Page 1


for Better or Worse 3 Inspiring Local Stories of YZ



Retirement Math Improve Your Home’s Sellability Top 10 Rip-Offs of 2009 Pump Up Your Workout Scent of Attraction Improve Your Home’s Sell-ability Top 10 Rip-Offs of 2009 Pump Up Your Workout Thrive February 2010

Magazine for Better Living


Contents 26



In This Issue

Regular Features

4 Health Habits at 60 & Beyond 1 0 Take A Pregnant Pause

1 1 12 20 30 48 5 1

Paws for A Moment By the Numbers Coming to America Well Aware Solutions for Life Clean & Press Release

2 5 5 6 6 0 6 1 6 2 65 6 6

First Person:

1 4 16 2 2 26 28 3 2 3 8 4 0

2 4 4 6 5 4 6 9 7 0 7 4

What To Expect From Your Personal Trainer The Scent of Attraction Hidden Heart Risks for Women How Ergonomically Friendly Is Your Workstation? Takeaway Financial Lessons from A Down-Trodden Decade Retirement Math - How Much Do You Need? Improve Your Home’s Sell-Ability Pump Up Your Workout

Cover Story:

In Sickness & In Health

Scratching Through Solutions for Eczema BBB Lists Top 10 Scams And Rip-Offs of 2009 When Good Cosmetics Go Bad Behind the Wheel: Battle Of The Sexes Winter Allergies Can Lead to Sinus Misery

Don’t just live, thrive!


with Todd S.Clemons Chatterbox High Five Best Impressions McNeese Corral Stethoscoop Get Down to Downtown

Editors and Publishers Kristy Armand Christine Fisher Creative Director/Layout Barbara VanGossen Assistant Designers Jason Hardesty Josh McGee Assistant Editor Erin K. Cormier Advertising Sales 337.310.2099 Danielle Granger Andy Jacobson Ashley Gatte Submissions or fax to 337.312.0976 Submitted articles and photos are welcome. Thrive assumes no responsibility for unsolicited materials and does not guarantee any submissions. Thrive is designed for people focused on living a happy, healthy life, one that is balanced, full of energy and contentment. Thrive readers want to make the most of every day and be successful in all areas of their lives – family, health, home and career.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living



Health Habits to Develop at and Beyond

could cause injury; in reality, a lack of exercise is a bigger risk than an exerciserelated injury, according to Dr. Kaough. The key, she said, is to seek the advice of a doctor to determine which exercises are best. In most cases, walking will be recommended. “Walking is a simple, low impact exercise that can have significant positive effects on your health, even if you only walk for fifteen minutes at a time. It doesn’t take much to make a difference,” Dr. Kaough said.

of nutrients realized with lower calorie intake.

It’s a good idea to complement your fitness routine with a better diet, according to Dr. Kaough. One of the best things you can do is eat more fiber. Fiber reduces the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer; it can help lower cholesterol; and it helps the colon function better.

She noted that breaking bad habits can be just as important as developing new ones. “If you smoke, quit,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve been smoking for ten years or fifty. Getting rid of cigarettes is one of the single most important things you can do for yourself.”

Tufts University researchers recently developed a Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults to correspond with new recommendations by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Older adults have unique dietary needs, according to Tufts researchers. These include: the need for fewer calories as metabolic rates decrease; the need for fiber-rich foods, and the need for certain supplemental nutrients, like calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12, which offset the potential lack

Other bad habits you may want to consider breaking: overconsumption of alcohol; overconsumption of fatty foods, especially junk food; and sedentary living.

“Our needs change as we age, certainly. Adequate exercise and good nutrition are lifelong staples, although the specific meaning of these things may evolve and change, depending on our age, lifestyle, and other circumstances,” Dr. Kaough said.

by Erin K. Cormier

If you’re age sixty or beyond and you feel as good as you did in your forties, congratulations – it sounds like your lifestyle habits have done your body good. If you’re part of the masses who feel every bit of sixty, however, it may be time to develop some new tricks. “A lot of people past a certain age think it’s too late to start changing their lifestyles and building new habits and routines, but that can’t be further from the truth,” said Maureen Kaough, MD, primary care physician. “It’s never too late to start taking care of yourself. The old saying ‘better late than never’ certainly applies here. Getting started at sixty and beyond is better than doing nothing.” If the mild aches and pains of aging have become more prominent, if you look back on your forties and fifties with longing, or even if you feel fine and want to keep up the momentum, there are several good health habits that those age sixty and beyond can adopt.

For more information about developing a healthy lifestyle as you age, call Dr. Kaough at 421-0090.

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Perhaps the most important habit to develop is one that all too often falls by the wayside – regular visits to your physician and followthrough on recommended screenings. Although screenings for cancer and other preventative health measures can prolong lives, just 25 percent of adults aged 50 to 64 go through with them, according to a report released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, AARP and the American Medical Association. “It’s concerning that while we are willing to take charge of several aspects of our lives, we often leave our health off our list of priorities. Many people have no problem being a diligent employee or devoted parent; managing their finances or maintaining the lawn, but when it comes to wellness checks and health screenings, they shrug it off,” Dr. Kaough said. “It doesn’t become an issue until it becomes a problem, which is unfortunate, considering all the avenues we have in preventative health today.” Adults should have regular screenings for cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Other screenings – mammography and colonoscopy, for example – depend on age, health condition, and medical history, according to Dr. Kaough. But if you’re at least sixty years of age, you are probably due for a thorough medical exam. Another healthy habit to consider adopting is exercise, Dr. Kaough said. “There are several concerns that older people have when it come to exercise, especially if they haven’t followed a traditional fitness regimen in the past. One concern is that it won’t do any good to start exercising after sixty years of being sedentary. That’s not true,” Dr. Kaough said. “Injuries caused by slips and falls become increasingly common with age, and physical activity strengthens the bones, among many other things. Regular physical activity, even simple exercises like walking, is also great for the brain and circulatory system.” Another concern is that developing an exercise routine later in life 4

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010


Also available at Healthwise Pharmacy in Westlake, Gordon’s, Thrifty Way and Lakeshore February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Like so many self-improvement tools available today, high-end skin care products are being scooped up by thousands of consumers who are willing to pay highend prices with the hope of turning back the clock and looking years younger. More than just a bottle of lotion off of the drugstore shelf, these products are engineered thanks to years of research by leading scientists and are filled with ingredients that rival most medicine cabinets. All of this is wrapped in packaging and promises that can loosen even the tightest of pockets.

Physician-Grade Skin Care, Without a Prescription

“These ‘cosmeceuticals’ are a marriage between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. They are applied on the skin, like cosmetics, but contain ingredients that influence the biological function of the skin,” said Leann Widcamp, licensed aesthetician with the Aesthetic Center of Southwest Louisiana. “Research is ongoing to improve the texture of the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles and slow down the signs of aging. Manufacturers are taking this knowledge and applying it to skin care. The results are breakthrough products that can make significant differences in all skin care types.” The idea of ‘cosmeceuticals’ began with a few antiaging creams in the early 1990’s. These products have been the fastest growing sector of the cosmetic industry. But, can these physician-formulated serums, creams and lotions really improve the skin? “No product will survive in today’s competitive marketplace without a good formula,” explained Widcamp. “There will always be choices in skin care that come and go, but there are definitely products that live up to the claims made of them and have stood the test of time.” Because of the overwhelming number of product lines, formulations and active ingredients, it can be difficult for consumers to choose the right combination that works for them. That’s why it’s helpful to utilize the knowledge of an aesthetician, explained Widcamp. “In my case, I know the products we sell inside and out. I’ve studied the ingredients and how they affect different skin types.”

Even though the price for physician grade skin care products are higher than those found on the drugstore shelves, in many cases, they are worth it. Cheaper products usually contain more water, which means a greater quantity is needed to get the job done. Higher end skin care lines are concentrated so a small amount about the size of a pea is often enough. The cost-peruse is often pennies a day, while the skin benefits from the key ingredients that make a difference. “We wear our skin every day. It’s one of the first things people notice and it’s a big clue in determining someone’s age, whether it’s done consciously or not. Smooth, flawless skin is equated with health, vitality and youthfulness,” Widcamp explained. “Maintaining the best skin texture possible can help you put your best image forward.” Many ingredients found in cosmeceuticals often sound like they should be found in a prescription bottle, but their benefits are more than just skin deep:

Consumers are often willing to pay more for this type of skin care product because they offer more than a topical cover-up that gets washed away at the end of the day. Cosmeceuticals can improve the appearance of the skin and are seen as more of a solution that nourishes the skin, rather than a temporary fix. “Even with the amazing strides in the skin care industry, no amount of cream will totally undo damage. The sun is one of the worst contributors to skin problems. The most effective method for slowing down the signs of aging is protecting the skin from the sun,” said Widcamp. “Prevention is the best defense. Use sunscreen every day, drink plenty of water and don’t smoke.” The future of the anti-aging cosmeceutical market continues to be bright. As researchers find more ways to smooth, tighten, exfoliate, brighten, renew and revitalize the skin, consumers will be willing to give their formulations a try.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) – glycolic, malic and lactic acids speed up the skin’s exfoliation process, preparing it for active treatment products.

Antioxidants – ascorbic acid, vitamin E and green tea help restructure collagen and act as anti-


Botanicals – phytochemicals from plants improve photo damaging in a non-irritating manner. Peptides – copper peptides and Argireline firms, smoothes and softens the skin. Retinoids – non-prescription Retinols, derived from vitamin A, help reverse and prevent sun damage. So, who is investing their hard-earned dollars for these ingredients? “It’s not just women in their 60’s. Men are recognizing the importance of their image, and they understand how their overall appearance can make a difference throughout their careers,” said Widcamp. “Baby boomers and even young adults realize the value of first impressions, and they are reaching for physiciangrade products to break through the clutter and go for what will give them the best results.”

by Christine Fisher


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Get A Handle On

Hobby Injuries

Hobbies are typically something you enjoy; activities you do to relax and unwind in your free time. For many people, it’s the one thing they do that is just for themselves. Some may choose the thrill of sky diving or the physical demands of long-distance running. Others follow more sedate pursuits, such as reading, sewing, woodwork or painting.

by Kristy Armand

needed,” says Dr. Collins. “You should see your doctor if you experience pain associated with the activity for two consecutive days or longer, or if the problem is occurring with increasing frequency. Also consider seeing your doctor if your hand feels numb or tingles, or ‘falls asleep,’ either at night or during the activity.”

Prevention is always preferable to treatment, and Dr. Collins recommends these common-sense rules to make sure your hobby doesn’t lead to an overuse injury:

While the sky diver and the runner face a few obvious risks of injury associated with their hobbies, it would be a mistake to assume that less-physical hobby choices are risk-free. Some repetitive activities that seem harmless — if done improperly or too frequently — lead to overuse injuries of the wrists and hands, according to orthopedic specialist Geoffrey Collins, MD, with the Center for Orthopaedics.

• Take frequent breaks. • Stretch the muscles you use for your hobby before and after each session. • Listen to your pain. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. If something hurts, stop. • Use good posture and proper technique.

He explains that overuse injuries result from misuse of your muscles and tendons, “and this doesn’t necessarily have to involve a major trauma or excessive force. Minimal repetitive movements can cause injuries in some cases. In relation to hobbies, we most frequently see these types of injuries in the hand or wrist.” The most noticeable symptom is pain, but an overuse injury can also cause tingling, weakness, numbness, swelling and stiffness. Examples of hobbies that could lead to these symptoms in the hand or wrist include needlework, mechanics, woodcrafts, gardening, sculpting, playing a musical instrument and even surfing the internet or playing video games.

For more information about musculoskeletal injuries, visit or call 721-7236.

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I’m running around like crazy – from wrestling Fluffy into a cage for Pet Day at Kindergarten to worrying about the big meeting I’m for because the washing machine overflowed all over the laundry room. Why is everything such a

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“Many people engage in these types of activities for years without any problems,” says Dr. Collins, “but in some individuals, particularly those whose hobby involves repetitive motions or unnatural positions of the hands for long periods of time, pain and other symptoms can develop. We typically see overuse injuries as a result of a vocation, such as a mechanic, painter, or typist. But if one activity is repeated for hours a day, with few breaks, even an amateur can run into trouble.”

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Those most at risk for overuse injuries engage in activities that include: • Repetition • Direct pressure • High force • Vibration • Awkward joint positions • Prolonged, constrained posture Dr. Collins says if your hobby involves two or more of these risk factors, you’re at greater risk of developing an overuse injury. “Basically, every tissue has its breaking point,” says Dr. Collins. “If enough of these factors are combined, then pain and damage may result.” Overuse injuries do not always require medical attention. Dr. Collins says most symptoms can be managed with self-care measures, such as rest, ice or heat packs, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. The three major complications from overuse of the hands are aggravation of existing arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis. “If these conditions are present, additional medical management may be

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


TakeA Pregnant Pause

It was inevitable that one day an enterprising researcher would tackle the ongoing debate between dog people and cat people in a quest to thwart or confirm our long-held beliefs about what makes a cat person love cats and a dog person love dogs. Well, my friends, that day has come.

by Kristy Armand

Spacing Pregnancies

Better for Babies

Women who want to boost their chances of having healthy babies should put some space in between their pregnancies -- but not too much. Researchers say there should be at least 18 months between pregnancies, but no more than five years. The research report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association was based upon the analysis of 67 international studies involving more than 11 million pregnancies.

“Although none of these new figures by themselves is extremely alarming,” says Dr. Bergstedt, “if you fall too far on either side of the gap, the increased risk is something you should be aware of as you are planning your family.”

Around the world, more than four million children die each year in the first four weeks of life and 28 percent of those deaths are thought to be related to prematurity or low birth weight. Ob/gyn Specialist Scott Bergstedt, MD, with OBG1, says those numbers don’t take into consideration the impact preterm birth or small size can have on overall health and mental development of the babies who do survive. “In general, the study authors found that there was a range of 18 to 59 months in which timing does not have much effect.” For each month under 18 months between pregnancies, the risk of premature birth increased 1.9 percent. For each month longer than 59 months between pregnancies, the chances of premature birth climbed 0.6 percent.

The average age gap between siblings in America is actually about two-anda-half years, which falls within the guidelines suggested by the research report.

Are “Cat People” More Neurotic?

The analysis found that spacing babies too close together or too far apart raises the risk of complications such as premature births and low birth weight. Dr. Bergstedt says there are several reasons for this. Pregnancy and nursing use up nutrients in a woman’s body. If a woman becomes pregnant again before she has a chance to recover nutritionally this can lead to higher risks for the baby, and place additional physical demands on the woman’s body. Women who get pregnant again within months after giving birth, have a higher risk of anemia, hypertension and third-trimester bleeding in subsequent pregnancies. “It is much better for mother and baby if the woman allows her body time to recover from the physical demands of pregnancy and childbirth before becoming pregnant again,” he explains. In addition, other research studies have found that the stress from having babies close together may affect a child’s cognitive and social development during the first three years of life, since the mother has less time available to spend with each child.

I own a dog, yet I consider myself creative, philosophical-ish, untraditional, and maybe a little neurotic (but just a little. Okay, a lot). On the other hand, I also consider myself agreeable and conscientious. In short: I fall under the “both” category, which means I love both dogs and cats. Actually, I have a soft spot for all animals. Except insects. Bugs send me in circles shrieking and waving my arms. If a stinging insect lands on me, it is a sight to behold. There was also an option in the survey to select “neither” when asked if you are a dog person or a cat person. I’m not sure what that answer means. I’m tempted to guess that it means you have no personality whatsoever, but I’d hate to anger my non-animal-loving peers. Of course, if you’re non-animalloving, you’re probably not reading this anyway. Needless to say, the results of Gosling’s survey weren’t all that surprising. It’s not shocking to learn that dog people are agreeable and extroverted, considering that dogs are loyal companion animals who are ready to hang out at a moment’s notice (or even with no notice whatsoever), whereas cats are independent and lukewarm about the presence of humans. Can’t say that I blame them. I can be fairly lukewarm about the presence of humans myself. Guess that’s the catwoman talking.

Most recently, she was in private practice at the Lord Clinic in Leesville. She is accepting new patients at the CHRISTUS Medical Group Prien Lake Clinic, and we are excited to have her serving our Southwest Louisiana region.


W Prien Lake Rd

Janet Morehouse, M.D. 1736 W. Prien Lake Road Lake Charles, LA 70601 (337) 478-5085 Mon – Fri, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 210



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The survey also found that cat people were more creative, philosophical and less traditional than dog people. This was true regardless of gender.

A 1985 graduate of Louisiana State University Medical School, Dr. Morehouse provides primary medical care for all ages. She comes to us with over 25 years of experience. She completed her Internal Medicine Internship at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas, and a Master’s Degree in Business specializing in Medical Management from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Nelson Rd


Lo and behold, the findings confirmed the stereotypes that we’ve held about pet owners for years. According to the survey, cat people were more neurotic; dog people, more extroverted, agreeable and conscientious.

CHRISTUS Medical Group is proud to welcome Janet Morehouse, M.D., general practitioner.

W Prien Lake Rd

Researchers are less certain about why an interval longer than five years increases pregnancy complications, but did speculate that time could diminish a woman’s reproductive capacity and that factors that decrease fertility also could lead to poor fetal development.

A team of researchers led by psychologist Sam Gosling at the University of Texas at Austin launched an initiative called the GoslingPotter Internet Personality Project, which measured many different aspects of personality, including whether or not the respondent identified themselves as a “cat person” or a “dog person.” The survey measured personality inclinations in five areas: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism. According to researchers, virtually all personality traits fall under one of these dimensions.

Are you a cat person, a dog person, both or neither? Email Erin K. Cormier at Erin K. Cormier is on the board of the local chapter of the Humane Society of Louisiana.

W Sale Rd

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living




Seeing the Purpose of

Love Valentines 14.7 billion Retail sales generated by Valentine’s Day in the U.S.

Source: Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services, U.S. Census

of all Valentine cards are bought by women. Source: The Greeting Card Association

64% of roses purchased are red, 11% pink, 10% mixed colors, 5% peach/salmon, 4% yellow, 3% white and 3% other.


% #

Valentine’s Day is the top holiday for florists.

29% of adults purchased flowers or plants as gifts for Valentine’s Day 2009.


of people who buy Valentine’s Day flowers are men.

27% are women. 15% of American women

(and even men) send flowers to themselves on Valentine’s Day.

Source: IPSOS FloralTrends

Source: IPSOS FloralTrends

$2.2 billion

190 million

Valentine’s Day cards will be purchased, not including the hundreds of millions of cards schoolchildren exchange. • Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. • Children between ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine’s cards with teachers, classmates, and family members. • 58% of American consumers plan to send at least one this year. Source: The Greeting Card Association


Jewelry sales in February, 2009.

Source: Monthly Retail Trade and Food Services, U.S. Census


of U.S. consumers will exchange Valentine’s Day candy, adding up to a sweet $1 billion in sales.


by Christine Fisher

You may not realize it, but as a resident of southwest Louisiana, you are probably very familiar with water vapor. These are the big plumes of cloudlike formations that are seen wafting through the air from cooling towers at area industries. Not knowing that it’s harmless water vapor, some people wonder if it’s harmful to the air. Turns out, water vapor has an environmentally-friendly purpose. “Industries use a significant amount of heat and water in the industrial process,” explained Carol Collins, public relations director with one of the area industries. “Cooling towers are used to cool the hot water that is generated when heat is removed from the process. Industries reuse much of that water many times before returning it to local waterways at a safe temperature.”

When they understand that the plumes are actually water vapor, they usually say, ‘Well, that makes sense.’

If industries did not use cooling towers, large amounts of water would have to be continuously returned to waterways and then, continuously re-supplied to the plant. This would require more production to keep the water continuously flowing. “Reusing the water multiple times is ecofriendly. It allows industries to use the most productive method possible, which is smart for any business to do,” said Collins. Once the water vapor is formed, cooling towers serve to dissipate it into the atmosphere, allowing the wind to dilute it further.


Bye-Bye to Dry

“I am often asked why the water vapor changes appearance from day to day. That’s actually due to another very simple reason: a change in the atmosphere. Temperature, humidity and wind affect how quickly the water vapor is absorbed into the air,” said Collins.

Collins said it’s understandable that people would wonder about the plumes coming from area industry. “When they understand that the plumes are actually water vapor, they usually say, ‘Well, that makes sense.’ Area industries are like other businesses in that we find the most efficient way to produce our product. These cooling towers are one part of an efficient system.”

Source: National Confectioners Association


of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets delight.

For more information or to submit a question about industrial processes, visit

Source: Consumer Tracking Study

February 2010

– Carol Collins, public relations director with one of the area industries

With Nourishing, Hydrating Facials from the Aesthetic Center

Water vapor is more noticeable during the evening, or on a cool, humid day. As water vapor moves over sunlight, it can also change its appearance.

of that from sales of chocolate, which has been associated with romance at least since Mexico’s Aztec Empire. 8 billion imprinted candy hearts are expected to be produced, enough to stretch from Rome, Italy, to Valentine, Arizona, and back again 20 time.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Water Vapor at Area Industries

February 2010

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If you want to lose weight, get healthy and/or build muscle, partnering with a personal trainer can be a step in the right direction, says Papania. A trainer provides: • guidance on reaching your goals • education about strength training, cardio and basic nutrition • a reason to show up at the fitness center each week • accountability • ways to help track your progress

Looking Better is Faster,

Easier and More Affordable

with Fine Lines

Length and frequency of sessions are flexible and based on the client’s needs. “With some clients I meet three times per week, others twice a week, and still others once a month. It all depends on what your goals are, how much education you have, and what you want to accomplish in a certain period of time,” Papania said. As always talk with your physician before beginning an exercise program, especially if you have a specific medical problem, injury or condition. Other trainers at Gigi’s, in addition to Papania, are Alex McCain, Chrissy Stelly, CynDee Journey, Debbie Carlin, Dustin Guidry, John Foret and Jeff See. To learn more about personal training and the trainers themselves, please call GiGi’s Fitness Center of CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital at 474-6601 or visit www.

