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The Seven

Girlfriends on the go ‘We’re All Terminal’

Searcy woman overcomes, serves

Searcy neurosurgeon changing lives ‘Learn As You Go’

Mom offers tips for healthier meals

Yoga: For Moms-To-Be Heads Up: Coaches, trainers keen on concussions SEPT./OCT. 2012

When seconds matter, we're here and ready. The AR Saves team at White County Medical Center is on stand-by to help stroke patients.

Stroke Help Available at White County Medical Center A service of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the Department of Human Services and neurologists throughout Arkansas.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 â?˜ well now â?˜ 3


From the Publisher ur stated mission for WellNow magazine is to educate, inform



and inspire Searcy-area residents

to live healthier lifestyles. We plan to do that,


in part, by telling the stories and sharing the

Mike Murphy

efforts of our friends and neighbors right here in Searcy. We have a couple of great examples in this issue. Marisa Lytle’s Q&A with the Ashley and Christie Brooks family captures their passion and plan for an active lifestyle. And Kathy Murphy’s visit with mom-offour Kim Wise reveals the commitment and approach behind the Wise

EDITORIAL Wendy Jones Molly Fleming Marisa Lytle Kyle Troutman Erica Sirratt Jacob Brower

family’s healthy diet. Congratulations to both families and thank you for

Erica Goodwin


Mike Murphy

We also want to keep you informed about the latest in medical inno-

Kathy Murphy

vation and services available locally. Erica Goodwin tells an amazing story about the work of neurosurgeon Gregory Ricca at White County Medical Center. And her piece called “Cancer Connectors” keeps us up to date with services available at the hospital’s oncology center.

LAYOUT & DESign Beverly Newton

Recognizing that “faith” is a significant component of a healthy lifestyle, we decided early in the planning of WellNow that it would always


be a good story topic. Jacob Brower’s feature on Searcy resident Peggy

Teresa Harvey

Heusel and her service to our community can be an inspiration for all. Another topic we plan to visit frequently is “travel.” After all, a healthy lifestyle should include a little fun, as “The Seven” travel group profiled in

Bruce Black Regina Meyers Teresa Mason

this edition by Molly Fleming seem to have discovered. Please feel free to forward any story ideas you may have for future


editions, as well as any other feedback. Thanks for reading WellNow, and

Curtis Stevens

I hope you enjoy this edition.

David Barnes

Mike Murphy Publisher

Please send correspondence to Mike Murphy, Publisher, The Daily Citizen, 3000 E. Race, Searcy, AR 72143. You can email to 4 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

WellNow is published bimonthly by The Daily Citizen, office at 3000 E. Race Avenue, Searcy, AR 72143, 501-268-8621. The contents of WellNow are copyrighted, and material contained herein may not be copied or reproduced in any manner without the written permission of the publisher. Articles in WellNow should not be considered specific advice, as individual circumstances vary. Products and services advertised in the magazine are not necessarily endorsed by WellNow. The

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Expecting mothers benefit from low-intensity movement



Program offers continuing education



All in this together





Awareness, proper response helps protect athletes from concussions



Searcy mother offers helpful tips for healthier meals


26 10





Searcy woman overcomes disease to serve community



Brooks family nurtures ties through shared love of exercise

44 A Searcy-based group of women who travel together annually have been all over North America, including the shore of St. John’s Bay in Quebec, Canada, where they visited on a cruise along New England in August 2010. The group includes Barbara Wilson, Dottie Whiteside, of Paragould, Ruby Stephens, June Lewis, Hazel English, Diana Edwards, and Brenda Butts. 6 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


Neurosurgeon changing lives with innovative techniques


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Searcy-based women have been traveling for nearly 20 years



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well now l contributors

contributors JACOB BROWER

Jacob Brower, editor of The Daily Citizen, said he was inspired by the time he spent with Searcian Peggy Heusel. Diagnosed with Lupus in the late 1970s, doctors told Heusel she was supposed to die 25 years ago. Despite overwhelming odds, she fought the disease and won. Heusel, who moved to Searcy two years ago, told WellNow that she sees every day as a gift, which is why she spends her time touching lives through her volunteer work. “It was a great honor to get to know Peggy,” Brower said. “It’s amazing that she has had such a major impact in the community in such a short amount of time.”


Wendy Jones, The Daily Citizen’s news editor, developed ideas for the bulletin items on pages 18-21. Jones focused on area events like Chili’s 5Queso, the Dr. Robert E. Elliott Foundation Depression Screening Day, Race for the Cure and the Wilbur D. Mills Center opening its campus up for a day in recognition of National Recovery Month. The briefs also cover healthy uses for the pumpkin, practicing moderation at the White County Fair and more. “Local events can broaden your horizons and educate you on everyday issues affecting your family, friends, and neighbors,” Jones said. “Most area events are free and offer valuable resources and healthy activities.”

M O L LY M . F L E M I N G

While Molly M. Fleming has never given birth, she was still intrigued by the idea of prenatal yoga and wanted to find out more about the practice. What she found was an exercise that is not only good for the mom, but good for the baby as well. “I figured the class would involve a lot of movement, but I was surprised to hear how much the women benefited from the exercise,” Fleming said. She attended the class twice in order to find out more about the practice and get the perspective of the participants. “From what I learned from the moms, the class has made it a little easier to carry around a baby, so I’m sure every mom could benefit from attending once a week.” Fleming said she enjoyed writing the story because it offered a break from her daily topics that include covering city and county governments and school boards. “The women in the class were beautiful and the instructor (Jessica Lynch) is so enthusiastic,” Fleming said. “I would encourage any pregnant mom to talk to their doctor and check out the class.”


Erica Goodwin serves as marketing specialist at White County Medical Center. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and a bachelor’s degree is journalism/public relations from Arkansas State University. Erica resides in Searcy with her husband, Jonathan, and daughter, Eliza. She covers medical innovation for WellNow magazine, this edition with a report on life-altering procedures performed by Searcy neurosurgeon Gregory Ricca, M.D.


Holding multiple editorial positions at three Arkansas colleges, Kyle Troutman has covered everything from sports at the University of Central Arkansas to hard news at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. In this issue, Troutman tackles concussions in high school sports, including Searcy athlete Jordan Jones who is sidelined from football after multiple concussions. “Concussions have been at the forefront of sports medicine conversations, and I hope more research, more prevention and better treatment will eliminate cases like Jones’ from high school sports,” he said.


Kathy Murphy spent the 1990’s hands-on in the newspaper business with husband Mike Murphy, publisher of The Daily Citizen. During that time, she did whatever jobs needed to be done, which, sooner-or-later, included most of them. She’s helping out WellNow magazine by finding someone for our regular “healthy spaces” feature, and doing the story and photo. Her piece for this edition is on Searcy mother-of-four Kim Wise. Kathy spends most of her time as Executive Director of the White County Community Foundation and watching out for her children Connor, 17 and Morgan 13.

8 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

M A R I S A LY T L E Marisa Lytle is a former staff writer for The Daily Citizen. In her final article for WellNow, Lytle spotlights a local family and how they are keeping healthy. Through a question and answer format, the family of four discuss their routines and tips for others looking to make healthy changes. Lytle is a graduate of Searcy High School and Harding University. She now resides in Fayetteville with her husband, Anthony.


Beverly Newton began as a graphic artist at the Community Shopper/Daily Citizen in 1999. She specialized in ad design. Beverly graduated in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in commercial art and a minor in art education. She developed the typography and graphic elements for the new WellNow magazine and is responsible for the layout and design. Her hobbies include drawing, reading, music, and spending time with her 14-year-old son, Trey.

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Expecting mothers benefit from low-intensity movement 3

PRENATAL YOGA Where: White County Medical Center Annex Building

Location: Corner of Hartsfield Drive and Hawkins Streetin Searcy

Time: Every Tuesday 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

What to expect: Stretching, low intensity movement

10 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

Brittney Shaver, right, of Searcy breathes deeply at the beginning of the prenatal yoga class taught at the White County Medical Center Annex Building. The class is taught by Jessica Lynch.

B Y M O L LY M . F L E M I N G

xpecting mom Crystal Stuart of Searcy has already given birth to one child, but with her next child, she decided to do something a little different to help with the pain and discomfort that can often come with carrying around a baby. She has become a regular at the free prenatal yoga class offered by White County Medical Center in the hospital’s annex building. “I’ve been here every week since I found out I was pregnant,” she said. Stuart is scheduled to give birth to her second child on Halloween. She said she can already tell a difference in her body since she’s started attending the class. “I do feel like it’s helping me,” Stuart said. “It’s helped to relieve the tension in my lower back.” That’s just one of the many benefits the class offers mommies-to-be. “The class helps with relaxation and even child birth,” said Marsha Pound, a registered nurse and certified lactation consultant who helps with the class. She said the breathing technique taught during the class helps mothers prepare for the breathing done during labor. Pound was instrumental in getting the class started at the hospital. She said she took prenatal yoga in 1986 when she was pregnant with her son. While working at White County, Pound wrote a proposal to get the class and it was approved to be offered by the hospital. That was in 2005, and the class has been growing rapidly ever since, according to Jessica Lynch, who has been teaching the class for about a year.


they bounce back easier after having a “We have about 14 to 16 people on baby,” he said. average,” she said. “Last year, it was He said prenatal yoga offers benefits around four or six, so the class has really such as stretching and aiding mothers with grown.” their balance, as well as the relief of lower Lynch has been a certified yogi since back pain as the class attendants said they 2004 through the Yoga Alliance, which is had experienced. the only accredited licensing agency. “I’ve had good feedback from my She said that while she tends to pracpatients,” Thompson said. tice a higher intensity yoga, such as the Brittney Shaver of Searcy is also a popular Hot Yoga, she has enjoyed teachyoga class regular who has reaped the bening a more gentle practice. efits of attending the class. “I just enjoy the connection between “It’s relaxing,” she said. “It’s nice to myself and the mothers,” she said. “Prenatal yoga is more of a gentle type and be able to stretch and breathe and get away from the day.” it’s about the connection between mind, Mothers in any trimester are able to body, spirit, and baby. Seeing the flow of attend the class, but they must have written the mom and how they become centered approval from their doctors. — it’s just beautiful. Practicing yoga is about centering yourself, so if (the mom is centered), she will also center (her baby).” She said one of the techniques taught that is beneficial to moms is the breaching, which is good for labor and delivery. “A lot of prenatal yoga is about opening the hips to reduce the tightness in the hips and the lower back,” Lynch said. “When you’re pregnant, you have so much discomfort because you’re body is growBrittney Shaver, right, practices her warrior one position during the ing and expanding. Yoga prenatal yoga class. helps with that.” Class regular Abby Lynch said the hospital’s affiliation not Myers of Searcy said she has experienced only helps with class attendance because it the relief of the pain in her lower back is able to be free, but attendants are more from taking the class. “It has helped my back a lot,” she said. comfortable since a registered nurse is on site and able to answer any questions or “It has really helped with the tightness.” concerns. Myers is scheduled to birth to her first “They can come and try it, and they’re child, a boy, on Oct. 14. not out anything,” Lynch said. “They say it helps make child birth The class is offered every Tuesday easier, so anything to help with that — I’m at 6:30 p.m. at the annex building of the down for,” she said. WCMC Obstetrician/Gynecologist Dr. White County Medical Center, located on the corner of Hartsfield Drive and Bruce Thompson said he encourages his patients who ask about it to take the class Hawkins Street. because it helps them to stay active during For more information, people can their pregnancy. call White County Medical Center at “One thing I’ve noticed is that people 501-278-6121. who stay active during their pregnancy,

