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OCTOBER 2021

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Regular exercise and a healthy diet may be protective factors for some types of cancer. Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may lower your risk.

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contents

t s a e r B yst C

October 2021

THE COMMON LUMP

16

7

Survivors HELPING

FIND NORMALCY

5 SUPER FOOD

Pomegranates Have Joined the Fight Against Breast Cancer

8 NATURAL BEAUTY Six Foods to Keep You Looking Youthful

10 EXERCISE

Sugar Free Carrot Cake Cupcakes

21 WELLNESS Osteoarthritis

22 FEATURE

Finding Strength in Stride

Exercises That Are Easier on Your Joints

25 DISCOVER

12 HEALTHY BODY

36 FASHION

Flavored Water Recipes for Weight Loss

14 RECIPE

Autumn Sangria With Apples Pomegranates & Figs

Receptions, 2nd Saturdays, 4:30 - 7:30

20 RECIPE

Breast Cancer Prevention Costuming on a Budget

28 FEATURE

Providing a Clear Picture


P

s e t a n a r omeg

By Christian Dischler

W

ith a flavor as delicious and it is elusive, the pomegranate has danced across the human palette for centuries. Originally from Northern India, these unassuming fruits are packed with nutrients beneficial to our health. Each pomegranate seed (called arils) contains high levels of antioxidants and phytochemicals. These nutrients provide an astronomical number of benefits. Ranging from anti-inflammatory properties, strengthening our blood cell counts, reducing protein buildup and calcification, dissolving gallstones or kidney stones, and restoring glucose levels to our liver. This tiny super food truly does it all. According to an aggregate study published in the National Library of Medicine (NLM), “in Ayurvedic medicine, the pomegranate was considered to be a whole pharmacy unto itself.” Its ability to help prevent breast cancer is more important than ever. In a year where 1

super food

beneficial strategy for breast cancer chemoprevention.” In short, pomegranates flush HAVE JOINED THE FIGHT out the bad hormones and AGAINST BREAST CANCER promote the good. Whether it’s the anti-estrogenic functionality of the pomegranate, or the antioxidant activity—there’s no reason to keep this super fruit out of your diet. Use it as a garnish on savory dishes like guacamole, or pick up a bottle of pomegranate juice to give yourself a boost midday. It will replenish your glucose levels and ensure your liver won’t need to pump cortisol highlighted the importance into your blood to keep you in 8 women will be diaggoing. However you choose of antioxidant properties nosed with breast cancer, it’s to enjoy this remarkable fruit, manifested in its compoimportant to be aware of nents.” Furthermore, going your body will thank you for how to prevent the disease its restorative benefits and on to recognize outright before it’s too late. the “data suggest that intake total wellness contributions to Pomegranates contain a cancer-free life. polyphenols, antioxidants and of pomegranate may be a specifically phytochemicals called ellagitannins—which We slow smoke to perfection in-house over natural Texas oak wood. are recognized medically for their ability to downregulate estrogen responsive genes. This is important in the prevention of breast cancer, because “steroid hormones, particularly estrogens, are believed to play a central role in development of breast cancer.” By reducing this influx of harmful hor1702 11th St. • Huntsville, Texas 77340 mones, we reduce our risk of developing breast cancer. The ellagitannins contained in pomegranates actively regulate how these toxic hormones interact with our bodies, and help us manage their damage. Direct links have been drawn by medical studies, with the NLM stating that “several studies investigating the chemo preventative potential of pomegranate against breast cancer have

936-730-3560


editor’s letter The Texas Department of State Health Services reports each year that nearly 18,000 Texas women are diagnosed with breast cancer and over 3,000 will die from the disease. Nearly one in eight women in our state will develop the disease that is the second leading cause of cancer deaths for Texas women. It is safe to say that every one of us has a friend, family member or acquaintance who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. These women are our mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters and friends. We wear pink, raise funds, run marathons, light candles, wear ribbons and show our support for these brave cancer warrior women all year long, but their journey is celebrated each October for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While they are being treated for their cancer, a dedicated and educated team of medical professionals from scientists, pathologists, oncologists and beyond are developing new treatments with a cure being their ultimate goal. We are also lucky that Southeast Texas is also home to numerous organizations that care for cancer patients in the community on a daily basis. That includes the state-of-the-art women's center at Huntsville Memorial Hospital, which offers the latest technolog y in detection, including 3-D mammograms. This issue features an incredible cover model in Jenna Casanova. The tattoo artist recently began offering 3D tattooing for women who undergo breast reconstruction surgery. Tattooed areolas and nipples help women focus less on what is missing and eliminate the constant visual reminder of their cancer journeys. Inside this issue, you will also find a multitude of resources for cancer patients, information for caregivers and inspirational stories from survivors. We are excited to share this special issue of Huntsville Living as we Go Pink for breast cancer.