Photos by Jason Hardesty

What to Expect from Your Personal Trainer The advice and guidance of a personal trainer can be invaluable for those who want to maximize workouts and realize personal fitness goals, but for those who have always worked out alone or with a friend, the thought of hiring a personal trainer could be intimidating. Not all personal trainers are alike, so how do you know who to hire? What should you expect? What are the characteristics of a competent personal trainer? According to Ellen Papania, certified personal trainer with Gigi’s Fitness Center of CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, a personal trainer should understand your personal goals, what you need to do to get there, what exercises to perform, which exercises to avoid, and how to keep you motivated and accountable. Basically, your personal trainer should be your personal tour guide down the road to physical fitness. “When hiring a personal trainer, the first thing I want to know is about their education and credentials. Credentials alone aren’t a tell-all, but continuing education is important because our business changes so often,” Papania said. “Once you get started with a personal trainer it’s also important to know that the trainer understands your goals and has given it a lot of thought ahead of time. A good personal trainer will pay attention to your needs, and they will understand that those needs can change from day to day. During one session you may be more tired

than usual and the next session, you’re full of energy. The trainer should be able to tweak the session to fit how you feel that day.”

Motivation is another key characteristic of an effective trainer, according to Papania, who is certified by the American Council on Exercise. When she’s on the client end of the relationship, she says she wants to be held accountable to her goals without feeling condemned; she also appreciates the feeling of motivation, inspiration and energy that a trainer can provide. As a trainer, she understands that she sometimes needs to “meet clients where they are” to help them achieve their objectives. “Not every exercise will fit every person. Trainers need to meet their clients at their level,” Papania said. Sessions with a personal trainer should be educational, progressive and resultsoriented, she said. Rachna Patel, one of Papania’s clients, says her schedule is full even without personal training sessions, but she makes time for them because they have value and keep her on track with her fitness goals. “My schedule is full everyday — I balance work, getting my kids to school and their outside activities, feeding everyone, and all the errands. I value the hour with Ellen, because I know I see and feel the results,” Patel said. “I am convinced my fitness program is the reason I have the energy for everything else on my ‘to do’ list.”

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


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scent attraction the


Researchers may have unlocked the mystery of attraction, and it may have little to do with physical appearance, but much more to do with scent, specifically pheromones. According to psychiatrist D. Dale Archer, MD, founder of the Institute for Neuropsychiatry and regular guest on the Fox News Strategy Room and CNN Headline News, the concept of a human pheromone, or sexual scent of attraction, has been debated and researched for years. “Pheromones are airborne chemicals emitted by hormones that can be detected by other members of 16

Human pheromones, on the other hand, are highly individualized, and not always noticeable. These chemical signals trigger unconscious responses within the body. Some consider the “trigger” that the body receives from pheromones to be the sixth scent. If you’re looking for the man or woman of your dreams, unsuspecting pheromones in your body scent are most likely playing a large and very clever role in mate attraction. According to a research article published in

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nts and Februa clie ry s client appreci r ati i u o on

One study found that when given a choice, women exposed to the sweat samples of different men, preferred those from men genetically different from themselves. Researchers say this inclination is designed to prevent inbreeding, which weakens the species. In another study, women preferred the odor of men with immune symptoms similar to their own, which researches say is another “built-in” mechanism to ensure species survival with the birth of strong, healthy children.


Psychology Today, how our body odors are perceived as pleasant and enticing to another person is a highly selective process. Dr. Archer says intriguing research indicates pheromones may play more of a role that we realize in who we are attracted to. “If you think about it, it’s a logical assumption. In ancient times, our cave-dwelling ancestors were focused on survival, not romance, when it came to choosing a mate. It is believed pheromones helped guide these choices, and new research is showing that this same instinct, while not necessarily still necessary for survival, is still guiding us today.”

organ (VNO), which perceives the substance and then leads them to mate. Some anatomists don’t think humans have a VNO; others think they’ve found pits inside our nostrils that might be VNOs, but may not work. Despite the gap in our knowledge, these new studies about pheromones may explain some of the mysteries of attraction that have baffled us through the ages. The degree of control that pheromones have in relation to emotions is still a matter of debate, but the mounting evidence is leading to the development of customized products in the perfume industry, with various claims made about pheromone additives. Dr. Archer says to be very cautious before believing a purchase chemical mixture can replace natural pheromones or make you more attractive to prospective mates. “Pheromones are very individualized and completely unique to your own body. In addition, the preferences of pheromones depend on many factors: cultural, sexual, psychological and genetic. Dr. Archer says overall, the best advice if you are looking for “Mr.” or “Mrs. Right” may be to follow your nose, not just your heart.

Although it’s now clear that pheromones exist, Dr. Archer says the way our body processes them has yet to be determined. Animals have a vomeronasal

February 2010


! th

wondered what attracts us to some people and not others? You may think it’s the way they look, but research is showing that attraction isn’t solely in the eye of the beholder; it could be in the nose, too.

In the animal kingdom, the sense of smell plays a vital role in survival. An obvious example is detecting the scent of predators, but animals at all levels also use scent to find receptive, fertile mates, in order to perpetuate the species. Sea urchins, for example, release pheromones into the surrounding water, sending a chemical message that triggers other urchins in the colony to eject their sex cells simultaneously.



Pheromones are secreted as natural odors through the body and are constantly released. If one is attracted to another person it may be indeed all in the scent. Every single living thing emits a different pheromone unique to that individual.

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the same species. We’re just beginning to understand the role that pheromones play in human attraction.”

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February 2010

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February 2010

February 2010

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by Erin K. Cormier

Coming to America tells the stories of local residents who left their native country to make a new home in the United States. Watch for a new story each issue. To nominate someone for this series, send a brief description to:

In late 2009, he did. The Toga Grill, 4439 Nelson Road, opened its doors next to the Dollar Bee in the Market Basket shopping center. From this modest spot, Chloun and his family – which includes his wife, Hanady, and children Sammi, 20, Hadi, 17, Ilham, 9, and Khaled, 6 – prepare the famous falafel that made Falafel Ackawi popular in their native country. “I would say it’s a secret family recipe, but it’s not really a secret. I don’t think there is really such a thing as a ‘secret recipe.’ It just depends on how you make it. If you put your heart into something, no matter what it is, it will turn out good,” he says. “I like to make people happy with my food. It’s homemade, fresh, and from the heart.” The menu also includes popular Lebanese dishes like mousaka, mujadarah, schwarma, toubouleh, baba ghanouj, grape leaves, cabbage rolls, fried zucchini, and lentil soup. “I am doing what I love,” Chloun says. “America is known as the land of opportunity. I say, it is the land of make-your-own opportunity. As long as you have the will to do something, you can make it. Especially in America.”

Mo Tuesd Sat

A Taste of Lebanon in Lake Charles


The Journey of Jamal Chloun Snow-capped mountains, winding coastline, rich citrus fruits, fresh vegetables, historical ruins, high plateaus, warm people – there is a lot to love about Lebanon, according to Jamal Chloun. But perhaps the thing he misses most is the smell of the Mediterranean Sea.

Chloun, 51, left Lebanon in 1978, three years after civil war disrupted the country’s long period of peace and stability. Once in the States, he enrolled in a small Michigan community college. “It was a culture shock because I was expecting to see what I saw in the movies. When you see America through the frame of the television, you don’t see what’s outside the frame. It’s like looking through a keyhole. Before I came here, I saw America through the keyhole, but when I arrived, the door opened and I saw everything else inside,” Chloun says. “It didn’t take long to adjust, though. When I came here I had no American friends but after a short time, I had many.”

The endless blue coastline of the Mediterranean is in contrast to the rugged mountain peaks on the opposite horizon and the green agricultural plateaus of the valley, but the country’s diverse topography, which allows tourists to swim and ski on the same vacation, is indicative of Lebanon’s overall diversity and beauty, Chloun says. “Anyone who visits Lebanon will love the country. It is a piece of heaven on Earth. You can swim along the coastline and go high up to the mountains all in the same day. The weather is moderate, so it’s not too cold, not too hot, and not very humid. You can go into the mountains and feel a nice breeze of cool air, and you can go to the coast and feel the air from the sea,” says Chloun, a native of Sidon, the country’s third-largest city. “We are famous for being hospitable. When we meet new people, we welcome them and take care of them. People have many misconceptions about Lebanon.” The country, bordered by Syria and Israel, is an ancient land that played an integral role as an outpost during Roman times. Chloun’s hometown of Sidon, one of the oldest and most important cities in Phoenician history, was once praised by Homer for its craftsmanship. It was in Sidon that Chloun and his eight brothers helped their parents operate Falafel Ackawi, one of the country’s most popular restaurants. Their specialty was falafel, a deep-fried staple made with chickpeas or fava beans and mixed with onion, parsley and other spices. 20

He left Michigan for Louisiana and, in 1984, graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette. During his time in the U.S., he studied the business management practices of hugely popular food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King; after graduation he moved back home and used that knowledge to grow the family’s Falafel Ackawi food chain. The family opened locations throughout Lebanon, including the capital of Beirut, but as the country struggled to recover from its civil unrest, the economy struggled as well. Falafel Ackawi eventually scaled back to its two original locations and in 2000, Chloun moved back to Louisiana with his heart still committed to the family business. His dream was to bring a taste of Lebanon to Cajun country. He gives much credit to his lifelong friend Mazen Hijazi, owner of the locally successful Mazen’s restaurant on College Street. Chloun says that Hijazi, who recently opened A-Mazen Seafood on Prien Lake Road, supported, guided and encouraged him to realize his dream.

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February 2010

Photos by Jason Hardesty

February 2010

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Hidden Heart Risks forWomen by Kristy Armand

You don’t have to have a medical degree to know that high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight and a lack of exercise are bad for your heart. But you might be surprised to learn about some lesser-known factors that put a woman’s heart a risk, many of which could be better managed to prevent heart disease.

In spite of the increased attention given to women’s heart health in recent years, a growing number of women ages 35 to 44 are losing their lives to heart disease. “There’s still a lack of awareness in many cases among women, and even their doctors, that heart disease is just as critical a health concern for females as it is for males,” says cardiologist Kevin Young, MD, with Heart and Vascular Center and member of the medical staff at Jennings American Legion Hospital.“Women are much more likely to be concerned about their risk and prevention strategies for breast cancer, but contrary to what many people believe, heart disease, not cancer, is the number one killer of U.S. women.” These statistics from the Women’s Heart Foundation provide further evidence about the impact heart disease has on women: · 8 million women in the US are currently living with heart disease; 35,000 are under age of 65. · 435,000 American women have heart attacks annually; 83,000 are under age 65; 35,000 are under 55. · 42% of women who have heart attacks die within 1 year, compared to 24% of men. · Under age 50, women’s heart attacks are twice as likely as men’s to be fatal. · 267,000 women die each year from heart attacks, which kill six times as many women as breast cancer. Dr. Young says the real tragedy is that although it’s a preventable disease if caught early, that opportunity is very often lost, particularly in women, due to overlooked cardiovascular risk factors. “Everyone knows that a diet in high-fat foods, smoking or a family history increases the risk of developing heart disease, but there are other notso-visible female risk factors that also play a role. Women need to be educated about these seemingly unrelated risks as well in order to improve their prevention efforts.”

Lack of Sleep

Unlike men or women who regularly log seven hours of sleep, women who get five hours or less are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for heart disease, according to a new study in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension.


During sleep, the heart slows down and blood pressure drops. The research shows that when people get only short periods of sleep, their average daily blood pressure and heart rate increase, taxing the heart. Other studies have shown that a sleep shortfall increases your risk of obesity, depression and diabetes—factors that increase your odds of developing heart disease. Dr. Young explains that too little sleep can also increase levels of stress hormones, which causes wear on the heart over time.“You goal should be to try to get in eight hours of sleep every night. If you are having problems with this, discuss it with your doctor.”

Gum Disease

Several studies have found a link between heart disease and gum disease, a condition that affects at least 35 percent of American adults. Recent research suggests that people with coronary artery disease are 38 percent more likely to also have periodontal disease than people without it. In fact, dental disease turned out to be a greater cardiac risk factor than smoking in some studies. Dr. Young says why there is such a strong link is not completely clear but it is believed that the inflammation from gum disease allows bacteria to enter the mouth’s blood vessels, travel into the coronary artery vessels, and narrow the passages, reducing blood flow.“This makes routine dental care very important and we now routinely make sure patients undergoing cardiac procedures have had a recent oral health exam that shows no signs of gum disease.” He adds that a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that treating the gum disease with intensive periodontal treatment, in which the area between the gums and the teeth is deepcleaned down to the roots, resulted in improved function of the cells lining blood vessels throughout the body—a marker for better, healthier blood flow to the heart.


Depression is the least-known widespread cardiac risk factor. One study found that postmenopausal women with symptoms of depression but no history of heart disease had a 50 percent greater risk of developing or dying of heart disease than women without depression. Depression also worsens your chances of survival once you have heart disease. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, depressed

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women who were hospitalized after a heart attack were three to five times likelier to die within six months. “Because women are about twice as likely to suffer from depression as men, this is a bigger concern for them,” says Dr. Young. “Depression can cause abnormal heart rhythms, elevated blood pressure, and faster blood clotting, all of which strain the heart. In addition, individuals suffering from depression are less likely to take care of themselves and more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking or drinking.”

Your Marriage

Every relationship has its ups and downs, but if your relationship with your partner is marked by constant stress and strain, your risk of heart attack increases up to 34 percent, according to a 12-year study of more than 9,000 men and women published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Researchers found that people who reported chronic conflict in their closest relationship (which, for the majority, was with their spouse) had the highest heart disease risk. Dr. Young says all that anger and stress triggers a flood of hormones that cause the heart to beat faster and pump harder, leading to higher blood pressure and greater wear on cardiac blood vessels.

History of Irregular Periods

If your menstrual history is notable for unpredictable cycles, you may be at greater risk for heart disease. Menstrual irregularities arising from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which affects 5 to 10 percent of women, increase your risk. Often, PCOS isn’t diagnosed until a woman has trouble getting pregnant, and many women don’t get diagnosed at all. Women with abnormal periods produce less estrogen, so they lose its protective effect of keeping coronary vessels elastic. Stiff arteries are more likely to develop disease. In addition PCOS is a chronic condition, so it keeps the immune system on high alert, creating a chronic inflammation of the whole body, and heart disease is basically an inflammatory process involving the arteries. Women with PCOS are also more likely to have high triglyceride levels, diabetes, or excess belly fat, all components of so-called metabolic syndrome, a potent predictor of coronary heart disease.

January 2010


If you are feeling tired and sluggish, you could have anemia. New evidence suggests this condition may sap more than just your energy. Anemia affects 3.4 million Americans (mostly women). The condition occurs when red blood cells don’t have enough hemoglobin to carry oxygen efficiently from the lungs to other parts of the body. Lower hemoglobin levels force the heart to work harder, which means it wears out sooner. Dr. Young says for women, anemia can be a key risk factor, especially as menopause begins and periods become irregular Anemia also worsens the prognosis in those who already have heart disease. The Women’s Ischemia Syndrome Evaluation study, completed in 2006, tracked 963 women over four years and found that anemic women with heart disease were twice as likely to die as nonanemic women. The bottom line for women? “Awareness,” says Dr. Young. “We want women to become more aware of their unique risk factors for heart disease, discuss these with their physicians and get the screenings and treatment they need to prevent cardiovascular problem from developing in the first place.” For more information about women and heart disease, call the Cardiology Department at Jennings American Legion Hospital at 337-616-7360.

January 2010

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Home health care allows families to keep medical costs down, and also helps with the healing process by allowing you to recover in the comfort of your own home.

areas such as administration, information systems, human resources, medical records, research and billing, among others. Both groups will continue to operate independently, with their own identities. We’ll just be working together to decrease expenses and manage our practices more efficiently,” explains Barbara Tomek, MD, Chairperson with The Clinic. The desire to remain independent is one that more and more physician groups, both here and across the country, are finding increasingly difficult to achieve. There is a growing trend of physicians abandoning their independent practices and becoming employees of hospitals, or hospital-owned physician networks, instead of owners or partners in their own groups. Many physicians choose to become employees in an effort to free themselves from the burden of managing the business side of their practice, which continues to become increasingly complicated. The increased complexity and time requirements of things like equipment purchases, regulatory compliance, human resources, and property management, just to name a few, add an enormous weight or responsibility to independent physician groups today.

“These are things we all struggle with, and it’s easy to see the appeal of handing over these details to someone else to manage for you,” says Dr. Noble. “However, we think our solution of working together with a group who shares our same philosophy and commitment to individualized patient care, is a better option for us and, more importantly, for our patients. ICMG gives us the autonomy to continue providing high quality, personal care to our patients, which is our top priority.” For patients of CFO and The Clinic, the formation of ICMG won’t result in any changes to their established relationship with their doctor. “This new venture is more of a virtual change that will only affect our internal systems, allowing us to function more efficiently and be more competitive on the businessside of our practices. Patients won’t notice a tangible difference,” says Dr. Tomek. “We are still The Clinic and they are still Center for Orthopaedics. By working together, we’re ensuring that we’ll both be able to maintain our independence and ability to give our patients the care they deserve.”

Have you asked your doctor about Home Health You or a loved one may benefit from home health if you are: • Recovering from medical conditions, including, but not limited to, heart failure, hypertension, CHF, pulmonary disease such as COPD, and diabetes. • In need of services of a physical, occupational or speech therapist, Services include a home safety and fall risk assessment, assistance with activities of daily living (i.e. dressing, bathing, grooming) and/or speech evaluation. • Recently released from the hospital, rehab hospital, or nursing home and require assistance with wound care, medication management, or other skilled nursing service.

Patient From L to R: Jackie Hebert, llard, Be ris Care Representative; Do shire, Ab Community Liaison; Robin . ive tat Patient Care Represen

In the December meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the West CalcasieuCameron Hospital Service District, the board, acting on a recommendation made by the hospital’s finance committee, passed a resolution ordering the call of a special election in the Calcasieu-Cameron Hospital Service District. The request is to levy a tax in the amount of 6.95 mills on all the property subject to taxation within the district for a period of 10 years for the purpose of maintaining, operating, supporting and improving the hospital facilities of the hospital service district. The issue was brought before both the Calcasieu and Cameron Parish Police Juries, where the call for an election was approved without a dissenting vote. West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital is owned by the public that lives in the communities it serves. The hospital has been open for more than 56 years and it has been approximately 50 years since the hospital has requested the passage of maintenance or operating millage. “Increasing costs to maintain our facility and equipment as well as reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements are two reasons why we are now approaching our community members for their support,” stated Bill Hankins, CEO of WCCH. “We have reached a perfect storm in healthcare, when rising costs meet declining reimbursements. Also, the recession has led to an increase in unemployment, resulting in an increasing number of uninsured patients – with those having insurance now carrying higher deductibles. These items combined have caused our bad debt to rise approximately 20%.” Not only will the proposed millage aid in maintaining the hospital itself, but will also aid in the maintenance of the Hackberry Rural Health Clinic, the Vinton Medical Clinic and the Genesis Therapeutic Riding Center. The hospital will cap the millage at 6.95 mills and pledges to rollback the millage rate at the annual millage renewal date contingent upon maintaining 90-100 days of operating expenses through the next annual millage renewal date, a promise that demonstrates the commitment of the hospital to community members. Since the approval of a 25 million dollar capital bond issuance in 2006, WCCH has invested over 40 million dollars in facility expansion, renovation and equipment acquisition, leading to a premier healthcare facility with the latest in healthcare advancements. “Prior to 2005, the facilities of our hospital service district were in dire need of renovation,” stated Hankins. “While those capital dollars helped us in the expansion of our facilities as well as in equipment purchases, they cannot be used for any other purpose such as maintaining the hospital buildings or equipment, or for the purchase of supplies.” Wards 4 and 7 in Calcasieu Parish and Ward 6 in Cameron Parish will be voting on the proposition in the March 27 election. The proposed tax is homestead exempt. The amount of tax paid is dependent upon the assessed value of the home and will cost many voters nothing at all. If you would like additional information about the importance of this millage, call West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital’s Administrative Offices at 527-4241.

ar·rhyth·mi·a (a-’rith-me- )n. Is it: a fear of dancing whale sounds set to music heart rhythm disturbance The correct answer is: Heart rhythm disturbance

In an era in which healthcare reform has become a catch phrase more closely associated with heated political debate rather than positive changes to improve the system, two groups of physicians in Southwest Louisiana have launched their own reform effort. Center for Orthopaedics (CFO) and Lake Charles Medical and Surgical Clinic (The Clinic) have joined together to create Imperial Calcasieu Medical Group (ICMG). The main purpose of forming ICMG, according to John Noble, Jr., MD, with Center for Orthopaedics, is to help both groups remain competitive in today’s healthcare environment. “It’s no secret that the business of medicine has become more complicated. Expenses – related to regulations, technology, our aging population, litigation and other factors – continue to increase, while reimbursement continues to decrease. By pooling our resources in key areas on the business side of our practices, we’ll be able to improve our productivity and spend more time on patient care, which, after all, is why we all became doctors in the first place.” “ICMG will serve in the role of a parent company for both CFO and The Clinic, eliminating duplication of resources and providing economies of scale in

Hospital Tax Millage on Ballot for March


Two Southwest Louisiana Medical Groups Join Forces

If you picked the wrong answer, you’re not alone. Many of the words used to describe rhythm-related heart problems are not only difficult to pronounce, but are not as familiar as other cardiovascular terms.


are very common and millions of people will experience an abnormal heart rhythm at some time during their lives. They are caused by disruptions in the electrical signals that regulate the heartbeat. You may have heard people refer to arrhythmias as "palpitations", "flutter" or "heart skipping a beat." There are different types of arrhythmias, some are merely an annoyance, but others can be much more serious. That's why it's important to seek help immediately if you ever notice a change in your heartbeat. Louisiana Heart Rhythm Specialists is a unique clinic focused on providing progressive and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of heart rhythm problems. Under the medical direction of Cardiac Electrophysiologist William Bailey, MD, our team of rhythm management experts will determine the most appropriate and effective treatment for you. Call us today at (337) 233-PACE or visit to find out more about heart rhythm problems.

