"Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" star Lori Allen finds strength in sharing her story
By Flannery Winchester

In her own words, Lori Allen is "always the strong girl." In her wedding gown retail store Bridals by Lori, featured on the TLC show, "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta," Allen is the problem solver who clients and bridal consultants alike run to for help. She's not afraid to look an ornery bridesmaid square in the eyes and remind her, "This is the bride's day," nor does she shy away from the hard work necessary to make her 33-year business a success. She's the self-described captain of the ship — but what happens when the captain is out of commission?

LORRI_MAINOn April 13, 2012, Allen found out that a routine mammogram had shown some atypical cells in her breasts: cancer. Remembering that day, she recalls, "I have never been more shocked, because I consider myself super healthy." She ate well, exercised regularly, stayed current with her check-ups, and cancer did not run in her family, so she was "absolutely flabbergasted" when she received the news from her doctor. Struggling to make sense of the diagnosis, she describes the emotional rollercoaster that ensued. "You're crying, and you're feeling so sorry for yourself, and then you get mad, and then you're angry with God, and you're like, 'Why me?'" As we speak with her, Allen gets a little choked up at these memories, saying, "It's hard for me to say, still. It's still fresh — it's just been a year!" But true to form, she's quickly back to her upbeat self, a moment later laughing as she says, "Well, why not me?"

Why not her, indeed. Thanks to her show on TLC, Allen knew she had a huge platform of female fans who could benefit from seeing her journey through treatment. After considering it only very briefly — two days after her diagnosis, in fact — she decided, "I've got to do something good with this. I'm not going to hide it, I'm not going to be ashamed about it and I'm going to tell the world I've got breast cancer." Since she was already filming "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" and "Say Yes to the Dress: Bridesmaids" at the time, to Allen it was only logical for TLC to film her cancer journey as well. In her trademark Southern accent, she said to her friend and Say Yes Executive Producer Jennifer Holbach, "I think I want y'all to film this." TLC gave it the green light in a day, and the October 2012 special "Say Yes to the Cure" was born.

Unlike the "Say Yes to the Dress" shows, this special was not filmed with "a whole big crew following me to my doctor's appointments," Allen laughs. The entire special was filmed by "just Jen [Holbach]. That's it." The camera shows her decision-making process and aftermath of two lumpectomies and, eventually, her double mastectomy on July 3, 2012. Allen held nothing back, revealing all the emotions and vulnerability that come along with treatment, which she admits was "very, very difficult for me to do." Thankfully, she was surrounded by support. Not only did she have her friend Jennifer behind the camera, but also her loving husband, two children and 80-year-old mother were with her every step of the way. Allen's coworker Monte Durham, who is also featured on "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta," helped keep her spirits up too. "He sent me a card every single day. One day it would be like 'I miss you, I love you with all my heart,' and the next day it would be like 'Get your ass back in the store!'" Allen remembers with a laugh.

lorri-allen-monte-durhamAllen also found strength and support from local Atlanta resources like TurningPoint, a non-profit breast cancer rehabilitation center. Both her surgeon and her plastic surgeon recommended TurningPoint, which offers breast cancer patients everything from physical therapy after surgery to counseling and nutritional guidance. Allen worked with Jill Binkley, the executive director who is a breast cancer survivor herself. Allen says, "I could ask her anything I wanted to," and her therapy "helped me mentally, emotionally, and physically." Convinced of TurningPoint's benefits, Allen emphasizes, "If I had just gotten a double mastectomy and then just not gone to therapy, I think it would have taken me a lot longer to recover from this. I do."

Though her battle with breast cancer and the simultaneous filming were exhausting for Allen, she says, "I felt like I was doing something good out of something bad, so I just kept plugging away." And she certainly was doing something good—since the special aired last year, she has received thousands of letters from women who now know that breast cancer is nothing to be ashamed of. Many are now getting their routine breast exams, seeking treatment and drawing strength from Allen's example. Because of this profound impact on women's lives, "Say Yes to the Cure" received the 2013 Reelscreen Award in the category of Best Health & Well-Being Programming. The celebration of Allen's story continues this year on October 4, when TLC will air an updated version of the special that will show just how far Allen has come.