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t s a e Bryst C THE COMMON LUMP

A

s women, we are in a constant state of self-care. We take our skin routines and upkeep in order, but what about cancer prevention? Lumps and bumps can make their appearance in a common cancerous area, our breast. So how do we know what to look for, and when is it time to worry? These are common questions many women search the internet to find the answers to. Breast cysts are fluid-filled sacs that appear on the inside of the breast. These types of lumps are usually benign or noncancerous. Breast cysts are found in women under age 50. These bumps are movable, smooth and can vary in size. You might experience discharge and your breast may even feel tender. They often change size either before or after your menstrual cycle. The Mayo Clinic states that treatment for these cysts need minimal intervention. If you choose to visit your physician you can expect to take a thorough history and physical exam that may include imaging testing. It may be a mammogram or breast ultrasound that they prescribe. These imaging tests are designed to view the

feature

By Amber Arevalos

inside of the breast. Physicians are unable to diagnose without these images. Most breast cysts will disappear on their own, and if they are bothersome, seek medical attention to find relief. The most common procedures are aspirations to drain the fluid-filled sack. In some rare cases, a doctor may recommend surgical intervention. Surgery is recommended only when the cyst is a frequent re-occurrence. These lumps are usually noncancerous and do not increase your risk of breast cancer. If the cysts form

excessively, it may be difficult to detect if any bumps may feel or look different. If you experience a lump that does not feel like a cyst, it is time to contact your physician. Lumps to worry about are those growing in size, that never shrink or dissipate and may be painful. Feeling a lump anywhere on your body can be scary, especially as a woman and not knowing what it is. Take the time to learn how to give a self-test and be aware of the options you have. Your physician can educate you and provide information on how to prevent and relieve these breast cysts. Not all lumps and bumps are created equal. Learn what to feel for to know how to make the right treatment decisions.

If you experience a lump that does not feel like a cyst, it is time to contact your physician.

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natural beauty

SIX FOODS TO KEEP YOU LOOKING

Youthful By Donna Mavis

MANY INGREDIENTS IN MEDICINES AND BEAUTY PRODUCTS ARE SOURCED FROM PLANTS OR ANIMALS. FROM ANTI-AGING SERUMS TO SKIN-LIGHTENING LOTIONS, YOU MAY BE SURPRISED TO KNOW THAT SOME ANTIOXIDANTS AND COMPOUNDS IN YOUR FAVORITE MOISTURIZER ARE RIGHT THERE IN YOUR KITCHEN.  ALPHA HYDROXY ACID Alpha hydroxy acid is a common ingredient in chemical peels. Capable of cleansing, hydrating and firming the skin, it uses a combination of acids founds in foods to achieve these benefits. Foods that contain alpha hydroxy acid include citrus fruits, tomato juice, milk, yogurt, apples, pineapples, papaya and almonds.  RETINOL Retinol is a widely used substance in anti-aging products. It boosts collagen, which in turn helps reduce wrinkles, fine lines, acne, discoloration and dryness. As a derivative of vitamin A, it can be found in mackerel, salmon, and tuna as well as beef and lamb liver.

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 GREEN TEA EXTRACT Green tea and its extract are filled with antioxidants that stimulate circulation and reduce inflammation. The most known benefit is the extract's ability to protect the skin against free radicals that can cause damage and accelerate aging.  VITAMIN C Vitamin C and collagen are two peas in a pod, with vitamin A encouraging the production of collagen. Green vegetables like broccoli, spinach and cabbage are high in vitamin C and easily incorporated into your diet.  COLLAGEN Collagen, as a skincare product, improves the elasticity and resilience of skin. Bone broth, animal meats, fish, dairy and eggs all help with collagen production.

 VITAMIN E Vitamin E is incredibly beneficial for both skin and hair. A moisturizing agent, this antioxidant can soften the skin and reduce the appearance of acne scars. Foods that are rich in vitamin E include seeds, nuts, green leafy veggies and vegetable oils.

You will be amazed at how many ingredients in the products on cosmetic shelves are present in everyday foods. In addition to using commercial solutions, enrich your diet with nutrient-dense items and ask your doctor to recommend oral supplements.


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exercise

s t n i o J

EXERCISES THAT ARE EASIER ON YOUR When osteoarthritis jeopardizes your mobility, exercise can keep you moving.