Louisiana Heart Rhythm


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(337) 233-PACE 7233 913 S. College Rd., Ste. 103 • Lafayette, LA 70503 •

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February 2010

February 2010

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Ergonomically Friendly Is Your Workstation? Repetitive motion injuries are on the rise in the United States, especially with office employees using computers for much of the day. Sure, the pain in your neck could be caused by the annoying co-worker in the next cubicle or the micro-managing boss, but don’t overlook the fact that a well-designed workstation can do wonders for relieving neck and back pain.

“Repetitive motion injuries are serious concerns that can cause a lot of discomfort to an otherwise healthy person,” explained Dr. Thigpen. These injuries can affect everyday tasks such as opening a door, driving, typing, writing, picking up an object. In some cases, the pain can last for hours, affecting an employee’s productivity on the job.

Office ergonomics refers to how you arrange your desk to fit your needs.“Setting up a workstation in an efficient way is one of the easiest ways to reduce workplace injuries as well as aches and pains,” said Donald Thigpen, DC, with the Center for Chiropractic. “Simple adjustments using what is already there will usually do the trick. It’s a matter of being aware of the correct positioning and, if necessary, making minor adjustments in existing furniture and equipment.”

The key to a good plan for office ergonomics is to realize that everyone’s bodies are different, so everyone’s workstation will need to be different.“By personalizing your office equipment to your body, you can tailor the workstation for your needs. For example, if you have short arms, you need to compensate by bringing often-used items closer to avoid repetitively reaching for things throughout the day, or if your legs don’t comfortably reach the floor, using a small footstool can make a big difference.”

“Ergonomics and chiropractic are a natural match because they both address proper body mechanics,” Dr. Thigpen explained.“It’s all about keeping the body in natural positions.” According to recent reports, workplace injuries add up to a hefty blow to a company’s bottom line in workers’ compensation claims, not to mention the discomfort and aggravation to the affected employee. A U.S. Department of Labor survey taken a few years ago reports that 64 percent of workplace illnesses were disorders associated with repeated trauma such as carpal tunnel syndrome. Other painful problems affecting the hand, arm and shoulder are also considered the result of repetitive motions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, classified these injuries as the most prevalent, most expensive and most preventable workplace injuries in the United States costing about $15 billion a year in workers’ compensation costs.

“In addition to desk arrangement, it’s important to check your habits throughout the day. Having the right equipment is good, but if you sit at your ergonomically-correct desk for hours on end, you’re still putting yourself at risk for soreness and discomfort,” said Dr. Thigpen. He suggests getting up and walking around the office at least once each hour. “Stretch, rotate your neck, wrists and ankles to give your body a break from just one position. Those kinds of movements reduce stiffness and soreness at the end of the day.” For more information, call the Center for Chiropractic at 502-5303 to arrange a consultation with Dr. Thigpen.

Computer Monitor

One of the most common reasons for neck and back pain is caused by leaning forward to see the monitor. This improper alignment puts extra pressure on the neck and spine. The goal is to have the monitor positioned in such as way as to allow you to see it clearly from your chair. The head and neck should be in a neutral position, looking straight head. A monitor stand is usually the best way to get it up to the right height.


If you use the phone frequently throughout the day, consider a headset. This allows for confidential conversations without having to cradle the phone between your shoulder and neck, which causes discomfort and improper alignment.

The monitor should be less than an arm’s length away. Watch out for glare or eye strain. If your monitor is in front of a window, the view may be great, but the brightness could be hurting your eyes. The background should not be brighter than your computer monitor. Adjusting the blinds or moving the monitor may be the simple answer. If your monitor faces a window, check it for glare by turning off your monitor. If glare is a problem, a glare guard will probably solve the problem.


It should be almost in your lap. If it’s too high, the shoulder muscles contract, and you’ll feel fatigued at the end of the day. If you have an office chair with arms, and you rest your elbows there as you type, you can position the keyboard a little higher. For those without chair arms, your forearms should be near your side as you type. An under-the-desk keyboard


It should provide enough room for necessary papers, reference manuals and other tools, but arranged so that you don’t have to bend from the waist to reach frequently used items. The height of the desk should allow enough space for knees and thighs to comfortably fit under the desk.

by Christine Fisher


These can be an ergonomic nightmare. Because the monitor and keyboard are one piece, they don’t allow flexibility on separating the two for proper use. One of the easiest solutions is to purchase a separate keyboard. This will allow you to put the keyboard lower using a keyboard tray, and position the monitor at eye level.


The lower portion of the seat should support your lower back’s inward curve, and the upper portion should support your middle back’s outward curve. If your chair doesn’t support the small of your back, try using a pillow or spine support cushion to help. Sit all the way back in your chair so the seat back can do its job of supporting those curves in your spine.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Lessons for Hunters and At -Home Cooks One way to save more money and waste less food is to learn how to properly cut meat, said Chef Joe Heacook, director of the culinary arts program at Sowela Technical Community College, which will offer a meat preparation course designed for hunters who field dress their game. According to Heacook, hunters are often limited to making sausage from their wild game, because they don’t know how to properly make cuts to get steak and other meats. But, he said, you don’t have to be a gourmet chef or a hunter to benefit from a class like Meat Preparation. All you need is an interest in saving money and wasting less when you cook. The 5-week course is from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesdays beginning Feb. 9 and is $185 plus applicable fees. Heacook also announces a new 5-week, Regional Cuisine course that is open to the public Tuesday nights from 5:30-8:30 p.m. beginning Feb.9. by Erin K. Cormier

Takeaway Financial Lessons From A Down-Trodden Decade

In 1999, the economy was bright, sunny, and enjoying the spoils of the explosion. Pockets were fat, moods were cheery, houses were occupied, and jobs were filled. That financial picture drifted further away as the decade edged on and eventually disappeared, leaving most Americans with less money, fewer jobs, and more cynicism.

The statistics tell the story. Over the past ten years, the number of families living in poverty increased from 9.3 percent to 10.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Seventy-five percent of workers now have to pay part of their health care benefits cost, an increase of nearly 10 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An official with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has stated that the decade experienced some of the widest gaps between the well-off and the not-so-well-off; for the middle class, earnings have not kept up with necessary spending.

their finances, because they never had a need to. Now that things are improving, it’s a good time to focus on what we’ve learned in the last few years, to make sure we are better prepared for any financial hardships in the future.” Here are three of the most important takeaway tips from the decade of financial uncertainty:

Save, save, save. It’s easy to make the excuse

After such a downer of a decade, most Americans will approach the next ten years cautiously, but they should also approach it with a newfound sense of fiscal responsibility, according to David Buxton, Senior Vice President with Cameron State Bank.

that it’s impossible to save money during a recession, “but let’s be honest. A lot of people weren’t saving before the recession, much less during. If they’ve learned something, however, they’ll start saving now,” Buxton said. Among Americans, the savings rate (how much is set aside in accounts or other portfolios) is astonishingly low – just 3 percent, a third of what it was in the 60s and 70s. That savings rate existed before the recession and carried over into the new decade. At times, however, in recent years, the savings rate dipped into the negatives. “At the very least, you want to have three months’ worth of living expenses tucked away in a rainy day account,” Buxton said. “Unfortunately, the importance of saving money in times of excess usually doesn’t become apparent until times of distress.”

“Many of the economic factors that have adversely affected consumers were beyond their control, but as with any negative situation, the smartest thing to do is figure out what those challenges have taught us,” Buxton said. “Before the recent economic downturn, we had a generation who had never really experienced this type of widespread financial challenge. They had never learned how to be disciplined about managing

Approach credit with caution. Thanks to credit, all-too-many Americans have been able to live beyond their means for years. Being a creditcard holder used to be the exception; now it’s the rule. The effortlessness of gaining lines of credit is understandably appealing, but “what seems like a logical and practical decision soon becomes an albatross as the debt starts to mount,” Buxton said.


“Regional Cuisine explores five of the 11 regions of the United States, their flavors and culinary principles. Each week students will learn the taste and flavor of a new region,” Heacook said. The course is $185 plus applicable fees.


Both classes will take place on Sowela’s Campus in its new state-ofthe-art cooking facility that opened its doors for its first classes this semester. For more information contact Sowela at 337-491-2688.

“Credit cards themselves are not inherently bad. There are many good reasons to have lines of credit; the problem arises when people don’t utilize their credit responsibly. It’s easy for debt to balloon out of control, especially when it happens gradually over a period of time. Many people view cash as ‘real money’ and credit as something else, when it reality, you should pay more attention to how you use your credit than how you use your cash.” Entering into a recession with debt, or allowing debt to mount once the recession starts, “only magnifies an already stressful situation,” he adds.



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“high on the hog” when the money’s reliable and plentiful and your dollar stretches far. But once the money gets scarce, and the dollar value shrinks, you’ll find yourself burdened with unnecessary luxuries. “When faced with the decision to splurge on expensive, unnecessary luxuries, or live within your budget, the latter will always be the wiser decision,” Buxton said. “Living it up is a lot less fun when your dollars are short and you are thinking back about what you spent that you could have saved.”

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These may have been tough lessons to learn, but they are important ones to remember to prevent facing the same situation again, stresses Buxton. “That goes for the wealthy Wall Street broker as well as the middle-class wage earner. Being financially responsible is something everyone should be focused on as we start the new decade.”

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


CHRISTUS-St. Patrick Offers Bereavement Group

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospice is now hosting a bereavement group. The group meets each Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Spiritual Care Conference Room on the second floor of St. Patrick Hospital. The group is open to the community at large. Facilitators will emphasize companioning rather than “treatment” for those experiencing the natural grief process. The six needs of mourners are addressed in the group: • The need to acknowledge the reality of death • The need to feel the pain of the loss • The need to remember the person who has died • The need to develop a new identity • The need to search for meaning after the death • The need to receive ongoing support from others. Meeting each of these needs represents an important influence on a mourner’s ability to heal. For more information call CHRISTUS St. Patrick Home Care and Hospice 337-395-5600

Score Big on Tough Interview Questions You look great! You’re wearing a terrific new outfit, you ate a good breakfast and your resume is top notch. You’re ready for that all-important job interview! Well, almost. As prepared as you are, your interview could be a disaster if you aren’t ready to answer those dreaded tough questions, like “Why did you leave your last job?” or “Where do you see yourself in 10 years?” Here’s some advice for delivering a great answer from CareerBuilder. com. What are your weaknesses? The trick here is don’t take this literally and go into a detailed explanation of your weaknesses. Instead, take a potential weakness and put a positive spin on it. For example, you could say: “I’m very meticulous – I take my time with important

paperwork. In some industries this trait probably isn’t a good fit. But for this accounting position, it’ll help me excel.” Why did you leave your last job? Again, present this in a positive light. An interview is not the time to dish the dirt on a bad boss. A good answer would be, “The company wasn’t a good fit for my creative personality. I learned that organizations have distinct personalities, just like people do. Since your company seems to value independent thinking and alternative methods, I think I’d make a good fit.” Why do you want to work here? Questions like these require you to do your homework before the interview.

You should know something specific about the company, that way you can answer with something like, “I want to be a part of an organization that last year alone invested $1.4 million in the research and development of eco-friendly equipment.” Tell me about the worst boss you ever had. As tempting as it may be to badmouth the last jerk you worked for, take the high road – DON’T vent any past frustrations. Tell the interviewer, “While none of my past bosses were awful, there are some who taught me more than others did. Like the value of patience and respect for my colleagues.” You’ll get your point across without looking petty and that’s a big gold star for any future employee.

Laboratory at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital Receives CAP Accreditation

Jennings Hospital Sees Marked Improvements in Surgical Care

Remarkable quality improvements in surgical procedures have been made at Jennings American Legion Hospital, including a 28 percent reduction in surgical-site infections and a 100 percent score in surgical care improvements from the Surgical Care Improvement Project. The project, a national quality partnership of organizations interested in improving surgical care by significantly reducing surgical complications, previously scored Jennings hospital in the low 80 percentile in the use of prophylactic antibiotics 24 hours after surgery. The hospital, which scored in the top tier in all other SCIP measures, sought to greatly reduce their rate of surgical-site infections and the use of post-surgery prophylactic antibiotics. The hospital exceeded its expectations by scoring a perfect 100 percent in discontinuing antibiotics 24 hours after surgery, based on SCIP quality measurements. The hospital also reduced surgical-site infections by 28 percent the first year. The hospital credits its participation in the VHA Rapid Adoption Network (RAN) as one catalyst for these improvements. RAN is a virtual network that allows hospitals to share information about clinical practices to accelerate the pace of clinical improvement. It is sponsored by VHA Inc., the national healthcare alliance. The staff also implemented a nursing mentoring program that gave experienced nurses the opportunity to mentor staff about process improvements to help prevent post-operative infection. Reduced surgical-site infections not only improve the quality of care for patients; it also helps cut costs and produce better patient outcomes.

Petross Achieves Certified Diabetes Educator Status

The National Certification Board for Diabetes Educators (NCBDE) announced that Leslie Petross, diabetes coordinator at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital achieved Certified Diabetes Educator® (CDE®) status by successfully completing the Certification Examination for Diabetes Educators. Achieving certification status demonstrates that the health care professional possesses distinct and specialized knowledge, thereby promoting quality of care for people with diabetes. Currently, there are over 16,600 diabetes educators who hold NCBDE Leslie Petross certification. Petross has served as a diabetes coordinator at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital for five years, and was previously a registered dietitian with the hospital. The diabetes program at WCCH, a program recognized by the American Diabetes Association, holds education classes weekly and individual education is provided to patients when needed. A support group, led by Petross, is held monthly at the hospital.


The laboratory and blood gas laboratory at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital have been awarded accreditation by the Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent onsite inspection. Tiffany Martin, the laboratory’s director; Gary Taylor, the blood gas director; and Dr. Robert Rumsey, medical director, were recently advised of this national recognition and congratulated for the excellence of services being provided. The laboratory at WCCH is one of nearly 7,000 CAP accredited laboratories nationwide. During the CAP accreditation process, inspectors examined the laboratory’s records and quality control of procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examined staff qualifications and competencies, the laboratory’s equipment, facilities, safety program and record, as well as the overall management of the laboratory. This stringent inspection program is designed to specifically ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients.

Jennings Hospital Names Chief Operating Officer

Keith Simpson

The governing board and administrative team of Jennings American Legion Hospital welcome Keith Simpson as chief operating officer. Simpson’s duties include ensuring compliance with established goals of the hospital, including performance improvement, safety and accreditation standards of The Joint Commission. He will also work with other members of the administrative team, giving input on the hospital’s vision and direction. Prior to joining the Jennings hospital, Simpson served as vice president of risk management with Hospital Services of Louisiana, Inc. for eight years and was with that

company for 14 years. Simpson holds six professional certifications in healthcare risk management and safety. In 2000, he was one of the first candidates to achieve the Certified Professional in Healthcare Risk Management, (CPHRM) and in 2005 was named a Fellow of the American Society for Healthcare Risk Management, (FASHRM). He has also completed ASHRM’S Patient Safety Curriculum. A graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Simpson has a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital Adds BARRX Procedure

Gerald Byrd, M.D with CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital is now performing the BARRX procedure which drastically reduces the risk of developing esophageal cancer due to Barrett’s Esophagus. Dr. Byrd is one of only four doctors within two hours that can perform the BARRX procedure that is a part of the Heartburn Center of St. Patrick Hospital. Statistics show that 30 million people suffer daily from heartburn, and one out of ten people with heartburn will develop Barrett’s Esophagus, which increases the risk of esophageal cancer. The revolutionary BARRX procedure treats Barrett’s Esophagus by removing layers of the diseased esophagus without the use of incisions. Dr. Byrd is currently performing the BARRX Procedure at the Heartburn Center at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital. For more information on procedures offered at the Heartburn Center at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, visit or call the heartburn nurse at 430-4373.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

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February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Rau offers the following strategies to help identify and pursue your retirement savings goals:

Double-check your assumptions.

Before you do anything else, answer these important questions: When do you plan to retire? How much money will you need each year? Where and when do you plan to get your retirement income? (Research shows that more that 51 percent of workers expect to qualify for full Social Security benefits sooner than they actually will.) Are your investment expectations in line with the performance potential of the investments you own?

Use an accurate “calculator.”

The best way to calculate your goal is by using one of the many interactive worksheets now available free of charge online and in print. Each type features questions about your financial situation as well as blank spaces for you to provide answers. An online version will perform the calculation automatically and respond almost instantly with an estimate of how much you may need for retirement and how much more you should try to save to pursue that goal. If you do the calculation on a paper worksheet, however, you might want to have a traditional calculator on hand to help with the math. Remember that your ultimate goal is to save as much money as possible for retirement regardless of what any calculator might suggest. (After all, when was the last time you heard a retiree complain about having saved too much money in his or her 401(k) plan?)

Contribute more.

Retirement Math How Much Do You Need?

The baby-boom generation is trailblazing into another new era: retirement. Never a generation to accept the status quo, they are already redefining the outmoded image of “golden years.” Forget about endless days spent just puttering around the house. This group seeks an unprecedented time of adventure, travel, and new outlets for the creativity that defines them.

will need for retirement, or the group who hasn’t even started saving. They’ll have some catching up to do.”

While these exciting changes will redefine aging, will baby boomers be able to finance their adventurous plans, particularly after the reality check of the great recession?

Rau says even you are behind, or if you feel like retirement is a distant dream, it’s never too early -- or too late -- to have a plan for retirement savings. The obvious first step is determining how much money you will need to save in order to retire. But research shows that surprisingly, less than 50 percent of American workers today know how much money they will need to save to live the way they would like to after retirement.

It’s still possible, according to CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Denise Rau, President of Rau Financial Group. “It all depends on how well they planned for the future they dreamed of. Those who will have the most difficulty are the individuals age 50 and older who have either completely underestimated how much they

It’s important to realize that calculating a retirement savings goal does more than simply provide you with a dollars and cents estimate of how much you’ll need for the future. It also requires you to visualize the specific details of your retirement dreams and to assess whether your current financial plans are realistic,


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

by Kristy Armand

comprehensive and up-to-date. “That’s why ‘doing the math’ for retirement is not a one-time assignment. You have to continually reevaluate your situation and make adjustments to your savings plan accordingly.” She says the key is identifying what aspects of retirement are important to you, what these will cost, and then to simply put your money where your heart is. “If life on the beach is your retirement dream, then you need to figure out how you are going to pay for that condo. If your goal is to live simply after retirement and help your children and grandchildren with their financial needs, then you need a plan to decrease expenses and grow your savings. There’s no right or wrong retirement goal. It’s a very individual decision, but regardless of your plans, you need to know where the money is going to come from to make your goals a reality.”

February 2010

Are you among the almost three quarters of retirement savers who say they could set aside an extra $20 each week? If so, here’s some motivation to actually do it: Contributing an extra $20 each week to your plan could provide you with an additional $51,389 after 20 years or $130,237 after 30 years, assuming 8% annual investment returns. At the very least, you should try to contribute at least enough to receive the full amount of your employer’s matching contribution (if offered). It’s Caring for the Community also a good idea to increase contributions annually, such as after a pay raise. Because retirement will likely be one of the biggest expenses in your life, it’s important to maintain an accurate price estimate and financial plan. Rau suggests making it a priority to calculate your savings goal at least once a year. “That way, you can make adjustments as needed, and your personal plan will stay on track regardless of the ups and downs of the economy.” For more information about retirement planning, call Rau Financial Group today at 480-3835 to schedule a free consultation. Information is also available at www.

February 2010

Providing continuity in health


Quality comprehensive perinatal, pediatric, adolescent, adult and geriatric care

Call 337-439-9983 for an appointment SWLA is the only healthcare center in Southwest Louisiana to be accredited with the Joint Commission Approval.

SWLA Center for Health Services will meet any of your healthcare needs, no matter what your financial situation. • Obstetrics/Gynecology • Pediatrics • Internal and Family Medicine • Women’s Health • Kid Med/WIC • Immunizations • Nutrition Counseling • Case Management • Laboratory • Pharmacy • Outreach/Health Educaton • HIV Testing and Education • Oral Health (Dentistry) • Physical Fitness and Wellness Programs/Aerobics/KidFit • Behavioral Health Management • Substance Abuse Prevention and Counseling • Podiatry (Foot treatment) • Optometry (Eye Care) • Nu-Exodus (adolescent substance abuse program) • State-of-the-art Fitness Center

Open Monday, Wednesday & Thursday 8am–5pm Tuesday 10am–7pm • Friday 8am–Noon Lake Charles Campus (337) 439-9983 Crowley Campus (337) 783-5519 • Lafayette Campus (337) 769-9451

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Area Fundraisers Announced Funds raised for the Community Clinic will contribute to patient care and possible expansion. Last year’s event raised more than $71,000 for the clinic. More than 400 guests are expected to attend this year’s gala in support of the clinic. Tickets are $125 per person or $1,000 for a table of eight. Purchases may be made by visiting our web site, or calling the Medical Society office, 337-478-3780.

