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COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

WEIGHT LOSS THE BETTER WEIGH

DR. LLOYD STEGEMANN COMING HOME TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

MARK CAZALAS

LEADING THE PACK DRS.

DAVID ~

SALDANA AND

JENNIFER

TURNER

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THE POWER OF PINK

NOV. 3rd

DRAWING FOR CAMARO Raffle Tickets Available for $10

MAKING STRIDES WALK OCT. 18TH, 9AM

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Registration Starts at 7:30am Water Gardens, Corpus Christi

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$

50

will be donated to Making Strides for every new and used vehicle sold! During October 2014


Our mission is to provide medical

transport for critically ill or injured persons requiring medical or trauma facilities within our South Texas service area. Emergency assistance is provided to all persons regardless of their ability to pay.

www.haloflight.org 361.265.0509 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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River City Hospice offers high quality, compassionate care to persons who can no longer benefit from curative treatment. Services are provided by a team of trained professionals that include: physicians, nurses, counselors, social workers, therapists, chaplains, nurse aides and volunteers.

ALICE

171 Medical Center Blvd., Building E Alice, TX 78332

361.664.4888

CORPUS CHRISTI

4646 Corona Dr., Suite 160 Corpus Christi, TX 78411

361.882.5900

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w ww.r i verci t y hos pice.co m I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M


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EXPERIENCED  COMMITTED  QUALIFIED PERSONAL

• Lifelong resident of Neuces County • Tuloso-Midway H.S., Del Mar College • U.T. Austin, Texas Wesleyan Law School • Married 18 years to Larry Kuchta • Parents Andy & Bertie Villareal • Daughters Morgan & Kennedy

PROFESSIONAL

• Attorney, 18+ years FAMILY and CRIMINAL trial experience • Licensed in State and Federal Court • Members - State Bar of Texas Family Law, Criminal Justice and Juvenile Sections • Corpus Christi Bar Association • Lead counsel in hundreds of cases in Texas • Cases Handled: Family Law - issues of divorce, custody, property, protection of children; Criminal Law - misdemeanors & felonies; Juvenile Law • Bilingual

COMMUNITY

• Board Member - YWCA • Board Member - American Red Cross, Coastal Bend Chapter • Board Member - Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas • Member - American Association of University Women I have the experience to be your judge and I am committed to serving and protecting our community. I am the most qualified candidate for this position and I respectfully and humbly ask for your vote.

A lifelong resident of Nueces County, I have a personal interest in the protection and safety of your family and of your property. I pledge to be a fair and responsible judge that you will be proud of. Humbly and respectfully I ask for your vote. Michele Villarreal-Kuchta

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Weight loss surgery done right…Locally! Surgical Weight Loss • Gastric Bypass • Gastric Sleeve • Gastric Band • Revisions Surgery in Corpus Christi!

Medical Weight Loss • Physician Guided • Metabolic Testing • VO2 Testing • Nutrition Counseling • Exercise Counseling • Medication Management

Several plans to fit your needs!

When it comes to weight loss surgery in Corpus Christi—Now There’s a Better Weigh

Restoring hope and health in the Coastal Bend Lloyd Stegemann, MD, FASMBS Director

5826 Esplanade Dr. • Suite 102 Corpus Christi

361-500-2898 www.BetterWeighCenter.com I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M 5


Clarissa Esparza fa m i ly dentistry

Corpus Christi MRI Center

Blue Star Radiology Official Radiologists of the Dallas Cowboys

COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

OCTOBER.NOVEMBER 2014

PUBLISHER ADRIAN GARZA EDITOR Allison Alvarado

ART DIRECTOR Liv Madison

MARKETING DIRECTOR Holly Duvall

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

Michael B. Jones, M.D., DABR

Diagnostic Radiologist Fellowship in Musculoskeletal Imaging

David T. Larsen, M.D., DABR

Diagnostic Radiologist Fellowship in Magnetic Resonance Imaging

(361)

852-3600

Michael E. Patyrak, M.D., DABR Diagnostic Radiologist Fellowship in Musculoskeletal Imaging

Steven Alford Rebecca Esparza Dr. Kenneth Gonzales Judy Lapointe Sylvia Slezak Sarah Tindall

PHOTOGRAPHY Steven Alford Dustin Ashcraft Jennifer Recio Blanca Tamez

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Michelle Recio Jessica Salinas

“ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS” MEDICAID & MOST INSURANCE ACCEPTED 1.5 GE Tesla Open Ended Magnet Same Day Appointments Report Turnaround Within 24 Hours 2-3 Hour Stat Interpretations

For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

10 Years Serving South Texas

For editorial comments and suggestions, please email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

se habla español

361-561-0635

2802 S. STAPLES www.clarissaesparzadds.com 6

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www.inspirecoastalbendmag.com

8am - 5pm Monday - Friday

3702 S. Alameda

www.corpuschristimricenter.com

6537 S. Staples St., #125 Corpus Christi, Texas 78413 Phone: 361.548.1044 Copyright © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


CONTENTS OCTOBER.NOVEMBER2014

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FEATURE 12 The Whole Spectrum

NONPROFIT 14 Help Finish the Fight

COVER STORY

18 DR. DAVID SALDAĂ‘A

This thoracic and breast imaging specialist brings a special set of professional skills to Radiology & Imaging, a practice that is dedicated to remaining on the cutting edge of health care.

PROFILES

22 DR. LLOYD STEGEMANN

As a nationally recognized leader in his field, this board-certified general surgeon brings state-of-the-art weightloss surgery options to the Coastal Bend with The Better Weigh Center.

26 MARK CAZALAS

The executive director of the Corpus Christi State Supported Living Center brings his family back to his hometown to make a difference in the lives of those with disabilities.