Today, Allen feels better than ever, getting stronger physically and emotionally every day. She still eats healthily and exercises, though she admits with a laugh, "I don't really like sweating," so she prefers swimming in her backyard pool and going on long walks with her Bichon Frise. She's also been seized by the desire to completely redo her house. "We've been through a really traumatic year and we want things fresh and new. It's a new beginning."

LORRIwedAllen is also back to work in her store, her love for bridal consulting not dampened in the slightest. She tells us that buying a wedding dress is "not like going and buying a pocketbook," because it is really about "everybody giving you the nod of approval that the next step in your life is okay. And the nod of approval is everybody agreeing on this dress." After speaking with Allen and hearing her enthusiastic spirit and zest for life even after the frightening, uncertain journey of breast cancer, we think Allen deserves the biggest nod of approval of all.


Lori's Wedding Day

We couldn't let Lori go without asking her about her own wedding dress. She wore a long-sleeve organza House of Bianchi gown with a natural waist and a scooped neckline, paired with a cathedral veil. She admits that "It was very seventies when you look back at the pictures," but she says she loves her dress to this day.

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 15:09

Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

Smile! October is National Dental Hygiene Month. While everyone knows that a great smile can brighten any room, as we age, that beautiful smile can become harder to maintain. The good news is that with healthy habits and some help from your dentist, a youthful, charming smile can be yours at any age.


Teeth Through the Years

With the exception of wisdom teeth, all of the permanent teeth have typically arrived by the age of 13, which means that we need them to last a good 70 years or so. However, through years of use, eating and drinking the wrong things, or traumas large and small, teeth may become discolored, damaged or lost. Gums can also be an area of concern when they recede too much, become the site of bacteria pockets, or even deteriorate along with the bone inside.

"Teeth get more brittle as we age, just like our bones," says Dr. Dina J. Giesler, general/cosmetic dentist and owner of Atlanta Smiles and Wellness. The goal is to slow down or stop this process as much as possible to hold onto a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile. "[A great smile] offers that radiance of youth before decades of bite stress and discoloring foods and drinks take their toll," says dentist Dr. Roberta D. Cann of Cann Dentistry.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), about a quarter of the elderly population has had all of their natural teeth extracted. More shocking, in the United States, 41,000 people a year are diagnosed with oral cancer, and today the fastest growing population of oral cancer is in 18 to 40-year-olds. So what can you do? First, focus on prevention, and, if necessary take, advantage of the latest advances in cosmetic dentistry procedures.


Get Into the Habit

It's no surprise that the key to oral health begins with healthy habits. "Good home care is a must – that would include brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily," says general dentist Dr. Jane Puskas. "Flossing takes one minute. It's all about creating habits." Not only does flossing help minimize decay, but it also keeps the gums healthy. "It massages the tissue; it's almost like exercising. Nice tight gums are what we want. We don't want flabby gums because if they are flabby, they are going to collect more bacteria."

As the body fights infections, it releases enzymes that break down foreign objects (like bacteria), and those enzymes also break down bone, which can lead to major oral issues. Despite the benefits of flossing, the ADA states that only about half of Americans floss daily, and nearly 20 percent do not floss at all. Even regular brushing and flossing can only do so much. A visit to the dental hygienist is crucial to really get things properly cleaned. "You've got to go every six months," recommends Dr. Puskas. And if you are prone to gum disease (periodontal disease), "it is extremely important that you have cleanings three to four months apart to prevent the colonization of bacteria from forming," Dr. Giesler says. Nearly 50 percent of Americans aged 35 to 44 have gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gums. Mouthwashes can have beneficial effects, and Listerine is a good choice because it has anti-microbial properties, according to Dr. Puskas. Gum health is very important because as we age, some bone loss naturally occurs, and pockets can develop in the gums. Since these pockets often collect bacteria, periodontal surgery may be necessary to eliminate the pockets. The gums also recede naturally, but if they recede too much, patients may opt for a graft to protect the teeth from recession (this can also improve the look of your smile). Regular visits to the dentist can also detect issues before they become severe. "A natural smile is so much better than a restored smile," Dr. Puskas says. "We want our teeth to last a lifetime."