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Learning doesn’t stop for heart patients Program offers continuing education BY ERICA GOODWIN


fter having open heart surgery in 2003, Searcy resident Patty Rine began looking for a way to learn more about heart health. She soon found the Active Partnership for Heart Healthy Living monthly meetings at White County Medical Center. Rine, along with her husband Floyd, have missed only a handful of meetings in the past nine years. “Every meeting is interesting and helpful,” Rine said. “All of the meetings are heart-healthy related, and we hear various doctors and nurses present information on a variety of topics; each speaker has something to add that I had not considered before.” “This is a great program to have here at the hospital,” she added. “I think everyone who has been a patient on the heart floor should come. Unfortunately, we cannot make it mandatory, but that would be good! I encourage former patients to come, especially if they have been through the cardio-rehab program. These meetings serve as a good complement to the medical treatment you receive in the hospital.” Director of the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at WCMC Vicki Dahlem coordinates the Active Partnership meetings. “We started this program because we saw so many patients with heart diseases in the CCU. Many people in our area deal with heart disease; therefore, our goal is to focus primarily on coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. Heart health relates to every other aspect of our well-being, so the topics we cover are diverse, including how diabetes and depression relate to heart health. We have even learned hands-only CPR.” “As the medical field advances, there is a wealth of new information to learn about in the area of heart health,” Dahlem said. “For example, there are hundreds of medications on the market specifically for heart health from high blood pressure to cholesterol. We have started working with the Harding University Pharmacy Program, and I invite them to come educate our group on the new medications every few months.” Other topics covered in the meetings include cardio exercises, nutriTop Left: Active Partnership for Heart Healthy Living participant Rex Watson, of Searcy, practices handsonly CRP on an Annie doll at a recent meeting. Middle: Beth Ann Jones, RN, demonstrates how to deliver hands-only CRP to Reva Neideck at a recent Active Partnership for Heart Healthy Living meeting. Bottom Left: Tom Hogan learns about hands-only CPR techniques from White County Medical Center Director of the Critical Care Unit and Coordinator of the Active Partnership for Heart Healthy Living Vicki Dahlem.

tion, heart surgery, pacemakers and peripheral vascular disease, as well as a demonstration of chair yoga and other helpful exercises attendees can do at home. For participant Jan Hogan, one of her favorite aspects of the meetings is collecting new heart-healthy recipes. In addition to learning, the lively group of attendees also enjoys each other’s company once a month, as well as a good, heart-healthy meal. Dahlem, along with other CCU nurses, select the meal for each month’s meeting from a small library of heart-healthy cookbooks. While the Active Partnership for Heart Healthy Living meetings are open to anyone interested in learning about heart-healthy living, most attendees have experienced a heart episode including heart attack, open-heart surgery, and pacemaker or stent placement. “When we see our doctors in a clinic setting, often times, they are busy and have other patients to see,” said attendee Rex Watson. “But, when they are here at these meetings, they take time to relax and sit down at the table to talk to us one-on-one. I enjoy that aspect of these meetings. Also, we are in a better situation to listen to what they have to say. Right after having a heart episode, people are often not in a good condition, or good frame of mind, to hear what the doctor says. Once some time has passed and we attend these meetings, we are more open and appreciative of what they have to say. I think this is one of the greatest programs the hospital has to offer.” Upcoming dates for the Active Partnership for Heart Healthy Living meetings are September 11, October 9, November 13 and December 11. The group meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Hubach Conference Center at WCMC, located at 3214 East Race Ave. The $5 fee for each session includes a meal; the meeting is free if you do not have a meal. For more information, please call (501) 380-1161.

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Cancer Connectors All in This Together


From left: Barbara Oldroyd, Relay for Life Survivor/Caregiver Team Leader Myrtle Hughes and Shirley Hughes are photographed with the “No Hair Hats’ made by Oldroyd and some pillows for patients made by Hughes.


avigating the choppy waters of cancer alone can be daunting, which is why Carla Fowler volunteered to help start a new program called Cancer Connectors being offered through White County Oncology at the Cancer Center of Excellence. Fowler, a Searcy resident and three-year breast cancer survivor, said her desire to help start the program stems from her own cancer journey. “When I was diagnosed with cancer, there were so many unknowns,” she said, “I did not know where to go or who to turn to for help and to answer questions. At that time, the Cancer Center did not exist yet, and I did not even know who the oncologists were or where their offices were located – I had never needed them. I also wanted to know what chemo treatments were like and what happened during the process.” “I was blessed to have friends who had been through cancer treatment that came to my aid,” Fowler added. “And, I want that for every new cancer patient who comes to White County Oncology. Hearing that you have cancer feels like being pushed out of a boat into deep waters and you’re left to tread water until some14 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

one steps in and throws you a life preserver. I see White County Oncology and the Cancer Center as the one to throw out the life preserver by offering the Cancer Connectors.” Through Cancer Connectors, newly-diagnosed patients are paired with survivors who have recently weathered their own storm of cancer. “I envision this as a mentor program where the survivor will be able to share their experience and treatment story with a new patient who has the same type of cancer,” she said. “This program will serve as a critical source of support for those who are newly diagnosed.” Carrie Foster, White County Oncology Office Supervisor, said Fowler’s desire to help others, along with her dependability, devotion and dedication, made her the perfect person to lead the group. “Carla truly has a heart for serving, especially those who have been recently diagnosed with cancer. Her journey through cancer gave her a profound sense of compassion toward cancer patients. I’m grateful for her and the work she is doing through our new Cancer Connectors program.”

Carla’s Journey “I feel very blessed at this time in my life that I am able to volunteer and get involved with activities that are important to me,” Fowler said. “Also, I’ve got a wonderful husband who strongly believes in community service. Along with trying to help people for Jesus, we want to be Carla Fowler and her husband Al. involved and hopefully make a difference in our community.” Fowler was diagnosed with HER2 Positive breast cancer in June 2009, not long after she and her husband Al Fowler celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary. In less than a week after the mass in her breast was found, it was surgically removed. Before the month had come to a close, she began chemo treatments at the recommendation of Medical Oncologist Ryan Koch, D.O., with White County Oncology. Chemotherapy was followed by 33 radiation treatments, which she completed on Christmas Eve 2009. “The treatment I received here in Searcy was personal. The entire staff at White County Oncology took a personal interest in me; Dr. Koch gave me all his phone numbers – office, home and pager – and told me to contact him anytime I had a question,” she said. “I want the Cancer Connectors group to be that personal.” “Being diagnosed with cancer is overwhelming,” Fowler said. “The Cancer Center and Cancer Connectors group is a wonderful resource for both educational information about different types of cancer, and just as importantly, emotional support.” If you have recently completed cancer treatments in Searcy and are interested in serving as a Navigator in the Cancer Connectors program, please call Carrie Foster at White County Oncology at (501) 278-3297.

Look Good… Feel Better White County Medical Center serves as a host location for Look Good…Feel Better, a program funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS) that is specifically designed for women undergoing cancer treatments. With more than 3,000 locations nationwide, its aim is to restore women’s self-confidence and renew their spirits while battling cancer. The ACS trains and certifies volunteer beauty specialists to help women at each session apply makeup and select a hairpiece or head covering that suits them best. Look Good…Feel Better sessions are held from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Cancer Center of Excellence Conference Room, located at 415 Rodgers Drive. Upcoming sessions will be offered on October 22 and December 17. To RSVP, or for more information, please call (501) 380-1057.

Yoga for Healing

At the age of 55, Teresa McLeod took her first yoga class and instantly fell in love with it. At the time, she was a 15-year cancer survivor with a newfound passion for yoga and an ultimate goal to teach yoga to other cancer survivors. After countless hours spent traveling to Fayetteville for workshops and training, McLeod received her yoga certification through the Yoga Alliance Board. Now, as a 22-year survivor, she instructs a restorative yoga class called Yoga for Healing twice a week. “The word yoga means the union of the mind, body and spirit, and that is what it takes to battle cancer,” McLeod said. “I love introducing people to yoga and welcome fellow cancer survivors to join us. For me, it was a great way to break through the scar tissue left over from my surgery and also relieve stress. Practicing the breathing techniques alone helps calm the nervous system, lowers blood pressure and bring clarity of the mind.” “It is my personal goal to help other cancer survivors regain their strength and vitality,” McLeod added. “I call my yoga ladies ‘voluptuous in spirit,’ because we are kindred spirits and they are all dear to my heart. Searcy is a very caring community and we are here to support each other! I’m thrilled we have a wonderful new Cancer Center here, too.” Yoga for Healing is offered on Mondays and Thursdays at 6 p.m. in the White County Medical Center Annex Building, at the corner of Hartsfield Drive and Hawkins Street, across from the WCMC Emergency Department. The fee for cancer survivors is $20 for 10 weeks. For more information, please call the WCMC Healthworks Office at (501) 278-8570. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 15

Pillows for Patients Last October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Shirley Hughes received an email that changed the course of her year. The message came from a sewing company and offered a free pattern to make pillows for breast cancer patients. Hughes has been on a mission ever since. In the past 21 years, Hughes has lost two husbands to cancer. She is painfully aware of the Shirley Hughes disease’s devastating effects on both patients and caregivers. When she found the pillow pattern, she found a new calling. “I love to sew and purchased an embroidery machine just last year,” Hughes said. “I refuse to sit around and feel sorry for myself. I thought making pillows for breast cancer patients would be something positive I could do to help fill many lonely hours at home. I felt like it would minister to people during a time when they need a sense of comfort.” “My focus is on the Cancer Center and making the pillows for patients who receive care right here in Searcy,” she said. “I think that is a fitting place for them.” Hughes crafts each pillow with pink ribbon and breast cancer awareness fabrics; many have a pink ribbon embroidered on the front. She has made more than 30 with plans to do many more.