PATIENT 30 Make the Connection 32 Gone to the Dogs

FITNESS & OUTDOORS 34 The Road to Recovery

SENIOR CARE 36 Caring for the Caregiver COVER AND TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTOS BY: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT

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Orthopaedic Associates of Corpus Christi

Announces the Formation of

bone & joint John M. Borkowski, M.D. / Frank A. Luckay, M.D. / Ryan B. Thomas, M.D. Charles W. Breckenridge, M.D. / Justin Klimisch, M.D. John P. Masciale, M.D. / Dawn M. Grosser, M.D. / Bernard M. Seger, M.D.

(361) 854-0811

Se habla espa単ol

601 Texan Trail, Suite #300 www.southtexasboneandjoint.com

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WE TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN

KEEPING YOUR SMILE BEAUTIFUL For 30 years, over 30,000 patients have placed their trust in the Vela Dental Centers. With three offices in the South Texas area, we make sure excellent dental care is convenient, accessible and affordable. Vela Dental Crosstown, near Spohn Memorial Hospital, serves our downtown, Callalen, Robstown, and Portland areas. Vela Dental Southside, located at Holly and Everhart, serves as our flagship office, providing complex implant and dental rehabilitation for all of South Texas. Vela Dental Kingsville, located at 14th and Henrietta, serves all of Kingsville and the surrounding community. Our highly skilled team of dentists and staff take pride in keeping your smile beautiful or restoring your smile to the way you deserve.

WE HAVE THE ANSWER TO ALL OF YOUR DENTAL NEEDS • Fix damaged or painful teeth • Replace single or multiple missing teeth • Enhance your smile • Remove wisdom teeth & other bad teeth • Clean and prevent gum disease

BEFORE

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER - 6-unit bridge and fillings

AFTER - full arch rehabilitation with 11 porcelain crowns and 2 implants

AFTER - full mouth rehabilitation with 24 porcelain crowns

Benjamin Vela DDS & Associates • General Dentistry

SOUTHSIDE - 361.994.4900 CROSSTOWN - 361.884.2266 KINGSVILLE - 361.592.4373

veladental.com

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Welcome to the SOUTH TEXAS BRAIN AND SPINE CENTER. Our surgeons provide neurosurgical care in many of the major hospitals in Corpus Christi, Texas. Our surgeons and staff provide individual and conservative treatment using the most effective and modern technologies available in the world.

SOUTH TEXAS BRAIN AND SPINE CENTER 1227 3rd Street, Corpus Christi, TX 78404

361.883.4323

www.southtexasbrainandspine.net I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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FEATURE

THE WHOLE SPECTRUM

CHRISTUS Spohn resident physicians learn and grow as health care providers on the road to graduation. By: STEVEN ALFORD / Photos By: STEVEN ALFORD

Resident physicians, Dr. Zehra Hussain (left), Dr. Keegan Massey (center) and Dr. Yvette Alvarez (right) said CHRISTUS Spohn’s threeyear residency program has been a challenging and beneficial way to grow as health care providers.

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t’s 3 p.m. at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial, and emergency medicine resident physicians, Drs. Brandon Close and Melissa Campbell, are just getting started. Paramedics pass with incoming patients on stretchers; nurse managers direct them into nearby rooms to begin their care. A South Texas man is brought in by his son after falling at home and suffering a head injury. It’s his 79th birthday. “I guess this just happened to be my lucky day,” said Albert Tinney while being examined by Close and Campbell. After three years of working in the hos-

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pital’s emergency department, the pair is set to graduate from the CHRISTUS Spohn residency program, along with nearly two dozen other young doctors. In that time, the group has become close – like family, 32-year-old Campbell said. It’s not uncommon for the residents to gather on weekends for barbecues to unwind. CHRISTUS Spohn has a long tradition of training resident physicians here in South Texas, dating back to the creation of the family medicine residency program at Memorial in the early 1970s. In 2007, CHRISTUS Spohn expanded the program to also include the emergency medicine residency program. Both programs provide residents with a full spectrum of care

AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU GO HOME KNOWING YOU REALLY GOT THE CHANCE TO HELP PEOPLE AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THEIR LIVES.”

needed by the communities they serve. “Our job is to mold them into excellent practitioners who are self-starting, patient-centered, team-oriented and compassionate,” said Dr. Yvonne Hinojosa, director of the family medicine residency program. The three-year program enrolls 12 new residents each year, for a total of 36 residents at any given time. This spring, CHRISTUS Spohn Health System will celebrate these third-year residents with a graduation ceremony as they welcome a new class. “We appreciate all of the hard work and long hours our residents have put in over the past few years to care for thou-