Healthy Diet, Healthy Mouth

For good oral health, consume a lot of fruits and vegetables, raw and unprocessed foods when at all possible. "A healthy diet does translate into healthy teeth," Dr. Puskas says. "What's good for your general health is good for your oral health."

The first rule is to reduce your sugar intake. "Sugar and carbohydrates lead to dental decay," Dr. Giesler says. "Sweet tea, soda and sports drinks are the worst." But sugar is not the only culprit. "Even healthful foods may be hard on teeth if they are acidic like citrus or sticky foods like dates. They also break down enamel," Dr. Cann says.

To prevent discoloration, "avoid dark drinks such as coffee, tea and red wine. If you do drink them, brush afterwards or even rinse your mouth," she says. Smoking is also a huge issue according to Dr. Puskas. It can lead to tooth discoloration, a build-up of plaque and tartar and increased risk of gum disease and developing oral cancer. To combat decay, Dr. Puskas recommends drinking tap water with fluoride.


Protection is Key

"Protect your teeth from trauma by not using them as tools to open packages, bite nails or chew ice," Dr. Puskas says. If you play a sport, you may want to consider wearing a mouth guard to prevent injury.

Dr. Cann recommends guarding the teeth at night as well. "If you clench or grind teeth, use a BPA-free night guard as a prevention and protection of teeth. This also will protect your investment of any dental treatment such as fillings and crowns," she says.


Clean Up Your Act

If you are looking to beautify your smile, start with getting the right cleaning products. "The Sonicare electric toothbrush is very effective because it has a timer, is good for the gums and is very thorough," Dr. Puskas says.

Dental technology has come a long way and has achieved many advances. New dental materials are much more lifelike, Dr. Puskas explains. Dr. Cann recommends BPA-free composite material for beautiful tooth-colored fillings and metal-free and biocompatible zirconia crowns. With CEREC technology, meaning for ceramic reconstruction, dentists create computer-assisted tooth reconstructions like crowns in a single office visit. Some patients choose to have old silver fillings replaced with these new materials when the old fillings have lost integrity or the tooth structure around the filling has crumbled.

Bleaching is not new, but it has become very widespread. "The extent of bleaching you can get in the office is so much better than over the counter. Once you bleach properly, it really does make a difference," Dr. Puskas says.

While store-bought bleaching strips will have some effects, daily bleaching with trays and products procured from the dentist will work even better. The best results can be obtained from an in-office procedure featuring light-activated bleach. Once the desired result has been achieved, the patient can maintain it easily by wearing a bleaching tray at home as needed.

"A lot of adults are straightening their teeth," Dr. Puskas says, thanks to great advances in orthodontics. Products like Invisalign, which is a series of removable aligners, are simple and effective. Not only do straight teeth offer a cosmetic enhancement, they also mean there is less trauma when biting and allow for easier flossing. Implants are a popular way to replace missing teeth, and with good reason. They have taken the place of bridges and dentures by providing the patient with a manmade tooth. The process consists of a surgeon implanting a titanium root into the bone in the gum, and once the root has osseointegrated into the bone, a crown is placed on top of the root. "It's just like having a natural tooth," Dr. Puskas says. "Patients are very happy with the result."

In addition to repairing stains, crookedness and missing teeth, dentists today can repair chipped teeth with tooth-colored filling, porcelain veneers or crowns. These procedures can also be used to change the shape of a patient's teeth. Gums can also be recontoured. If there is something you do not like about your smile, you should ask your dentist if it can be fixed. "Dentistry has improved so much," Dr. Puskas says. "The techniques have gotten so much better. We can really transform smiles."

If you're looking for a beautiful, youthful smile, there are plenty of cosmetic options available. Even so, the journey to oral health must begin and end with the simple habits of brushing, flossing and visiting your dentist.


Oral Cancers on the rise
Get screened with MOP

With actor Michael Douglas's admission that his throat cancer was caused by human papillomavirus (HPV), the general public is becoming aware of what physicians have feared for years - the growing epidemic of HPV-related oral cancers. A sexually transmitted disease, HPV is now a more common cause of throat and other oral cancers than tobacco. The strains of HPV that cause cervical cancer have begun to play a role in developing oral cancer, largely due to oral sex.


Get the facts and protect yourself.