Free to Breathe 5K Run on March 27

Tickets Available for “A Black Tie Affair” “A Black Tie Affair,” a fund-raiser hosted by the Calcasieu Medical Society Foundation, will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort. This event benefits the Calcasieu Community Clinic, a free health care clinic for the working uninsured. The event will include a Silent Auction, raffle, dinner and dance show by Vince Vance and the Valiants. Vince Vance and the Valiants have performed in Washington, DC for President Bush’s Inauguration in 2005 and were inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in June of the same year. Their show is interactive and entertaining, with more than 14 different costume changes during the four-hour performance. The most recent statewide study revealed that the rate of uninsured adults in Louisiana is 21.2 percent. This translates to over 720,000 residents with no health insurance. Many of these people are hard working citizens, who need every dollar they earn to provide for their families and cannot afford the additional expense of rising health care costs. In 1999, a group of concerned physicians got together to address the needs of the growing population of low-income, working, uninsured persons in Southwest Louisiana. In February 2001, the Calcasieu Community Clinic opened its doors to provide free health care for the first time. The clinic, housed at McNeese State University, is financially dependent upon the community in which it serves. The Calcasieu Medical Society Foundation held the first “A Black Tie Affair” fundraiser in 2006. The clinic, with an unduplicated patient base of 2,250, has provided more $3.7 million in medical services and pharmaceuticals to the community. Exams and medications are provided on site. Lab tests, mammograms and specialized services, not available at the clinic, are referred out. This is all at no cost to the patient.


The second annual Free to Breathe 5K run in Southwest Louisiana, hosted by the Southwest Louisiana Lung Cancer Group Partnership, will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 27, at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Registration begins at 7 a.m. Proceeds will benefit the National Lung Partnership’s vital lung cancer research, public awareness, and education programs. Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of women and men in the US, taking more lives than breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined, yet federal research funding for lung cancer lags behind many other common cancers and common diseases, according to the National Lung Partnership. In 2006, the National Cancer Institute estimated that it spent only $1,638 per lung cancer death, compared to $13,519 per breast cancer death and $11,298 per prostate cancer death. About 85 percent of the 213,000 people diagnosed with lung cancer each year in the U.S. will die within five years of their diagnosis, according to the NLP. Roughly 10 to 15 percent of lung cancer patients are non-smokers. According to a study by the American Cancer Society, the incidence of lung cancer among lifelong non-smokers was about equal to that of brain and other nervous system cancers. Prizes will be awarded to an overall winner and top male and female finishers in various age brackets. Online registration is available through March 23 at a cost of $15 by visiting Mailin registration is $18 through March 16. Event-day registration is $20. The National Lung Cancer Partnership is a group of leading doctors, researchers, patient advocates, and lung cancer survivors dedicated to raising public awareness of the disease and generating funding for lung cancer research.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Gems and Stems Benefits Women’s Shelter, Rape Crisis The Calcasieu Women’s Shelter’s annual Gems & Stems fundraiser will begin with at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, at Treasures of Marilyn’s in Lake Charles. The event benefits both the Calcasieu Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Outreach. As guests enter, they may purchase beverages in stemware with velvet pouches attached. Inside this pouch is a gem of mountable quality. The silent auction may be viewed prior to dinner and dancing. A live auction will be featured after the Lenten menu dinner. By popular demand, Gervis Guidry and John Haley will return to provide dinner and dancing music. Gems & Stems provides much needed funding to provide for the Shelter and programs in the community that address domestic violence and sexual assault. Tickets are on sale now for $50 per person. Cocktail attire is requested. For more information, contact the shelter at 436-4552 or (800) 223-8066. Those who cannot attend but would like to make a donation to the Calcasieu Women’s Shelter & Rape Crisis Outreach can mail the tax- deductible donation to: CWS, PO Box 276, Lake Charles, LA 70602. Public votes will determine the top ten finalists. The winner, selected by members of the Friends of Samaritan, will be announced at the Samaritan Counseling Center’s annual banquet on March 5 at Lake Charles Civic Center. Auction will begin at 6 p.m. with dinner being served at 7 p.m. Last year’s recipient was local businessman and philanthropist Willie King Jr. “The Samaritan of the Year award gives us the opportunity to recognize an unsung hero who has demonstrated mental, physical and spiritual wellness in their lives, which they share with others in the community,” said Mickey Shannon, executive director of the Samaritan Counseling Center. “This is the third year the award has been presented and once again we are inspired and motivated by the nominations we’ve received.” Tickets for the banquet are $50 and can be obtained at University Methodist Church, Christian World, Flavin Realty or by calling 337-661-1602. Additional information about the Samaritan Counseling Center and the 2010 Samaritan of the Year Award can be found at

Register for First Local Walk for Obesity The deadline to register for the area’s first Walk for Obesity is Monday, March 1. The walk will be held Saturday, March 13, at the Lake Charles Civic Cenver. Louisiana is currently ranked eighth in the nation in adult obesity and seventh in child and adolescent obesity. Louisiana received a D on its 2009 health care report card. The walk, hosted by SWLA Center for Health Services KidFit, will provide funding for two children

to attend the Wellspring Fit Camp in San Marcos, Texas, this summer. Registration is $20.00 per person. For more information, call Kisha Guillory at 493-5149.

Make Your Heart Race The seventh annual “Make Your Heart Race” 5K and 1-mile Fun Run will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, February 14, at the Lake Charles Civic Center. The event, sponsored by The CHRISTUS St. Patrick Regional Heart Center, 7 At Your Service KPLC, Lake Area Runners and GiGi’s Fitness Centers will include a variety of age group categories and prize money. A wheelchair division will be available for all age groups. Entry fee for the 5K race is $25 and $15 for the 1-mile Fun Run is $15 on race day. On-site registration will take place from 6:30-7:45 a.m. on race day. The event will help benefit the American Heart Association. Nearly 70 million Americans suffer from at least one form of cardiovascular disease, the leading killer of both men and women. For more information, call 491-7577.

Today, your wedding dress. Tomorrow, a treasured family heirloom. Take the first step toward creating a life-long memory with AAA’s wedding gown preservation service. We offer an unconditional lifetime warranty against any and all of the following hazards: • • • • • •

Cast Your Vote on Samaritan of the Year Each year Samaritan Counseling Center presents a deserving local resident with the Samaritan of the Year award. This award is designed to recognize those who have exhibited a long-term commitment to promoting good mental health; promoted health in mind, body and spirit by the way they live their life; worked selflessly to improve the lives of others; and demonstrated a consistent willingness to invest time and money for projects that benefit local residents. Nominations for this prestigious award are being accepted through February 10th. The public is encouraged to cast their decision for Samaritan of the Year by reading the profiles and voting at February 2010

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living



Framing A ashionable Look

Long gone are the days when wearing glasses was considered a “fashion don’t.” Fashion designers and style leaders have come to embrace eyewear as chic accessory that helps define a unique, personalized style. “Eyewear is one of today’s trendiest accessories, and is becoming more and more of an essential wardrobe element for both women and men,” states Denise Davis, COE, CMPE, Chief Operating Officer of The Eye Clinic and Optics Unlimited eyewear stores. “When you stop to think about it, why wouldn’t it be? Your glasses are the first thing people see when they look at you. They create an instant first impression and should be chosen with care to make sure the frames you wear are helping you deliver the best possible statement about yourself.” She adds that many people get frustrated when trying to find eyewear that gives them the improved vision they need, and the look they want. “Don’t think you have to sacrifice style for function. You can definitely have both! Choices in eyewear have never been more fashionable. In fact, with all the new materials and creative designs being used in frames today, you can create an eyewear wardrobe that gives you a variety of options. You don’t have just one pair of shoes or one pair of earrings, do you? Your look changes from day to day and so should your eyewear. It’s the perfect way to add an updated personal touch to your overall look.” Wondering what the latest trends are in eyewear? Here’s a closer look at some of the most today’s most popular frame styles:

What’s Your Eye Style?

For Women

Men’s Trends

Feminine Mystique

Classic Comeback

Maintain an air of mystery with eyewear that combines dark and classic styling for an elusive appeal. Frames in metal or deep, rich hues with gradient or dark lenses evoke intrigue while tortoise frames add modern interest to a classic look. Drama and luxury are intensified with subtle details like leather or metal accents on plastic or acetate frames.

Retro is a theme in men’s eyewear styles as well, where everything old is new again, Bold, thick, round and angular shapes are popular. Black, ivory and the ever-classic tortoise are color must-haves, with two-toned and mosaic style touches offering fun alternatives. Classic aviator and wayfarer shapes round out this clean look.

Flying High

With a classic style, much like the aviator, navigators are square and sleek with a slim frame that can appear rimless. Mirrored and dark-tinted lenses add a adventurous flair to many men’s collections.

Retro Redux

Retro and vintage-inspired frames have become the rage. Oversized round and square frames are available in translucents, two-tones and light hues. Gradient and color-tinted lenses, as well as lowset temples, also add a modern twist to the coveted styles of the past.

Sci-Fi Revival

Rocker Chic

by Kristy Armand


This year’s eyewear takes more than a few cues from heavy metal rockers with metallic and leather details. Embellished temples and contrasting browlines take futuristic angular shapes and shields up a notch. Rimless or semi-rimless frames and thick goggles are ultra modern, while mirrored lenses on metal frames exude a tough girl look.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

A futuristic tone gives men’s eyewear a new angle. Frames are thicker and bolder than ever, with well-defined squares taking the spotlight as the newest must-have shape. Bold colors and strong brow lines add a modern vibe, while metal accents, wraparounds and shield styles with blacked out lenses reflect stylish future. Optics Unlimited eyewear stores are located adjacent to all locations of The Eye Clinic in Lake Charles, Sulphur, DeRidder, Jennings and Moss Bluff (opening this month). For more information about quality eyewear, visit

Just as you would take your time before adding any critical pieces to your clothing wardrobe, you should do the same thing before choosing new eyewear. Davis recommends considering not only what you like, but also what will best suit your personality, lifestyle and other aspects of your appearance. “After all, your eyewear should present the perfect reflection of you. A qualified optician is critical for helping you make the right choices.” She offers the following points to consider when choosing new eyewear: • • • • • • •

Do you want a frame that’s delicate or bold, retro or modern, conservative or “out there”? Are there any current fashion trends you really like? Are you going to wear this frame all the time, mainly at work or just when you go out on the town? Do you want a designer label? What colors are you are drawn to, what are your hair and skin colors, and what are the main colors in your wardrobe? What is your face shape? What do you like or not like about your current eyeglasses? Additional Sources: All about Vision, Vision Council

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living



Improve Your Home’s

Ready to put your house on the market but worried about how quickly it will sell, or if you’ll be able to get a good offer in today’s real estate market? Before the “for sale” sign goes up, there are some key steps you can take in and around your home to increase your chances for a quick, profitable sale. Nikki Hagen, Realtor with Century 21 Bessette Realty, says it’s really the simple, small details that can make the biggest difference when it comes to impressing prospective buyers. “And that’s really what you are trying to do – make a great first impression. Prospective buyers are not just looking for what they like; they are looking for obvious faults – reasons why they should not buy your home, or reasons for offering a lower price.”

...make a great first impression. – Nikki Hagen, Realtor with Century 21 Bessette Realty

That’s why Hagen says the most important steps you can take before putting your house on the market relate to cleaning and maintenance. “A neat, clean and wellmaintained home sends the message that the home was cared for, that there won’t be any hidden surprises. On the other hand, things like dirty windows, peeling paint, doors that stick, stained carpet and missing drawer pulls send out a warning that the place may need some work.” It’s not necessary to make major renovations before you put your house on the market, in most cases. “If you never got around to that total kitchen makeover, then you can make some small, inexpensive changes to spruce things up,” says Hagen. The kitchen and bathrooms are the key areas to focus on, particularly on a limited budget. If your appliances are in poor condition or extremely old, try to replace them with updated models. The same goes for sinks and toilets. You can also get tubs, sinks and appliance fronts refinished to eliminate years of wear and tear. Simple improvements in these areas include replacing the hardware on cabinets and drawers, and swapping out outdated light fixtures. Upgrading small items such as light switch and outlet covers can add an inexpensive, but nice touch.

by Kristy Armand


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Neutralizing your home as much as possible is also important. Your home naturally reflects you and your family’s tastes and personality, “but remember,” Hagen says, “you want potential buyers to be able to visualize how their family and their lifestyle will fit into your home. They can’t do this if you have customized every room with extremely bright paint, wildly patterned wallpaper, hundreds of family photos or collectable figurines. It’s worth the time to tone down any extremes and use neutral colors on the walls to help February 2010

prospective buyers create their own vision for the house. Remove anything excessive that might overwhelm potential homebuyers. Your goal is to depersonalize the living space so they can see themselves living there, with their possessions.” Hagen says it’s also a good idea to get rid of some of the everyday evidence that your home is lived in. “The key to remember is that the way you live in your home and the way you market and sell your house are two different things. Pick up excess personal clutter such as newspapers, magazines, mail and books. Put away laundry and dishes, and clean out and straighten drawers and closets. You’re planning on moving anyway, so it’s the perfect time to pack up closets, garages and attics anyway. Box up any unneeded items and store them away from the home in order showcase the storage space your home offers.” Once you’ve taken care of cleaning, repairs and depersonalizing, it’s time to put the finishing touches on staging your home to show it in its best light. “Staging is the proven way to get top dollar for your home,” says Hagen. “Homes that apply staging techniques sell faster and for higher prices than homes that are not staged.” She explains that staging goes beyond cleaning and decorating. It’s about creating a mood, a feeling. The right staging techniques can make a home look bigger, brighter, cleaner, warmer, more welcoming, and help prospective buyers feel an instant connection. “That is the feeling that leads to a good sale – it’s the emotional connection.” Hagen says this is where the phrase “success is in the details” proves itself to be true. “Staging can be as simple as rearranging sparse pieces of furniture in an appealing grouping or draping window coverings with simple linens. There are a variety of techniques and accessories you can apply, none of which have to be expensive.” She offers the following examples of tried and true staging methods: • Bring in items to spruce up the house: - Mirrors - Pillows - Plants - Baskets - Lamps - Ottomans - Area and throw rugs - Scented soaps

- Guest towels - Bowls of fruit

• • • • • • • • • • •

Focus most on the most visible areas: the foyer, kitchen, living room, master bedroom, and family room. Use plants in colorful pots or inexpensive wicker baskets to fill in empty spaces. Look to home catalogs for little details on home décor. For instance, group books, pictures, and knick-knacks appealingly on bookcases. Try angling one or two pieces of furniture slightly and move furniture 4 inches to 6 inches from the wall to create more interesting room spaces. Trim trees, prune shrubs, and make sure the lawn is mowed and watered regularly. In summer, turn on the sprinklers for five minutes, 30 minutes before the open house. It makes the lawn and driveway sparkle. Refrain from cooking anything that leaves a distinctive odor, such as fish, garlic, or cabbage. Set the dining room table with attractive linens, dishes, and stemware. Arrange fresh flowers throughout the home. Light a fire in the fireplace in fall and winter. Use as much natural light as possible. Add extra lamps in dark rooms or corners.

Hagen also recommends bringing in another pair of eyes to help spot problems you may have missed. “It can be difficult to remain objective when you are selling your personal home. But remember, people are shopping for their next family home. A little planning and extra attention could mean the difference between a house that sits on the market for months and one that is snapped up quickly.” For specific information about selling and staging your home, call Nikki Hagen at 474-2185 or visit

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pump up your workout by Christine Fisher

Even though strength training is one of the best ways to lose excess weight, improve endurance and increase bone density, only one in five adults report consistently incorporating strength training into their exercise routines two or more times a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control. As a whole, Americans aren’t flexing their muscles as much as they should. The last time an increase was reported in the number of people regularly involved in strength training was from the year 2000 to 2001. Since then, we’ve made no strong progress.

To n e u

“Many people associate lifting weights with athletes,” said Suzy Trahan, registered dietitian, ACSM certified Health and Fitness Instructor and ACE certified personal trainer with Dynamic Dimensions of West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital. “Some still think that if they lift weights, they’ll ‘bulk up’ and become too muscular. That’s not how it works. People who have exaggerated muscles put in many hours lifting heavy weights. The typical strength training routine for the average adult will not result in bulky muscles, but instead, you’ll have a more toned appearance and an increased metabolism.”


Because of advancements in technology, the routine of daily life has changed from previous generations when physical labor was part of a normal day. It’s quite possible to accomplish a large amount of work without ever leaving an office chair, thanks to e-mail, telephones, and the Internet. Although technology and automation provide for more comfortable lives, and the ability to increase productions, our bodies are not moving as much, causing us to become a flabby society.

For those who are new to the strength-training world, Trahan says that exercising in a group can give you the extra motivation and coaching from the instructor that will keep you safe and help you achieve better results. “Search for a class that provides enough weights to allow you to self-regulate your workout and let the instructor know you are new to strength training,” she advised. Guidelines suggested by the American College of Sports Medicine include: • a minimum of 8 – 10 exercises involving the major muscle groups (arms, shoulders, chest, abdomen, back, hips and legs) should be done 2 – 3 days per week. • aim for one set of 8 – 12 repetitions • lift enough weight so that you feel fatigued at the end of the set • vary the muscle group worked so that you avoid working the same muscles two days in a row (work the arms and abdomen one day, legs and chest the next, for example) Studies show that adults who regularly lift weights are less likely to experience loss of muscle mass, functional decline and fall-related injuries than those who don’t. So, do your body a favor and pump some iron.

“Unless your daily activities include quite a bit of heavy lifting or physical activity, it’s a good idea to give back a little of the leisure time gained through technology advancements and purposely stress your muscular system with a program of strength training,” said Trahan.

d Bui l


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010


t g n e tr

February 2010


It’s especially important as people age, because muscle mass naturally diminishes as time goes by. If nothing is done to replace the muscle lost, then fat will increase. The good news is that strength training can help preserve and enhance muscle mass at any age. Strength training helps develop strong bones to ward off osteoporosis, control body fat, boost stamina, reduce risk of injury, and improve well-being and sleep.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living



In Sickness In Health

{ Finding it hard to breathe } Lung transplantation is a CF patient’s greatest hope for a longer life, so the call was not only a blessing, but a light of hope. After the surgery, Brian recovered quickly and regained a level of health he hadn’t experienced in years. He was able to walk up stairs, run and play with his daughter, and breathe deeply. This time, he said ‘yes’ when Cassondra asked if they would grow old together.

by Erin K. Cormier

This month, couples worldwide will recognize St. Valentine by reaffirming and celebrating their love and commitment to each other. It’s the type of celebration that comes easily when things are going as planned. Unfortunately, life has a way of giving us roadblocks – some we create ourselves; others are out of our hands.

But four years later, the cough came back. Brian’s lungs had been rejected. By the time they got the call for his second transplant on March 2, 2009, he was in a wheelchair and on oxygen.

Here, Thrive Magazine features the stories of three local couples who faced adversity armed with little more than faith, hope, and their vow to be there for each other, for better or worse.

{ Them against the world } attend their wedding two years before.

the past few months. In early December 2009, Fran was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer.

Fran filed for divorce. About two months later, Joe visited his attorney to discuss the proceedings; afterward, he decided to visit his parents’ grave – something he never did. It was a decision that would change his life.

“After the diagnosis, the doctor said he would give us a few minutes and he stepped out of the room. Joe and I didn’t say anything that whole time, but we didn’t have to. We just held each other and cried,” said Fran, who now undergoes radiation and chemotherapy. A prognosis will be made after her treatments are complete.

“When I got to the cemetery, Fran was there,” Joe said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

“We try to get as much out of every day as we can. It might just be having lunch or dinner, watching our grandkids play basketball or soccer, or going shopping. Whatever little things we can get out of the day, we’ll get it,” Joe said. When Fran has to undergo six hours of straight chemo, he’s there to dish out his usual wisecracks and she’s there to throw them back.

Fran agreed to meet him for dinner, but was so reluctant that she sought reinforcements, just in case he tried to hurt her. Instead, he told her he was sober and ready to be a good husband.

In February 1978, Joe Cironi arrived home from a business conference to find his wife, stepson, and furniture gone. The first thing he did was check the liquor cabinet. The next day he ate a frozen dinner, drank a bottle of wine, and wondered how he would get his wife back. The first challenge was to quit drinking. The second was to get Fran, his now estranged wife, to speak to him. Neither of them would be easy. After a marriage marked by violent alcoholism, Joe didn’t have a single fan. He begged every mutual acquaintance – even her doctor – to give Fran the message that he wanted to see her. No one would deliver it. He certainly had no support from Fran’s family, who had refused to 42

“I didn’t believe him, but over time, he proved himself,” Fran said. “When I went back to him, everyone thought I was crazy. Not a single person thought we would ever make it.” Joe admits that it was “us against them,” but he ultimately kept his promise. The last time he drank was when he shared a bottle of wine with a frozen dinner 32 years ago. The abuse disappeared with the alcoholism and, after a long period of redemption, he won the hearts of Fran’s family. “Fran supported me through the whole thing. We had an unspoken and spoken understanding that we would support each other through whatever the other person was going through, no matter what,” he said. As with any marriage, that resolve has been tested repeatedly over the past three decades, but perhaps not as much as it has been

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Years ago, when Cassondra Guilbeau would

see elderly couples holding hands and being sweet to each other, she would turn to her husband Brian and ask if he thought they would still be in love when they grew old. Brian only responded with a knowing look – a look that reminded them of what they both already knew: Brian, who suffered from cystic fibrosis, had an average life expectancy of 35. According to modern science, growing old wasn’t in the cards.

“We’ve been through some hard times together and we’ve had some great experiences,” he said. “I think we’ve done some good along the way. I sure hope so.”

February 2010

The couple met in 1996, when they were both reporters at the Daily Iberian and worked crossword puzzles over shared lunch breaks. She was outspoken and independent with a classic Type A personality. He was a cocky, laid-back sportswriter with a great sense of humor. When they eventually fell in love, Cassondra resolved to learn everything she could about CF.

“I went into his room, sat on the edge of the bed, and told him that I would miss him,” she said. She continued to talk to him as the family gathered in the room. Each time she spoke, his heart beat increased. “I felt it the moment he died.”

“I’d come home with all these books and he’d tell me not to read them. He knew it would hurt me,” she said. She learned all the bad news: that the fatal disease, marked by persistent coughing, was incurable and caused problems with breathing, lung disease, malnutrition, digestion and growth. “A lot of people find it surprising that I married Brian knowing that he had this disease, but I find it surprising that other people think that way.”