sands of patients who have come through our doors,” said Xavier Villarreal, VP/COO of CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi Shoreline and Memorial. With the unpredictable nature of working in South Texas’ only Level II Trauma Center south of San Antonio, these young doctors need to relax after hours on the hospital floor. But it’s that excitement that drew them to the program in the first place, according to 28-year-old Close. “It’s just a good challenge, and at the end of the day, you go home knowing that you really got the chance to help people and make a difference in their lives,” Close said. Working in the residency program, doctors get to see a range of patients with different ailments and injuries each day. It gives these young physicians a crash course in just about any kind of patient they will see after graduation. “I like that it’s a different experience with each patient that we see,” Campbell said. “Sure, we see a lot of injuries in the emergency room, but there are also underlying conditions that we often treat – diabetes or heart disease, for example. We see the whole spectrum.” Just a few floors upstairs in the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU), a few of family medicine residents are caring for some of the region’s sickest patients under the instruction of seasoned physicians. Resident physician, Dr. Zehra Hussain of Houston, said she was drawn to medicine from a young age and has worked toward becoming a doctor since high school. She enjoys the residency program because of the variety of cases she sees, which gives her a range of medical fields to explore. “We see a lot as residents from in-patient, to out-patient treatments, as well as emergency room visits and pediatrics,” Hussain said while reviewing charts in the ICU. “I like that it’s random, and each day, anything can happen.” Working long hours, studying medicine and seeing critical patients can wear on anyone. That’s why it’s important to keep a balance in their lives, residents shared. Nearly all of the resident physicians in the program are in a relationship, married or a parents, which helps keep them grounded when they leave the hospital each day, said Dr. Yvette Alvarez, a 28-year-old family medicine resident and mother of four. “Even though medicine keeps you busy, you have to make time for your family,” Alvarez said. “At the end of the day, that’s what keeps you going and helps you make it through this program.” As the CHRISTUS Spohn resident physicians prepare to graduate and branch out on their own, many plan to stay in Corpus Christi to continue sharing what they’ve learned with the South Texas patients for whom they care. Through the late nights and long hours, friendships have been forged that will continue on. After all that time, these residents will emerge from the CHRISTUS Spohn program more knowledgeable, experienced and ignited with their passion to provide the highest-quality care. For the next class of resident physicians, Close says to appreciate their time here and to keep an open mind and heart. “Enjoy every minute of the process,” Close offered. “Even though it’s been hard, every step has led me to this point, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Dr. Zehra Hussain, a third-year resident physician at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial, said she enjoys the residency program because of the variety of cases she sees, which gives her a range of medical fields to explore.

Dr. Keegan Massey, a third-year resident physician, discusses a patient with his fellow residents in the intensive care unit at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial. The three-year program has graduated hundreds of young doctors since it began in the early 1970s.

Third-year resident physicians, Drs. Melissa Campbell and Brandon Close, enjoy a laugh with a patient who suffered a head injury after a fall at home. The doctors said they have learned much and grown close with their fellow residents during their training at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial.

For more information about CHRISTUS Spohn’s emergency and family medicine residency programs, visit www.christusspohn.org.

Dr. Brandon Close, a third-year resident physician, examines a South Texas man who suffered a head injury after a fall on his 79th birthday. Close said he was drawn to CHRISTUS Spohn’s emergency medicine program because of the unpredictable nature of working in the region’s only Level II Trauma Center.

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NONPROFIT

HELP FINISH THE FIGHT Join the American Cancer Society in the effort to change the breast cancer statistics at the upcoming Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk. Special to INSPIRE COASTAL BEND

S

ignificant progress in the fight against breast cancer has been made in recent years, but more needs to be done. Breast cancer remains the most common cancer among women in the United States other than skin cancer, and it is the second leading cause of cancer death after lung cancer. The chance of a woman developing invasive breast cancer at some time in her life is about one in eight and in 2014, approximately 232,670 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,400 will die from the disease in the United States. To change these statistics and the course of breast cancer forever, the American Cancer Society created Making Strides Against Breast Cancer community walks in 1993 as a rallying cry to build awareness and generate funds to fight the disease. In that time, 10 million walkers have collected more than $594 million, and last year, over 11,000 walkers in the Coastal Bend raised more than $375,000. “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer brings communities together as the most powerful force to end breast cancer,” said Kayla Hanson, event manager. “The progress we are making is remarkable, but more people are needed to help finish the fight.” Making Strides proceeds are used by the American Cancer Society to fund breast cancer research grants, offer free patient/caregiver services, provide in-depth cancer information and support legislative advocacy to make sure cancer patients have access to the care they need. This year marks the sixth year in Corpus Christi. Sponsors of this year’s event are Bealls, CHRISTUS Spohn, the Coastal Bend Chevy Dealers, Corpus Christi Firefighters C.A.R.E., the Corpus Christi IceRays, H-E-B, Humana, Radiology Associates and Walmart. Making Strides Against Breast Cancer-Corpus Christi is proud to have three breast cancer survivors serving as Pink Profiles of Courage, sharing their story publicly and making themselves available to speak at events and serve as the faces of this year’s walk. The three 2014 Pink Profiles of Courage ambassadors are Candy Ferrell, Catherine Lutz and Lamarr Graves. It is the hope that this program will continue in future years, engaging more breast cancer survivors and allowing previous classes to mentor new ones.

MAKING STRIDES AGAINST BREAST CANCER BRINGS COMMUNITIES TOGETHER AS THE MOST POWERFUL FORCE TO END BREAST CANCER.”

Call your local American Cancer Society office at 361-857-0136 or visit www.makingstrideswalk.org/corpuschristitx for information about the Corpus Christi walk, and help us continue saving lives.

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SIX POINTS PHYSICAL THERAPY PROMOTING HEALING AND WELLNESS

Our mission is to return the patient to a productive lifestyle by offering individualized therapy promoting healing and wellness

TREATMENT PROGRAMS Pain Management // Orthopedic Rehabilitation // Pre and Post Operative Rehabilitation Neurological Injuries // Respiratory Therapy // Fibromyalgia // Wellness Maintenance // Arthritis Tendon Repair // Sports Injuries // Carpal Tunnel // Sprains/Strains

Jaime Pato Moreno PT

Monica Lucido-Clay PT, DPT

701 Park Avenue Corpus Christi, Texas 78401 Phone: (361) 879-0006 // Fax: (361) 879-0702

Brad Walker MSPT

5017 Saratoga, Suite 139 Corpus Christi, Texas 78413 Phone: (361) 993-0441 // Fax: (361) 993-0452 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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CCRH is the

only free-standing

Acute Rehabilitation Hospital in the Coastal Bend Area You have a choice We understand that YOU HAVE A CHOICE when it comes to your rehabilitative care. At Corpus Christi Rehabilitation Hospital (CCRH) we value teamwork and are connected at our core by the treatment needs of our patients. We are proud to be a freestanding acute rehabilitation hospital serving Corpus Christi, providing attentive and compassionate patient care to the community in which we serve.