By Juliane Morris

Ensuring that muscles and surrounding tissues are strong is essential to provide support for osteoarthritis. Without proper exercise, supporting muscles are weakened, creating more stress on joints. For people with arthritis and related joint pain and stiffness, gentle exercise improves strength and flexibility of the muscles around joints. Gentle exercise also helps with bone strength, improves balance, weight control, and can diminish joint pain and fatigue. These three exercises help with range of motion, strength, balance and a touch of aerobic benefit. Move gently with low impact, breathing slowly and deeply.

1.

THE SEATED SIDE STRETCH Sit tall and comfortably positioned with your legs crossed. Tighten your core, checking that you are seated straight upright. Relax your face, jaw and shoulders. Raise one arm overhead and

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lean to the opposite side for a side body stretch and core muscle engagement practice. Hold for a count of six seconds, breathing in and out with each two second mark. Return to center and lower arm. Repeat on other side. Repeat the sequence twice.


2.

THE UPRIGHT & OPEN Stand upright with your legs as far apart as comfortable, about one and a half wider than hip distance. Tighten your core. Raise your arms up, equally wide as your legs. Open the palms of your hands upward to the sky, turning your face slightly upward. Breath in and out slowly for a count of twelve seconds. Bring your hands together to your chest and legs together, recentering tall and upright. Repeat the sequence twice.

3.

THE TALL TREE Standing tall and with your feet planted hip width apart, tighten your core and lift one foot, placing the bottom of it onto the inner calf area of the other leg, pressing against the tall and straight leg for stability. Then raise your arms above your head, joining your fingers while still tightening your core for balance exercise and muscle engagement. Hold for a count of four seconds. Repeat on the other side. Repeat the sequence twice.

ise also Gentle exerc one helps with b ves pro strength, im control, ight balance, we inish joint and can dim atigue. pain and f

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healthy body

FLAVORED WATER RECIPES FOR

s s o L t h g i e W By Katharine Coggeshall

D

rinking more water is a great way to boost metabolism and facilitate weight loss. However, many people find it difficult to consume enough water throughout the day. One of the easiest ways to increase water consumption is by making it more flavorful without adding sugar or calories. Healthy flavored water recipes start with clean, filtered water. Filtration helps remove heavy metals and chemicals that may have snuck into your tap water and can interfere with your body's weight loss functions. With your clean water, you can add a variety of healthy flavors from herbs, spices, edible flowers, fruits and vegetables. Organic flavoring agents are best, as this will help you avoid pesticides and other harmful chemicals, but are not necessary. To give you some ideas from which to start, here are 15 flavored water recipes for weight loss. Combine your chosen flavor ingredients with your filtered water and leave for 8-24 hours before drinking. This gives the flavors time to meld together and infuse into the water.

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You can make large batches in the evening and leave overnight to enjoy the next day. To get the best metabolism boosting benefits, and therefore weight loss benefits, start your day with a glass of water each morning. This should be consumed before breakfast, right after you wake up. This wakes up your metabolism and helps you feel fuller before eating. In fact, consuming water consistently before meals throughout the day will help you eat less overall. It is best to make water drinking a habit rather than waiting until you actually feel thirsty. This is because the body doesn't alert you to thirst until you have lost about 5% of your total body water. That means by waiting until you are thirsty to start drinking, you have already put your metabolism at a disadvantage. A better idea is to consistently drink water from the moment you wake up until the moment you finish your last meal. Avoiding water right before bed is very reasonable, as too much water late at night can keep you up. Drinking flavored water is a simple way to boost your metabolism daily and bolster your weight loss goals.

CITRUS: lemon slices, orange slices and fresh basil leaves. FALL SPICE: apple slices, a whole cinnamon stick, and a dash of nutmeg. SPRING FLING: a few springs of fresh lavender with fresh chamomile flowers. WARM AND COZY: a vanilla bean pod with a cardamom pod. BERRY: frozen blueberries and strawberries. SUMMER MIX: fresh cherries, pear slices, and cucumber. LIKE A MOJITO: fresh basil and lime slices. SPA WATER: fresh sage with cucumber slices. GARDEN: fresh rose petals with a vanilla bean pod. SPICE: a fresh fennel bulb with a few fresh cloves. ISLAND: pineapple with orange slices. CLASSIC: kiwi slices with strawberries. COOL: watermelon with cucumber slices. VEGGIE: fresh carrot with celery and ginger. HERB: fresh sage, rosemary, basil, and thyme.