The only test for HPV is the molecular oral pap (MOP), which involves a 30-second swish and rinse test. The MOP detects precancerous and cancerous cells in the throat. It is the only available test for examining three key factors: cellular changes, HPV virus and DNA changes.

Physicians recommend an annual screening for adults 18 and older. If oral cancer is detected early, the survival rate is 80 to 90 percent, but if found late, the chances of survival drop to 20 to 30 percent.

- Courtesy of Jeffrey M. Gallups, MD, FAC


Editorial Resources
Roberta D. Cann, DMD - Cann Dentistry, www.canndentistry.com
Dina J. Giesler, DDS MAGD - Atlanta Smiles and Wellness, www.atlantasmiles.com
Jane Puskas, DMD, PC - Jane C. Puskas DMD, PC, www.puskasdentistry.com
Jeffrey M. Gallups, MD, FACS, The ENT Institute, www.entinstitute.com

Tuesday, 01 October 2013 14:11

Your Atlanta Guide to Breast Cancer Support

The word cancer, in any form, is a scary term. It brings up a lot of questions, concerns and fears to be addressed. What is the prognosis? What are my treatment options? Where do I go from here? For the month of October, we take a look at the most common cancer among women in the United States: breast cancer. According to the most recent data, 211,731 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009. That same year, 40,676 women died from the disease. According to the American Cancer Society, between 2002 and 2003 breast cancer rates dropped sharply (nearly seven percent).

And with all of the recent research, updated treatments and new resources available, breast cancer can be faced head on – and you won't be alone on this voyage.


Getting Started

The diagnosis is just the first step, but what does it mean and what do you do next? Once it is determined you have breast cancer, your doctor will perform various tests to confirm the stage and type. It's important to understand and ask detailed questions regarding the test results, and even about the tests themselves. According to Cancer Care, a free online support resource site for cancer patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals, some of these questions include:

Is my tumor invasive or non-invasive?

Breast cancer in the earliest stage has the best chance of being cured. Non-invasive breast tumors are confined to the milk ducts and are seen during the earliest stages, while invasive tumors may have spread to nearby tissue.

What stage is my tumor?

It's important to know the stage of the tumor to understand whether the tumor has spread in the body, and the extent of the spread.

What grade is my tumor?

This is determined by examining cancer cells under a microscope; a higher grade cell looks much different from a regular cell. The higher the grade, the quicker it will grow in the body.

What is my HER2 (human epidermal growth factor receptor)/neu status?

Tumors that overproduce HER2/neu, found in 25 percent of all breast cancers, may respond to treatment drugs.

Next Steps

Now that you have a better idea of what you're dealing with, talk to your doctor about treatment options. For breast cancer patients, typically some type of surgery is performed. According to the American Cancer Society, there are two main surgery options: a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. Breast-conserving surgery will remove a part of the affected breast, while a mastectomy is surgery to remove the entire breast. When you reach this stage in your diagnosis, there is a list of questions every woman should ask her doctor as they map out a course of treatment.

Asking the right questions and understanding your options will put you on the road to recovery.


Treatment Questions for Your Doctor

- What is my recommended treatment plan?

- What are the side effects of treatment?

- Am I a candidate for a lumpectomy?

- If I must have a mastectomy, can I have immediate reconstruction or do I have to wait?

- How should I expect to look after surgery?

- How long will I be in the hospital?

- Will I need chemo or radiation?

- How likely is my cancer to spread or to come back?


Your Support Resources

Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA)

This program, led by Medical Director of breast surgical oncology Dr. Anita Johnson, opened in August 2012 with a focus on treating complex and advanced-stage cancer. CTCA is the first hospital in metro Atlanta to offer INTRABEAM intraoperative radiation therapy, which delivers targeted radiation directly to a tumor site. This helps replace nearly seven weeks of routine radiation treatment with a single-dose radiation treatment.

DeKalb Medical Center

Both locations offer a nurse navigator program, a breast cancer support group and the Treehouse Gang, a support group for kids who have family affected by cancer. The Cancer Center, directed by George Miranda, also offers a Return to Wellness exercise program for cancer patients who have completed treatment.

Emory Johns Creek Hospital Breast Center

The Breast Center is designated as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence by the American College of Radiology. The center offers 3-D mammography and breast tomosynthesis, as well as amenities to make visiting breast cancer patients comfortable, such as complimentary valet parking and a private women's waiting area.

Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Hospital

Cancer services at Grady, led by the Executive Director of Oncology Adriene Kinnaird, have been in place for 10 years, including the operation of the Avon Breast Health Center. This is the only program in the Atlanta area offering a pre-op rehabilitation service. Made operational in November 2012, the pre-op assessment determines a patient's baseline function prior to surgery in order to ensure they receive early intervention post-surgery.

The Glenn Family Breast Center at Winship Cancer Institute

This facility has been treating breast cancer for 76 years and is currently run by Breast Cancer Medical Oncologist Dr. Ruth O'Regan. A new program called Winship at the Y offers special rates to cancer survivors to join a Y and work out with trainers specially trained to help cancer survivors. Genetic testing is also offered to determine whether women should consider preventative treatment.

Gwinnett Medical Center

The breast cancer program, led by the Director of Oncology Services Katherine Michaud, MPA, offers weekly multidisciplinary meetings to review and discuss patient cases to develop treatment plans, as well as a breast health navigator program and support groups. The Look Good program is led by an appearance specialist to help women cope with appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment, like teaching makeup techniques and using wigs or scarves to cover hair loss.

Kaiser Permanente Breast Care Center

Patients play an active role in the decision making process at the Breast Care Center, which was developed in 2010. Directed by Dr. Peter Burns, the center brings together a multidisciplinary team of cancer specialists and allows patients to sit down with their breast surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist and breast care coordinator within days of a diagnosis to develop a plan.

North Fulton Breast Care Program

North Fulton Hospital's breast care center, headed by Dr. Laura Pearson, has offered breast cancer treatment for more than 30 years. The breast center can provide pathology reports within 48 hours of a biopsy and offers a Breast Nurse Navigator program for patients to have individualized assistance.

Northside Hospital's Breast Care Program

Northside Hospital hosts the largest single-hospital Breast Care Program in the Southeast – more cases of breast cancer are diagnosed and treated at Northside than any other community hospital in the Southeast. A Woman's Place, a specialty boutique, offers custom-fit breast forms, mastectomy bras, wigs, lymphedema products and more.

Doris Shaheen Breast Health Center

Cancer services at Piedmont Atlanta Hospital were accredited by the Commission on Cancer in 1977; the Doris Shaheen Breast Health Center opened in 2004. The department is headed by John Goodman, Executive Director of Oncology Services, and offers 3-D breast imaging technology. They have free programs, such as cooking classes, meditation, exercise and support groups for anyone regardless of where they received treatment.

Saint Joseph's Hospital – Ed and Dora Voyles Breast Health Center

The Breast Health Center offers breast health and diagnostic interventional procedures including mammography, ultrasound, stereotactic biopsy, Mammotone, upright digital stereotactic technology and sentinel lymph node biopsy. The Saint Joseph's Cancer Survivors Network offers support for patients, survivors and families dealing with cancer.

TurningPoint Breast Cancer Rehabilitation

This non-profit organization provides multiple services for women with breast cancer, including  physical therapy,  massage therapy, counseling and nutritional counseling. Licensed and experienced professionals sit down with each new patient to establish a comprehensive plan to address different survivorship needs including restoring arm strength, enhancing mood, or establishing ways to decrease the risk of recurrence through lifestyle changes.


Patients Just Like You

Erma-KillingsErma Killings

Diagnosed: August 2010

Treatment Center: DeKalb Medical Center – Hillandale Campus

Experience: "The Patient Navigator Service is such an important part of any hospital. I am so thankful to be in a place where I have someone go through the process with me. I know I was taken care of."

Why Hillandale?

"I went to Hillandale because I am 71 years old, and I don't feel like running all across the country to find a doctor. Hillandale is in my neighborhood. This is a community hospital, and I believe in it. I named it my Hillandale Hilton because that is the kind of service and treatment that I got – it is top notch."


Stephanie-MooreStephanie Moore

Diagnosed: October 2012

Treatment Center: Piedmont Newnan Hospital

Experience: "They set me up with a Piedmont Nurse Navigator, and that was the first thing I came in contact with as far as Piedmont's breast cancer service goes. It's like, you have breast cancer, and we're going to have this person by your side the entire time. She helped calm my fears, she listened to me, she spoke with my husband. Also, the cancer wellness services are amazing. It has all these programs for anyone dealing with cancer, and you can go to them for free. I feel like I've benefited from it."