The pillows and hats are available to patients at White County Oncology inside the Cancer Center of Excellence, located at 415 Rodgers Drive in Searcy.

16 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

“I’m Going to Shine’ In addition to the pillows, patients undergoing cancer treatments can also receive a stylish hat, designed by Searcy resident Barbara Oldroyd. A brief two months after losing her husband to Alzheimer’s disease nearly 10 years ago, Oldroyd was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma, an advanced type of breast cancer. To combat the cancer, she underwent intense chemotherapy treatments. Oldroyd recalled that her hair began to Barbara Oldroyd fall out after two sessions. “I went straight to my hair stylist and told him to cut my hair off,” she exclaimed. “I thought ‘if I’m going through this, I’m going to shine!’” And, shine she did. Oldroyd began decorating hats to protect her head after the big haircut. “I put all the glitter and glitz I could on each one,” she said, “because I was determined to shine! I am pretty determined in whatever I do, so battling and beating cancer was not any different.” Soon, people started asking Oldroyd where she found the glitzy hats; they wanted one, too, either for themselves or for friends with cancer. Thus, her “No Hair Hats” were born. To date, Oldroyd has made more than 560 hats for patients as near as White County and from as far away as Michigan and Florida; as young as 4-years-old to 90-year-olds. “My hats are not for sale,” she pointed out. “They are already paid for, and I have donated them to White County Oncology, thanks to the generosity of Simmons First Bank here in Searcy. It is very special that the bank cares so much about the people in our community and has allowed me to continue this work.”

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5K run/walk to benefit St. Jude Children’s Hospital

Elliott Foundation to host depression screening day


Local residents can support St. Judes by walking or running in Chili’s 5Queso event. “Everyone is welcome to attend,” said Nic Bashaw, event coordinator. “If you can move you can come walk or run.” St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened on Feb. 4, 1962 and is located in Memphis, Tenn. Its mission is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. The event will be held Sept. 15 beginning at Spring Park. Those interested are welcome to run or walk. Registration is $25 if paid before Sept. 8 or $35 after and up to the day of the event. “Chili’s as a company has pledged to raise $50 million for St. Judes over seven years,” said Bashaw. “We do different events at the store such as the color a pepper, selling T-shirts, dog tags and more, with the proceeds going to St. Judes.” The race will begin at 9 a.m. with registration at 7:30 a.m. “Participants are welcome to bring a dog as long as they are friendly and on a leash,” said Bashaw. “We are hoping to have free food and music after the event.” For more information or to register visit or

Area center to host recovery month celebration


he Wilbur D. Mills Center, 3204 E. Moore Avenue, is hosting its Fourth Annual National Recovery Month Celebration Sept. 1. “This is a national event where we recognize drug awareness and recovery,” said Jim Clark, director of the center. “We host the event so we can be involved in the national movement to promote recovery and educate the community.” The event will be held from 1-5 p.m. at the center in Searcy and is open to the public. “This will be a day long event with live bands, speakers sharing their stories, games and activities for families,” said Clark. “The campus will be open so people can come out and see what we do and see what we have.” The event will also feature raffle prizes, food, entertainment, and more. “Mental health and substance abuse carries a stigma,” said Clark. “It’s important to recognize that these people with the right tools can go on to live in the community and have healthy lifestyles.” This will be the fourth year the center has hosted the event. The center is a behavioral health facility covering mental health, substance abuse, DWI training, specialized women’s services, gambling and tobacco help and more. “The event is sure to be lots of fun for the whole family,” said Clark. “Come be a part of it.” For more information contact Holly Reabis at (501) 268-7777.

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he Dr. Robert E. Elliott Foundation will participate in the National Depression Screening Day. The foundation will host a depression screening day Oct. 4 from noon to 4 p.m. at the White County Medical Center in the lobby. “Our main mission is to educate the public about depression and suicide prevention,” Alana Pinchback, Executive Director of the foundation. “The screenings are a great tool to tell if people are suffering from the blues or from depression.” The foundation was founded in 2001 after the death of Dr. Robert Elliott. Elliott was lost to suicide on Jan. 13, 2001. “The screenings usually last about 5-10 minutes and we have trained mental health professionals on hand,” said Pinchback. “If the person has questions they are welcome to ask. We will have a mental health provider resource list, that has White County providers.” The screenings are confidential and free of charge. “There will be a lot of educational materials and brochures on hand so we can provide them with information and education,” said Pinchback. “We just want to help people.” The purpose of the foundation is to educate and be a resource for those in need of help, whether it be a person, a family member, a friend or an acquaintance. “Getting help is important because most people that die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental health issue,” said Pinchback. “Our goal is to educate and get help to those people and give them hope.” The foundation is currently working on an anti bullying and depression awareness program and want to get it in all the schools. The Survivors of Suicide support group meet the first Tuesday of each month on the South Campus of the White County Medical Center at 7 p.m. The group is for anyone who has lost a friend or loved one to suicide. No reservations are needed. “In the group you are with other people who are experiencing the same type of loss,” said Pinchback. “It is facilitated by trained members and people can talk or listen. It helps start the healing process.” For more information call (501) 278-4357 or visit or on Facebook.

Pumpkins are for more than carving umpkins are great for carving and decorating the house, but they are also healthy to eat. According to, pumpkins are a source of vitamins and minerals, particularly beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium. They can also help prevent arterosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which can lead to strokes and or heart attacks. “Pumpkins are a great orange vegetable,” said Katie Cullum, County Extension Agent-Family and Consumer Sciences. “It is good for you and fall is the best time to get them.” The easiest way to get nutrients from a pumpkin is by making a puree. “You can buy pumpkin puree in a can and it is still good for you,” said Cullum. “But you can also make it at home too.”


The extension office recommends the following recipe for making your own puree. • Select a ripe and firm medium pumpkin. Larger pumpkins can be used, but they begin to take on a grainy texture the larger they get. • Cut open the pumpkin and remove the seeds and fibrous strings.

• Cut the pumpkin into four to eight pieces. • Line a large baking pan with aluminum foil and place the pumpkin pieces onto the baking pan. • Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for one to 1-1/2 hours, or until pulp is soft. • Remove the pulp from the rind with a spoon and discard the rind. • Blend the pulp until smooth using a blender, food processor or mixer. Along with pumpkin puree there are pumpkin seeds, which are a good source of zinc and unsaturated fatty acids, which are effective help for prostate ailments. “They are a great snack depending on what you put on them,” said Cullum. “To make them the healthiest use less salt and oil.” There are a lot of ways to make pumpkin seeds but an easy way involves baking them. First gut the pumpkin and remove the seeds. “Do not wash them first,” said Cullum. “Washing removes all the natural flavor.” Next, remove strings from seeds and place a single layer on a cookie sheet. The less they lay on each other the better they bake.

Add salt to taste and bake at 250 degrees until dry, stirring occasionally. This usually takes anywhere from 15-30 minutes until they start to turn a very light gold. Pumpkin seed oil and pumpkin seeds are a good source of zinc and unsaturated fatty acids which are effective help for prostate ailments.

County Fair - Healthy Options The White County Fair will be rolling into town soon and will offer up delicious treats again. While funnel cakes, hamburgers and caramel apples are not exactly diet foods it’s OK to go ahead and splurge, in moderation. “Moderation is important with any type of food, even too much water can be negative,”

said Katie Cullum, County Extension AgentFamily and Consumer Sciences. “Especially with the foods that aren’t as good, moderation is key.” Being more aware of what you are eating can also help at the fair. “People need to slow down when they are eating and really focus on eating,” said Cullum. “Take a time to sit down and enjoy the moment. A lot of times we eat too fast, if we slowed down we would eat less.” To save on calories Cullum suggests sharing a treat with someone, ordering a small instead of a large or eating just one item, instead of several. For those looking for healthier items suggests corn dogs, which have about 250 calories and 14 grams of fat. Also a big cone of cotton candy is only 250 calories, a snocone has roughly 100 calories per ounce of syrup and a caramel apple has 600 calories.

To help work off the treats take time to walk around the fairgrounds and visit the exhibit booths. “There is going to be the Midway and it is a long walk from one end to the other,” said Debra Lang, Chairman of Merchants and Concessions. “There will be a lot of different activities that will involve walking from one area to another. The Exhibit Building will have items from 4-H Clubs and Master Gardeners. There will also be home goods, crafts, cooked goods and more. There will be all kinds of livestock including a brand new long building that houses the chickens, rabbits and ponies.” “You will get a lot of walking in at the fair,” said Lang. “Most of the concessions will sell bottled water.” The fair will be held Sept. 10-15 at the White County Fairgrounds. For more information visit

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Local team to participate in Race for the Cure in Little Rock Organizations and individuals throughout Searcy will unite to participate in the 2012 Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. The race is set for Oct. 20 at 8 a.m. in downtown Little Rock and those interested can sign up to join the “Searcy Team” by Oct. 17 to be included in the team totals. Those who sign up on Oct. 18-19 or the day of the event, will not be included in the team totals, but are welcome to participate. “Events like Race for the Cure are important to any community because they raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer,” said WCMC Director of Marketing Brooke Pryor. “With an emphasis on early detection, organizations like the Susan G. Komen Foundation heighten the awareness and serve to educate women about steps they can take to detect changes in their body as early as possible.” Since its inception in 1983, the Komen Race for the Cure series has grown from one local race with 800 participants to a global series of more than 120 races with more than one million people expected to participate in 2012. “Breast cancer detection and treatment are at the forefront of concern for White County Medical Center,” said Pryor. “Therefore we choose to help coordinate the ‘Searcy Team’

which participates in Race for the Cure each year. We are looking forward to the race.” To register online for the “Searcy Team” visit The fee to register for the race is $26, and participants can sign up for either the Women’s 5K Run/Walk, the Family Fun Walk (2K) or the Three Miles of Men. “I always choose to participate in the race with the women in my family, including my daughter, mother, grandmother, aunts and cousins. We use Race for the Cure as a time to celebrate the fact that our family has not been directly touched by breast cancer and to support and honor the women who have been effected by the terrible disease,” said Pryor. “It is a very touching experience and I would encourage anyone who is interested to sign up for the race.” Participants who sign up as a “Searcy Team” member by Oct. 5 will receive a T-shirt free of charge, which can be picked up at the White County Medical Center. Shirts will not be available to those who sign up after that deadline. The Komen Foundation has a fixed number of official race T-shirts and will process registrations on a first-come, first-served basis. Early registering online is encouraged to receive a shirt.