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recipe

AUTUMN SANGRIA

WITH APPLES, POMEGRANATES & FIGS By Nellie Palmer

WHETHER YOU SERVE UP BIG GLASSES FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FRIENDS ON HALLOWEEN, OR TUCK AWAY THE RECIPE FOR THANKSGIVING (OR EVEN JUST A FUN NIGHT WITH FRIENDS) THIS SANGRIA IS PERFECT FOR THE SEASON!  Ingredients

• 1 cup pomegranate seeds • 1 large apple, cut into thin wedges • 5 figs, cut into quarters • 1 bottle chilled prosecco • 1 cup brandy • 2 cups pomegranate juice • ice

Daily ExErcisE

likE

Walking

can reduce your risk of Breast Cancer by 14-25%!* If you’re battling breast cancer, Physical Therapy can help with: • Post-operative therapy for proper function following mastectomy • Treatment of lymphedema following cancer treatment

 Directions

In a large pitcher filled half way with ice, add the fruit and then top with the juice, brandy and the chilled prosecco. Serve cold.

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The ENT Health Care You Need From Providers You Can Trust

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cover story

s r o v i v r u SFIND NORMALCY HELPING

Story and Photos by Michelle Wulfson

HUNTSVILLE TATTOO ARTIST OFFERS 3D AREOLA RECONSTRUCTION 16

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n the privacy of the daytime when her downtown tattoo shop is closed, Jenna Casanova helps breast cancer survivors find a place of healing as she gets to work setting needle to skin. Offering 3D areola reconstruction through her tattoo shop, Blessed Ink, has been a goal for Casanova since 2019. Now, she’s finally getting to change the lives of survivors as one of the few, if not the only, 3D areola reconstruction specialist in Huntsville. “I see women struggle all of the time with all different kinds of cancer, but especially when it comes to breast cancer and they have to do the mastectomy and all of that…it’s like as a woman, that is a sense of our femininity, that’s just a part of who we are and whether we look at it as a sexuality thing or a confidence thing or regardless. I can only sympathize with them,” Casanova said. “I can only imagine if I had to go through something like that. What would make me feel better personally, is if I could look at myself in the mirror and see having breasts there.” Since recently finishing her certificate in 3D areola reconstruction through Tina Davies, an online learning platform offering classes for aspiring permanent makeup artists, Casanova has already worked with a few survivors, and she feels the demand in the area is huge. “The lady I just did a couple of weeks ago, the scar tissue was so bad and damaged, she couldn’t even get implants, so they actually did a tummy-tuck and a fat transfer to make her breasts, but she didn’t have any nipples. I was able to do the 3D areola reconstruction for her and she was very emotional about it, it was just amazing,” Casanova said. Nipples can be reconstructed through cosmetic surgery, usually three to four weeks after breast reconstruction, adding pigment and the appearance of areoles through permanent makeup as the very last step after healing. However, whether due to excessive scar tissue or simply

17


cover story choosing to forego nipple reconstruction altogether, permanent makeup artists offer 3D areola reconstruction to create the very realistic 3D appearance of a nipple and areola, providing a more natural look for survivors. “Some women come in and they were able to take some skin and bunch it up to try to make a nipple appearance, but it doesn’t have the color of it and some women are just flat completely, so the 3D gives it more dimension and it makes it look more realistic. If you tattoo it correctly, you should have the appearance of seeing not only the areola, but the nipple as well, and have it look defined,” Casanova said. “It makes a lot of difference, especially in your self-esteem,” notes Kathy Cleere, a recent client of Casanova’s. Cleere was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1991 at 31 yearsold and underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. However, there was no need for reconstruction at that time. It wasn’t until her breast cancer returned in 2004 when she opted to have a double mastectomy at 44 years-old.

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Through MD Anderson’s cosmetic surgery unit, she received a TRAM Flap surgery – using a section of skin, fat, blood vessels and muscle taken from her lower abdomen – to reconstruct her breasts. The surgeons were able to reconstruct nipples for her and added pigmentation to them, while creating the illusion of areoles, using a very light ink. “They did a good job of reconstructing my breasts…44 is still pretty young, I didn’t want to go the rest of my life without breasts and my husband was very supportive of it,” Cleere said. However, like most tattoos over the years, their work has since faded. “It’s been 17 years and it had faded to where you couldn’t even see it,” Cleere said. After seeing positive references to Casanova’s work online, Cleere contacted the permanent makeup specialist for a touch-up, which only took about 1.5 hours under the needle. “To have them look as natural as possible, it just helps with the healing process, it helps you psychologically and with your self-esteem,” Cleere said.