Why Piedmont?

"It was for convenience at first. Everything for me progressed very quickly. I found the lump myself, and my gynecologist through Piedmont sent me to get the ultrasound and mammogram. My head, at the time, was spinning. The doctors helped me make tough decisions, and Piedmont is an amazing hospital. The new Piedmont Newnan Hospital was built close to my home, so I felt good about that."


Phyllis-TrimblePhyllis Trimble

Diagnosed: March 2013

Treatment Center: Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Southeastern

Experience: "There have been so many people that have helped me since I've been here. My doctors take the time to explain what they can do for me. There was one instance after receiving care that I hugged Dr. Anita Johnson

and told her that I wanted her to be my doctor. I can't get anyone better than Dr. Johnson and Dr. Christian Hyde. They also have the most wonderful staff I've ever had dealings with. Dr. Johnson can make me laugh or smile so easily. Her nurse is very special too. What a team!"


"A member of my husband's family had ovarian cancer more than 20 years ago. After undergoing chemo and several treatments, they told her to basically go home and that she wouldn't make it. But she wasn't ready to die and started looking for a new treatment center. A friend of hers saw a commercial for CTCA and told her about it. She called and eventually traveled to CTCA at Midwestern for care. That was over 20 years ago, and she's still alive. When I learned that I had breast cancer, I just wanted it out. I was ready. My husband told me we were going to go for a second opinion and that we needed to go to CTCA at Southeastern. The next day I contacted them, and we set up my appointment."


Jeanette-NappJeanette Napp

Diagnosed: January 2007

Treatment Center: Northside Hospital

Experience: "My experience has been excellent. The quality of care has been exceptional. From the moment you arrive to when you leave, the Northside Hospital personnel are caring, kind and professional. I have been in outpatient, extended and inpatient care, and have nothing but good things to say about the personnel and facility. Today, I visit patients as a Northside Hospital Auxiliary volunteer, and the patients tell me the same thing about the personnel and care they are receiving."

Why Northside?

"I chose this facility after attending a health and wellness class. I felt that the quality of expertise and care would be exceptional. Also, Northside Hospital Women's Center is convenient to my home and work."


Kristen-MossKristen Moss

Diagnosed: June 2008

Treatment Center: Winship Cancer Institute at Emory University

Experience: "They are phenomenal. It was amazing. I can't say enough about it. I go back every week and volunteer there and tell as many people as I can that it's an amazing facility. I went into a clinical trial, and everyone from the doctors to the nurses are all behind you at the facility. You have a huge support group. I call my doctors my dream team, and I have no problem recommending them to anyone."

Why Winship?

"I was actually directed by a friend who is an epidemiologist with the American Cancer Society. I had heard of Emory, but I had never heard of Winship, and I actually live right down the street."



Karen-GrantKaren Grant

Diagnosed: September 2012

Treatment Center: Gwinnett Medical Center

Experience: "GMC has a Breast Health Nurse Navigator. After I was diagnosed, the Breast Health Nurse Navigator contacted me. She was a godsend. She said, 'I know that this can be a difficult and overwhelming time, but I am here to hold your hand and help you. You don't have to go through this alone.' She sent me a package of information. Any questions I had, she answered them. We were concerned about our children. She provided information about support groups for me, my husband and our children. Periodically, she contacts me to see how I am doing."

Why Gwinnett Medical?

"We researched a number of facilities. When my cousin, who is a physician, heard about my condition, he recommended a physician at Gwinnett Medical Center. At GMC, I was not treated like just another patient or a number. The medical staff took time and demonstrated sensitivity and compassion. I could sense that the hospital went the extra mile to make what can be a difficult time as stress-free as possible. Gwinnett Medical Center has a relatively new building dedicated to cancer care, which is also connected to the main hospital. I did not have to travel to different buildings for physician and medical test appointments. Everything was in the same location, thus making going to appointments less stressful."