Paula Overbay and Cindy Wood, members of the Race for the Cure Searcy Team, stop for a quick picture. The two are wearing Searcy Team shirts, which will be available to those who sign up before Oct. 5.

“Those who are worried about running shouldn’t be,” said Pryor. “Many women participate by walking.” Funds raised through Race for the Cure benefit women in Arkansas by providing education on breast cancer, free mammograms, medical treatment for those who qualify and support groups. A portion of the funding also goes to leading research to find a cure. For questions or more information email

Cholesterol levels can be controlled


hile the body needs cholesterol to continue building healthy cells, having high cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease. September is National Cholesterol Education Month and a simple blood test can determine where your cholesterol level stands. “Cholesterol is a substance in the blood that is a type of fat that’s useful for many things that are good in the body,” said Staff Physician with WCMC and medical director of Searcy Medical Center Clark Fincher, MD. “It is used by the body to make cell walls and also to transfer fat throughout the body.” According to the Mayo Clinic those with high cholesterol may develop fatty deposits in their blood vessels eventually making it difficult for enough blood to flow through arteries. “A lot of studies have been done which show those with high levels have a higher incidence of bad health outcomes including strokes and heart-attacks,” Fincher said. High cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia) can be inherited, but is often preventable and treatable. “Lifestyle issues are the most treatable cause

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of high levels. Cholesterol levels can be lowered by changing your diet, eating lower saturated fat and increasing physical activity,” Fincher said. “The genetic factor is, of course, outside of a person’s control. Some have an inherited tendency to have high levels. If a person meets certain criteria involving both the lab results and clinical criteria then they should have it lowered. If they are unable to do so with diet and exercise, then we would suggest medication.” The Mayo Clinic says those with the following risk factors are more likely to have heart disease. Smoking — Cigarette smoking damages the walls of your blood vessels, making them likely to accumulate fatty deposits. Obesity — Having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater puts you at risk of high cholesterol. Poor diet — Foods that are high in cholesterol, such as red meat and full fat dairy products, will increase your total cholesterol. Eating saturated fat, found in animal products, and trans fats, found in some commercially baked cookies and crackers, also can raise your cholesterol level.

Lack of exercise — Exercise helps boost your body’s HDL “good” cholesterol while lowering your LDL “bad” cholesterol. Not getting enough exercise puts you at risk of high cholesterol. High blood pressure — Increased pressure on your artery walls damages your arteries, which can speed the accumulation of fatty deposits. Diabetes — High blood sugar contributes to higher LDL cholesterol and lower HDL cholesterol. High blood sugar also damages the lining of your arteries. Family history of heart disease — If a parent or sibling developed heart disease before age 55, high cholesterol levels place you at a greater than average risk of developing heart disease. “It is important for younger people to be aware of their levels. Cholesterol levels can be changed and it is better to change them early because when you wait, damage can be done which could have been prevented,” said Fincher. For more information visit

Keeping lungs healthy effects way of life ccording to the American Lung Association the lungs are different from most of the other organs in your body because they are directly connected to the outside environment. October is National Healthy Lung Month and keeping lungs healthy is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle. The average adult takes 15 to 20 breaths a minute — over 20,000 breaths a day. The respiratory system, which includes the nose, throat, windpipe (trachea) and lungs, brings air into the body when you breathe. In the lungs, the oxygen from each breath is transferred to the bloodstream and sent to all the body’s cells as life-sustaining fuel. “The main function of the lungs is transferring oxygen from the air into the body and getting rid of carbon dioxide,” said Staff Physician with WCMC and medical director of Searcy Medical Center Clark Fincher, MD. “We breathe in air, which is 21 percent oxygen, and breathe out the carbon dioxide. We must have lungs to live.” According to Fincher the lungs have an excess capacity. Most begin at 100 percent function, so if they are damaged or diseased, a person wouldn’t die until the reserve capacity was extinguished.. “A person needs 20 percent of function to live. Over time they don’t notice they are losing the reserve capacity until they are short of breath,” said Fincher. “Too many wait until they develop symptoms before they take action.” Germs, tobacco smoke and other harmful substances can cause damage to your airways and threaten the lungs’ ability to work properly. “Smoking is the worst thing you can do for your health and lungs,” said Fincher. They body has a natural defense system designed to protect the lungs which works very well most of the time. The ALA suggests the following tips to help reduce the risk of lung disease.


Don’t smoke — Cigarette smoking is the major cause of COPD and lung cancer. Cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages and make breathing more difficult. It causes chronic inflammation or swelling in the lung. This can lead to chronic bronchitis. Over time cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue, and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. Avoid exposure to pollutants — secondhand smoke, outdoor air pollution, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon can all cause or worsen lung disease. Prevent infections — A cold or other respiratory infection can sometimes become very serious. Make sure to wash hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based cleaners are a good substitute. Avoid crowds during the cold and flu season. Practice good oral hygiene and get vaccinated every year against influenza. Get regular health care: Regular check-ups are an important part of disease prevention, even when you are feeling well. This is especially true for lung disease, which sometimes goes undetected until it is serious. “For healthy lungs people should avoid smoking and pollutants and should avoid frequent exposure to second-hand smoke,” said Fincher. “They should get regular exercise, which helps improve lung function. Simple tests can be done to measure lung function.” For more information visit SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 21

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Class designed for midlife and older women to help improve bone density, flexibility, strength and arthritis, and reducing falls. Participants need ankle weights, dumbbells, a towel, water bottle, closed-toed sneakers and comfortable shoes. Class is led by Katie Cullum, a certified Strong Women instructor who has taught classes for over five years. When: 9-10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and 4:455:30 p.m., Monday, Wednesday Cost: $12 per year Where: Old Carder Buick Building, corner of Hawkins and Hartsfeld, in Searcy More information: (501) 268-5394 or email


Classes are for all ages to help improve balance, flexibility, strength and reduce stress and pain. Participants should dress comfortably and can be barefoot or in comfortable socks and sneakers. No equipment is required. Classes run 45-60 minutes. When: 11-12 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday, June 10-July 13 Cost: $15 due prior to class Where: Old Carder Buick Building, corner of Hawkins and Hartsfeld, in Searcy More information: (501) 268-5394 or email


Classes are for men and woman and incorporate high energy workouts using weights, ball and various other equipment. Instructor is Letha Tripp. When: 9-10 a.m., Saturday Cost: $20 for 10 weeks Where: Old Carder Buick Building, corner of Hawkins and Hartsfeld, in Searcy More information: (501) 278-8570

22 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


Classes are for men and woman and offer a slower pace yoga convenient for beginners or those healing from a chronic disease. Instructor is Teresa McLeod. When: 5:30-6:30 p.m., Monday and Thursday Cost: $20 for 10 weeks Where: Old Carder Buick Building, corner of Hawkins and Hartsfeld, in Searcy More information: (501) 278-8570


Classes are for men and woman and offer a variety of yoga poses and positions. This is an advanced class. Instructor is Sharon Middleton. When: 4:45-5:45 p.m., Tuesday, Thursday Cost: $20 for 10 weeks Where: Old Carder Buick Building, corner of Hawkins and Hartsfeld, in Searcy More information: (501) 278-8570


Led by a Certified Yoga Instructor Jessica Lynch, this is a specially-designed yoga class for expectant mothers in any trimester. A doctor’s written permission is required to join the class. Mats are provided, bring a pillow and blanket. When: 6:30-7:30 p.m., Tuesday Cost: Free Where: Old Carder Buick Building, corner of Hawkins and Hartsfeld, in Searcy More information: (501) 380-1277 or e-mail


For anyone who would like to feel better through massage therapy. A variety of massages are offered. Massage Therapist is Shela McAnally. When: By appointment only Cost: $25 per 30 minutes for relaxation therapy; $35 for one

hour of relaxation therapy; $55 for hot stones and other more therapeutic massages Where: Old Carder Buick Building, corner of Hawkins and Hartsfeld, in Searcy More information: (501) 743-0490


Classes are for women to help with arthritis and joint or back pain. When: 6:30-7:30 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Friday and 8:30-9:30 a.m., Monday-Friday Cost: $25 per month or $3 per class visit Where: Harding University More information:


The Wilbur D. Mills Center will host the event to recognize drug awareness and recovery. When: Sept. 1, 1-5 p.m. Cost: Free Where: 3204 E. Moore Avenue More information: Call Holly Reabis at (501) 268-7777


The Dr. Robert E. Elliott Foundation will host the event with information and trained professionals to answer questions in regards to depression and suicide. When: Oct. 4, Noon to 4 p.m. Cost: Free Where: White County Medical Center in the lobby More information: or (501) 278-4357


A support group for anyone who has lost a friend or loved one to suicide. When: The first Tuesday of each month, 7 p.m. Cost: Free Where: South Campus of the White County Medical Center More information: or (501) 278-4357


Event will feature entertainment, rides, events, food and more. When: Sept. 10-15 Where: White County Fairgrounds, 802 Davis Drive More information:


The 5K run/walk will be held in Searcy for area runners and families. When: Sept. 15, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cost: $35 Where: Begins at Spring Park More information:

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Awareness , proper response helps protect athletes from concussions

26 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012



oncussions have been big news in the NFL and collegiate football, but Searcy High School junior Jordan Jones has been feeling the impact for years. Jones suffered his first concussion during a basketball game in 2006, and after suffering four more concussions in a single year, was sidelined from the gridiron forever. “I was playing in Vilonia and went up for a rebound, tripped and hit my head on the floor,” he said. “When the symptoms first kick in, you don’t know you have a concussion. It’s like a big migraine. Your head starts to hurt, you get drowsy, and if it’s severe, you might get sick. It feels like you have a fever.” A concussion is defined as a traumatic brain injury, which may result in a bad headache, altered levels of alertness or unconsciousness. “After the first one, the doctor said to take everything slow and build myself back up,” Jones said. “After six or eight months, I was fine, but then it happened again.” After traveling weekly to see doctors in Little Rock for months, Jones saw his symptoms improve and decided to nix the trips to Little Rock and continue playing sports. “I thought I was just getting normal headaches, so I stopped going because I was getting better,” he said. After taking multiple knocks throughout the year playing different sports, Jones began getting more severe headaches, so he went back to the doctor. “I got checked out again and they told me all those headaches were from concussions,” he said. “They told me I’d had four concussions in that year and that