When Brian was on his respirator, she gave him a crucifix to hold every time he struggled. Today, she holds the crucifix when she finds it hard to breathe.

They married in 1998 and had a daughter, Lilly, in 2001. Four years later, Brian, who was on the lung transplant list, received a call from Oschner’s Hospital in New Orleans: They were ready for him.

“I feel lost,” she said. “When I first met Brian, I was ready to take over the world.

But if anyone had the moxie to challenge modern science, it was Cassondra.

“She stood by me when I suffered from a disease, and I’m going to do the same thing for her,” Joe said. He says the dynamics of their relationship changed after he won her back in 1978. That bond has strengthened so much that Joe can tell, with the slightest glance, when the side-effects of the chemo have set in and it’s time for her to rest.

February 2010

After the second transplant, Brian never regained the initial level of health he’d had before. In early fall of 2009, after spending weeks on respirators and feeding tubes, Brian, unable to speak above a whisper because of his tracheotomy, told his wife he was tired. Soon afterward, he slipped into a coma. Cassondra, still not ready to be defeated, held steadfastly onto faith and hope, but on November 13, 2009, she had to let one of them go.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

I didn’t want a husband and didn’t have a lot of faith in love or marriage. I think about who I was then and who I am now, and I owe it all to Brian. We certainly had our problems like any married couple, but I look back and think about all the things he opened me up to, and I can’t believe I was part of that experience. Everything about him became a part of me, too. And it still is.” She is also thankful every day for the greatest gift Brian left behind – their daughter, Lilly.

Continued on p44

Photo by Jason Hardesty


The Characteristics of Survivalist Couples

{ Gaining a healthy respect for one another } everything was fine. For about five months, it was – until Kristy made a sudden visit to the doctor after feeling strange movement in her belly. After an exam, the doctor immediately put her on bed rest and medication to prevent pre-term labor. “We had to have a hospital bed put into the house. She was allowed one 10-minute shower every two days and that was it,” Doug said.

Every married couple makes the “in sickness and in health” vow, but few couples have put it to the test as repeatedly and seriously as Doug and Kristy Como.

Doug jokes that “Improvise, Adapt and Overcome,” the unofficial mantra of the U.S. Marines, could be the official mantra of the Como family, with he and Kristy as a good example of how the family “figures out what they need to do, and then do it when challenges arise. There’s no looking back.” If they ever did choose to sit and reflect, they may surprise themselves. The Comos have faced enough hardship to fill a sixty-year marriage, and they’ve been married for less than twenty. Kristy had just turned 19 when she married 20-year-old Doug. Because Kristy had Type One diabetes, the high school sweethearts knew there was a chance they could encounter health challenges that other couples would never have to face. They were more right than they imagined. Three years into their marriage, Kristy developed Graves disease, an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. She was required to take radioactive iodine pills as a form of treatment; because of the nature of the pills, doctors had to ensure she wasn’t pregnant. When the tests were negative, she resumed treatment, but soon afterward, she discovered that the tests were mistaken. Her very early pregnancy had gone undetected, but it was too late: She’d taken the pills. The discovery meant she and the baby would have to undergo repeated testing to make sure


Kristy was bedridden for two months. Every time she got up to take her 10-minute shower, she wound up in the emergency room hooked up to an IV to stop contractions. She received regular steroid shots to help with Geoffrey’s development and was hooked up to an insulin pump because of her diabetes. After weeks of 24-hour days in bed, she was depressed, stir crazy, and tired. “Doug did everything for me above and beyond what was expected,” Kristy said. “I was extremely emotional at this point, but I knew he would do whatever needed to be done.”

had been complaining of a back ache for weeks but steadfastly refused to see a doctor. She made the appointment anyway and told him he was going whether he liked it or not. He did. He expected a diagnosis of back strain. Maybe a slipped disk. What he didn’t expect was cancer – lymphoma. “I was scared to death. I thought about my son and I started crying. Then I told myself, I’ve just got to do what I need to do,” he said. He admits that he was a much more difficult patient than Kristy was. “I went from 165 pounds to 125. I was tired and felt bad all the time. Because of the chemo, everything irritated me, especially loud noises. And you can imagine how difficult that is when you have a oneyear-old walking around.” Doug also developed pneumonia and shingles. During this time, neither he nor Kristy lamented their misfortunes. “We don’t do that. We don’t sit back and say, ‘Oh, why me?’” said Doug, who has been in remission for over 12 years. “After we get through something, we put it away and move on. I learned that from my parents and our faith has helped a lot with that. When we first got married, we weren’t regular churchgoers. Hardships like this truly help you find your faith.”

Every year millions of couples vow to love each other through thick and thin, but for many, the commitment gets thinner as the problems get thicker. There are those who stay together out of a sense of obligation, and others who part ways completely, but for a smaller and more fortunate group, the commitment strengthens with each heartache, hardship and roadblock, resulting in a new formidable dynamic. These are couples who are so in tune to each other’s needs that they can communicate without speaking, and they meet each other’s through a deepened sense of love and respect, rather than obligation. “The biggest thing I notice about these couples is that they have an intimate emotional connection with each other,” said Brenda Roberts, EdD, a licensed professional counselor who works with married couples and families. “They know exactly what the other person is feeling. They make it a point to know each other that well.” A recent article in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy outlined the impact of illness on couples’ relationships and noted that the long-term viability of a couples’ relationship when facing a health crisis may depend on openly discussing and legitimizing both partners’ needs. Roberts said couples sometimes confuse physical attraction with emotional intimacy – an error in judgment that could ultimately have an adverse effect

on the couple, especially when they face a difficulty. “Physical attraction doesn’t last very long. In a healthy relationship, a portion of that attraction should be replaced by emotional intimacy,” she said. “Couples that have established that type of intimacy can live through just about anything, but the emotional connection should come before the hardship, not after. You can’t use a traumatic event to establish that connection, but if it already exists, going through a tragedy together can certainly strengthen it.” Developing an emotional connection that melds two individuals into one loving unit is both painfully simple and frustratingly complicated. The key to success, says Roberts, is communication.

dependency, guilt, and anger are common on both sides of the aisle. According to Roberts, what makes couples survive and strengthen isn’t avoiding or flattening these emotions, however. Instead, couples should feel safe, open and honest enough in their relationship to be able to discuss exactly what they are feeling and thinking. “Couples should listen, understand, and validate each other as much and as often as possible throughout their relationship,” she said. “When a trauma happens, there should be that same amount of love, understanding, and validation. That’s what strengthens relationships.”

Couples who survive hardship, such as terminal or chronic illness, are able to talk about their individual needs, as well as the needs of the couple. But it’s not enough to just talk, Roberts notes. You have to be able to listen without judgment, talk without distraction, and accept what is being said. One common destroyer of good communication is when one partner judges, blames or belittles the other partner – actions that “make it unsafe to communicate,” Roberts said. The Journal study also noted that couples going through chronic or terminal illness can sometimes suffer under the compounding needs of the “healthy partner” versus the “ill partner.” Feelings of resentment,

Kristy agreed. “Doug and I are both very loyal to each other. We chose a path together, and that’s the path we’re going to take. There are times when we want to kill each other, but we figure it out and move on. That’s part of this whole experience. We took a vow and we meant it.” When asked where he would be if he’d never found Kristy, Doug answers simply: “I’d be dead. I would have never gone to the doctor to get my back checked out – never.”

Doug says he gained a new respect for his wife. “There were nights when she would cry herself to sleep. What she went through was very tough. I don’t know she did it.” The radioactive iodine probably had nothing to do with the troubled pregnancy, doctors said. It may have had something to do with her diabetes, or it may have just been the luck of the draw – to this day, the Comos aren’t sure. All that mattered was that their son Geoffrey was born nearly two months early, but basically healthy, on June 28, 1996. Life without crisis wouldn’t last long, however. Just eight months later, Kristy made a doctor’s appointment for Doug to get his back checked. He

3204 Ryan St. • 337-433-6200

Photo by Jason Ha


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living



Experience the of Mardi Gras Vinton Mardi Gras Celebration Saturday, February 6, 2 p.m.

Downtown Vinton. A parade ending at City Hall with free gumbo for all.

*Krewe of the Golden Years

Through Solutions for


While dry, itchy skin isn’t unusual in the colder months, some people have a particularly rough time. Excessive itching, to the point of a rash and oozing skin, can often be attributed to one cause: eczema. This skin allergy, or atopic dermatitis, is growing more common. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease reports that up to 30 percent of Americans deal with this skin condition; and many find that the cold weather can be a challenge. “Winter can be an especially difficult time for those with eczema,” said Maureen Olivier, MD, dermatologist with The Clinic.“Drier air can cause drier skin. Those with eczema already fight the dry skin battle, so when the humidity drops, it can cause even more problems.” Eczema usually shows up in infants and young children, who often outgrow it within a few years. It’s not unusual, though, for it to continue to flare up occasionally for years. The itchy rash usually appears on the face, knees, hands, or feet. In dark-skinned people, the affected areas can make the area either lighter or darker. In fair-skinned people, the areas can appear reddish or brown. Dr. Olivier said the exact cause isn’t known, but most of the time, it’s linked to an overactive response by the body’s immune system to unknown triggers. “It usually runs in families with allergies or asthma,” she said.“The flare-ups can happen as a response to a particular incident, like wearing rough or coarse material, feeling too hot or too cold.” Chemicals in soap or detergent are known to irritate the skin, and can be a trigger for those with eczema. Of course, pet dander is a common 46

Monday, February 8, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Senior citizens who have passed down Mardi Gras traditions celebrate the season with food and a Mardi Gras Ball. Free to seniors 60 and up.

Merchants’ Parade Friday, February 12, 7 p.m.

Carlyss Mardi Gras Trail Ride Saturday, February 13, 8:30 a.m.

From the West Cal Arena in Sulphur, down Pete Seay Road and back. Admission fee for trail riders is $5.

*World Famous Cajun Extravaganza/Gumbo Cook-Off

irritant for many people, but especially those with eczema. Even stress can cause a flare-up.“As you can see, there is a wide range of things that can pose a problem,” Dr. Olivier said.

Saturday, February 13, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Lotions and creams are necessary to survive the itchy madness. Since too much scratching can lead to infections, it is imperative to get the skin hydrated to decrease the urge to scratch. Drinking plenty of water is a good idea, as well as finding lotions that will soothe the skin.

Krewe of Omega Parade

Over-the-counter products, like hydrocortisone dreams, can help reduce inflammation. Antihistamines can reduce the severe itching. Two prescription creams, Elidel and Protopic, have provided relief for thousands of people. However, they both have a warning due to the Food and Drug Administration’s finding of a link between these medications and possible skin cancer. The warning advises doctors to prescribe them only for short-term use only after other attempts for solutions have failed.

*Krewe of Barkus Parade

With all the various remedies available, and the confusion over prescribed medication, seeing a dermatologist is a good idea. He or she can help sift through the options and provide guidance for the best plan based on the individual’s symptoms.

Tuesday, February 16, 10 a.m. Downtown Lake Charles, corner of Broad and Ryan. Sioux City, Lake Charles’ sister city, will hold a block party, complete with food, drinks, music and children’s activities.

Red Hat Parade Tuesday, February 16, 10:30 a.m. Downtown Lake Charles

Krewe of Krewes’ Parade Tuesday, February 16, 5:30 p.m.

Downtown-Midtown Lake Charles.

You will not want to miss this taste - from every - pot event or the hot Southern and Cajun music that comes along with it. Admission is $5, and children 5 and under are admitted free.

Saturday, February 13, 2 p.m.

Krewe of Charlie Sioux Block Party

Downtown Lake Charles.

*Zydeco Dance

Saturday, February 13, 3 – 5 p.m. Live bands playing Mambo and Zydeco.

Downtown – Midtown Lake Charles. Hundreds of elaborate krewe floats, costumes, beads and more wind through the city in the culmination of the Fat Tuesday celebration.

Enjoy Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana Visit

Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana:

A Vital Part of the Lake Area Community

• Safety and Health Training • Water and Wastewater Training Programs • Contractor Safety Programs Industry Site Orientation Programs • OSHA Compliance Training • Defensive Driving, Substance Abuse Studies, Community Service Program, several other Court Mandated Training Programs, and a New Driver Program • Classroom, Computer-based, and Web-based Training • Solutions Employee Assistance Program Call Today for More Information. for more information. *Denotes events taking place at the Lake Charles Civic Center. Events subject to change. Visit website for the most up-to-date information.

(337) 436-3354

Ryan at Clarence Lake Charles Monday - Thursday 7am - 4pm Friday 7am - Noon

Saturday, February 13, 3 p.m.

Fantastically disguised canines parade in full Mardi Gras attire, all vying for the title of “Mystical Dog.” Entry fee applies.

Krewe of Cosmos Presentation Saturday, February 13, 6:30 p.m. Sulphur High School Auditorium.

*Krewe of Illusions Saturday, February 13, 7:30 p.m.

Celebrate Mardi Gras with the 21st annual presentation of the Krewe of Illusions. Tickets are $30 orchestra, formal attire required. $18 balcony reserved seating and $15 standard balcony seating, casual attire.

*Taste de la Louisiane

Sunday, February 14, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

There are several practical solutions that can help soothe the skin. Dr. Olivier said these general recommendations are helpful in keeping the itchy skin at bay:

Pots and pots of all - you - can - eat traditional Louisiana cuisine for a $6 admission fee.

• • • • •

Old time Louisiana culture, arts and crafts, Mardi Gras music and magic.

Moisturize frequently. Choose detergents, soaps and lotions with no perfumes or dyes. Avoid scratchy material, such as wool. Use warm water when showering or bathing, not hot water. Keep fingernails trimmed to discourage scratching.

Over time, most people with eczema finds a solution that works for them; but it can take trial and error. So, if you find you’re scratching more than normal in the colder months, at least it helps to know you’re not alone. For more information, call Dr. Olivier’s office at 474-1386.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

by Christine Fisher

February 2010

*Children’s Day

Sunday, February 14, Noon – 3 p.m.

Children’s Parade Sunday, February 14, 3 p.m.

Downtown Lake Charles. A purple, green and gold parade for the young and young at heart.

*Lighted Boat Parade

Sunday, February 14, 6:30 p.m.

Be dazzled by the glowing boat parade on shimmering Lake Charles.

*Royal Gala Monday, February 15, 7 p.m.

The Cinderella moment of the season features the 2010 courts of more than 50 krewes with kings, queens, royal dukes and duchesses, captains, courtesans and jesters, followed by a night of music and dancing. Tickets are $5 in advance, or $6 at the door. Children 5 and under are admitted for free.

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living



Solutions for Life Solutions Employee Assistance Program from

by Keri Forbess-McCorquodale, MS, LPC, LMFT, CEAP

This month:

Let’s Fight!

Since this is the February issue, I thought I would write about relationships this month. As I pondered what aspect of relationships I wanted to focus on, I kept coming back to one thing – how to fight fairly. Not very romantic, is it? But it is a good skill to have! Conflict within relationships is to be expected. You come from different backgrounds, and the families you grew up in had different rules. Differences and diversity, while very important and good, often breed conflict. It’s normal. Frankly, when I have a couple tell me they never argue or disagree, I get worried. One thing I know is that when you care about something or someone, conflict will arise. I worry that couples who are not disagreeing have grown apathetic – and that is much harder to work with than the couples who argue all the time.


Once you accept that conflict is normal within relationships, you can begin to deal with it more effectively. As long as you freak out whenever there is a disagreement (because in your mind, “good” relationships don’t involve arguing), you will never be able to resolve things in a healthy way.

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Here are some tips for dealing with conflict (or fighting fairly) in a healthy way:

Commit to dealing with the issues. I see so many couples

where one person avoids conflict like it’s the plague. So the other person reacts by confronting in bigger ways (louder, angrier, etc.). And still nothing gets resolved, because now the couple is arguing about why one never wants to deal with anything and the other makes such a big deal about everything. The first step is to agree that if something is bothering one of you, you will bring it up appropriately to the other person. The key word here is “appropriately.” No yelling, no sulking, no weeks of silent treatment. More on this later in the article.

Speak for yourself! Remember to use “I” statements. This is a

way of communicating that does not blame, but focuses on you taking responsibility for your feelings. Avoid using the word “you” as much as possible. “You handled that terribly!” becomes “I feel irritated when things are handled that way.” Read both of the proceeding statements out lout and you will undoubtedly hear that the second sentence is much less accusatory. When the person you’re speaking to doesn’t feel accused (which leads them to feel defensive), they will be much more able to focus on resolving the issue. Remember, the goal is to solve the problem, not make the other person feel bad. Now, let’s get ready to rumble (in only the nicest and healthiest way, of course)!

Create the right environment. Make sure you have enough time and enough privacy to deal with things. If there are kids running around and you only have five minutes, I can guarantee it won’t work. If it won’t happen spontaneously, schedule time to discuss important things. Location is important too. Choose a neutral, pleasant place to have difficult discussions. Weather permitting, a walk outside is great. Many people are uncomfortable looking face-to-face at the person they are unhappy with. Walking beside that person will increase their likelihood to engage. Holding hands is even better! Another aspect of creating the right environment involves sharing with each other what would increase the likelihood of addressing issues as they arise. Maybe it’s a “no yelling” rule, or maybe it’s the right to call “time out” if things are getting too tense (with the agreement to reconvene at a certain time). Fair fighting includes agreeing upon the rules of engagement.

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Quit Smoking - You Can Do It


Information provided by Robert Guilott, owner of AAA Drive-In Cleaners, a Certifed Garment Care Professional.

Helpful Strategies

1. Prepare for life as a nonsmoker.

Remove all cigarette-related materials such as ashtrays, lighters, matches, cigarettes and cigarette butts, etc. from your office and your home. This will help you avoid temptation.

5. Use all the resources available to you.

2. Urges last a few minutes at most, so practice the four Ds: a. DEEP breaths. b. DO something else to get your mind off the craving. Call a friend, go for a walk, or chew on a carrot stick. c. DRINK lots of water throughout the day, especially during a craving. d. DELAY reaching for a cigarette – the urge will pass!

3. Change your routines. For example, if you light up with a cup of coffee, switch to tea, soda or juice.

If you smoke while you watch the evening news, read a newspaper instead.

Nicotine patches, gums, and lozenges are a few over-the-counter options while nicotine nasal spray and inhaler and other smoking cessation medications are available via a doctor’s prescription. Additionally, toll-free help lines, such as the American Cancer Society’s Quitline® (1-800-ACS-2345), and online programs ( are at your disposal for information and support. Your employer and/or medical insurance plan may also offer a cessation program – check with your company’s human resources and benefits department.

Sweater Weather Requires Special Care

Remember that most smokers will have to try several methods before they succeed in quitting, so don’t be discouraged and keep trying until you find what works for you! When you are ready to quit, the American Cancer Society can help. Call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit for more information.

4. Recognize that urges are the worst within the first two weeks of your life as a nonsmoker.

After that, your chances of smoking again will most likely occur in situations associated with smoking such as after dinner or during car rides. While it may difficult and nearly impossible to avoid some of these situations, try to avoid as many of them as you can. If you can’t, tell people you’ve just quit or that you’re a nonsmoker.

If you’re like most people, you probably have a favorite sweater or two that you look forward to snuggling in every winter. Here’s some advice to help ensure that old favorite will be around – and look good – year after year.

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Treat it with Respect. Don’t throw it on the floor or cram it in a drawer. Most sweaters are best stored flat or gently folded. To fold a sweater to reduce wrinkles and minimize bulk, lay the sweater face down and fold each arm straight across the back of the garment. Fold over one side to the middle, then the other, so the sleeve edges meet in the center. Then fold the bottom up to the top once or twice, depending on the length and bulk of the sweater. Read the Label. It seems obvious, but many sweaters are ruined by being tossed in the laundry basket and accidentally getting washed and dried with regular clothing. Read the label and plan accordingly. Some sweaters require dry cleaning or hand washing, but many can be washed in your home washer with some precautions. Be sure to use a protective pillowcase or mesh bag, pick the delicate cycle, and wash with cold water only. Say No to Dryers. Never put a sweater

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in the dryer, unless the manufacturer’s label specifically indicates it is safe to do so. In that case, use a low dryer heat to avoid shrinkage. Otherwise, lay your sweater flat on a towel or drying rack to dry.

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Hand-Wash with Care. For best

hand-washing results, you may want to use a dedicated plastic basin instead of your sink, which might have cleanser or toothpaste residue that could ruin your sweater. Use a small amount of finewashables detergent. Soak your sweater in cold water; use lukewarm only if the label specifies it, and never use hot water. Do not wring or twist a sweater when washing it. Just gently squeeze the suds through the garment, or swirl it around in the water for a couple of minutes. Rinse thoroughly in cool water by refilling your basin a few times. Roll your sweater in a towel to absorb extra water, then dry flat, preferably on a towel laid over a drying rack for good air circulation.

Other Tips:

− A child’s hairbrush works better than a lint roller to remove hairs, dandruff, and bits of fluff. Brush cashmere, lamb’s wool, and acrylic after each wearing (be especially gentle with acrylic, which tends to have a short lifespan anyway). − Remove pills from your sweaters regularly to keep them looking presentable. Pilling is caused by rubbing during wear and is more apparent around the elbows, under the armpits and on sleeves but can occur anywhere on the sweater. Purchase a hand-held depiller, or gently pick them off by hand. − Spray on your perfume before putting on your sweater - perfume is strong and can weaken the fibers of your sweater.

Iron Gently. If you’ve dried it flat, your sweater should be wrinkle-free and in good shape and not in need of an iron. If it truly needs an iron, use a dampened, thick fluffy towel over the top of it and a low-setting on the iron. Only iron those parts that really need it and you can gently knead wool after ironing to help it move back into shape. Do not iron if the label says no ironing.