Linda-RundellLinda Rundell

Diagnosed: March 2012

Treatment Center: North Fulton Hospital

Experience: "Simply amazing! I have not run into any medical professional [with North Fulton] without a smile and genuine compassion. Everyone within my team is there for me and for every other future breast cancer survivor. Every doctor's office within my team communicates every fact and level of treatment with each another. I am so very fortunate for my team– I will survive!"

Why North Fulton?

"I selected North Fulton Hospital as that has always been the hospital I have the greatest confidence in. I have lived in Roswell for more than 20 years, I had my third child there, they set my first broken bone, and now I am going down the path of conquering triple negative breast cancer with my amazing team."



Editorial Resources
American Cancer Society – www.cancer.org
Breast Care Specialists, LLC – (404) 255-8086, www.breastcareatlanta.com
The Breast Health Clinic – (770) 461-1337, www.thebreasthealthclinic.com
Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) – Southeastern Regional Medical Center in Newnan, (770) 400-6000, www.cancercenter.com
DeKalb Medical Center – (404) 501-1000, www.dekalbmedical.org
Emory Johns Creek Hospital Breast Center – (678) 474-8200, www.emoryjohnscreek.com
Georgia Cancer Center for Excellence at Grady Hospital – (404) 489-9000, www.gradycancer.org
Gwinnett Medical Center Breast Program – (678) 312-2197, www.gwinnettmedicalcenter.org
Kaiser Permanente of Georgia Breast Care Center – www.kaiserpermanente.org
Northside Hospital – (404) 851-8000, www.northside.com
North Fulton Hospital – (770)-751-2500, www.nfultonhospital.com
Piedmont Atlanta Hospital – (770) 801-2345, www.piedmont.org/Main/Doris-Shaheen-Breast-Health-Center.aspx
Saint Joseph's Hospital – (678) 843-7471, www.stjosephsatlanta.org
Southern Regional Medical Center – (770) 991-8000, www.southernregional.org
TurningPoint Women's Healthcare - (770) 360-9271 www.myturningpoint.org
Winship Cancer Institute – (404) 778-1900, www.winshipcancer.emory.edu

Friday, 27 September 2013 14:25

Balancing Hormones-Naturally




Hormone imbalances can affect women throughout their lives, from painful menstruation and infertility to menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and weight gain. Certain cancers and osteoporosis can also be attributed to hormone imbalances. It is important to understand the physiology of how hormones interact to maintain a fine balance within the body.

What makes your Hormone Balancing Program unique?

When it comes to properly balancing hormones you have to evaluate the entire array of hormone levels to determine the root cause of the imbalance. Hormone levels are constantly changing throughout the female cycle, and therefore the typical blood sample test only shows a snapshot of the hormone levels, not the entire spectrum. I employ saliva testing rather than blood samples which allows for samples to be taken every three days throughout the course of the cycle. The samples are taken by the patient conveniently in the comfort of her own home and there are no needles or lab visits. Saliva testing gives the most accurate depiction of when and where the hormone imbalances occur so that a program can be tailored to each patient's needs.

What can I expect once the results have been obtained?

Once the results have been obtained I do a comprehensive review of the findings and then have a detailed consultation with the patient to explain the results and give recommendations on how to correct any hormone imbalances.

How do you correct hormone imbalances?

Each case is unique and depending on the individual needs of each patient I recommend specific natural supplements to correct the hormone imbalances I don't believe in utilizing estrogen replacement unless absolutely necessary, and find that most cases do not require "replacement". If I do recommend estrogen enhancement I use all natural estrogen pellets which are taken sublingually in small doses to limit the side effects.


How do I know if I have low testosterone?

Symptoms related to low testosterone are vastly different than those of women with hormone deficiencies and are much more subtle. Physical signs such as increased belly fat and decreased muscle tone typically arise long before any decrease in libido. Health risks related to low testosterone include elevated blood pressure and increased cholesterol levels. Chronic fatigue and lack of mental focus are also early signs of low testosterone.

How can you increase low testosterone naturally?

To accurately correct a testosterone deficiency I have to see the levels of all the hormones involved in the production of testosterone. I utilize saliva testing because it tests all of the hormones involved and allows a more accurate picture as to the cause of the problem. I have never supplemented testosterone, I always correct the underlying problem which causes the deficiency. This may involve natural supplementation, change in diet, lifestyle changes and exercise.