Casanova has always had a heart for breast cancer survivors, especially since finding out about her family history battling the illness. In the past, she and her partner have used their shop to give back, offering cancer ribbon tattoos every October, with the majority of proceeds going to the Huntsville Diamonds Cancer Team. Now, with her completed certification, she’s looking to working with insurance companies to be an out-of-network provider and offer her services through them, while also offering discounts to lower-income individuals who would not normally be able to afford the procedure. “I price my prices pretty reasonable and I will do it on a fluctuating scale. Some people can’t afford to go ahead and spend $400, so I’ve been trying to work with some ladies as far as payment and taking a lot less than I normally would, because giving back has been one of my biggest focuses when it came to the shop,” Casanova said. “Just to see the look on their faces when they have that sense of their femininity back, is just so amazing,” Casanova added.


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recipe

SUGAR FREE CARROT CAKE CUPCAKES By Nellie Palmer

INGREDIENTS • 4 tbsp softened butter • 1/3 cup Truvia • 1 tbsp maple extract • 1/2 tsp Madagascar vanilla • 1/3 cup almond flour • 1/3 cup coconut flour • 1/4 cup shredded coconut • 2 tbsp whey protein powder • 1 tsp baking powder • 1 tsp cinnamon • 1/4 tsp ground ginger • 1/4 tsp salt • 3 large eggs • 2 tbsp heavy cream • 2 ounces finely grated carrot (about 1 medium) CREAM CHEESE FROSTING • 4 ounces butter softened • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened • 1/2 cup heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks • 1/3 cup Swerve confectioners sugar • 1 tsp Madagascar vanilla INSTRUCTIONS  Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place the rack to the lower third of the oven. Line 9 cupcake pan with liners. Measure dry ingredients into a small bowl and whisk to break up any lumps. Finely grate the carrot.

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A healthier low carb sugar free carrot cake cupcake recipe with fluffy cream cheese frosting.  Method: In a stand mixer, blend softened butter, Truvia, maple and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add 1 egg and beat again until the mixture is thick, light and fluffy.  In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and add 1/3 to mixer and blend until well incorporated. Add another egg and mix until the batter is light and fluffy. Continue alternating the dry and wet ingredients, scraping the bowl after the dry additions and keeping the texture nice and light. Add the carrot and heavy cream at the very end. Mix well (The batter should be thick but easy to work with. If it's not, add 1-2 more tbsps of heavy cream, but work quickly.)  Immediately spoon the batter into the cupcake liners before it thickens up. Place into the oven and turn the oven to 400ºF and bake for 5 minutes to get the batter rising. Turn the oven back to 350 and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are firm when lightly pressed with a finger, but still moist. Remove and let cool completely before frosting.  Cream Cheese Frosting: Whip the butter and cream cheese together with the vanilla and sweetener until it is very stiff. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture 1/3 at a time. Frost the cupcakes and refrigerate or serve.


wellness

Osteoarthritis By Dr. Aaron Dutruch D.C.

TO UNDERSTAND OSTEOARTHRITIS, IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE A BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF THE STRUCTURES THAT IT AFFECTS, OUR JOINTS. JOINTS ARE A CLOSED SYSTEM MADE UP OF TWO BONES COMING TOGETHER WITH CARTILAGE BETWEEN THEM. THOSE BONES ARE SURROUNDED BY A FIBROUS MATERIAL KNOWN AS THE JOINT CAPSULE, THAT IS FILLED WITH A LIQUID CALLED SYNOVIAL FLUID, WHICH ACTS AS A LUBRICANT FOR THE JOINT.

Osteoarthritis is commonly described as “age related arthritis” but this is partly inaccurate. Although osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis seen in older patients, it could be better described as “wear and tear arthritis”, as it is the break down of the joints over time from over or improper use. It usually affects the weight bearing joints in the lower extremities, such as our lower back, hips, knees and ankles. What to look for: The symptoms of osteoarthritis range from minor to severe depending on how long the process is going on. In the beginning stage there is little to no pain and it’s hard to detect, but with imaging you can see the beginning of bone spurs around the joints. When most patients realize something is going on they are in the second stage of the condition, noting joint stiffness or pain after longer periods of rest, and noticing it gets better when they start to move around. During the third stage, there is a breakdown of the cartilage, and this causes more joint discomfort or pain, especially with activity (walking,

running, kneeling, etc.). In the fourth stage of osteoarthritis, the joint space is notably reduced, which causes an increase in the damage of the cartilage and even more severe pain with motion of the joints. What can help: The first stage of osteoarthritis begins without pain or much discomfort, but you can help to slow the breakdown of the joints by making sure you are engaging in proper biomechanics and safety. If you have a job or hobby that requires a lot of lifting, bending, kneeling or similar activity, be mindful of your posture and make sure you are wearing the proper equipment. For example, good shoes if you do a lot of walking and knee pads if you do a lot kneeling. These can absorb some of the impact of these activities. Stretching and exercise is also particularly important. If the muscles are tight or weak around the joints, they may not allow the joints to move the way they should and can increase pressures on the them.Yoga and Pilates are excellent ways to both stretch and strengthen the joints and their supporting structures.