Brain Injury • Amputations • Stroke • Neuro • Orthopedic CCRH is now part of the Ernest Health network of facilities. Eight of Ernest’s rehabilitation hospitals have consistently ranked in the top 10% of Inpatient Rehab Facilities in the United States by UDSMR®. Ernest Health strives for all their hospitals to receive this recognition. To learn more about CCRH and our services, visit our website at

CCRH.ernesthealth.com

5726 Esplanade Drive • Corpus Christi, TX 78414 • 361.906.3700 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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COVER STORY

Radiology is changing, and we’re leading the pack.”

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INTO THE FUTURE

As one of the newest physicians at Radiology & Imaging, Dr. David Saldaña brings special expertise to the team and helps the practice stay on the cutting edge. By: Sarah Tindall Photos By: Dustin Ashcraft

Dr. David Saldaña is one of the newest members of the Radiology & Imaging (R&I) team, and he is eager to go to work each day and help his patients. Saldaña’s specialties are thoracic and breast imaging, so he spends his time interpreting mammogram and other imaging studies to hunt for any abnormalities that must be addressed. He has great news for patients who go to R&I, too: Because of the incredible advances in technology available to radiologists at R&I, many smaller breast and lung cancers are being caught during routine screenings. The number of mammographic callbacks for further testing has been reduced because radiologists are able to determine if something is benign at screening mammography with tomosynthesis. The latest technology in mammography is breast tomosynthesis, or 3-D mammography. After FDA approval of 3-D mammograms/tomosynthesis, it crept into the larger cities, but was not available at R&I. “Now we have the same technologies here in Corpus Christi that were already being used in larger cities,” Saldaña explains. “The I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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research shows we’re catching smaller cancers with this new 3-D mammography/tomosynthesis, and there are less patients suffering from the anxiety of being called back. If need be, we can perform a breast biopsy. We’ve always been able to do ultrasound-guided biopsies, but now we can do stereotactic biopsies at our South Imaging Center.” While in fellowship, Saldaña interpreted studies using the national lung cancer screening trial, low-dose chest CT. The national lung screening trial showed that low-dose chest CT screening programs can reduce mortality for patients with a high risk of lung cancer. It was a natural fit for him to add lung cancer screenings to his work at R&I. “I’m excited to bring my skills to Corpus Christi, building these new areas of imaging here,” he says. Now patients at risk for lung

“I’m excited to bring my skills to Corpus Christi and build these new areas of imaging here.” cancer can get screened, which will mean higher survival rates for lung cancer because it will be caught at an earlier stage. Saldaña grew up in San Antonio and followed in his father’s footsteps, as he went to medical school and became a radiologist. He brings special expertise to R&I, as he completed his thoracic and breast imaging fellowship at M.D. Anderson in Houston, working on cutting-edge equipment with access to the foremost research available in the field. But it wasn’t all academic for Saldaña, who says he has been personally touched by lung

and breast cancer in his own family, which gives him the motivation to go to work every day and make a difference for his patients. After two years at R&I, Saldaña is looking forward to a bright future for the Coastal Bend. “It’s an exciting time right now; there’s a lot of change in our field,” he says. “I’m glad to be in Corpus Christi with Radiology & Imaging. We’ve got new equipment and new screenings. Radiology is changing, and we’re leading the pack. That’s the big news; it’s nice to be a part of a growing practice that’s looking into the future.”

Radiology & Imaging has two locations in Corpus Christi: 3226 South Alameda and 2825 Spohn South Drive. For more information, visit www.radiologyimaging.com or call 361-888-8875. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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PROFILE

“The first step we take with patients is to find out what they want.” 22

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Something

BETTER Dr. Lloyd Stegemann and his team at The Better Weigh Center offer state-of-the-art weight-loss surgery options to take Corpus Christi from fat to fit. By: SARAH TINDALL Photos By: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT

DR. LLOYD STEGEMANN SPENDS EVERY DAY IMPROVING THE HEALTH AND QUALITY OF LIFE FOR FOLKS IN CORPUS CHRISTI.

Stegemann owns and operates The Better Weigh Center, a medical and surgical weight-loss center at 5826 Esplanade Drive, Ste. 102, on the city’s south side. Corpus Christi and the surrounding areas have been hit especially hard by the obesity epidemic that has swept the United States over the last 20 years. In fact, in 2010, Corpus Christi earned the dubious title of America’s Fattest City. Stegemann hopes to change that and eventually lead Corpus Christi to America’s Fittest City list. According to Stegemann, the problem with obesity isn’t cosmetic. “We know carrying extra weight leads to a host of serious medical problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure, I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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heart disease and many types of cancer,” he says. “The good news is when people lose weight, even a small amount, many of these health problems improve.” Stegemann says he is also concerned about the negative impact carrying extra weight has on an individual’s quality of life. “It just makes it harder to do the things that bring joy to our life.” Stegemann, a board-certified general surgeon,