Valid February 1–13.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


You worked as a prosecutor for nearly twenty years before you went into private practice as a criminal defense attorney. What was it about criminal defense that appealed to you?


Charles native Todd S. Clemons has practiced law in Lake Charles and Lafayette for more than twenty years. He has served as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice, as well as a Calcasieu Parish assistant district attorney and law clerk for the Honorable Judge Henry L. Yelverton of the Third Circuit Court of Appeal. In 2008, Clemons, a graduate of the Southern University Law Center, was asked by the Louisiana Supreme Court to fill a temporary vacancy left by the retirement of Judge Al Gray. Despite having just opened a private practice as a criminal defense attorney, Clemons agreed and held the position for nine months. In March, Clemons will move into a new office at 1740 Ryan Street. Here, Thrive Magazine talks with Clemons about his career, the shift from attorney to judge (and back again), and what has motivated him to practice law in Southwest Louisiana for so many years.

first person with

Todd S. Clemons

by Erin K. Cormier

My primary motivation was my older sister, Joy, who has since passed away. She was an attorney and I always admired her. She loved the profession and encouraged me to pursue it, so I did.

There are several fields of practice. What made you focus your career on criminal law? For me, criminal law was the most interesting by far because there is more at stake than in any other field. While it’s true that judgments in civil lawsuits can involve significant amounts of money, in criminal law, someone’s freedom is at stake. And what is more valuable than personal freedom? Whether it’s ten days or life, someone’s freedom is going to be affected by the judgment.


First Person is a monthly Q&A that features local names and faces. Ideas for future Q&As? Email

What inspired or motivated you to become an attorney?


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

There is a vision that the prosecutors wear the white hats and stand up for truth, justice and the American way. But that’s not just true for prosecutors. Everyone has constitutional and fundamental rights, and the criminal defense attorney stands for that just as much as the prosecutor does. The U.S. Attorney and District Attorney have large, talented staffs, with extensive financial resources and law enforcement resources at their disposal. When you’re a criminal defense attorney, it’s just you and your small staff. You have to believe in what you’re doing and be willing to take on a challenge.

What is the biggest problem you see with our criminal justice system? Representation for indigent defendants and the quality of the representation provided to our citizens that cannot afford to retain private counsel. The Public Defender’s Office is severely overworked and underfunded. The attorneys in that office are qualified and conscientious, but it is not possible for them to provide adequate representation to their large number of clients. However, no legislator is willing to go to Baton Rouge and say that we need to allocate more of our state’s limited funds to the representation of people accused of committing crimes. Our constitution mandates that all citizens accused of criminal activity be competently represented. Unfortunately, not everyone has the resources to hire a private attorney for their criminal defense. Generally speaking, if you can afford to hire a highly skilled defense attorney, you get a different brand of justice than someone who cannot. While that is unfortunate, it is also the reality.

You served as interim judge from March to December 2008 when Judge Al Gray retired. What was it like to sit on the bench? First of all, when I was asked to fill that position, I was told I couldn’t run for that position if I accepted, which was okay with me. I was also told that I couldn’t appear in any courtroom in Calcasieu Parish. I’d just started my private practice, so obviously that was a huge hindrance. Still, I knew it was a great opportunity, so I accepted. What I enjoyed most was the respect that I received from my fellow attorneys, litigants, and the public. Going into a case without having an opinion was the biggest challenge for me, because as an attorney, you’re always advocating for your client.

February 2010

As a judge, you don’t have a dog in the fight. It can be a big adjustment. I had to remind myself to keep an open mind; my goal was to be fair to the attorneys and treat them just the way I liked to be treated.

through them. If anyone ever comes to me to ask for advice, I hope I do the same for them as these people did for me.

More often than not, the judgments went the way of the better-prepared attorney, so that made me realize that when I went into the courtroom to represent my clients, I needed to be as prepared as I could possibly be. Serving as judge made me a better attorney. It made me more in tune to what’s happening in the courtroom. It made me value my credibility even more, because I realized that there is no substitute for it. Credibility is everything. It was surprising to me that some attorneys were willing to sacrifice their credibility. I believe that credibility is the most valuable character trait an attorney can have with the court.

What is your personal mission statement as an attorney?

What motivated you to go into private practice? In 2007, I celebrated my 20th wedding anniversary and it dawned on me that I was also celebrating my 20th year of graduation from law school. I think at some point most attorneys consider opening their own practice. I thought to myself, ‘It’s now or never.’ My wife was incredibly supportive, which was important. You can have the biggest dreams in the world, but if your partner doesn’t support you, it can’t take off. There are several benefits to private practice. You never know who’s going to walk through the door. Well, actually you do know who’s going to walk through the door – people who have appointments. (Laughs) But figuratively speaking, you never know what’s going to happen from one day to the next. Also, I was frustrated by the poor representation I saw people receiving as criminal defendants, and I wanted to play a role in changing that. I also enjoy the entrepreneurial aspect. Operating a business presents a unique set of challenges and benefits. Having my own practice is giving me an opportunity to build something.

To use my legal knowledge, experience and skill to ensure that all of my clients are vigorously represented. When you’re accused of a crime, you start at a disadvantage, so you have to be aggressive in your defense. My goal is to fairly and aggressively represent my clients. In this country, people are innocent unless and until proven guilty – that unless-and-until part is important because there is a belief that if you’re accused of a crime, you will eventually be found guilty, given enough time. I want to provide the judge, or jury, with a different perspective. That perspective is: My client is not guilty until it’s proven. And it won’t necessarily be proven. The prosecution has to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a very high burden that is difficult to meet. I won’t allow a client to plead guilty until I am firmly convinced that the state or government can meet that burden. Plea agreements are a last resort, not the first option. Of course if the prosecutor cannot prove their case, or if my client maintains his innocence, then the case must go to trial. I defend all of my clients with all of my ability and ensure that their constitutional rights are vigorously defended and passionately protected. That is when I am in my element and I really feel like I am doing what I went to law school to do.

There’s also the benefit of autonomy. I really enjoy not having a supervisor a report to. That’s not to say that I can do whatever I want. People always tell me I’m lucky because I can work when I want to work. I tell them, ‘Yeah, I only need to work when I want to eat.’ Before I opened my practice, I sought the advice of other criminal defense attorneys who I respected. People like Glen Vamvoras and Leah White. Even though they knew I would be working in the same field as a competitor of sorts, they were extremely encouraging and supportive. Not all people are ready to help someone else, especially knowing that they are entering into the same field, so I appreciated that. I believe that God operates through people, and in my case, He operated

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


BBB Lists Top 10 Scams and Rip-Offs of 2009

Candlelight Dinner For Two aT Kem’s resTauranT

The Better Business Bureau recently released a list of the top 10 scams and rip-offs of 2009. Not surprisingly, many scams sought to take advantage of people who were suffering under tough economic circumstances—such as the unemployed. Additionally, the use of free-trial offers to lock consumers into recurring credit and debit card charges was widespread online. “While many of the scams on the list are perennial problems, some scams were distinct in 2009 because of the economic climate and scammers’ penchant for taking advantage of the top headlines,” said Carmen Million, local BBB President. “Some scams plagued different parts of the country more than others. For example, in places particularly hit by the housing crisis, bogus offers for foreclosure rescue or debt assistance ran rampant.”

• Mortgage Foreclosure Rescue/Debt Assistance – Many families are struggling in the current economy and hucksters are offering to help them save their house from foreclosure or help them get out of credit card debt. Unfortunately, victims are paying hundreds of dollars up front for the assistance they desperately need but ultimately never receive.

Following, in no particular order, is BBB’s list of top scams and rip-offs that took advantage of consumers and small business owners across the U.S. in 2009: • Acai Supplements and Other “Free” Trial Offers – Ads offering trial offers for teeth whiteners, acai anti-aging pills and other miracle supplements blanket the Internet, including trusted Web sites of national news organizations. The marketing campaigns often falsely claimed an endorsement by Oprah, Rachel Ray and Doctor Oz. Thousands of consumers complained to BBB that the free trial actually cost them as much as hundreds of dollars, month after month.

• Mystery Shopping – Consumers across the country thought that they could make some extra money by becoming a secret shopper and evaluating the customer service of various stores. The victim is asked to evaluate their shopping experience at a few stores as well as a money wiring service such as Western Union or MoneyGram by wiring money back to the scammers. A seemingly real looking check is supposed to cover the costs, but ends up being a fake. The victim is out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.

• Stimulus/Government Grant Scams – Even before President Obama announced the stimulus plan in February, scammers had already set up schemes for misleading consumers and small business owners into thinking they could get a piece of the pie. Offers for worthless assistance and advice on how to get government grants bombarded consumers online, over the phone and via mail and e-mail.

• Over-Payment Scams – Over-payment scams typically target small business owners, landlords or individuals with rooms to rent and sellers on classifieds or sites like Craigslist. Typically the scammer pretends to be a customer, possible renter or interested buyer, respectively. The victim receives a check for more than the amount requested. The scammers then ask the victim to deposit the check and wire the extra amount elsewhere, such as to a shipping company. Ultimately though, the check is fake and the victim is really wiring money back to the scammers.

• Robocalls – Owning a cell phone or having their phone number on the do-not-call list did not help thousands of people across the US put a stop to harassing automated telemarketing calls in 2009. The robocalls often claimed that their auto warranty was about to expire—which wasn’t true—or offered help in reducing their interest rate on their credit card. The prevalence of robocalls violating federal telemarketing laws prompted the FTC to increase restrictions on the practice in 2009. • Lottery/Sweepstakes Scam – The victim receives a letter in the mail pretending to be from Reader’s Digest, Publisher’s Clearing House or a phony foreign lottery claiming that he or she has won millions. The letter comes with a check that represents only a portion of the total winnings. In order to get the rest, the victim has to deposit the check and then wire hundreds of dollars back to the scammers supposedly to cover taxes or some other bogus fee. The victim wires the money, but the prize never arrives.

• Phishing e-mails/H1N1 spam – A perennial problem, phishing e-mails pop up in inboxes and can take various forms such as appearing to be from a business, a government agency or official or even a friend. Whatever the setup, the goal of any phishing e-mail is the same: to trick victims into divulging sensitive financial information or to infect the victim’s computer with viruses and malware. In addition to phishing e-mails, spam e-mail selling wares to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus were particularly rampant in 2009.

• Job Hunter Scams –Scams targeting job hunters vary and include attempts to gain access to personal information such as bank account or social security numbers and requirements to pay a fee in order to even be considered for the job. Another common scam was reported to BBB by job hunters who were told by a prospective employer that they had to check their credit report before being considered for a job. The job offer is actually a marketing ploy for online credit monitoring that costs the victim every month until they cancel.

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Consumers or small business owners victimized by a scam can contact the BBB at 478-6253 or file a complaint at Always research a business with BBB before you sign any contracts or hand over any money.

• Google Work from Home Scam – Countless Web sites cropped up in 2009 that claimed you could learn how to make money from home using Google or Twitter and offered a free trial of learning materials. The Web sites often included the Google or Twitter moniker and logo. As a result, many people who complained to BBB thought they were getting a job with Google or Twitter when in, fact, they were being lured into anothe misleading free-trial offer and were billed every month for the materials and other mystery charges that added up to hundreds of dollars.


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February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


C H AT T E R • E V E R Y B O D Y ’ S T A L K I N ’ • D I D Y O U H E A R T H AT ? • W O W - W H O K N E W ! • C H AT T E R • E V E R Y B O D Y ’ S T A L K I N ’ •

Alcoa Celebrates 40th Anniversary

Alcoa Carbon Products of Lake Charles celebrated its 40th anniversary. Construction of the plant began in October 1968, with the first aluminum and calcined coke produced the following year. In 1974, the Lake Charles Plant became part of the Consolidated Aluminum Corporation after a merger with Gulf Coast Aluminum and Phelps-Dodge. The plant was then purchased by Reynolds Metals in 1984 to produce carbon anodes for its Canadian facility in Baie Comeau and to calcine coke for other customers. In 2000 Reynolds Metals Company and Alcoa merged. Lake Charles Carbon Company joined Alcoa’s Primary Metals Allied Business Group and has recently become part of the Global Primary Products division of Alcoa. Alcoa employs about 200 people.

First Federal Announces Promotions and Appointments

Barnett Receives National Certification

Kay Barnett, executive director of development for CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital, recently obtained her CFRE, making her a Certified Fund Raising Executive. The CFRE certification identifies a fund raising professional as one who has demonstrated mastery by confirming proficiency and knowledge in the field against international standards in philanthropy. The CFRE process requires a comprehensive written application followed by a written exam. CFRE designees must have at least five years of paid, professional practice in fundraising, pass the written exam, and meet a number of minimum eligibility Kay Barnett requirements in the areas of education, professional practice, professional performance and community service. CFRE certification also requires recertification every three years.

First Federal Bank has announced the promotions of Alana Corry to Vice President and Lynn C. Calles to Assistant Vice President, and the appointment of Leslie Harless to vice president and marketing director. Harless has 32 years of banking experience in retail, operations, accounting and marketing and will manage the marketing efforts for the bank. She graduated from LaGrange Senior High School and Sowela Technical Institute. She is a graduate of the Leslie Harless Louisiana Bankers Association School of Banking, the Louisiana Bankers School of Supervisory Training and received two diplomas from the American Institute of Banking. She is the incoming Board Chairman for the Better Business Bureau, a member of the Board of Directors for Christus St. Patrick Hospital, Family & Youth Counseling Agency, Lake Charles Little Theatre and an active member of the Advertising & Press Club of Southwest Louisiana. Corry graduated Summa Cum Laude from McNeese State University with a BS in Marketing/Management. She has six years of banking experience and currently serves as a Loan Officer at the Main Office handling origination of real estate and consumer loans. A native of Starks, Corry currently lives in Lake Charles. Calles has 24 years of banking experience, working at First Federal Bank for the last 16 years. She has had various responsibilities during that time as a teller and proof operator, working in the commercial loan department, and opening new accounts and consumer loans. She currently serves as a residential, consumer and reverse mortgage Lender. Calles graduated from New Iberia Senior High School and has completed several courses from the American Institute of Banking during her career.

Jacobson Joins Thrive Magazine

Christine Dutridge

Cynthia Lands

Lands and Dutridge Receive Light of Hope Awards

Cynthia Clay Guillory Lands and Christine Dutridge received the 2009 Light of Hope Awards from Family & Youth Counseling Agency to recognize their service to abused and neglected children in Southwest Louisiana. Lands, a juvenile prosecutor with the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney’s Office, works with the Children’s Advocacy Center on behalf of abused children. Previously she worked with the Louisiana District Attorneys Association, where she was instrumental in rewriting Child Support Guidelines and other legislation affecting children and families. Dutridge is a dedicated CASA volunteer who has provided 200 activity hours, 92 training hours, and 4,431 miles traveled to the organization. Dutridge also organizes a Christmas toy drive with local industries for CASA children.


Andy Jacobson has joined the staff of Thrive Magazine as account executive. Jacobson, previously sales manager with the Times of Southwest Louisiana for over four years, has an extensive media background, including radio, video production, sales and on camera talent with KPLC television for 14 years. Thrive Magazine is published the first Wednesday of each month and distributed throughout the region free of charge in racks at area businesses, banks, restaurants, hospitals, doctor’s offices and retail shops. It is the only full-color, magazine-style Andy Jacobson publication in the area, with articles covering a wide range of lifestyle issues, such as wellness, finances, health, fitness, home, parenting and relationships, as well as local community news. To contact Jacobson, or learn more about Thrive, call 310-2099 or visit thriveswla. com.

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

D I D Y O U H E A R T H AT ? • W O W - W H O K N E W ! • C H AT T E R • E V E R Y B O D Y ’ S T A L K I N • D I D Y O U H E A R T H AT ? • W O W - W H O

LifeShare and Moss Regional Join Efforts

SWLA Imaging receives ACR Accreditation

Southwest Louisiana Imaging at 1601 Country Club Road has been awarded a threeyear term of accreditation in MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) as the result of a recent survey by the American College of Radiology (ACR). Southwest Louisiana Imaging offers advanced MRI technology, using the MAGNETOM® Verio Large Bore 3T MRI scanner. The MAGNETOM Verio 3T, the only one of its kind in the area, offers excellent image quality, superb diagnostic capabilities, and exceptional patient comfort with a large, patient-friendly 70cm opening. The ACR, headquartered in Reston, VA., awards accreditation to facilities for the achievement of high practice standards after a peer-evaluation of the practices. Evaluations are conducted by board-certified physicians and medical physicists who are experts in the field.

W.O. Moss Regional Hospital has re-joined the network of hospitals who receive blood and blood components solely from LifeShare Blood Centers. LifeShare supports all hospitals in Southwest Louisiana with the goal to ensure that blood is available to patients whenever and wherever it is needed.

Chamber Announces New Board Members

The Chamber SWLA has announced the following new board members: Allen Bradly, Amerisafe; Larry Graham, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital; Gerritt Lawrence, West Calcasieu Association of Commerce; Stephanie Morris, Home Health 2000 Foundation; John Pohorelsky, Scofield, Gerard, Singletary, and Pohorelsky; and Eddie Wise, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce. The 2010 Executive Committee is Patricia Philmon, chair, of Merrill Lynch; Michael Heinen, chair-elect, of Jefferson Davis Electric Cooperative Inc.; Ken Broussard, immediate past chair, of the Broussard Group; Mike Allen, vice chair of economic development, of Mallard Investments; Ben Bourgeois, vice chair of government affairs, of Turner Industries Group; Celia Case, vice chair of entrepreneurship, of Southwest Call Center of LA Inc.; Tobie Hodgkins, vice chair of education/workforce, of Bessette Development Corp.; William Monk, counsel, of Stockwell, Sievert, Viccellio, Clements, Shaddock; Greg Webb, treasurer, of Capital One; George Swift, president/CEO, of the Chamber SWLA and SWLA Alliance Foundation.

Donation to CASA

Christine Dutridge with the WR Grace Foundation presented $1,000 to Erica Lewis, senior coordinated with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Julio Galan, executive director of Family & Youth, to support the CASA program. CASA, a program of Family & Youth, recruits and trains volunteers who advocate in court for the best interests of abused and neglected children.

Galan Named to National Board of Directors

Julio Galan

Julio Galan, Executive Director of Family & Youth, will on Family Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) Behavioral Health board of directors. FEI Behavioral Health is the largest behavioral health company in the United States. Part of the Families International Incorporated, FEI services include employee assistance, work-life services, and crisis management. Another part of Families International Incorporated is The Alliance for Children and Families, of which Family & Youth is a member. The Alliance named Family & Youth Agency of the Year in 2007.

Secada to Perform on February 13

Jon Secada will perform at the Delta Downs Event Center at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13. Secada’s 1992 selftitled solo debut sold more than 6 million copies worldwide and was triple platinum in the U.S., where it reaches No. 15 on the Billboard pop chart. He followed with three more top 30 hits, including “Angel,”“I’m Free,” and “Do You Believe in Us?” He has received two Grammy awards and has amassed a career sales total of more than 20 million albums. Secada has also worked in a producing role for artists such as Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and Mandy Moore. Tickets start at $25 and are available online Jon Secada at or, at The Delta Downs Gift Shop, or to charge by phone call 1-800-745-3000.

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

En Vogue Visits Glam-N-Gloss

The Grammy Award winning group En Vogue recently kicked off their 2010 tour calendar by performing at Delta Downs in Vinton. Prior to their performance, the group visited Glam-NGloss Day Spa to receive spa services. Glam-N-Gloss Day Spa is co-owned by Kimberly Dellafosse, second from left.

Habitat for Humanity Receives Donation

Doug Boudreaux, Marketing Consultant for CenterPoint Energy and Habitat for Humanity Board President presented $500 to Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Julie Giordano and Bob Shannon, Habitat for Humanity Board Member, far right.

Chatterbox continued on p58


Chatterbox continued. healthcare facilities. She has also worked as a consultant for group homes and nursing homes. Harrigill currently serves on the Louisiana Dietetic Association Board of Directors and as the Louisiana Dietetic Association Annual Meeting Chair. She is a member of the American Dietetic Association.

What’s the difference between a tablet, a caplet and a geltab?

Nobless Oblige Grand Opening

Vincent Settlement Elementary Donation

Members of the Vincent Settlement Elementary Student Council pose with their $200 donation to help families in need during the 2009 Holiday Season. Student Council members include: (standing, left-right, row 1): Tanner Pool, Logan Castille, Paige Phillips, Bayleigh Christ, Dylan Wyatt (standing, row 2): Jarod Keers, Andi Whitfield, Sydney Seaford, Kallie Gatte, Sara Ellender (standing, row 3): Darbi Lockhart, Gillian Reeves, Tayler Goudeau, Anna Mathews, Harleigh Smith (kneeling): Christon Nelson, Kaitlyn Darby and Jesse Barnes. Faculty advisors are Jaclyn Ware (teacher, left), and Laura Bowers (teacher, right).

Cameron Communication Donates to Christian Rodeo

Cameron Communications Public Relations Coordinator Trina Johnson (right), presents Jinna Miller, Secretary of the Louisiana Christian Rodeo with a donation of $1350. The monies will go to presenting a buckle for high-scoring rodeo participant through the current rodeo season.

Lake Charles Mayor Randy Roach, Pastors Doyle Evans (Preparing the Way Ministries) and Hope Snider (Christian World Ministries), and friends and family helped Nobless Oblige Owner Anniska Celestine celebrate her grand opening on December 18. Nobless Oblige is located at 316 Iris Street in downtown Lake Charles. Call 433-8094 for more information or to place your order.