I won’t be able to play contact sports any more. I had to shut myself down a year or two and assess my body.” After taking that time away from the field and the court, Jones was itching to get back in action. “I had to convince the doctors I could play basketball again,” he said. “I’m still not sure if I want to or not, or if they’ll even let me, so that’s an ongoing discussion.” Jones said he can control his play on the court and be less aggressive to avoid injuries. He also said if he gets back to basketball, he will have to wear protective headgear to prevent more concussions. While basketball may or may not pan out, Jones said he’s already received a green light to play baseball again. “I play in the outfield, so there’s less concern about me getting injured,” he said. “I won’t have baseballs thrown at me all the time.” Jones said the time he has not been able to play sports has been tough for him and his parents. “It was a bad time because [my parents] wanted to see me play and do everything I had done before,” he said. “My dad really wanted me to finish out my high school football career, so it was tragic.” Even though he’s not playing any contact sports now, Jones said he is still feeling some effects from the concussions, and he knows the consequences of playing football could make things much worse. “I have migraines all the time, and I was fine before [the concussions],” he said. “If I kept playing, I could be paralyzed, suffer memory loss or not be able to think clearly. A lot of that can happen.”

Jordan Jones of Searcy swings away at the batting cage in the Searcy Sports Complex. After suffering six concussions in the past four years, doctors have told Jones he can no longer play contact sports, sidelining the junior from playing high school football.

Although Jones is limited on his athletic opportunities, he said he’s still doing anything he can to stay happy and healthy. “[With the time I have not playing football], I play video games, chill at the house or ride my bike – anything to keep me active,” he said. Because of cases like Jones’ from the high school level to the pros, football programs and leagues are rethinking how to deal with the headache of concussions. Dr. Jim Citty, Harding University team physician, said the NCAA recently introduced a new way of testing former concussed players for cognitive function in ImPACT Testing, which stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. According to, the 20-minute test has become a standard tool used in comprehensive clinical management of concussions for athletes from age 10 through adulthood. “The NCAA says if a player loses consciousness [during a game], he does not return,” Citty said. “The player generally has a CAT scan done, and then will go

don’t always know if you have one because a few symptoms imitate exhaustion and fatigue,” he said. “Sometimes, it can be a minor one, but you don’t know if that’s what it is. We have maybe a half-dozen full-blown concussions a year between the 12 schools we cover that play football.” Sports medicine personnel identify concussions by symptoms like temporary loss of consciousness, headache, confusion, dizziness, amnesia, ringing in the ears, nausea, vomiting, slurred speech or sensitivity to light and sound. Long-term, concussions can lead to a long list of health I’ve been coaching issues, from chronic traumatic 12 years and have only had encephalopathy, a degenerative three or four cases of true brain disease, to Parkinson’s concussions with a doctor’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease. diagnosis. We stress Harriman said since it’s so difficult to diagnose a concusteaching proper tackling sion, the best course of action techniques, like tackling after a questionable hit is rest. with your eyes up so you can see what “The first thing is to sit that you’re hitting, and not striking someone player out if any symptoms with the top of your helmet, because occur, even just one,” he said. hitting that soft spot on the top of the “Then, we try to watch that head is where a lot of concussions player and re-hydrate him. If come from. – Tim Harper, he’s exhausted or fatigued, giving him water or Gatorade will Searcy Football Head Coach improve symptoms. If it’s a concussion, the symptoms will Harper said he also puts a lot into the get worse before they get better.” type of helmets the Lions wear. Harriman also said helmets, no matter “To keep the kids from having concusthe brand, can be just as much of a probsions, we put them in the best helmet we lem as a solution. can get,” he said. “We’ve use the Riddell “Helmets are a tricky deal,” he said. “If Speed Revolution helmet for the past nine we didn’t have helmets, people wouldn’t years and I feel like it’s the best on the hit with their heads, and we wouldn’t market for high school football. We’re have so many concussions. The mask can able to add or remove air and make it a hurt as well, because players feel so wellmore custom fit for each athlete, which protected they have less fear and they go helps cushion their heads from any conharder. Obviously, helmets are getting tact they absorb.” better and better as far as protection and Randy Harriman, Director of Sports and padding, but it’s still the leading Medicine at White County Medical edge of the weapon so to speak.” Center, works with a dozen schools in Harriman said the rule changes are the area providing on-site trainers at high likely the best, and only way to prevent school football games. hits to the head. “Concussions vary in stages, so you

28 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

through the ImPACT Testing.” Citty said although the test is only a couple years old, and can be very expensive, it is a good way of determining a player’s ability to return to the field. “Players take these tests before the season, and if we can measure cognitive dysfunction, and they don’t return back to normal function, that suggests a discontinuing of playing the sport,” he said. According to Searcy Football Head Coach Tim Harper, prevention is the best weapon against concussions.

From a rules standpoint, you have to start penalizing blows that lead with the head. Those types of dangerous plays have to be penalties, and if [preventing concussions] is the goal, that’s the only way to do it. – Randy Harriman Director of Sports Medicine at WCMC

“A lot of people gripe about taking the hits and real football out of the game, but if you look at how many players get hurt and what happens long-term, something has to happen.” Although it is too late for Jones to take precautions, he said he encourages other kids his age to not ignore the warning signs. “First, I’d tell them it’s something they can’t control,” he said. “If you get your first one, relax for a couple months and get back in shape. I got four in one year because I didn’t take enough time to rest and was in so many positions to hurt myself. “You have to be patient and persevere. You’ll get back on the field soon enough.”

Post-Concussion Sy ndrome SYMPTOMS

Temporary loss of consciousn ess, headache, confusion, dizzin ess, amnesia, ringing in the ears, nausea , vomiting, slurred speech or sensitivity to ligh t and sound. TREATMENT

Randy Harriman, Director of Sports Medicine at WCMC, said the best tre atm concussion is to take a break ent for a from play if any symptoms occur. PREVENTION

Tim Harper, Searcy football head the best way to prevent con coach, said cussions is to tackle properly and use pro per equipment.

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ȀǺǹ,ǘǩǠǦǥ#ǩǠǭǜ ǾǹǺ ǻȀȁ ǻȁǿȁ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 29

Learn as you go ’ ‘ Kim Wise photographed in the kitchen of her Searcy home.

Searcy mother offers helpful tips for healthier meals B Y K AT H Y M U R P H Y

30 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


iving a healthy lifestyle is a hobby and a passion for Kim Wise, Searcy resident and mother of four. “Some people scrapbook, I search for interesting meals with good ingredients,” Wise said. “I even take pictures of some of my dishes and post them on Face book hopefully to motivate others to try and live more healthy lives.” In reflection, Wise thinks her healthy choices go back to her childhood. “My parents always had a vegetable garden and canned,” she said. “Looking back, I was exposed to healthy foods early on and, as a child, it opened my eyes to the idea that fresh is better.” Wise admits she’s not the gardening type but hopes to instill an appreciation for gardengrown produce by the choices she makes for her family. Family history of heart disease and high cholesterol also motivated Wise to seek a diet that lent itself to good health. She began reading and researching different food choices in her 30’s. “A healthy lifestyle takes some time, researching the best foods, buying food, and preparing meals but I’d rather take the time now than be spending time in a doctor’s office and pharmacy line because of health issues avoidable with a good diet,” she said. Wise recommends making small changes in food choices to begin living a healthier life. Purchasing low-fat mozzarella cheese and adding more fruits and vegetables can be easy first steps in the process. Her advice is to read labels and purchase foods that have six grams or less of sugar and don’t contain high fructose corn syrup. She avoids foods containing nitrates, msg, white or enriched flour, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils, and food coloring. As her guide, she also avoids the “tainted 12” or “dirty dozen” food list that ranks produce based on how much pesticide residue they might have. For this category she switches to organic choices for things like lettuce, apples, spinach, and strawberries. The “safe 16” or “clean 15” relate to produce with lower amounts of pesticide residue usually due

Recipes to thickness of skin like pineapples, avocado, onions, and sweet corn. Wise touts the health benefits of cruciferous vegetables: broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and bok choy which contain lots of phyto chemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They also fight off free radicals and lower the risk for cardiovascular disease. “These vegetables are especially important for women as cruciferous veggies help metabolize excess estrogen from the liver and produce a healthier hormonal balance,” she said. “The excess of bad estrogen is what can cause some of the female related cancers.” Wise suggests roasting vegetables in the oven on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. For example, she single-layers similar-sized cauliflower florets, tossed with olive oil and curry powder, on a cookie sheet covered with a foil tent. These are roasted at 450 degrees for 15 minutes then tossed and continued to roast uncovered, tossing every 8-10 minutes until tips of cauliflower begin to brown and crisp, usually 30-35 minutes. “Try using lemon juice, turmeric, and curry to really bring out the flavor of the vegetables,” she said. Quinoa (keen-wah) is another suggested food choice which is cooked like pasta. “This whole grain is a protein powerhouse with all the essential amino acids,” she said. “It’s a complete protein, rich in fiber, low in cholesterol, a natural detoxifier, high in iron and vitamin B, with plant-derived calcium.” Other staples in the Wise household include a “super food salad” with organic romaine, organic spinach, purple cabbage, chick peas, red onions, red bell peppers, shredded carrots and grape tomatoes. Salmon is something the Wise family eats about once a week. “Part of a healthy lifestyle is learning as you go,” Wise said. “Engage the brain, be intentional and informed. I believe it’s a responsibility to be disciplined and live a healthy lifestyle.” Kim lives with her husband Mike, a dentist, and children Gracie, 20, Abigail, 17, Evie, 9, and Jack Henry, 7.

from Kim Wise

SAVORY QUINOA WITH MUSHROOMS AND SPINACH 1 cup uncooked quinoa 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil 6 oz sliced portabella mushrooms ½ onion diced 2 cloves of garlic, chopped 2 handfuls of organic spinach leaves 6 leaves of fresh basil Cook quinoa according to package directions. Sauté all ingredients, except spinach and basil, in olive oil. Add spinach to mixture when mushrooms are tender and sauté until spinach leaves are wilted (minute or two). When quinoa is done, toss with mushroom mixture and stir in fresh basil.