Using the latest in weight-loss science, Stegemann and his team create a plan for the patient that addresses the main causes of weight gain: eating behaviors, food choice, exercise, sleep, stress management, medications and hunger control. “Weight loss is certainly related to calories in and calories out, but there is much more to it than that,” he says. “We try to create a plan for each patient that will work for them for the long haul –

has focused his practice exclusively on weightloss surgery since the very beginning. He practiced in San Antonio for several years and gained a national reputation for his technical skills and the passionate care he delivers to his patients. A Texas native and a graduate of Carroll High School, Stegemann returned to Corpus Christi to open The Better Weigh Center in 2011. “It was great to come home, but I quickly realized I had seriously underestimated how profound the weight problems were in our city,” he says. “I was also surprised at how limited the treatment options were for people who were serious about losing weight.” The Better Weigh Center initially focused on surgical weight loss, but now has expanded into medical weight loss to give patients more options and to fill a void in the community. “We now offer medical and surgical weight-loss plans, so we can help people lose five pounds or 100 pounds,” Stegemann explains. He does this by offering a range of options personalized for every patient who walks through the doors. “The first step we take with patients is to find out what they want,” he says. “What are their weight-loss goals? Once I know what they are trying to achieve, I can create a plan for them to help them achieve those goals. It’s about meeting the patient where they are at in their weight-loss journey.”

a life change instead of a temporary solution. We offer several different plans for patients, but every one of them is based in science. We don’t offer any of the unproven, gimmicky types of weight-loss things like HCG, fat-burning shots and nonsense like that. Patients can choose to do as much or as little as they want within our program. If they only want to meet with the nutritionist, fine. If they only want to do metabolic testing, fine. It really is up to them to decide how involved they want to get in the programs we offer.” Most patients who visit The Better Weigh Center already know if they are interested in weightloss surgery or if they would rather go the medical route, but some still aren’t sure which is right for them. “That’s what’s great about doing both,” Stegemann says. “We can give people the information they need to help them make that decision.” For those who choose the surgical route, Stegemann offers gastric bypass, gastric sleeve and gastric band surgeries, as well as revisional surgeries. He has performed more than 1,500 weight-loss operations and is a nationally recognized leader in the field. “I’m really excited about bringing state-of-theart weight-loss surgery options to Corpus Christi so that people no longer have to leave the city to get their care,” he says. “In most cases, we can perform the surgery in Corpus Christi, which makes it much more convenient than traveling to

San Antonio, Victoria or other locations.” And according to Stegemann, having your surgeon immediately available to you can also make the difference between life and death in many circumstances. “Luckily, severe complications are uncommon, but it should be reassuring to know that if they do occur, your surgeon and you live in the same city.” Stegemann adds that it also makes a big difference in how patients do long-term. “We have several studies that show the further you are away from your center, the less likely you are to follow-up, which can make it harder to keep your weight off over time.” Regardless of whether patients choose to pursue medical weight loss or surgical weight loss, The Better Weigh Center takes a team approach. “We know that if we don’t address all of the issues that lead to weight gain, it will be difficult for people to maintain any weight they are able to lose,” Stegemann says. This is true of both surgical patients and medical patients. He continues, “Much of what we do early on is to get people out of a ‘diet mentality’ and more into a ‘healthy living mentality.’” Clients at The Better Weigh Center have the opportunity to work not only with the medical team, but also with nutritionists, exercise personnel and behavioral health specialists to lay the groundwork for creating sustained change. “Certainly we have to look at what people eat, but it is just as important for them to understand why they are eating and why they are choosing the foods they choose,” Stegemann says. “We have to look at what people enjoy eating and see how we can work than into a healthy eating plan. We also have to get people more active and look for ways to increase activity in their daily lives. At different stages of weight loss, each team member takes center stage as their area of expertise becomes most important at that moment in the journey.” And the benefits of weight loss are nothing short of miraculous. “I think the best part of my job is that I not only get to see my patients get healthier, I also get to see them blossom as individuals as they shed the baggage of extra weight,” Stegemann says. “I sometimes think I’m an anti-doctor; I get to take people off medicines instead of putting them on more.” Stegemann is committed to making his hometown a better place by serving his patients and volunteering for the community at large. He served as chair of the Nueces County Medical Society Health Fair this year, and he has sponsored numerous health-related events. “We want to help our friends and neighbors get control of their weight so they can enjoy all that life has to offer,” Stegemann says. Now that’s a

Better Weigh.

For more information about The Better Weigh Center, visit www.betterweighcenter.com or call 361-500-2898 to schedule your consultation.

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PROFILE

A Life of Service

Mark Cazalas comes home to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities as the executive director of the Corpus Christi State Supported Living Center. By: Judy Lapointe Photos By: Blanca Tamez

M

ark Cazalas was born at Shoreline Hospital, and he lived in Corpus Christi until his family moved to North Dakota when he was in high school. After graduating from the University of North Dakota, he brought his wife back with him to Corpus Christi. In 1991, he took a position as a case manager and worked out of what was then known as the Corpus Christi State School. Fast-forward 23 years, and Cazalas is now the executive director of the Corpus Christi State Supported Living Center. His first official day as the director was Dec. 1, 2011. During those intervening years, he worked in almost every professional position at the facility, except for medical positions. He gained experience and knowledge in providing 24-hour residential care to hundreds of individuals with intellectual, physical and psychiatric disabilities. While working at the Living Center, Ca-

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zalas also had a few other things going on. He completed a master’s degree in psychology at Texas A&M Corpus Christi, and he and his wife, Laura, had three children, now ages 17, 15 and 12. He has always been involved in his community, and he has done everything from serving as a precinct chair to volunteering with the Boy Scouts. He was the president of the parish council for St. Philip the Apostle Church, and he is proud of his part in helping build the Family Life Center there. He may have come by his commitment to service naturally, having come from a very involved family. His father, Chuck Cazalas, was a county commissioner for eight years, and Mark remembers the long hours his father would put in and the huge stacks of papers he would take home to study at night. According to a long-time friend of the Cazalas family, Rep. Todd Hunter, “When a man returns to his hometown of Corpus Christi to raise his family and dedicate himself to a career of service, we should consider this a success for our community. The Cazalas family has contributed to mak-

Mark Cazalas and Brad Blackburn

“Find yourself in the service of others.”