Rau Financial Group Awarded Top Performer Distinction

Denise Rou, an independent LPL Financial advisor and President of Rau Financial Group has been named to the LPL Financial Director’s Club. This prestigious status is based on a production ranking of all registered advisors at LPL Financial at year end 2009 and is reserved for top achievers and represents less than 15% of the overall 16,000 LPL financial advisors that LPL Financial supports. LPL Financial is one of the nation’s leading financial services companies and largest independent broker/dealer. Rau Financial Group is located in Lake Charles and Denise Rau provides conflict-free financial planning services, investment advice and asset management services to over 400 clients in Southwest Louisiana. Additional information about the staff and services provided is available at

Jennings American Legion Hospital Appoints New Manager of Nutritional Services

Kristy Harrigill, LDN, RD, has been named Manager of Nutritional Services at Jennings American Legion Hospital. A lifelong resident of Eunice, Harrigill received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Food and Nutrition from McNeese State University. She is a Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian, and has earned ServSafe Certification. Harrigill has extensive experience in the clinical nutritional setting, working as both a clinical dietitian and Director of Nutrition Services at other

Tablet. This solid pill is created by packing the active ingredient together with a binding agent. Tablets are usually the cheapest form of medication, but they may be difficult for some people to swallow.

Capsule. This is the term for a hollow gelatin container that holds a powdered medication. Many people have an easier time swallowing capsules than they do swallowing ordinary tablets. Cameron State Bank Donates $10,000 for Community Foundation of SWLA

Amy Nyberg, Marketing Director of Cameron State Bank, presents a $10,000 donation check to Lisa Verette, President of the Community Foundation of Southwest Louisiana. The Foundation is dedicated to funding philanthropic projects that enhance the quality of life in Southwest Louisiana for present and future generations.

Caplet. Caplets are solid tablets in the shape of a capsule with a smooth coating. Caplets, like capsules, may go down more easily than ordinary tablets. Gelcap. This is a caplet with a gelatin coating to aid in ease of swallowing. Geltab. This is a tablet with a gelatin coating to aid in ease of swallowing. Liquigel. This capsule contains medicine that has been dissolved into liquid form. Suspension. A liquid suspension contains drug particles that can’t be dissolved. It must be shaken thoroughly before use to redisperse the drug particles.

Call today to make an appointment for your with our AudigyCertifiedTM professionals.

337.313.0298 or Toll-Free: 877.271.5874 We have hearing instruments so comfortable and discreet, you might forget you’re wearing them!

Aimee Armetta Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA Doctor of Audiology

Ram Nileshwar Au.D., CCC-A, FAAA Doctor of Audiology


• Comfort, natural sound & nearly invisible • Immediate improvement, professional fitting & follow-up care • Features innovative digital technology

$500 oFF

Not valid on previous purchases. Cannot be combined with any other promotional discount. Expires 2/28/10.

This convenient treatment can also benefit people who: • are sensitive to make-up • are active in sports (especially swimming) • wear contacts • have allergies The process takes less than 20 minutes and lasts for four weeks or longer.

Call the Aesthetic Center today to learn more or to take advantage of a special introductory offer:




for both eyes!

1919A Southwood Dr Lake Charles, LA 70605

Treatments are provided by our licensed medical aesthetician, Leann Widcamp, under the medical direction of facial cosmetic specialist, Mark Crawford, MD. *Cannot be combined with any other discount *Offer expires 3/31/10

Call the Aesthetic Center today at 310-1070 to learn more or to take 58 Thrive Magazine for Better Living


(337) 310-1070 1717 Oak Park Blvd(in The Eye Clinic)

February 2010

Toll-Free: 877.271.5874 View our educational video on hearing at February 2010

day I received my hearing system. The Hearing Center took the

to listen to my needs and answer all my questions. It

ANY AGX TWO-DEVICE HEARING SYSTEM If you have light-colored eyelashes, or lashes that are lighter at the tips, eyelash tinting can give you darker, eye-popping lashes without the hassle of applying mascara.

THE TIME IS NOW I will never forget


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wonderful having a local hearing center I know I can trust.

I can again enjoy all the sounds I had been missing.


A Black Tie by Katie McDaniel by Rose Klein

Saturday, March 6, 2010 6pm L’Auberge du Lac Casino Resort After a while, we all get tired of the same old look of a room. Unfortunately, not everyone has a budget for a full remodeling job. We decided to ask five of our local readers:

“How do you change the look of a room without spending a lot of money?”

Entertainment by Vince Vance & the Valiants Silent Auction, Dinner and Dancing A Black Tie Affair is a fundraiser sponsored by the Calcasieu Medical Society Foundation. Proceeds benefit the Calcasieu Community Clinic.

Call the CMS office at 478-3780, or visit for additional information.

Their answers show that it is easy to liven up any room and even the simplest of changes can make a big difference. Josie Brown

Laura McDaniel

Josie Brown likes to use color to change the look of a room. “By buying different colored throw pillows, picture frames, curtains or slipcovers, the feel of a room can seem brand new. If you don’t have the budget to redecorate a room, try reorganizing and rearranging the floor plans to give your room a fresh new look.”

“Simply changing the wall color of a room can change its whole appearance,” says Laura McDaniel. “I also like to change out my existing picture frames with new prints, add new throw rugs and switch out colorful pillows on my couch.” Kellie Duhon Kellie Duhon likes to add several small accent pieces to change up the look of a room. “A great place to start looking for pieces is at Hobby Lobby. They always have great deals and discounts on off-season items, picture frames, wall décor, and other decorative pieces. By adding just a few pieces here and there, it can make a room seem new and make any house feel more like a home.” Megan Mancuso “I love scrapbooking and I have a ton of scrapbook paper,” says Megan Mancuso. “To add some flavor and make a room look a little brighter, I use scrapbook paper and cut it to fit the inside of some of my plain white picture frames. It makes my simple frames look vintage and I get compliments on them all the time.”


A: Absolutely, one can enjoy their beverage as soon as it is served. Who wants a watered down beverage (unless one’s drinking water) as the ice melts waiting on the toast to take place?

Q: Please settle a disagreement between my sister-in-law and me. What is the proper placement of the bread plate and the salad plate?

A: The bread plate goes above the forks which are on the left of the place setting and the salad plate goes to the left of the forks if the salad is eaten with the meal. If the salad is eaten before or after the meal, it can be served in the center of the place setting.

Q: I’m giving a seated dinner for my husband’s 50th birthday and on the invitation was a deadline for accepting or regretting. Now, after the deadline, a couple who regretted would now like to accept. What do I do?

Heather Daughdrill “When you find a piece of décor that is a little out of budget, let it inspire you and try an arts and crafts project instead,” says Heather Daughdrill. “Many of the items you see in decorating magazines and at your local craft stores can be made yourself. Decorate a lampshade, make a pillow, paint a vase, or break up old tiles to make collages around a mirror or picture frame. You would also be surprised what you can do with a blank canvas, paint, and a stencil rather than buying an expensive piece of artwork. Just remember to sign it when you’re done.”

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Q: When making a toast I know it’s appropriate to wait until all have a beverage with which to toast before stating the words; however, is it OK for those who have been served a beverage to take a sip before the toast has been made?

A: You didn’t state whether this dinner is being catered or if you are cooking. Either way, a caterer is usually not thrown by two more mouths to feed and usually when doing one’s own cooking there is plenty of food. If this isn’t the case, then you have your “out” with your late-accepting friends. As friends, they should understand if it is too late to be added to the party.

Questions for Best Impressions can be submitted to edit@

S February 2010

February 2010

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McNeese Corral

Financial Aid Seminars

Financial aid staff members will visit area high schools through March to explain financial aid application procedures to college-bound students. Students and parents are encouraged to attend the workshops to learn more about eligibility, the application process and requirements, and the timeline to apply for financial aid for the 2010 fall semester. According to Financial Aid Director Taina Savoit, 74 percent of McNeese students received some form of financial aid in 2008-09, totaling more than $50 million. The list of dates, high schools, libraries and the times are: Monday, Feb. 8, Bell City, 8:50 a.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 9, Johnson Bayou, 11:30 a.m. and Barbe, 6 p.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 10, South Cameron, 1 p.m. and Kinder, 5:30 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 11, Hamilton Christian Academy, 9 a.m.; Friday, Feb. 12, Vidor (Texas), 9:30 a.m.; Friday, Feb. 19, Simpson, 9 a.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 23, Hathaway, noon and DeQuincy, 6 p.m.; Thursday, Feb. 25, East Beauregard, 9 a.m. and Westlake, 6 p.m.; Tuesday, March 2, Midland High School, 9 a.m. For more information, call the McNeese Office of Financial Aid at (337) 475-5065.

Got Bugs?

Get The Shield.

Program Receives Accreditation

Bugs and unwanted pests don’t have to invade your home. Get The Shield from J&J Exterminating. Our Gold Shield Service is comprehensive treatment inside and out, addressing any potential problems. Once the home is secured, outside treatment reinforces the gold shield protection, with inside treatment available anytime. We understand schedules are hectic. You can choose to be home during treatments, or not; but you can rest easy knowing your home is protected by the shield. J&J has been keeping pests away for over 50 years. We know what works. Get The Shield.

The undergraduate athletic training education program has been awarded initial accreditation for a five-year period by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education. The recent peer review recognizes the program’s compliance with the nationally established standards for athletic training education. The standards are established by CAATE as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians, The American Academy of Pediatrics, The American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine and The National Athletic Trainers’ Association Inc. The on-campus accreditation process included meetings with faculty, students and administrators along with a review of the curriculum for the program. The findings are then reported to the national board for approval of accreditation. The accreditation also allows graduates of the program to take the national board exams for athletic training after graduation. For more information about the athletic training education program, call 475-5378.

Driven by Talent, Guided by Ambition

1717 W. Prien Lake Rd., Lake Charles | 474-7377 |

by Katie McDaniel

Growing up, McNeese State junior Jess Breaux always had dreams and ambition. He knew he wanted to become an actor, but he never seemed to be in the right place to do it. Within the last few years, however, two things have happened to help propel Jess toward his goals – first, Louisiana became a leader in film and television production, and second, he met Doug Cosgro. According to the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, Louisiana’s leading tax incentives have made the state a premier production location. Recent films such as “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”, “Skeleton Key”, “Cadillac Records”, and “Déjà vu”, were either partially or exclusively shot in Louisiana. Aside from these big budget films, Shreveport, New Orleans and other Louisiana cities have been the setting for numerous independent films as well. These independent films have helped young actors build a resume that they can help to further their dreams. Breaux met Cosgro, a producer with AutoPlex Media of Lake Charles and founder of Big Easy Talent, eight months ago. “When I met Jess, I could see that he had that drive but I couldn’t tell how bad he wanted it,” Cosgro said. After a number of attempts to get Cosgro to represent him, Breaux finally proved that he had the perseverance and determination that Cosgro was looking for. “Jess is very hardworking and hard on himself. I could tell that he would be able to shed the person and become the role.” Since signing on with Cosgro, Breaux has met with acting and voice coaches to help him further his skills and technique. “Being in Lake Charles is difficult because I know that bigger things are happening right down the road in places like Shreveport and New Orleans. It definitely fuels my motivation because it seems like my life is all about hurrying up just to wait,” said Breaux. Cosgro’s guidance has helped Breaux understand that the most important place that he needs to be is Lake Charles, where he can finish his degree. Early this month, Breaux, a performing arts major, played the leading role in “A Doll’s House” with the McNeese Theatre. Breaux has also appeared in AutoPlex’s “Tax Man” commercials. “The projects that Jess is working on now gives me the opportunity to tell casting agents that Jess has a reel, and we can build on that,” Cosgro said. Breaux plans to graduate from McNeese in the spring of 2011 and hopes to continue acting with the McNeese theatre and working with Cosgro to build up his acting skills and resume. “If someone has the passion, they can make anything happen,” Breaux said. desty

We all face a time in life when every moment matters. The choice is yours. The difference is Brighton Bridge Hospice


Photo by Jason Har

Proudly Serving Southwest Louisiana 62

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February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living



Straight Answers to Your Questions on Industry and the Environment

Q: A:

Industry says they care about the environment, but isn’t it true that the only reason they try to be environmentally responsible is because government regulations make them? Being environmentally responsible makes good business sense.

At local industries, keeping our products safely in the pipeline is not only environmentally friendly, it improves our bottom line. Being environmentally responsible is part of everything we do. In fact, local industry reduces, reuses, recycles and treats nearly all of the waste it produces. The key to growth is increasing productivity. Industries promote growth and good business by implementing programs to significantly reduce waste. Yes, government regulations require us to invest in environmentally-friendly equipment and procedures, but we know these same investments help us increase our productivity. Going green isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for business.

David Rentrop

operations director with local industry

Broussard Joins Medical Group

Yang-Tze Yoko Broussard has joined the CHRISTUS St. Patrick Medical Group. Dr Broussard is a board certified physician in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, providing primary medical care for all ages as well as care for patients with acute and chronic multi-system diseases. A 1994 graduate of Louisiana State University School of Medicine, Dr. Broussard completed her Combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics Dr. Yang-Tze Yoko Broussard Internship and Residency in 1998 at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, New Orleans. She earned her undergraduate degree from McNeese State University. Dr. Broussard is currently the Director of KidPower of SWLA, Medical Director of Coordinated Care CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital and a member of the Board of Directors for both CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital and the Children’s Museum of Lake Charles. She is a past president of the CHRISTUS St. Patrick Medical Staff (2006) and the recipient of the 2001 Children’s Miracle Network Miracle Maker Memorial Award. Dr. Broussard has been practicing medicine in Lake Charles since 1998. To contact her office, call 439-2200.

Chiropractic Center and Nature’s Way Join, Move to New Location

The Chiropractic Center, office of Dr. Donald Thigpen, formerly located on Common Street, and Nature’s Way Chiropractic, office of Dr. Damon Cormier and Dr. Scott DeRouen, formerly located on 18th Street, have joined to form the Center for Chiropractic. The new location is at 1210 East McNeese Street in Lake Charles. The new phone number is (337) 502-5303. “The brand-new building expands our office to 6000 square feet, giving us more room for patient comfort and treatment,” explained Donald Thigpen, DC, one of three chiropractic physicians in the practice. Combined, these doctors have over 40 years of chiropractic experience. This Center for Chiropractic provides treatment for neck and back pain, whiplash, sciatica, and many other conditions. Treatments include spinal decompression and traction therapy programs and rehabilitation programs. Most insurance plans are accepted as well as Medicare, personal injury and worker’s compensation claims.

CHRISTUS-St. Patrick Announces New Additions, Elected Officers

CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital announced their Medical Staff Officers for 2010 as elected by their peers. They are: John Noble, Jr., MD, Chairman, Medical Staff President; Keane O’Neal, MD, President-Elect & PIC Chairman; Arthur Primeaux, MD, Secretary-Treasurer & Credentials, Committee Chairman; Richard Gilmore, MD, Immediate Past-President; Farjaad Siddiq, MD, Member-at-Large (through 2010); Xavier Mousset, MD, Member-at-Large (through 2011); John Van Hoose, MD, Memberat-Large (through 2012); Percival Kane, MD, Family Practice Section Chief (2010-11); Carole Altier, MD, Surgery Section Chief (2010-11); Lee J.

64 to learn more and submit your Thrivequestion Magazine for Better Living February 2010 Visit about local industry and the environment.

February 2010

Monlezun, MD, Gynecology Section Chief (2009-10); Yoko Broussard, MD, Pediatrics Section Chief (2009-10); Ron Lewis, Jr., MD, Internal Medicine Section Chief (2009-10); Abdel Abushamat, MD, Medical Services Dept Chairman (2010); Keith DeSonier, MD, Surgical Services Dept Chairman (2009-10); Etch Shaheen, MD, E.D. Medical Director (non-voting); and Michael Lafuente, MD, Hospitalist Department Medical Director, (nonvoting). Also, six new physicians have joined the CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital medical staff. They are Jon Michael Cuba, MD, Surgery and Regional Medical Director for TEAM Health; Alycia Rodgers, MD, and Julie Babineaux, MD, Pediatrics; Edward “Etch” Shaheen, MD, Surgery and Medical Director for St. Patrick Emergency Department; and David Drez Jr., MD, and Scott Lee Hofer, DO, surgery.

This Valentine’s Day give the Key of Harmony. Blue Topaz helps balance the body, mind and spirit. This stone also encourages the expression of ideas and aids in communication. Sapphire’s soothing blue energy facilitates meditation and brings gifts of inner peace to one’s life while promoting harmony and clarity. Iolite supports inner harmony, spitiuality and heightens psychic awareness. When inner harmony abounds, so does harmony in the material world.

1025 Ryan St. 433-3637

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n w o t n w o D o t n w o D t e G February 16th ith Meriwether @ Mardi Gras Bash w 30 pm AJ’s Bar & Grill, 9: February 16th s, 1:00pm ntown Lake Charle w do , de ra Pa 4th t Ha d Re February & Grill, the 94’s @ Luna Bar Josh Langston with ill, 6:00pm February 16th wn! @ Luna Bar & Gr pm 9:00 Mardi Gras Party Do m February 5th na Bar & Grill, 10:00p Losers’ Reunion @ Lu February 5th r & Grill, 9:30 pm Canvas Red @ AJ’s Ba February 17th ntral School, February 6th m mmemoration @ Ce 0p :0 Co s 10 rk l, ril Pa sa &G r Ro Ba na Oh Juliet @Lu :00pm , 10 m eu lis Co February 7th h ut dd @ James E. Su February 19th :00pm WWE Live Raw 2010 Luna Bar & Grill, 10 @ e ro cIn M an eg Ke 1:00pm February 20th & Grill, 10:00 pm Fayuca @ Luna Bar

Feb 4-10

Feb 17-22

Feb 11-16

February 12th e@ band and Ace Boon The Greg Talmage :00pm 10 Luna Bar & Grill, wn February 12th , Downtown-Midto de ra Pa ts an ch er M Mardi Gras pm Lake Charles, 7:00 oo @ February 13th and Borderline Cuck s le rt Tu ch ar se Re The 10:00pm Luna Bar & Grill, les, February 13th wntown Lake Char Do , de ra Pa a eg Krewe of Om 2:00pm February 13th rade, 3:00pm Krewe of Barkus Pa February 13th ’s Bar & Grill, 9:30pm Hansome Harry @ AJ February 14th n as Parade, downtow Children’s Mardi Gr pm Lake Charles, 3:00 February 15th Bar & Grill, 8:00pm Sideswiped @ Luna

Looking to add some culture into your life this Winter? Head downtown for these exciting events!

Beignets, Coffee & Hot Chocolate Oysters on the Halfshell Fresh Boiled Crawfish & Shrimp Live Music…Starting at Noon Cocktails All Day Long MardiGras T-Shirts …and More!

Right on the Parade Route

Make Valentine’s Day Extra Special! Join us for dinner Open 5pm–9pm Valentine’s Day Preset Menu Reservations Required

Whether you are dining in or calling in for takeout, let The Luna Bar and Grill do all the work.

February 26th Bar & Grill, d Pandemic @ AJ’s an n ra te Ve t as rc lo Co 9:30 pm February 27th :00 pm Luna Bar & Grill, 10 PLUMP (the Funk) @ Liquid @ February 27th ok, Thingfish, and In lo u yo e ac pl st la e Th 30 pm AJ’s Bar & Grill, 9: February 28th tre, #3 @ Rosa Hart Thea Symphony Concert 3:00-5:00pm

For more information contact us.






Handsome Harry@9:30pm



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February 2010

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Our organic whole food supplements and green clean household cleaners are backed by 53 years of science and research. if you believe in prevention and preserving our environment you will love shaklee. We are as close to nature as possible and the greenest company on earth. ask about our yeast infection treatment program.

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FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 26 Pandemic@9:30pm

The Last Place You Look,

710 Ryan St. • (337) 433-4388

Pat Landreneau

Mardi Gras Bash with

Colorcast Veteran &

February 2010

We’re locally owned and the best place in town for live entertainment, food, and drinks.

Canvas Red@9:30pm


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Come in today for one of our specialty salads, stellar sandwiches, or exceptional entreés. We offer many choices for the health conscious individual.

Happy Valentine’s Day

Feb 23-28

hedules to danielle@ sc nd ba or t en ev wn to wn do nd se e To be included in this calendar, pleas part by the community calendar. Sponsored in 66

Come Join Us Mardi Gras Day!

Thingfish & In Liquid@9:30pm

Work Wanted: Elderly Care • Experienced Caregiver • Compassionate • Lots of TLC • Patience and Understanding • Personal Care • Grocery shopping

• Transport to and from doctor appointments • Light house keeping • Home cooked meals • Outstanding references

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Please Call 494-6964 Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Connecting Life and Learning

When Good Cosmetics Go Bad Check any woman’s beauty product stash and odds are you’ll find products that have gone bad. Not only do these products stop performing as well as they should, but they can also cause irritations and infections. Real Simple has prepared a guide to keep us all in check on the shelf lives of beauty products.

At PPG Lake Charles, we demonstrate our true commitment to progress with a real commitment to education, investing both time and money in a wide variety of educational programs that support and benefit teachers and students throughout Southwest Louisiana.

Anti-aging and acne treatments: Three months

to a year. Antioxidants are easily oxidized, so be on the lookout for any changes in color.

Body lotion: Two to three years, particularly if it’s in a pump container. Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel: About three years.

Bath oil: One year.

PPG NATURELAB We created this 600 acre “Classroom in the Woods” for use as a unique educational experience enjoyed by students, teachers and various clubs and organizations in Southwest Louisiana. With more than 10,000 feet of trails, the facility provides the opportunity for the community to learn about natural wildlife and plants, ecology, conservation, species diversity and much more. Since 1998, the facility has hosted thousands of students, and serves as a living, thriving example of PPG’s environmental commitment. The PPG NatureLab was recently awarded Corporate Lands for Learning Recertification from the International Wildlife Habitat Council for its contributions to wildlife habitat, environmental stewardship, native biodiversity promotion and environmental education.