Nutrition is also important regarding arthritis. The “itis” portion of “arthritis” means there is inflammation. Starting an anti-inflammatory diet such as the Mediterranean diet can be incredibly helpful in controlling the symptoms of inflammation, regardless of the stage of the condition. Some studies also show the use of ginger, garlic, turmeric and other natural supplements can help with overall inflammation and reduce joint pain. The takeaway is that although osteoarthritis is mostly seen in older adults, it really starts when we are younger.You can minimize the effects by being aware of your diet, exercising often, and generally taking care of the body you have. It’s never to late to start. Ask your primary care, chiropractor or physical therapist if you aren’t sure where to begin. We would love to help get you moving better. Dr. Aaron Dutruch D. C. received his BS in Kinesiology, Fitness and Human Performance from LSU and his Doctorate of Chiropractic from Texas Chiropractic College. He is proficient in Upper Cervical chiropractic care and is a certified FAKTR provider.

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FINDING

StreI NngSthT R I D E

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By Christian Dischler


E

ach time her foot struck the pavement, Vanessa Reiser drew one step closer to the finish line. But unlike the traditional marathons and ultramarathons she’s run her whole life, this one was different. This time the finish line was more significant, and couldn’t be quantified by distance alone. Her dedication carried her across nine New York counties spanning 12 days of running. 285 miles in total. Through green fields dotted with baby goats and bustling city streets, she persevered. Her modified wedding dress flowing behind her as a symbolic testament, she ran over 20 miles each day. There was determination in her stride and with each calculated breath, her resolve strengthened. As for the wedding? She dodged that bullet over a year ago. Reiser, a 47-year-old clinical therapist and proud mother, is a narcissistic domestic abuse (NDA) survivor. Her story is a familiar tale for victims and those who may be struggling to find defining words for their difficult situation. The decision to run in her wedding dress represented solidarity with other survivors by calling out the manipulative behavior of narcissistic abusers. “The dress represents something that the narcissist exploits. They recognize this as a vulnerability or as something in our society that is coveted. They tend to dangle these carrots—whether its finances, having a baby, or a wedding. Things of this nature. So, I felt it was symbolic that I run in the dress.” After ending her engagement with her abuser, she underwent a tumultuous experience including “love-bomb” withdrawals, confusion, eliminating toxic friends and ultimately rebirth. For Reiser, the run signified more than simply mileage. It represented a resurrection and a return to her strength. “I thought what better way to practice my own healing and inspire others to get empowered than to start this journey, which was transformative,” the New York native said.

“The most empowering thing for me during the run, was physically enduring it and mentally enjoying it—feeling free. I felt so healed. I was in my own head, listening to music, just loving myself. It was my own meditation in a way. It was me connecting with myself.” While the run acted as a healing mechanism for Reiser, she knew there was more profound purpose behind the feat. By raising awareness around the insidious nature of NDA, Reiser wants to not only inform victims, but also shine a light on the clinical aspect and help her peers better understand NDA. “I began to realize how important it was going to be to bring awareness, considering myself, who has this high education, had no idea that it existed,” Reiser said. This provided a first-person lens for her to draw from, and utilizing her master’s degree in social work from USC, she started a non-profit organization. “Tell a Therapist is built to provide referrals to people in different states for a narc savvy clinician. We’re notic-

ing a deficit of clinicians who aren’t as understanding since they haven’t gone through it, like I have. So, we want to bring awareness into the clinical space around this as much as to the victims.” “You want to get around people that believe you. Which is important because the biggest piece of awareness is that we don’t consider abuse to be anything unless we can see it. I had to shed a lot of toxic friends. Because generally a narcissist is very charming and loved in the community by looking a certain way in the public, and then behind the scenes acting very abusive,” Reiser said. “I had to get rid of a lot of non-believers, that was really a compounding trauma. I needed to surround myself with people that were believing me.” Reiser is creating opportunity from the ashes of her relationship by sharing insight into some narcissistic red flags, and how victims can position themselves to be prepared and survive. “Things like love-bombing, future faking, circular conversations, gaslight-