- Gandhi

ing Corpus Christi a better place to live, and Mark is making a real difference in the lives of people with disabilities.” What makes a person want to work in the field of disability services? Cazalas said he was searching for a career path in which he could help people, and one of his college professors steered him in the direction of working with people with disabilities. It must have been the right choice for him because he has devoted his life to this work. All his years of experience have made him an asset to the Living Center. William and Barbara Blackburn are the parents of Brad Blackburn, who has been a resident at the Living Center for more than 40 years. They have seen Cazalas come up through the ranks. According to William Bradford, “We have been very pleased to have Mark Cazalas as the director, and we think he is doing a good job.” If you live in Corpus Christi for long, you will have a hurricane evacuation story. But can you imagine evacuating hundreds of people with disabilities, many who use wheelchairs and have significant medical support needs? In 2008, the Living Center evacuated to the San Antonio State Supported Living Center because of the potential threat from Hurricane Ike. An employee of the Living Center, Blanca Tamez, recalls the morning of the evacuation. “I remember that September day, seeing a flurry of car lights in the early morning as staff were coming in to assist with the center evacuation. I saw Mr. Cazalas going to the homes to assist with getting people into vehicles and loading essential items for the trip.” And that is what Cazalas does. He is there when you need him, and he can be counted on to do whatever it takes to get the job done. We don’t want to have a hurricane heading our way, but if there is one coming, we

can be certain that the people who reside at the Living Center will be cared for and protected from harm. Corpus Christi is fortunate that Cazalas and his family call this their home. It is through the commitment of professionals like Cazalas that we have a strong and growing community that can attract and keep our best members, and even lure some of them back home.

For more information, contact Judy Lapointe at healthyushow@gmail.com. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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PATIENT nearly 26 million Americans with diabetes, about seven million are still undiagnosed. With those figures in mind, regular health care checkups should be a priority, including dental visits that may help identify potential signs of diabetes that appear in the mouth. I see it all the time in my practice when performing a thorough dental examination: the oral health problems associated with diabetes and patients who don’t know they have it or are borderline diabetic. I see patients with severely inflamed gums and cases of gum disease that have, together with a patient’s medical history, prompted a discussion about whether there is

Brush for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss daily.

The link between diabetes and dental health and the importance of making healthy habits a priority By: DR. KENNETH GONZALES

A STUDY in the Journal of the American Dental Association found that one out of five cases of total tooth loss in the United States is linked to diabetes. While complications are part of managing diabetes, for the nearly 26 million people in the United States living with the condition, tooth loss and other dental health problems are unlikely to be on their radar. When it comes to diabetes and dental health, research suggests that the condition actually goes both ways. On one hand, because of lowered resistance to infection and a longer healing process, gum disease appears to be more frequent and more severe among those with diabetes. On the other hand, it appears that treating gum disease in people with diabetes can actually help people improve control over their blood sugar levels. Knowing this pertinent information, the dentist can be a valuable member of a diabetes health care team, along with a primary care provider and other health professionals. The American Diabetes Association estimates 79 million people, or one in four, may have pre-diabetes or blood glucose levels that are above average, but not quite high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Additionally, of the

Visit your dentist regularly.

a potential risk of diabetes. And many times, I’m happy to say, they tell me their physician has asked them to see a dentist for a checkup and to check to see if they have gum disease. Oral health and overall health are connected, and as dentists, it’s our job to flag signs of poor oral health that might signal other serious conditions. People with diabetes should make sure their dentist is aware of the condition and create a personal oral care plan with their dentist. Also be sure to ask your dentist how you can check for signs of gum disease at home between checkups. Regardless of whether you have diabetes, practicing good oral care is essential to a healthy lifestyle. The American Dental Association, along with your local dentists of the Nueces Valley District Dental Society, urges you to make healthy habits a priority. I am happy to be able to convey this PSA to the good people of Corpus Christi. For more information on dental health and diabetes, visit www.mouthhealthy.org/en/ az-topics/d/diabetes.

ONE OUT OF FIVE CASES OF TOTAL TOOTH LOSS IN THE UNITED STATES IS LINKED TO DIABETES.

Kenneth Gonzales, DDS, PLLC, practices at 7426 S. Staples St., Ste. 101, in Corpus Christi, Texas. For more information, visit www.gonzalessmiles.com or call 361-510-8965.

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PATIENT

GONE TO THE DOGS

CHRISTUS Spohn Alice welcomes four-legged friends to comfort and rehabilitate patients. By: STEVEN ALFORD Photos By: STEVEN ALFORD

“This hospital has gone to the dogs,” proclaimed CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice VP/COO Steven Daniel as three pet therapy canines entered the building’s front door. “And that’s a good thing!” The four-legged visitors and their handlers were part of a recent Paws Up social event that gave CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice associates, visitors and volunteers the chance to meet the group for the first time face to snout. It’s all part of a more than year-long effort by hospital leaders to bring the Pet Partners therapy dogs to Alice. The dogs have visited patients in Corpus Christi for the past several years. One such dog at the social, a pepper-gray miniature schnauzer named Angel, even came ready to work: The 8-year-old pup arrived dressed in a nursing outfit, white cap included. Dog-handler, Jan Sierman, is excited to be bringing her English springer spaniel, Star, to visit patients closer to her own home. “I live here in Alice,” she said, “so we’re looking forward to coming home to work on the weekends and do something good here in our own community at the same time.” The Paws Up social included a meetand-greet opportunity for CHRISTUS Spohn care providers and the pet therapy dogs, as well as some special treats for attendees. CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice Volunteer President Mary Ruth Alexander presented all of the three dogs with their own commemorative dog bowls filled with delectable treats. Human guests also were treated to dog-bone shaped cookies and dog-shaped cakes. “Look at how happy they are,” Alexander said while handing out the gifts to canines. “They can’t wait for a treat.” The dogs will provide comfort and calm