4 boneless wild-caught salmon fillets (6 oz each) 1 small red onion Salt & pepper Juice from 1 lemon 3-4 thin strips of lemon zest Fresh thyme 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Asparagus spears Cherry tomatoes (halved)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut 4 large pieces of parchment (12” x16”). Fold in half and cut out large heart. Divide vegetables equally among parchment. Lay one salmon fillet, skin down, on top of each bed. Season with salt and pepper. Place a few slices of red onion, lemon zest strips and thyme sprigs on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil. Fold parchment in half then seal with folds along open edge. Tuck the end under. Bake about 20 minutes, open and serve. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 31

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The girls stopped and visited the Flatvil House in Astoria, Ore. in May of this year. In the front is June Lewis, left, Brenda Butts, Diana Edwards, and Dottie Whiteside. In the back is Hazel English, left, Barbara Wilson.

A sisterly group of travelers Searcy-based women have been traveling for nearly 20 years What do Seattle, Key West, and New York City have in common? They are all places that have been visited by a group of Searcy-based women travelers, who have been traversing the country together nearly 20 years. The group started in 1994 after four of the women – Ruby Stephens, Dottie Whiteside, Hazel English and Diana Edwards – were in Sunday school together at First Baptist Church in Searcy and decided to go see Stephens’ son 34 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

B Y M O L LY M . F L E M I N G

Roy, who lived in New York City at the time while he was working for Goldman Sachs. When they returned from their trip, they decided they wanted to take a trip together every year. They added three more to their group, Brenda Butts, June Lewis, and Barbara Wilson, but had to stop adding new women after they reached a total of seven. “We decided there can never be more than seven because that’s all that can fit in a van,” English said.

, Tips to start your own travel group . ● Decide who you want to travel with. ● Make sure you’re compatible enough to stay in a vehicle together for long periods of time. ● Establish a treasurer within the group so no one feels like the money is being mishandled.

The group meets once a month at one of the women’s houses to discuss their trip, including what research each woman has done regarding the location. At the meeting, they each pay $100 in dues, which all goes toward the trip, so then by the time they leave, they practically have the entire trip funded. The group has elected Wilson as the treasurer, who keeps up with the funds, even the group’s credit card. “Our card name is, ‘The Seven,’” said Whiteside, who now lives in Paragould. The women have left no stone unturned on the North American continent. They have been to nearly every Caribbean Island, Hawaii, Mexico, the East Coast of the U.S., the West Coast of the U.S., and everywhere in between. Lately, they have switched their travels to cruises because it’s easier for some of the women in the group to get around that way. When they travel on a cruise, the women check for the best deal online and then they call Paul Parker at Cruise Planners in Searcy. “He’ll either match (what we’ve found) or beat it,” Whiteside said. “We’ve got some good upgrades working through him. He does a really good job at either matching us or beating it.” When the women don’t travel by boat, they fly to their central location and then rent a van to go around and visit the local attractions. The location of each trip is decided by vote. Even secret ballots are used sometimes in the voting process because they can get divided by who wants to go where.

● Meet monthly to discuss plans for the trip and check finances. ● Go by the rule, “Majority rules,” so no one feels like they’re opinion doesn’t matter. ● Pick a place and go have fun.

Whiteside agreed, and added, “Mine’s With 18 years of traveling under their just tickled to death about me traveling belt, the women found it difficult to name with them because he’s usually not that their favorite trip. crazy about a trip unless hunting or fish“There’s not been one that hasn’t been ing is involved. It would be difficult for us super,” Whiteside said. to do this without their support,” she said. Jones and English both agreed on While the support of the husbands is Charleston, S.C., and Savannah, Ga. as nice, the women agreed that through the being their favorite spots. group, they’ve gained a special support “It was absolutely beautiful,” English system. said. “But we just enjoy traveling. We can “We’re just like a bunch of sisters. find something good about everywhere.” That’s the way I would describe it,” EngOn their travels, the women come lish said. prepared for whatever may get in their Wilson said she never had a sister way, including long plane layovers. They always have dominoes and a deck of cards growing up so she has enjoyed the camaraderie she has found with these women. ready for Mexican Train and Hand In “The girlfriend is a different kind of Foot. friendship than with your husband. It’s “We just look around until we can find special the relationship you have with some tables to push together, and then we these women when you live this closely to sit up and play. It’s amazing how many each other,” Wilson said. people still stop and talk to us. We are often told, ‘You guys are having too much fun,’” Wilson said. In order to have this much fun, the women said that the support of their husbands has been essential. Six of the seven women are married, while Butts’ husband passed away shortly after the group was formed. “We’ve been fortunate. Our husbands have been very supportive,” English During a 2007 cruise to Antigua, the group stops for dinner. Being entertained said. by the waiters is Barbara Wilson, front left, Hazel English, Brenda Butts, the waiters, Diana Edwards, June Lewis and Dottie Whiteside. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 35

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Neurosurgeon Gregory Ricca, M.D., shows patient Glenda Baker the L5 and S1 vertebrae where he repaired her spine, which was pinching a nerve.

Found his calling Neurosurgeon changing lives with innovative techniques BY ERICA GOODWIN

fter a sleepover with her granddaughter in November 2010, Glenda Baker, of Conway, woke up with an excruciating pain in her hip. “The pain was unbearable for three weeks,” Baker recalled. “I’ve had my fair share of pain and surgeries, but that was the most intense pain I’ve ever experienced in my life.” Desperate to alleviate the pain, Baker began a quest to seek the right medical care for her hip. Within the first three weeks of the injury, she saw a chiropractor, a back doctor, a pain management specialist, a neurologist and a neurosurgeon, in hopes of finding answers to the question of the pain plaguing her. “I had an MRI scan and a myelogram to help


38 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

the neurosurgeon determine the cause of the pain,” she said. “He said he knew where the pain was coming from, but he didn’t take my case a step further to uncover the source of the pain or the best way to treat it. Then, I went through a series of injections in my spine, which finally got rid of the initial hip pain.” As the months passed with no answers and a misdiagnosis by the neurosurgeon, Baker developed a life-altering symptom of her hip pain – a condition called drop foot. “I literally could not walk,” she said. “My foot fell limp, as if it were not even attached to my body. I started wearing a brace on my leg full-time just so I could be mobile. Even though the brace was extremely uncomfortable, I could use it to get where I needed to go.”

all fitting together, and he was determined to make them fit. He did, and I am so thrilled! Not being able to walk from one end of your house to another is devastating, which was tough because I live on my own. I could not be more thrilled to come see him, and I am very, very pleased.”

Philosophy and Practice Many of Ricca’s patients, like Baker, are thankful and greatly appreciate the impact he has on their lives. Much of that stems from the philosophy he adheres to in his practice, which he shared at a recent lecture. Dr. Ricca explained to several WCMC associates at an inservice that his philosophy on surgery is to improve the quality of the lives of his patients and their families. “I believe that our greatest responsibility is to protect every patient,” he stated. Dr. Ricca has been in practice for more than 21 years; part of that time was spent in solo practice at the Ricca Neurosurgical Clinic in Jonesboro. Dr. Ricca, the only neurosurgeon in White County, joined Searcy Medical Center (SMC) in early 2012 and has been practicing at the White County Medical Center for the past 14 months. He established his clinic with a goal of providing outstanding neurosurgical care to patients in a friendly, customer-service oriented environment. He also believes in devoting quality time to each patient to ensure their questions are answered and that they are prepared for surgery. “Being a patient, I know it can be a bit aggravating to wait so long for your turn to see a doctor in the clinic, but there is a sign in Dr. Ricca’s office that says it all. ‘If you can be patient with him, he will be patient with you,’ and he absolutely is,” Baker said. “I dive into the medical complications my patients are having and absorb everything they tell me,” Dr. Ricca said. “Then, I work really hard to get the answers. It’s not magic, but it does require a lot of

hard work. I spend so much time learning about my patients and understanding their situations. I ask questions like ‘what is really bothering you in your life?’ and ‘what are you experiencing?’ Then, I try to figure out what could possibly be the cause or root of the problem and figure out the best way to address it.”

Dr. Ricca has been so thoughtful, and he is just so genuinely glad that he could help me. The first time I saw him, he said ‘I love a good puzzle,’ but that the pieces of my puzzle were not all fitting together, and he was determined to make them fit. He did, and I am so thrilled! Not being able to walk from one end of your house to another is devastating, which was tough because I live on my own. I could not be more thrilled to come see him, and I am very, very pleased.

Although Baker was able to make it from her car to her office and back home, she had no energy left for extracurricular activities like play dates with her granddaughter. Finally, after weeks of researching, Baker’s daughter found Neurosurgeon Gregory Ricca, M.D., FAANS, FACS; in January 2012, more than 13 months after the onset of her hip pain. “When I saw Dr. Ricca for the first time, he started from day one,” Baker said. “I spent at least two hours with him as we talked about my pain and everything I’d been through since the day the pain began. He tried so hard to figure out what was causing my foot to drop, as well as what would have caused the initial pain I felt.” At Dr. Ricca’s request, Baker had another MRI, so he could see the results for himself. “He had the report in front of him, but he still called the radiologist to talk to him about the scan,” she recalled. “He immediately ordered a CAT scan for me. As soon as he saw the CAT scan results, he immediately identified the source of my problem; he told me that I had a pinched nerve between my L5 and S1.” Relief was finally in sight, and Dr. Ricca performed Baker’s surgery on March 5. “As soon as the anesthesia wore off, and I was able to get up and move around, I noticed an immediate improvement in my foot,” she said. “I could hold it up and walk, whereas I couldn’t do that before unless I had the brace. My surgery was at White County Medical Center; I came in early and left before noon – it was absolutely amazing!” The nearly one-inch scar on her lower back is the only reminder Baker has about her 13-month-long ordeal in her search for the right doctor. It also reflects the type of minimally-invasive procedures Dr. Ricca is so skillful at performing. “Dr. Ricca has been so thoughtful, and he is just so genuinely glad that he could help me,” Baker added. “The first time I saw him, he said ‘I love a good puzzle,’ but that the pieces of my puzzle were not

– Glenda Baker, Patient SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 39

40 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

ferent ideas and techniques on managing patients. When I went again in September of this year, we discussed lumbar and spinal fusion techniques.”