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feature ing. It’s the cycle of abuse. So, they may idolize you one minute, then devalue you, become passive aggressive and give you the silent treatment the next. That’s actually the cycle of abuse and creates a trauma bond.” “Narcissists tend to be addicts. They’re manipulative, insecure and controlling. If you start to identify those behaviors, then you may want to hide your belongings, or get a safety bag and leave it at a friend’s house. Just prepare to potentially get away from them, because there’s not a lot of data that says they can change, unfortunately.” “[As therapists] we’re always talking about empowerment and finding things that you’re passionate about to lean into. The narc tends to prey on the vulnerable, so if you come into your power, you’ll notice rather quickly that they disappear. They’re kind of allergic to this. So, it checks a lot of boxes when you’re fluffing out your feathers, taking care of yourself and paying less attention to their childlike behavior. It’s almost like an antidote,” Reiser said. Reiser continues to expand her outreach and develop the narrative surrounding NDA. While narcissism is recognized in the clinical field as a severe diagnosis, there’s a lot of ambiguity around how it operates in tandem with abuse, and the fallout that comes afterwards. “We definitely think this is a new movement. Not that narcissism hasn’t been around, but I don’t know that we’ve been calling it that clinically, and really identifying it. We have a lot to do in terms of the vernacular we use, because narcissism isn’t limited to just vanity. We need to understand this is a level of psychopathy.” “It’s important for people to feel believed and heard. The abuser is the abuser, but we want people to believe their friend, neighbors, sisters. We need to do a better job of believing people when they tell you there’s a toxic person, or if they feel that way. We want to hold space for that. You don’t feel that society does enough

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to believe you. Sometimes I feel like when I’m telling my story I might as well have been saying I saw a UFO,” Reiser said. “We want people to say things like, ‘I’m here for you. I believe you. What can I do for you?’” Currently, Reiser is writing a book on NDA and helping plan more runs in the future for herself, and other survivors who are joining the

movement. She knows it’s only the beginning to a lifetime dedicated to educating and empowering victims so they too can reclaim their strength. This is a marathon without a finish line and Reiser is here for the challenge, stronger than ever. Visit www.TellATherapist.org to receive help finding a narc-savvy clinician in your area and donate to the movement.


discover

C

ontrary to common belief, genetics does not play as significant a role in breast cancer risk factors as does one’s lifestyle; indeed, according to the non-profit, According to BreastCancer. org, a non-profit helping educate women, only 5 to 10 percent of reported cases are inherited. In the general population, 12 to 13 percent of women will develop breast cancer, which comes out to one in eight. With these odds, it’s a good idea to assess your diet and lifestyle to determine your likelihood of developing the disease. The first proactive approach to preventing breast cancer is to perform a monthly self-exam. Stand in front of a mirror that gives you an adequate visual of your upper body. With your breasts uncovered, put your hands behind your neck. Note any abnormalities or differences in the shape of your breasts, as well as any changes in the areas around the nipples. This also includes the skin, be it around the nipples or the breasts in general, such as reddened or scaly patches. Then put your hands on your hips and flex your pectoral muscles, those that support the breasts. Do this standing upright then bend over to discern any changes.

BREAST CANCER PREVENTION By Mary Ann Podwall

The risk of breast cancer increases with your weight.

Go into the shower, turn on the tap then feel your breasts by working the fingers on the opposite hand into the opposing topmost part of the breast (right hand on left breast and vice-versa). You are checking for any nodules or lumps as you work your way down to the nipple. Perform this same method along the outer sides of each breast then underneath, always ending at the nipple. The water gives you increased sensitivity when it comes to noting any underlying changes in the tissue. If you are pre-menopausal, wait until a few days after your last period before performing this exam and report any abnormalities to your doctor.

A study by Johns Hopkins University in 2006 linked increased body fat with elevated estrogen levels in post-menopausal women. As far back as 1997, it was noted that older women with higher estrogen levels had a 15 percent greater likelihood of developing breast cancer than those with typical estrogen levels. As international obesity has become a symptom of our increasingly sedentary lives epidemiologists predict that breast cancer rates will increase as well. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention estimate that 40 percent of American women are obese, which translates to 18 million of them possibly developing breast cancer. In South Africa, the obesity levels are an alarming one in two for women, as reported by the BBC in 2004, which makes proper diet and exercise of paramount importance in the region.

As international obesity has become a symptom of our increasingly sedentary lives epidemiologists predict that breast cancer rates will increase as well.