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for CHRISTUS Spohn patients who are pet-lovers, but might be missing their own furry friends during their hospital stay in Alice, according to Alice Chief Nursing Officer Margot Rios. “Some just want to be home to see their own pets,” she said, “and having these dogs here will really help fill that need.” But the therapy dogs also play a vital role in the rehabilitation of some CHRISTUS Spohn patients, Rios added. Those patients who need to strengthen their motor skills, for instance, can participate in activities with the therapy dogs, including brushing their hair or taking them for a stroll. It’s a fun, out-of-the-box way for patients to heal and feel good at the same time. “We’re just excited they’re here,” Daniel said after posing for a few photos with the Paws Up group. “They are going to make a great addition to our healing environment.”

MIDDLE: CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice held a Paws Up social event that brought together a group of pet therapy dogs and hospital associates during a fun event featuring canine-themed sweets for visitors and treats for the dogs. BOTTOM: CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice Chief Nursing Officer Margot Rios welcomes the group of pet therapy dogs and their handlers during a Paws Up social at the hospital. Alice leaders have been working for a year to bring the therapy dogs, which have been working in Corpus Christi for several years, to the hospital.


CLOCKWISE: Miniature schnauzer Angel came dressed up and ready to work during a Paws Up social event at CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice, where pet therapy dogs have begun working with rehabilitation patients. CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice VP/ COO Steven Daniel poses with Angel, a pet therapy dog, and her handler, Sandra Pratt, who will begin working with rehabilitation patients in Alice. CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice volunteers enjoyed petting English springer spaniel Star, who will begin working with rehabilitation patients at the hospital.

About CHRISTUS Spohn Health System CHRISTUS Spohn Health System is the region’s largest health care system consisting of six hospital campuses: CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi (Shoreline, Memorial and South), CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Alice, CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Beeville and CHRISTUS Spohn Hospital Kleberg (Kingsville). The health system is consistently ranked a leading health system in the area, and it has received national recognition for several pioneering programs, including cardiac care, clinical excellence and oncology. For more than 100 years, CHRISTUS Spohn has been distinguished by its high-caliber staff and affiliated physicians, its comprehensive and innovative services and its long history of responding to the needs of the community it serves. For more information, visit www.christusspohn.org.

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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FITNESS & OUTDOORS

Bernard M. Seger, M.D. Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy, Knee & Shoulder Surgery

THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

Sports medicine physicians at South Texas Bone & Joint dedicate their time and talents to getting injured athletes back in the game. By: REBECCA ESPARZA Photos By: JENNIFER RECIO

When most people hear the term, “sports medicine,” images of injured performance athletes come immediately to mind. But that connotation has evolved, according to doctors at South Texas Bone & Joint, a multi-specialty, musculoskeletal practice that has served patients in the Coastal Bend area since 1972. “We are seeing an increase in patients coming in with overuse injuries, like the laborer who develops shoulder problems or the painter who is constantly lifting,” Charles W. says Dr. Charles Breckenridge, who specializBreckenridge, M.D. es in arthroscopic, shoulder and knee surgery. Sports Medicine, “The more active you are in your day-to-day Arthroscopy, activities, the more likely you will eventually Shoulder & develop an overuse injury. Sports medicine is Knee Surgery a bit of a misnomer, since we see a variety of injuries, from repetitive sports injuries to weekend accidents, like falling off a ladder.” Breckenridge, who has been practicing medicine in Corpus Christi for the past 19 years, says he recommends surgery only as the last resort for his patients. “We actually talk a lot of people out of surgery,” he says. “Fortunately, there are many things patients can do to avoid the risks of surgery, like dedicated exercises, cortisone injections, special bracing for knees or simply avoiding the offending tasks for a period of time. Sometimes our bodies just need rest from repetitive motion.” Raising four athletic children over the past 21 years, Breckenridge has experienced his fair share of injuries via his children, including knee injuries and broken wrists and ankles. He believes the rewards athletic children reap outweigh the potential risk of injury. “Sports have been a main focus for my family for many years, and I have seen firsthand what an incredible discipline it is,” he says. “It keeps kids out of trouble. We see a lot of baseball injuries, and cheerleading is more dangerous than you might think. I get the most satisfaction from

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seeing teenage patients come back with their own children, years later. That’s an incredibly rewarding feeling as a physician.” Helping patients receive prompt care for musculoskeletal injuries has never been easier thanks to the new Priority Care Clinic now open at South Texas Bone & Joint. A revolutionary concept in treating patients with injuries such as concussions, fractures, sprains, overuse injuries and other non-life-threatening orthopaedic emergencies, the clinic will provide a welcome alternative to overcrowded, expensive emergency room services. Dr. Michael Montgomery recently joined the practice to oversee the Priority Care Clinic, which will be open Monday through Friday from 8 to 5 p.m., with no appointment necessary. Montgomery, who is fellowship trained in primary care sports medicine, says

EDUCATING YOUNG ATHLETES IS CRUCIAL TO KEEPING THEM FROM INJURING THEMSELVES AGAIN IN THE FUTURE.”