I take my job very per-

sonally, it is a calling. I’m very gentle with tissues like nerves

An expert in neurosurgery, Dr. Ricca was the first physician in Arkansas to perform minimally invasive endoscopic spine surgery. He also specializes in complex adult spinal reconstruction, which is rare because few neurosurgeons perform such a high-level procedure. As medicine evolves, Dr. Ricca continues to look for new and innovative techniques to use in surgery to make his procedures as minimally invasive as possible for his patients, so that they will experience the best outcome possible. Also, Dr. Ricca is one of only two surgeons in Arkansas trained in the minimally-invasive S1 joint fusion procedure. The S1 joint fusion technique stabilizes the sacroiliac joint, which is located in the pelvis that sits just below the lumbar vertebrae of the spine. While traditional S1 joint fusion surgeries require a long, open incision, and may last up to several hours, Dr. Ricca is able to accomplish the fusion in far less time and with minimal scaring. Dr. Ricca has worked as a consultant with several biomedical companies on developing tools and techniques for spinal fusion surgeries and has taught spinal fusion techniques to hundreds of surgeons at seminars and conferences throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. In working with these biomedical companies, Dr. Ricca developed a unique product called a ‘cage’ he uses to rebuild the spine during surgeries. In creating the cage, along with other tools used in spine surgeries, new doors have been opened to him that did not exist before. For example, he has had the opportunity to visit with other top spine surgeons in Europe for the past two years. Last year, he was a guest at a spine surgeon conference in Badiola, Italy, and shared surgical techniques he was using and having success with at home. He also, operated in Paris and Dijon, France, during his visit. “It was such a neat experience because all of these spine surgeons who attended the conference are masters, and they all seemed so interested in what I had to offer,” Dr. Ricca said. “We all shared dif-

and muscles, because I know the impact that those tissues have in a patient’s overall well-being after surgery.

– Gregory Ricca, M.D. Neurosurgeon

Dr. Ricca’s patients take him seriously, too, and he was recently named a Patients’ Choice Award recipient; he has received the award every year since 2008. The awards recognize top physicians throughout the country based on patient reviews. Only physicians who receive top scores by their patients, and meet or exceeded quality measures, are awarded a Patients’ Choice Award. Of the 720,000 active physicians in the U.S., a mere five percent were recognized with this award. Additionally, the U.S. Commerce Association recently recognized Dr. Ricca with the 2012 Best of Jonesboro Award in the Physicians & Surgeons category. It is the fifth consecutive year Dr. Ricca has been honored with the award. He is a Board Certified Neurosurgeon and member of the American Board of Neurological Surgeons, a Fellow of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Additionally, Dr. Ricca is a Senior Aeromedical Examiner and a Special Consultant to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in Neurosurgery.

A Personal Perspective Everyone appreciates awards and accolades, but Dr. Ricca’s Medical Assistant

Martha Douglas is impressed with him for reasons that go far beyond his collection of awards. Douglas has worked with Dr. Ricca since he joined SMC at the White County Medical Center early this year. During that time, she has developed a great respect and affinity for him. “These are incredibly complex surgeries that significantly change a patient’s quality of life for the better,” she said. “And, he’s amazed that he can do that and has the ability to so profoundly impact his patient’s lives for the better. He is truly excited about his work.” Dr. Ricca’s reputation precedes him, Douglas said, we have patients from all over Arkansas, as well as Missouri and Mississippi who come to Searcy just to see him. It is common for patient to travel to Searcy, spend the night at a local hotel and come in for surgery the next morning. “He is a perfectionist in every sense of the word,” she said. “That’s part of what makes his success rate so high. He wants what is best for each and every patient.” Prior to working for Dr. Ricca, Douglas worked for Cardiologist John Henderson, M.D., for 21 years. “I did not think I would ever be fortunate enough to work for another physician who cared for their patients as much as Dr. Henderson did, but Dr. Ricca does,” she said. “He cares about each one of his patients, regardless of their background or socioeconomic status. Each patient receives first-class care from Dr. Ricca; he makes them feel like they are the center of the world. Nobody leaves here until they get full treatment from him.” According to Douglas, it is a common sight on clinic days to see Dr. Ricca hugging patients as they leave the exam room, or even see patients shed tears of joy over what Dr. Ricca has done for them. “He loves what he does – loves it,” she added. “He’s excited every day about going into surgery and always looks forward to each case he has on the schedule. I don’t think he’ll ever get tired of it. He is so enthusiastic about his work and helping his patients. He definately found his calling.”

well now l finance


5 Questions

Can Help You Pursue Your Goals B Y A M Y DA N I E L S A N D C I N DY DAV I S

As you strive to achieve your longterm goals, such as a comfortable retirement, you may, at times, feel frustrated over events you can’t influence, such as the up-and-down movements of the financial markets. Yet there is much you can control — once you determine the answers to just five key questions.


Where am I today?

Take stock of all your assets— your IRA, 401(k) and other savings and investment accounts. Then, do the same for your debts, such as your mortgage and any other financial obligations. On your financial journey through life, it’s essential that you know your starting point.


Where would I like to be?

Once you’ve established where you are today, you’ll need to identify where you’d like to be tomorrow. How much will you need to pay for the retirement lifestyle you’ve envisioned? Will you be able to help pay for your children’s or grandchildren’s college education? Will you need to support any other family members? At this stage, you’ll want to write down all your goals and put a price tag on each one.


Can I get there?

After you’ve identified your goals, determine if they are, in fact, achievable. By considering a variety of factors— including your likely future income stream and your family situation— you should be able to determine if you can attain your goals or if you need to modify them in some way.

Amy Daniels and Cindy Davis are financial advisors for


How do I get there?

Now it’s time to put a strategy into action. Specifically, you need to choose those investments that can help you pursue the goals you’ve selected. Your ideal portfolio will depend on your risk tolerance and time horizon, but in general, you’ll want a diversified mix of quality investments. While diversification, by itself, cannot guarantee a profit or protect against loss, it can help reduce the effects of volatility. As you put together your holdings, make sure you understand what you can expect from your investments. For example, growth stocks may offer the highest potential returns, but they also carry the greatest risk. On the other hand, investment-grade bonds can offer a steady income stream and, barring the default of the issuer, will repay your principal when they mature.


How can I stay on track?

Once you’ve built your investment portfolio, you’ll need to review it regularly— at least once a year— to help ensure it’s still meeting your needs. After all, many things can and will change in your life, such as your family situation, your goals, your employment and your risk tolerance. To address these changes, you’ll need to adjust your portfolio over time.

As you can see, answering all these questions will take both work and expertise. That’s why you may want to work with a professional financial advisor to help you identify your goals and create a strategy for pursuing them. In any case, though, start asking — and answering — these five key questions as soon as you can. It’s easier to reach your financial goals if you put time on your side. SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 41

well now l faith


n a recent Monday, Peggy Heusel visits with other volunteers in the kitchen at College Church of Christ while waiting to serve those who have gathered for fellowship and meal through the church’s Caring and Sharing program. The program serves approximately 150 residents per week on Mondays, and Heusel can be seen on any given week serving and visiting with area residents who attend. This is one of the many volunteer efforts in which Heusel participates, several of which are through the church. She offers numerous reasons why she busies herself with volunteer work. It is a good outlet for her high energy level and, of course, it makes her feel good to help others. But another reason is because she sees every day as a gift. Doctors told her she would not live past 1986. “We’re all terminal,” she said. “We have to do the best with what we have. Our life is about serving people like Jesus did. He didn’t decide who he was going to help and who he wasn’t.”

Coping with disease

Peggy Heusel poses in the garden outside of her home west of Searcy. Heusel suffers from Lupus and sensitivity to sunlight is one of the side effects of the disease. Trees surround her home, allowing for plenty of activities that can be done outdoors in the shade. “I told my husband that I wanted a house on a hill with lots of trees, and that’s exactly what I got,” she said.


all terminal’

Searcy woman overcomes disease to serve community BY JACOB BROWER

42 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

Heusel had been sick since she was 15 years old, she just didn’t know it. She would sit next to a window at a biology class before lunch and go home feeling ill. It wasn’t until a decade later, in 1976, that Heusel was diagnosed with Lupus erythematosus, more commonly known as Lupus — an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks healthy body tissues. One of the effects of the disease is extreme sensitively to ultraviolet rays, especially sunlight. Doctors gave the 25-year-old wife and mother no more than 10 years to live. The next five years after the diagnosis were tough. Heusel was in and out of the hospital, but her condition steadily improved after that.

“When I counsel people, I tell them if they can make it past the first five years, they’re doing fairly well,” she said. “It takes that long to figure out your body’s triggers. I’ve gotten better as I’ve gotten older, but that’s because I listen to my body. When it says to sit down and rest, I do that.” Though her Lupus has long been in remission, symptoms remained until recently. One of the side effects of Lupus is massive weight loss or weight gain, and Heusel was no exception. At one time she tipped the scales at 315 pounds. In 2007, Heusel underwent gastric bypass surgery — a move that she credits with making her feel better than any other treatment for her disease. “If you’re not carrying 150 extra pounds, you’re going to feel better,” she said. “It’s been a real blessing because my joints feel better and I have a lot more energy.”

‘God brought us to Searcy’ That energy serves Heusel well in her activities, though she has always done everything she can to stay busy. In addition to working for Exxon Mobile when she lived in Perryton, Texas, near the Oklahoma panhandle, Heusel taught three Bible classes per week and served on a school board for five years. “I really threw myself into the legal aspects of that [school board] job, so I read the board policy manual a lot so we wouldn’t get ourselves in trouble with the state,” she said. While in Texas, she heard acquaintances speak about Searcy, a city of which she previously had no knowledge. Heusel was looking for a change in climate, because the flat terrain in the Texas panhandle limited activities in which she could participate outdoors. In April 2009, Heusel’s curiosity was piqued enough to make a visit. “It just dawned on me that I should look at Searcy,” she said. “I didn’t have any connection with it at all and I came.

I spent 24 hours here and looked at the schools, looked at the hospitals, looked at the medical centers and looked at the cost of housing to see if we could afford to live here.” Heusel liked what she saw, quit her job in June 2009 and moved to Searcy with her husband, Larry, and two sons Darren, 14, and Trysten, 10, the following month. Trees surround her home west of town, allowing for plenty of activities that can be done outdoors in the shade. “God brought us to Searcy,” Heusel said. “I told my husband that I wanted a house on a hill with lots of trees, and that’s exactly what I got.”