PARTNERS IN EDUCATION PPG is a proud participant in Partners in Education, providing mentoring and educational resources to four area schools : • LaGrange High School • Vinton High School • Our Lady Queen of Heaven • Sam Houston High School


PPG created the Teacher’s Institute to provide area educators the opportunity to learn about the Symbol: Black internal operations of a large chemical facility and to illustrate how PPG does its part to protect our environment. Activities include plant tours, one-on-one sessions with plant workers, fire training, team building techniques, lectures and total quality management techniques which ultimately are credited to the 68 certification. Thrive teachers’

package for an expiration date.

This event is held twice annually to allow high school students the opportunity to learn about careers such as environmental engineering, operations, industrial nursing, accounting, human resources, etc. The students are given plant tours and are matched with PPG representatives who work with them during the day so they can experience a “typical work day” in that field.

Mascara and liquid eyeliner: Three to four months.

Two to three years.

Foundation: About two

years. Most bottles are designed to last that long. And if you don’t use it, chances are you didn’t love it to begin with.

Perfume: About two years. To get more mileage out of a perfume, resist the temptation to display a pretty bottle on your vanity. Instead, stash it away in a cool, dark place. Nail polish: One year. Hairstyling products:

Three to five years. Most are alcoholbased, which helps preserve the formula.

Make sure you’re diligent about replacing these items to prevent contamination and infection.

Bar soap: Up to three years.

Eye and lip pencils: Three


to five years. Sharpen them before each use as a way to preserve them and keep them clean.

Shaving Cream: About two Deodorant: Up to two years.

PPG FRIENDS & PPG+1 These employee volunteer groups make a difference in the lives of young people by contributing thousands of volunteer hours for mentoring, tutoring and coaching, as well as supporting such organizations as Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Special Olympics, and many others.

Global Identity Standards: Download Files


Sunscreen: Check the

Lipstick and lip gloss:



Identity Index: Symbol

State Police Troop D & PPG sponsor this camp annually, allowing over 40 campers from local area middle schools to learn about boating safety, team building, seatbelt safety, land navigation, first aid, CPR, fire safety and many facets of the Louisiana State Police. These students also learn about the environment and our(or Pantone ® 307) Symbol: PPG Blue natural habitats during this one-week period.


Magazine for Better Living

The importance of family is measured every day in a small community like ours. At Jennings American Legion Hospital, the daily health of your family isn’t just your priority – it’s ours, too. You may have to travel for some things, but quality healthcare isn’t one of them. With Jennings American Legion Hospital, the healing touch for your family is right here at (1 of 1) home. Make an appointment today and meet our team of family physicians.

February 2010

February 2010

Pictured from L to R: Christopher Achee, MD Michael Benoit, MD Mark Clawson, MD Young Kang, MD Amanda LaComb, MD Richard McGregor, MD James McNally, MD

1634 Elton Rd. • 616-7000 Thrive Magazine for Better Living


Behind the Wheel:

The McNeese Cultural Series by Kristy Armand

Battle of the Sexes There’s no shortage of driver stereotypes, with perhaps the biggest arguments debating the abilities of males versus females on the road. Men watch women drivers and roll their eyes, confident that they are the better drivers, with superior motor skills and quicker judgment. Women observe men and shake their heads disapprovingly, frowning at what they see as excessive risk-taking and disregard for traffic laws. But do these stereotypes offer an accurate representation of each group’s abilities and tendencies behind the wheel? Insurance companies have already made up their minds on the matter – and they have the data to back it up.

Men definitely take a back seat when it comes to driving safety. As a group, they receive more

traffic violations, cause more accidents, drive drunk more often and are responsible for more traffic deaths. “Take a look at government and auto insurance statistics,” says Joni Fontenot, community outreach coordinator with the Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana. “Men are much more likely to be involved in accidents, and their insurance rates reflect that. We can’t say that all males are reckless when they drive, or that all females are safe drivers. What we can say is that numerous studies show that males are more likely than females to leave caution behind when they hit the road.” Quality Planning, a company that validates policyholder information for auto insurers, recently conducted a study that concluded males are at least 50% more likely to be cited for reckless driving, seat belt violations, speeding, failure to yield and stop sign/signal violations. To be more specific, the company analyzed 2007 policyholder information and found that males were cited for reckless driving 3.41 times as often as females. The study found that men have slightly more -- about plus 5% -- violations that result in accidents than women, and because men are also more likely to violate laws for speeding, passing and yielding, the resulting accidents caused by men lead to more-expensive insurance claims than those caused by women.

times as likely to drive under the influence of alcohol as females. Fontenot says this is probably one of the worst things you can get on your driving record. “In addition to the legal consequences, a DUI means you’re going to pay more for insurance for a long time. Your rates will definitely increase, by as much as 50% in many cases.” When it comes to car crashes, males take the lead as well. According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, males were involved in roughly 6.1 million crashes in 2007, of which more than 40,000 were fatal. By comparison, females were involved in about 4.4 million crashes and logged about 14,000 fatal car accidents. Fontenot says a variety of theories and research has focused on the reasons males drive more recklessly than females. Perhaps young men attempt daredevil stunts to impress their peers more often than females. Some experts believe there is an emotional immaturity fueling a feeling of immortality that manifests in reckless

driving. Others speculate there is a learning curve for men in driving that is slightly sharper than for women. Research in this area is going, but the fact remains that insurance companies do not care why; they just review the statistics and create rates accordingly, based on risk. If a male and a female both apply for car insurance at the same company with the same car make and model, same age, same driving history, and the same credit record, the female will pay a lower rate for her car insurance than her male counterpart. But, this caveat applies only to those between the ages of 16 and 25. Younger women have fewer accidents than men of the same age, but as both groups age, the balance evens out and other factors bear more weight in the car insurance rate equation. These factors include, in addition to age and gender, marital status, driving record, accident history, type of car you own, credit history, driving experience and how many miles you drive annually, among others.

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Fontenot says what always matters the most, is your personal driving record. “Regardless of your gender, driving more safely benefits you and those on the road with you, but your wallet as well.” For more information about safe driving programs offered by the Safety Council, call 436-3354 or visit

Call: (337) 475-5123 Web: or

Our Family of Family Physicians is GrOwinG Steve Springer, MD,

The study also found that female drivers were about 27% less likely to be found at fault when involved in an accident. Males also drive under the influence more often than females, says Fontenot. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, males outnumbered females 4-to-1 when it came to driving under the influence. This is based on a study of DUIs from 1998 to 2007. Quality Planning’s study found that males are 3.09

Family Physician

The physicians of Lake Charles Medical and Surgical Clinic proudly announce the association of Family Medicine Specialist Steve Springer, MD. Dr. Springer is originally from Morringsport, Louisiana, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Centenary College in Shreveport. He received his Medical Degree from Louisiana State University Medical School in Shreveport and completed his residency at the LSU Medical Center Family Practice Residency Program in Lake Charles. Dr. Springer is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine. Dr. Springer has been in private practice for nine years, and his office is located at 601 Dr. Michael DeBakey Drive in Lake Charles. Appointments can be scheduled by calling 436-1370.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010


February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Cardiology Dermatology Ear, Nose & Throat Family Medicine Gastroenterology General Surgery Internal Medicine Neurology Oncology/Hematology Pulmonary Diseases & Critical Care Rheumatology Urgent Care Ancillary Services: Allergy Clinic, Endoscopy, Laboratory, Radiology & Research

a division of Imperial Calcasieu Medical Group, LLP

601 Dr. Michael DeBakey Dr., Lake Charles (337) 436-1370

There’s A Difference Here.


Airplane Air: How Bad Is It?

Traveling by airplane is disgusting, right? If someone sneezes in Row 2 the people in Row 20 are breathing it in. Cabin air is basically a cesspool of recirculated germs, right? Not so fast! According to Psychology Today, airplane air is actually cleaner than the air in your office, or at the supermarket. Patrick Smith is a longtime pilot and author of Ask the Pilot. He says that air in a plane’s cabin is about half-fresh and half-recirculated, and it’s all changed out several times per hour. The air actually passes through the same kind of high-efficiency air filters that hospital operating rooms use – which remove almost all bacteria and viruses. In fact, one airline’s study found that the only time the cabin air quality dipped below excellent was when the plane was sitting on the ground with its doors open. Also, the way airplanes are designed actually minimizes airflow from one end to the other. That’s according to David Space, an air quality technician at Boeing. He says the person sneezing in Row 2 is breathing entirely different air than you are in Row 20. If you do get sick after flying, it’s not because of germs in the air – it’s usually a result of touching dirty surfaces, like tray tables and arm rests. The take home lesson? Wash your hands, then sit back and enjoy the flight. The air is actually great up there.

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February 2010

February 2010

LAKE CHARLES: 1890 W. GAUTHIER ROAD, SUITE 110 • SULPHUR: 1200 STELLY LANE Thrive Magazine for Better Living


decongestants; oral antibiotics to control bacterial infection; steroid nasal sprays to reduce inflammation in the nose; and intranasal topical medication therapy -- including antibiotics -- delivered by a nasal nebulizer. If the problem persists, a more thorough check of the nasal passages may be needed. An endoscopy, which uses a slim tube with a camera at the end, gives a doctor a close look at the sinuses. “This lets us check for polyps, which can block the nasal passages, or physical abnormalities that make the passages too narrow for mucus to flow normally. Both problems can be corrected by endoscopic surgery that enlarges the sinus drainage areas, letting them drain properly. Newer techniques make it possible to do most sinusitis procedures as outpatient surgery. The vast majority of people who have surgery for sinusitis have fewer symptoms and a much better quality of life afterward.” The bottom line is, if you suffer from sinusitis, there are options for relief, from medications to outpatient surgery. There’s no reason to suffer ongoing discomfort without seeking help from a physician.

Winter Allergies Can Lead to Sinus Misery

For more information about allergy diagnosis and treatment, call Dr. Jones at 527-2924.

by Kristy Armand

If you’re sniffling and sneezing, you are definitely not alone at this time of year, but don’t automatically assume your symptoms are caused by winter colds and flu. You could be suffering from winter allergies instead. “The pollens of spring and summer are not the only allergy triggers,” explains Michael Jones, MD, ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist in Sulphur. “If you are allergic to dust, or more accurately the mold, pollen, mites and insect parts that linger in dust, winter can actually be a more miserable time of year than summer. Colder temperatures, especially like we have been experiencing this winter, result in people spending more time indoors, in closed up homes and offices with heaters running more often. Dust that has settled into carpet, on surfaces and in ventilation systems is stirred up, triggering allergies that affect the eyes, nose, sinuses and throat.” Common indoor allergy triggers include: Dust mites. These microscopic bugs flourish in mattresses and bedding. When their droppings and remains become airborne, they can cause allergy symptoms in people who are sensitive to them. Mold. This fungus thrives in damp, humid areas such as garages and bathrooms. When spores get into the air, they can trigger allergy symptoms.

Animal dander. They may be our best friends, but pets can become worst enemies to anyone who is allergic to them. Contrary to popular belief, most people are not allergic to animal fur, but rather to a protein found in the dead skin flakes (dander), saliva, and urine. These proteins can get inhaled into the nose and mouth and cause a reaction. Perfumes. Perfume and cologne, while not truly allergans, can make respiratory allergy symptoms worse. Scented lotions, hairspray, air fresheners, and potpourri may also trigger reactions in some people. Symptoms of indoor allergies may include coughing, sneezing, itchy eyes and nose, runny nose, watery eyes and dark circles under the eyes. “In the winter, when cold season is also in full swing, allergy symptoms are often dismissed as being caused by a cold or allergies,” says Dr. Jones. “Keep in mind that a cold typically lasts seven to 10 days. Allergies, however, can linger for weeks or months, as long as you are exposed to the allergen.”

Treatments for winter allergies include antihistamines, decongestants and possibly, allergy shots. Dr. Jones says although you can buy some allergy medications without a prescription, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any new medication. “It is very important to get appropriate treatment because if ongoing allergies are left untreated, they can lead to other respiratory complications, including sinusitis.” Over 37 million Americans suffer from sinusitis each year, and one of the primary causes of the condition is allergies. Dr. Jones explains that sinusitis is characterized by inflammation of the sinuses that prevents mucus from draining properly, causing pain, discomfort and, potentially, infection. Sinusitis shares some symptoms of a common cold, such as stuffy nose, headache and cough. Many people think sinusitis will go away on its own, and Dr. Jones says for some lucky sufferers, that is true. “But if symptoms of acute sinusitis last more than a week, see a physician. The condition can persist and lead to chronic sinusitis.” There are effective treatments for sinusitis, including several recent ones that can help. Dr. Jones says the first stop is a review of your medical history and an exam or your ears, nose and throat. Medications are then recommended, if needed, and may include

triggers is a winter allergy to re su a few o p ex Dr. Jones says minimize Prevention to ing relief from symptoms. le relief, possibly d b key factor in fin home can provide remarka ication. He offers ed r u m r yo fo need changes in iminating the el en ev r o g reducin ngs in suggestions: and box spri the following s, mattresses, comforter th will trap e w • Cover pillo ermeable encasings that you sleep. ile mp allergen-i you reduce exposure wh rpeting so s en lpaper, or ca allerg al w s, n ai rt cu ks with a t any shower wers and sin ergent. • Throw ou s mold. Wash moldy sho et d in little bit of that conta taining 5% bleach and a n ing to remove solution co ering or cook w o sh en h w st fans • Use exhau ity and odors. id bedroom, if m u h r rugs in the o excess g mites to in et rp ca ing lace for dust • Avoid putt ce carpeting is an ideal p sin possible, y will . te ra fe li wer humidit ro p Lo . % 0 5 w o rive in e bel ites, which th down. idity in hom m m u st h u p d f ee o K n o • ti nt ol the popula the mold cou help contr eratures, as well as keep d mp ing leaves an humid te , since decay ld. m o ro ed b e wth of mo plants in th • Don’t put midity can stimulate gro clean u h lter (HEPA) to fi r increased ai te la cu parti h-efficiency • Use a hig m the air. o fr s g u db on system and ventilati the dust an er n io it d n co r heating, air ce each year. • Have you on ned at least ood smoke, vents clea ette smoke, w ar g ci ke li s er rgy trigg possible. • Avoid alle d pet dander whenever an es perfum

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February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


lake Charles, la 70629




Every day, smartphone applications are cropping up aimed at improving personal health. Here are just a few health-related “apps”:

RunKeeper. This was developed for runners, but is also useful for walkers and cyclists. It uses GPS to track the routes you take, and provides you with data about your speed and distance traveled. The app can even upload your stats to the RunKeeper website, for a more detailed analysis of your workout.

a-Sleep. This is aimed at insomniacs. It plays soothing, ambient sounds to help you slip into dreamland. Simply set the timer and your smartphone will serenade you to sleep with waterfalls, raindrops or a number of other noises from nature. Quitter. Essentially, it’s a motivational tool to help people kick the cigarette habit. You enter the date that you last smoked, how often you usually light up, and the price of cigarettes. Then, for each day you go without smoking, Quitter lets you know how much you’ve saved by giving up the habit. The creators say that watching your savings pile up can be the difference between succumbing to temptation, and staying smoke-free.


Thrive Magazine for Better Living

February 2010

February 2010

Thrive Magazine for Better Living


H o w to C h o o s e a R e p u ta b l e Ta x R e t u rn Pr e pa r e r

A Closer Look at Pink Eye by Erin K. Cormier

In addition to common colds and stomach viruses, another nasty predator tends to befall us at least once in our lives – conjunctivitis, also known as “pink eye.” Small children and their parents are particularly vulnerable as this highly contagious disease quickly spreads in communal settings such as day cares and schools. Conjunctivitis is a common problem, and a frustrating one. As the infection sets in, the conjunctiva – clear membrane covering the white part of the eye and interior lining of the eyelids – becomes inflamed, causing the eye to turn pink. If the infection is bacterial, heavy discharge and crusting can occur. Viral infections typically only affect one eye with excessive watering and light discharge. “Pink eye is a very unpleasant health condition, but it typically doesn’t pose a serious health threat to the eyes if it’s treated properly,” said ophthalmologist Virgil Murray IV, MD, with The Eye Clinic. “Children are the most common victims of pink eye because they are exposed to so many different infections through close contact with their peers. Pink eye can spread rapidly in close quarters.”

Taxpayers who decide they need assistance when preparing a tax return should choose a tax preparer with care and caution. Even if a return was prepared by an outside individual or firm, taxpayers should remember that they are legally responsible for what they file with the Internal Revenue Service. Most return preparers are professional, honest and provide excellent service to their clients, but some engage in fraud and other illegal activities, according to the IRS. Return preparer fraud involves the preparation and filing of false income tax returns by preparers who claim inflated personal or business expenses, false deductions, unallowable credits or excessive exemptions on returns prepared for their clients. Preparers may, for example, manipulate income figures to fraudulently obtain tax credits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit. In some situations, the client, or taxpayer, may not even know of the false expenses, deductions, exemptions and/or credits shown on his or her tax return. However, when the IRS detects a fraudulent return, the taxpayer — not the return preparer — must pay the additional taxes and interest and may be subject to penalties. The IRS Return Preparer Program focuses on

It’s important to have pink eye treated by a trained eye doctor to avoid potential long-term damage, according to Dr. Murray. For more information about pink eye, call The Eye Clinic nearest you in Lake Charles, Sulphur, DeRidder or Jennings, or visit

Newborns are especially vulnerable to pink eye because they are at high risk for obtaining a bacterial infection in the birthing process, according to Dr. Murray. Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2008 reported that conjunctivitis is found in up to 12 percent of all newborn babies in the U.S. To prevent the infection from setting in or developing, infants are typically given an antibiotic ointment over their eyes after birth. Contact wearers can also be sensitive to developing conjunctivitis, Dr. Murray said. “Pink eye in contact lens wearers is often caused by infections from poor hygiene. It is very important that wearers rinse, soak, and clean their contacts daily and properly using the proper solution. The contact case should also be washed regularly to avoid bacterial build-up,” Dr. Murray said. “It’s also wise to make sure hands are washed and clean before handling lenses.” Prevention of pink eye is easier for adults than children, but preventative measures should be taken to not only prevent infection, but thwart further spreading of the condition. Adults and children should wash their hands regularly; avoid sharing washcloths, towels or pillowcases; and avoid rubbing the eyes.


Lasting Look


Treatment will depend on the cause of the infection; if it’s allergic conjunctivitis, treatment may involve artificial tears or allergy medicines. A bacterial infection may require eye ointments or drops, while treatment for a viral infection may be more limited. “Viral infections usually clear up on their own, but they can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. No antibiotic drops will help viral conjunctivitis, but there are still measures than can be taken to ease discomfort,” Dr. Murray said.

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Thrive Magazine for Better Living

Helpful Hints When Choosing a Return Preparer • Be cautious of tax preparers who claim they can obtain larger refunds than other preparers. • Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage of the refund. Use a reputable tax professional who signs the tax return and provides a copy. • Consider whether the individual or firm will be around to answer questions about the preparation of the tax return months, or even years, after the return has been filed. • Check the person’s credentials. Only attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection and appeals. Other return preparers may only represent taxpayers for audits of returns they actually prepared. • Find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and resources and holds them to a code of ethics months, or even years, after the return has been filed. • Check the person’s credentials. Only attorneys, certified public accountants (CPAs) and enrolled agents can represent taxpayers before the IRS in all matters, including audits, collection and appeals. Other return preparers may only represent taxpayers for audits of returns they actually prepared. • Find out if the preparer is affiliated with a professional organization that provides its members with continuing education and resources and holds them to a code of ethics.

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Prevention of pink eye in children is tricky, but not impossible, Dr. Murray said. “Remember to teach children general personal hygiene habits, such as using tissues to cover their mouths and noses when they cough, and washing their hands often. Reiterate the importance of these habits to not only prevent pink eye, but numerous other ailments as well,” Dr. Murray said. “Also, discourage children from rubbing or touching their eyes.” Even the most diligent of precautions can fall short of beating pink eye. A person infected with conjunctivitis should stay home and out of contact with others until the condition clears. Be sure to make an appointment with an eye doctor so treatment can be administered.

enhancing compliance in the return-preparer community by investigating and referring criminal activity by return preparers to the Department of Justice for prosecution. The IRS can also assert appropriate civil penalties against unscrupulous return preparers. Also to combat fraud, IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman recently made a series of recommendations with the twin goals of increasing taxpayer compliance and ensuring uniform and high ethical standards of conduct for tax preparers. While most preparers provide honest service to their clients, the IRS urges taxpayers to be careful when choosing a preparer –– as careful as they would be choosing a doctor or lawyer. Even if someone else prepares a tax return, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for all the information on the return. For that reason, taxpayers should never sign a blank tax form. And they should review the return before signing it and ask questions on entries they don’t understand. Reputable preparers will ask to see receipts and will ask multiple questions to determine whether expenses, deductions and other items qualify. By doing so, they are trying to help their clients avoid penalties, interest or additional taxes that could result from an IRS examination.

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February 2010

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Equal Housing Lender.


Putting Family First

with same day appointments A benefit to Memorial Hospital’s affiliation with the LSU Health Sciences Center (LSUHSC) School of Medicine, and being one of only four of its family medicine residency programs, is the addition of a significant number of primary care physicians to our medical staff and in the community. These doctors, who have chosen family medicine as their specialty, come to Memorial to work under the guidance of our faculty physicians and, as part of their advanced training, are available to attend to the healthcare needs your entire family. At a time when many medical facilities often experience a shortage of primary care doctors, Memorial/LSUHSC residency physicians offers a variety of medical services Monday through Friday with same-day appointments available. Memorial believes that this level of response to the healthcare needs of your family and our community is an essential part of providing the strong medicine you deserve.

We Are Strong Medicine We Are Family Medicine We Are Memorial Everything Your Healthcare Should Be

The physicians of the Memorial/LSU Health Sciences Center

Memorial • LSUHSC

Family Medicine Residency Program are fully accredited by the

Family Medicine Center

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1525 Oak Park Blvd • M - F • 9am to 5pm • Call 494-6767 for an appointment or go to the physician finder at 80

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