he’s excited to offer a clinic like this – the first of its type in South Texas. “We see a lot of injuries involving sports, but also see ‘weekend

warriors’ who may have injured themselves biking or older patients with troubling arthritic flareups,” he says. “It’s a broad range of injuries.” In his role as a primary care sports medicine doctor, MontgomMichael W. Montgomery, M.D. FellowshipTrained in Primary Care Sports Medicine

ery will cover local high school football games and assist local trainers with the management of student injuries. Additionally, he notes an increase in concussions among young athletes, which is not taken lightly. “It’s not so much that there is an increase in incidence of concussions, but we are more vigilant in treating head injuries, especially in children and adolescents,” he says. “We know more about head injuries. Coaches and trainers are more aware of what to look for. We now realize the severity of the complications from concussions.” Montgomery says everyone reacts differently to brain injuries, so patients must be treated on a caseby-case basis. The younger a patient with a brain injury, the more vigilant he becomes. “Young athletes may have to sit out longer from a concussion compared to an adult,” he says. “We don’t want them having to deal with a significant brain injury for the rest of their lives. The key is education and helping parents and coaches realize what’s at stake. Putting an athlete back out on the field too soon is not worth the risk. Our ultimate goal is to treat the injuries of all athletes and help them to get back to their sport of choice.” Specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic knee and shoulder surgery, Dr. Bernard Seger knew from a very early age he would someday become a physician. Both of his parents were doctors, and his mother was the first Hispanic woman to receive a

degree in medicine. Born and raised in Victoria, Seger eventually moved to Corpus Christi and is a senior partner at South Texas Bone & Joint who has more than 20 years at the practice. “I had always envisioned a practice like ours, where each doctor would have their specialties, and I’m proud how we’ve been able to grow and thrive in the Coastal Bend community over the years,” he says. An accomplished equestrian who helped train horses for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, he genuinely enjoys working with athletes get back on the road to recovery. “I’m humbled to work with athletes every day,” he says. “They are physically fit, aggressive and anxious to get back in the game. It’s incredible to see more physically fit kids than ever before. Educating these young athletes is crucial to keeping them from re-injuring themselves again in the future.” Seger says the practice also meets with trainers at area schools to talk about ways to prevent injuries and provides physicals for the schools through their community outreach programs. “There’s no better feeling in the world than to work with a young athlete and watch them become an elite athlete, rising through the ranks of collegiate sports,” he says. “It’s amazing to have former patients track you down to let you know how well they are doing. That’s why I do what I do. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be doing.”

For more information about the sports medicine services at South Texas Bone & Joint, visit www.southtexasboneandjoint.com or follow the group on Facebook and Twitter. Call 361-854-0811 to make an appointment today. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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SENIOR CARE

CARING FOR THE CAREGIVER

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month – and caregiving is one of the hardest jobs out there. Here are some tips for sanity and success. By: SYLVIA SLEZAK

► In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion. ► Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving at high or very high, and more than one-third report symptoms of depression.

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► As many as 43.5 million Americans care for older parents, grandparents, spouses and other older loved ones. When you are suddenly thrown into the role of caregiver, there may not be any warning of what is ahead. This is a job you may not have signed up for, but it seems to have evolved into a world of its own. At times, you may feel a sense of despair and hopelessness mingled with a sense of obligation and duty to your loved one. Caregiving can be a fulltime job. The roles of child and parent are reversed and can be unsettling at times. Do you get angry and frustrated that you are in this position, and that your father or mother isn’t the dynamic, independent, self-reliant person he or she once was? Their memories are a bit impaired, and their bodies seem to need more rest. Your caregiver role will change as be-

haviors change. There are circumstances you can and cannot control.

THE BEST THING YOU CAN DO FOR THE PERSON YOU ARE CARING FOR IS STAY PHYSICALLY AND EMOTIONALLY STRONG.

WAYS TO AVOID STRESS • Learn to control what you can and let go of what you cannot. • Try the Q-TIP method: Quit Taking It Personally. That is a tall order. It’s much easier said than done, but it’s worth the stress relief. • Remain patient and calm. Don’t argue or try to convince them. Realize there is no connection between what you are saying and what their mind is comprehending – or not comprehending. • Accept behaviors as a result of the disease, and try to work through them. Focus on positive times as they arise, and enjoy the good memories.

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DID YOU KNOW that according to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are nearly 15 million Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in the United States? November has been designated as National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Caregiver Month. We wish to recognize these special caregivers for the service they give in one of the toughest jobs there is. Men and women who are caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s face a devastating toll, financially and physically.


• Realize the good you are doing and that the care you give does make a difference. Give yourself credit, not guilt, in one of the toughest jobs there is. TIPS FOR FAMILY CAREGIVERS ž Ask for and accept help and support from others. Communicate your specific needs.

 Keep a schedule, and make sure you get plenty of rest!

ž Take care of your own health so you can be strong enough to take care of your loved one.

 Designate a specific place and time for yourself, either alone or with others.

ž Learn how to communicate effectively with doctors and medical professionals.

 Find that special place for meditation and reflection.

ž Take respite breaks often. Caregiving is hard work. ž Watch out for signs of depression, and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it. ž Be open to new technologies that can help you care for your loved one.

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MIND YOUR BODY As a caregiver, you sacrifice your time, life, energy, bodily needs, family and finances. The best thing you can do for the person you are caring for is stay physically and emotionally strong.

ž Organize medical information so it’s up-to-date and easy to find. Make sure legal documents are in order.

 Have interaction with your loved one. Are you a caregiver, or do you know of one? Do you find yourself at wits’ end and in need of health care providers, counselors, physicians, physical therapists, medical/hospital equipment, transportation, financial assistance, respite care services, adult day care, massage and health spas, etc.? Visit CityOf.com, where you can Explore > Connect > Get More Local Faster to find local events and attractions, restaurants, outdoor activities, arts, music and entertainment and much more.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/cityofcom, or email Sylvia Slezak, PR/marketing and social media director of CityOf.com, at sylvia@cityof.com.

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