can occur very early in the pregnancy, so it’s crucial for a

woman to begin taking folic acid as soon as she thinks she may be pregnant. Ideally, the CDC recommends a woman taking folic acid at least one month before becoming pregnant with continued use during pregnancy. This can be taken as a multivitamin that contains 100% of the daily value of folic acid (400mcg). Folic acid can also be found in fortified foods including some breads and breakfast cereals. Not all birth defects can be prevented. However, there are things a woman can do to increase her chances of having a healthy baby by managing health conditions and adopting healthy behaviors before and during pregnancy. 1. Be sure to take 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day. 2. Schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider before stopping and starting any medicine. 3. Assure all vaccines are up-to-date, including the flu shot. Vaccines help protect mom and baby against serious diseases. 4. Try to reach a healthy weight before getting pregnant. Obesity increases the risk for serious birth defects and other pregnancy complications. Focus on a lifestyle that includes healthy eating and regular physical activity. 5. Avoid substances that can be harmful during pregnancy. This includes any alcohol, tobacco use, or recreational drugs.

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Physician referrals Medical malpractice discounts with The Doctors Company Ongoing relevant communication Access to CME Programs Workers compensation insurance benefits Complimentary Socials/dinners Strong PCMA physician representation in Central Florida Health News and Central Florida Doctor publications Listing advantages in the annual Central Florida Physicians Directory & Medical Providers Guide Physician and medicine advocacy at all legislative levels

director@polkcountydoctors.com Interested in becoming a member? Join the leading professional association in Polk County for physicians.

Contact Contact Executive Executive Director Director Jackie Jackie Courtney Courtney at at (863) (863) 644-4051. 644-4051.

Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it also can be stressful. Practicing these healthy behaviors during pregnancy can provide mothers with a little piece of mind that they are doing all they can to give their babies the healthiest start to life that they can. For more information about National Birth Defects Prevention Month, visit the CDC’s website at www.cdc.gov. hn

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Joy Jackson, an internal medicine physician, serves the community as director of the Florida Department of Health in Polk County (DOH-Polk). For more information about DOH-Polk, visit mypolkhealth.org. Follow DOH-Polk on Twitter at twitter.com/FLHealthPolk.


CFHN | 23

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