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fashion

COSTUMING ON A

BUDGET By Rebecca Gutnecht

T

he season for pop and color and pizazz is here. Hallows’ Eve is right around the corner, and it’s time to bring out your wild side. Instead of thinking of the holiday in simple terms of costuming, generate a new vibe of creating an alter ego. Step into a character, a personality, anyone you want to be for one night. Sure, a witch, vampire, or cat are great, but how about expanding your creative juices a smidge? Here are a few suggestions to boggle the mind. Picture a 1970’s hippie dressed in a long skirt, psychedelic colors and floral headband. Or a Marilyn Monroe lookalike: perfectly coiffed hair, red lips, white frilly dress and the iconic mole to match. Mad scientist? Get a little wild with a white trench coat, crazycolored hair, and a pair of glasses to complete the look. The point is to have fun, go all out and let yourself enjoy a night of mystery. Only problem? The budget is tight and there just isn't enough time to create an entire costume from scratch. The solution lies in your innate creativity! There’s no need for expensive outfits and time-consuming projects. Here's a secret: check out your local thrift stores to find affordable costume pieces. A plethora of outfits from various decades all combined into one store. You honestly

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never know what you will find. All of the above items from the characters listed could be in a thrift store. If you haven’t gone yet, give it a whirl. If you happen to be stuck on a particular item, online shopping is a great resource. Instead of buying a high-end pair of glasses at a fashion boutique, you can easily track down something similar online. As a last resort, your local craft store will do the job. Buttons, generic t-shirts, and assortments of materials are at your beck and call. Whatever you do, have fun and make Halloween your party!

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r a e l C a g n i d i v Pro Picture

By Joseph Brown

HUNTSVILLE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL OFFERING 3D MAMMOGRAPHY SCREENING BREAST CANCER IS ONE OF THE LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH AMONG WOMEN. AND EARLY DETECTION IS KEY. ACCORDING TO A RECENT STUDY, BREAST CANCER SCREENING WITH 3D MAMMOGRAMS REDUCES THE RATE OF INTERVAL CANCERS—CANCERS DETECTED BETWEEN ROUTINE SCREENING—COMPARED TO 2D DIGITAL MAMMOGRAMS. THE NEW TECHNOLOGY IS READILY AVAILABLE AT THE HUNTSVILLE WOMEN’S CENTER, WHICH IS PART OF HUNTSVILLE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL.

WHAT IS 3D MAMMOGRAPHY? Three-dimensional (3D) mammography (also called digital breast tomosynthesis, digital tomosynthesis or just tomosynthesis) creates a 3D picture of the breast using X-rays. Several images from different angles around the breast are used to create the 3D picture. A traditional mammogram creates a two-dimensional (2D) image of the breast from two X-ray images of each breast. The Mayo Clinic says that a 3D mammogram is typically used to search for breast cancer in people who may have no outward signs or symptoms. It also may be used to help diagnose the cause of a breast mass or nipple discharge. Doctors may suggest 3D imaging to get a better look at any growths or help identify the source of

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any symptoms a person may be concerned about. However, not all insurance plans cover 3D mammograms. So some women must either pay out-ofpocket for a 3D mammogram or have a 2D mammogram. WHEN SHOULD YOU GET TESTED? According to the American Cancer Society, women over the age of 40 should receive a yearly screening mammogram and conduct monthly self-exams in between. An average of 1-in-6 breast cancers occur in women ages 40-49, and three out of four women diagnosed have no family history of breast cancer. Since screening mammograms became more widespread in the mid 1980s, there has been a 38% reduction in breast cancer deaths.


A study published in the journal JAMA Oncology also says cancer detection rates are higher in people who do 3D imaging over time. Three-dimensional mammograms can be useful for women with dense breast tissue or those at higher risk for breast cancer. Although experts at MD Anderson Cancer Center advise any woman who needs a mammogram to get the 3D version. However, 3D mammography may not be covered by all insurance plans. It’s important to note that a 3D mammogram releases the same amount of radiation as a traditional mammogram. It is of no greater risk to the patient, and it is approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Also of note, because 3D mammograms produce more images, it may take a radiologist a little longer to read one than it would a 2D mammogram. Also available to women at the Huntsville facility is an on-site ultrasound, which is available at the immediate discretion of the radiologist. LOW INCOME SCREENINGS Through the Walker County Mammogram Fund, Huntsville Memorial Hospital offers free mammograms to women over the age of 40 in low-income households.

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TO BE ELIGIBLE, PARTICIPANTS MUST: • Have a household income at or below 200% of the federal poverty level; • Have no additional sources of income; • Must be female and over the age of 40; • Must be a Walker County resident; • Must be either a U.S. citizen or meet the qualifications of alien resident status. The Huntsville Women’s Center is located at 123 Medical Park Lane in Huntsville. 30

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