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life

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life

The Art of Living “Art can change lives, but at Florida Cancer Specialists, art is helping to save people’s lives. When you have passion, an interest, and new friends, magic can happen. That’s what Dr. Raul Storey, board certified in medical oncology and internal medicine, is betting on with the new arts and medicine program. Dr. Storey shares that in the last 10 years, there have been more breakthroughs in the treatment of cancer than in the past 50 years combined. They are optimistic that they are converting cancer to a chronic disease treated with pills and immunotherapy so the patient can live with it and not die of it. The new arts and medicine program is part of this approach that blends the arts with treatments that help the body, mind and soul work together. Each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday there are 12 professional art consultants (in different fields) who will work with and entertain patients. The fruits of their labor is tacked on the walls of the main treatment room where pleasant, live, upbeat music plays when you walk in. Whether they are playing the keyboard, strumming a guitar, singing, instructing patients on how to do watercolor paintings, drawings or collages, positive things are happening for the patients and they are seeing phenomenal results from the program. The feedback has also been amazing. Patient caregivers and family members are now invited to attend the program on Fridays. The pilot program developed by Barbara Hoffman of the Cultural Council of Indian River County and Dr. Storey has given patients something to talk about, besides the disease. Like art class in school, it fosters a sense of camaraderie and teamwork. And all the instructors involved with the program have been touched in some way by cancer so this program has become their personal mission to give back.  The innovative arts and medicine program at Florida Cancer Specialists is the proverbial spoonful of sugar helping the medicine go down and hopefully increasing the patient survival rate!   The pilot is being created under the guidance of the Center for Arts and Medicine at the University of Florida. Center Director, Jill Sonke, is impressed with the development of this pilot program in a relatively short period of time. 

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September-October 2019

with cancer

Implant to Explant One Woman’s Journey

“This is an exciting and cutting-edge development in Vero Beach and we hope this pilot will provide vital information that can be used to develop arts in medicine programs in private clinical settings statewide.” Learn more at Cultural-Council.org.

Written by SUSAN HARRIS Photography by ARIC ATTAS

Portfolio-VeroBeach.com

South Florida native, veteran television journalist, wife and mother of two, Jen Herrera has quite the story to tell. In her book “Are Your Fake Boobs Making You Sick? - Why I Went Back to a B-cup,” Jen recounts her journey with breast implants. From her initial surgery, to her deteriorating health, to the ultimate decision to explant, she puts everything on the table. A descriptive, funny and open memoir, Jen’s voice is like that of a girlfriend offering the real truth through her own experience. PVB: By the very nature of your profession, telling other people’s stories is easy for you. What was it like to flip roles and be the subject? JH: That’s exactly why this book started off as just a blog post at first. I wasn’t 100 percent comfortable telling my story. I started to realize how different I truly felt after explanting that I knew I had to share my story to help other women. PVB: Not only are you the main focus but it is also a deep dive on a very personal level. Was that difficult for you? JH: Heck yes! The book is very candid. I knew if I was going to share my story, I had to tell it all! But as cheesy as it sounds, it was cathartic, too. PVB: Who encouraged you the most to write down your experience? JH: Nobody at first. My husband thought I was crazy initially because writing and publishing the book took a lot of time. However, once I started posting on social media and receiving feedback from this whole community of women who were experiencing similar issues, he was like, “Oh, this is gonna be big.” PVB: And you decided to self-publish! Explain that process, because although you’re a veteran journalist, writing a book is totally different. JH: I had no idea what I was doing on the publishing end. Then there’s the cover, the ISBN number, the formatting, the proofing, it goes way beyond just “writing.” I’ve helped lots of other aspiring authors since publishing my book. It was very self-fulfilling to figure it out and do it all on my own. When I clicked that “Publish” button on Amazon it was an awesome feeling! PVB: Through this journey, you were the biggest advocate for your own health. That can be very

Portfolio-VeroBeach.com

empowering, but how did you feel conveying your concerns to doctors? JH: Fortunately, once I made up my mind to remove my implants, there really weren’t any other doctors to go see besides my plastic surgeon. Here’s the deal, most doctors are taught a certain way, and I get it. Most patients are given medications, certain symptoms get better, and they are happy with feeling at least slightly better while on meds. I needed more than that. I wanted to get to the root of the issues, or at least take care of a big chunk of them. Once I made adjustments to my diet and lifestyle, but was still suffering, I felt there was still something triggering me. PVB: What advice would you give others who feel their breasts are causing them sickness?  JH: Listen to your body. Check yourself! How’s your lifestyle? What are you eating? What are you drinking? Watch food as a trigger. Journal what you eat. Do you have certain reactions after eating certain foods? Take that out of your diet and see what happens. If you truly believe you are doing everything right when it comes to taking care of your body and you’re still suffering, then explore the possibility that it could be your implants. If you do choose to explant, make sure you pick a doctor who specializes in explants. PVB: As a mother to two young girls, how has this experience impacted them? JH: They know what I went through and while they don’t necessarily fully understand the details of it all, they get the gist of it. They know that Mommy can do a lot more physically than she used to. When we do get into deeper discussions about it, I remind them, and here I go getting cheesy again, that we have to be happy and accept how God made us. That’s what matters. There are various reasons why women choose to get implants. Some want to look and feel better in their clothes while others opt for the surgery after recovering from breast cancer. It’s a very personal choice.

Written by TIFFANY CORR Photography by JEN HERRERA

September-October 2019

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Profile for Vero Beach Portfolio Magazine

September/October 2019  

Gather your flock! This issue is dedicated to the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. Stunning photography by Melissa Groo of the West Indian...

September/October 2019  

Gather your flock! This issue is dedicated to the beautiful islands of the Bahamas. Stunning photography by Melissa Groo of the West Indian...

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