Furniture ministry Through the church, Heusel operates a furniture ministry out of her home. She collects unwanted furniture and gives it people who need it. Those wanting furniture contact the church, and church officials put them in contact with Heusel. “The reason I do the furniture is because we live in a country that is so blessed,” she said. “We have such an abundance because we are always looking for the next big thing and we throw away a lot of good stuff that people who have nothing are thrilled to get. It’s a shame for it to go into a landfill when there are people who desperately need things. “Particularly in Searcy, there is such a disparity between the rich and the extremely poor. Where I came from in Texas, there wasn’t the kind of poverty like we have here. People didn’t move to town with nothing like they do in Searcy. I just like to facilitate.”

Impact in the community The furniture ministry is one of many things that Heusel has done as a community service. Over the years, she has taken in over 20 foster children while refusing payment. She also gathers and prepares meals for the church’s Caring and Sharing program on Monday nights, in which the church feeds anyone who attends free of charge.

Though her time in White County has been short, her impact has definitely been felt — especially by those who work closely with her. Sam Billingsly, the church’s family minister, describes Heusel’s contributions to the community as “invaluable.” “Peggy is one of those ladies that, if you want a job done, call Peggy because you know she’s going to take care of it,” he said. “The things she does, if she wasn’t doing them, they just wouldn’t get done.” A gift that Heusel possesses is that she helps people without making people feel as if they are accepting charity. “She makes people feel good,” he said. “One of the challenges of working with people who need help is they sometimes feel like people talk down to them like they’re freeloaders. She makes them feel like they’re doing her a favor by letting her help them.” “She is one of those folks that, if we need a volunteer, we know who we can call,” added Noel Whitlock, preaching minister. “It can be something like taking people to the grocery store or the doctor. We know we can always call her to help someone personally.” Heusel cites her faith as motivation for serving the community. “Faith is at the very core of all the decisions I’ve made,” she said. “I really try to make decisions based on ‘What would Jesus do?’ “I am not always successful in doing that, but I always know what the answer is.”

Ministries People interested in donating or receiving furniture through Peggy Heusel and the College Church of Christ may call 806-440-1322. The church also serves food to the community every Monday at 6:30 p.m. The church is located at 712 E Race Ave.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 43

Lexi Brooks chases her brother, Lawson, in a game of tag football. The siblings are involved in multiple sports and other activities.

Ashley and Christie Brooks exercise with rowing equipment at Searcy CrossFit. The couple wants to stay fit for the benefit of their children, Lexi and Lawson, and their future grandchildren.


Family fitness

Brooks family nurtures ties through shared love of exercise B Y M A R I S A LY T L E

shley and Christie Brooks and their kids Lexi, 11, and Lawson, 9, are local superheroes of staying fit and active as a family. Constantly on the go, the family is involved with Searcy CrossFit, multiple sports and a myriad of outdoor activities. Ashley is the owner of Brooks Communications, while Christie is a full-time dietitian with her office located inside CrossFit, of which she has recently become part owner. She teaches a program called Why Weight that offers a holistic approach to losing weight and leading a healthy lifestyle. Both husband and wife are personal trainers at CrossFit. In addition, Christie works with dialysis patients in McCrory five times a month, works with a gym in Beebe once per month and works some with Searcy Athletic Club. In the following Q and A, Christie tells what her family does to stay active, how she manages to hold everything together and from where she draws the inspiration to live healthily.

44 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012


What sports does your family play?

My kids love sports. Lexi has played softball since she was 4. She plays on a travel league and wants to play in college. She’s also a peewee cheerleader. Lawson plays soccer, basketball and baseball, and he will be old enough to play peewee football this year. He’s my little athlete. And he’s a daredevil. He wants to do motocross, but we’re afraid of him hurting himself. Ashley loves coaching peewee football, and I coach softball. We had our backyard leveled out so it could be devoted to playing sports. We have a pitcher’s mound and plate and all three bases. We built a yellow goal post for Lawson to play football, and there’s a soccer goal, too. We’re always moving nets out of the way depending on which sport we’re playing.


Are there other activities in which you are involved?


Do you participate in any activities that are not quite so active?


We go outside a lot. We go camping, zip-lining, canoeing, snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, rock climbing. My husband loves to hunt everything and to fish. Lexi and I have done the 65 Roses bike tour, and we have run several 5K races together. I’ve run marathons, but I turned 40 this year and have run my last one. Ashley and I scuba dive.


We have a huge passion for traveling. Instead of going on a cruise, though, where you’re catered to, we find off-thebeaten-path travel books and try to experience the culture more. We’ve been to several different countries. We’ve done mission work in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and we’re excited for when we can take the kids on those trips. The kids attend church camps in the summer. And Lexi will take voice lessons this fall. We also go watch games, like Travelers and Razorbacks games.


How do you manage such a busy schedule?


My kids and Why Weight keep me non-stop busy. I’m just wired that way, though. It keeps me crazy to sit still. Lawson is like that, too. Ashley and Lexi are just the opposite. They’ll sleep for hours extra in the morning after I already have half my day done. I average seven hours of sleep a night. When my feet hit the floor in the morning, I go full force. When I lie down at night, I’m out. I’m the organizer and scheduler of the family, so I just have to juggle things. I do crock pot dinners a lot and do my grocery shopping between client appointments. I always remember that I’m gaining strength from the Lord, because I couldn’t do it without him..


What advice can you give to others who want to exercise more and eat better?

I’ve learned from working with people that when you hit the point you think you can’t go on, that’s Satan telling you that you can’t. Just push yourself a little further, and you can do it. With God’s help, you can do it. I believe the biggest muscle you’ll work is the one between your ears. You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it, giving all to the glory of the Lord.


What do you do to ensure your family eats healthfully?


Are there times when you need to settle down and relax?


I’ve got a McDonald’s burger in my office that’s over three years old. Knowing that it doesn’t mold and is hard as a rock has really changed the way my daughter thinks. She wants to do well in sports and play softball in college, so she knows she has to fuel her body right. Lawson’s my junk food junkie. He’ll tell me, “Mom, sometimes I wish you weren’t a dietitian.” We allow our kids one sweet per day. That can be a dessert or a soda, their choice.


Yes. Sometimes I have to just go outside with tea or coffee and sit and breathe and read my devotional book. My husband and I try to take one day out of the month for a date. We want our kids to see what marriage should be like and let them know that you can’t neglect your first love.

Brooks’ tips for keeping kids healthy ✔ Limit screen time (computers, video games, TV, iPods) to one hour a day. ✔ Make kids go outside and play. ✔ Make healthy cooking enjoyable. Be creative and get the kids involved. ✔ Limit soda, fast food and sweets. ✔ Kids typically don’t drink enough water, so make sure that they do. ✔ Parents are the examples, so practice what you preach.


What inspires you to live a healthy life?


My grandmother had diabetes and was obese, and she smoked. She was an awesome cook — she owned Pangburn Café. She had to go to the hospital one time and then never made it out. My grandfather went to the hospital, and on the day he was released, he had a heart attack and died. I want to be a spunky, fun great-grandma. I want to be able to enjoy my grandkids, and I want to help everyone else do the same. I want to show people there’s more out there to enjoy. God has a mission for all of us. If we can’t take care of our bodies, we can’t do what he has set out for us.

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012 ❘ well now ❘ 45

well now l advice

Searcy’s Top Docs Share Their Favorite Healthy Recipes

Recipe Summer Sherbet 3 cups sugar 2 cups pineapple juice 1 cup orange juice 1 cup lemon juice 1 ¾ cup half & half cream (May substitute 1 - 13 oz can evaporated milk)

4 ½ cups milk Few grains of salt Mix all ingredients very well. Freeze as directed by the instructions on your ice cream freezer.

Recipe Light and Crispy Catfish 4 catfish fillets 1/3 c. cornmeal 1 tsp. paprika

Salt Fresh ground black pepper

Mix dry ingredients together in a shallow dish. Dredge fillets in mixture; coat on each side then spray lightly with cooking spray. Spray skillet with cooking spray and use a tiny amount of olive oil. Get skillet hot over medium heat and cook fillets three to four minutes on each side, or until fish begins to flake and is opaque throughout. Through the cooking, drip drops of olive around the edges of the pan as needed. (The secret to this without deep frying is to use a heavy skillet hot enough to sear the food as soon as it hits the pan. Monitor the heat, turning it down or lifting the skillet away from the burner for brief intervals, if the food is browning too quickly.)

Jennifer Faith, M.D. Family Practice

Michael Justus, M.D. Family Practice

Recipe Sausage Gumbo Pot Pie

Recipe Grilled Ginger-Sesame Pork Tenderloin 2 lb. pork tenderloin Marinade 1 tbsp. sesame oil ¼ cup low-sodium 2 scallions, thinly diced soy sauce 1 tbsp. grated ginger ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper In a gallon size Ziplock bag, add ingredients for the marinade and mix well. Add pork tenderloin and turn bag to completely coat tenderloin. Place bag in refrigerator and let meat marinade for at least 20 minutes and up to overnight. Turn the meat occasionally so all surfaces are exposed to the marinade. Heat grill to medium heat and place tenderloin on rack. Grill tenderloin turning occasionally, 6-8 minutes on each side. After each side is grilled wrap tenderloin in foil and place on top rack for 12 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 150-160 degrees.

Ryan Koch, M.D. Medical Oncologist

46 ❘ well now ❘ SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2012

with Garlic Bread Crust We substitute skinless turkey sausage for beef smoked sausage to make the recipe more “heart healthy.”

1 lb smoked sausage, cut in 1/4” slices

1 cup minute rice, uncooked (we use skinless turkey sausage) 1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning 1 medium bell pepper, 1/2 tsp dried thyme chopped 1 small onion, chopped Breadcrust 1/4 cup instant roux mix 3 tbsp melted butter 1 can rotel tomatoes 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 (32oz) chicken broth 1 package (12 oz) 1 (16oz) package French baguette, frozen okra cut into 1/2” slices Sauté first 3 ingredients in a Dutch oven over medium high heat ~8 min or until browned. Stir in roux mix. Cook 2 min stirring constantly. Stir in tomatoes and next 5 ingredients and bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Pour into 9x13 baking dish. Stir butter and garlic together, brush onto one side of bread slices, then top sausage mixture evenly with bread. Bake covered at 425 degrees for 10 min, uncover and bake 10 min, then remove from oven and let stand 10 min. Enjoy!

Thomas Day, M.D. Orthopedic Surgeon

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Well Now September/October  

Well Now September/October

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