Additional Services

• Pain Management
• Cleansing Programs
• Cholesterol Lowering Program
• Allergy Testing
• Massage Therapy
• Pediatric Care


Perimeter Wellness Center

(404) 845-0044

750 Hammond Drive Bldg 18
Sandy Springs, Georgia 30328


Dr. Robert W. Toth is National Board certified and has been leading a multi-specialty healthcare practice for 13 years. He has served as team Chiropractor for the Atlanta Silverbacks and the Georgia State football team.

Thursday, 26 September 2013 15:32

Signs and Symptoms of Venous Disease

Venous disease is one of the most common conditions affecting our health. Although many people have visible varicose veins, many others have no visible signs of the disease. Patients without visible signs of venous disease may have symptoms such as leg pain (aching or cramping), leg heaviness or fatigue, swelling, throbbing, burning, itching or tenderness. Some people also experience restless legs.

Men and women of all ages can be affected by venous disease. Although it has a strong genetic component, there are certain risk factors that can also contribute to its development. These include obesity, pregnancy, prior trauma, surgery, lifestyle and occupations that require prolonged standing.

legsVenous disease can be easily diagnosed with an Ultrasound performed in the office. If you experience any symptoms of the disease, you need to make sure that your physician is aware. Venous disease can be a serious medical condition which left untreated, can lead to long standing complications. These may include venous stasis dermatitis which is tissue damage to the overlying skin causing reddish brown hard thick leathery changes to the skin. Venous stasis ulcers are another complication of untreated venous disease caused by long standing pooling of blood in the affected veins.

Treatment can help manage the disease and improve the overall health and appearance of your legs as well as greatly improve your quality of life.

Dr. Lisa Perez


Be proactive about your circulation and prevent further damage to your legs by having them evaluated for venous disease.

There are few things more frustrating to a teen than break outs and skin changes that go along with growing up. While some preteens or teens may only have a few bumps on their skin, others will have more noticeable cases of acne. Breakouts can be quite distressing to both the patient and their parents. Thankfully, acne treatments have come a long way over the past couple of decades, and there are great options that allow us to customize a unique treatment plan for each acne patient.

The foundation to successful acne treatment is good basic skin care. Our providers will assess your child's skin and help suggest the type of cleanser to use, whether it be one for sensitive skin or more oil-prone skin. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by a lack of cleansing, nor is it made better by harshly scrubbing the skin (which can actually worsen acne or make it more inflamed). However, gentle cleansing can help prepare the skin to properly receive and respond to acne medications that will be applied. In addition to the type of cleanser used, the method of cleansing is also important. We have great success with both the SpaCells and Clarisonic cleansing units available at our office.

After cleansing and prepping the skin, your dermatology provider can recommend the appropriate topical cream(s) to treat your child's type of acne. Each cream has a specific purpose whether that be decreasing bacteria on the skin, unclogging pores, or calming inflammation. Some patients are prescribed a combination of topicals that work together in different ways to help clear up acne. It is extremely important that your child use the creams faithfully and give them several weeks to work (stopping treatment after one to two weeks because the acne is "not gone" is not appropriate—it can take up to 10-12 weeks for a new regimen to reach its full potential in clearing the skin).

After topical medications are applied, a moisturizer can be used to treat any dryness, and in the morning, a moisturizer with SPF 30 or more should be chosen. Sun protection is incredibly important in the prevention of skin cancer, even in our younger patient population. Also, some of the topical medications (such as Retin A or other similar products) can cause increased sun sensitivity, so it's even more important to protect the skin from the sun's damaging rays while on acne therapy.

After moisturizer/SPF is applied, girls may choose to apply makeup. It is an old myth that makeup should not be worn if one has acne. As long as the products are oil-free or non-comedogenic ("non-pore clogging"), make up can actually help camouflage some of the acne until it is fully treated. Our office offers a wonderful line of Oxygenetix makeup which our fabulous aestheticians can help you select.

In cases with deeper acne lesions, Teen-Wise22an oral antibiotic pill may be prescribed along with the topical medications. In even more severe cases, a pill known as isotretinoin may be necessary. We also offer chemical peels, photodynamic (Blu light) therapy, deep cleansing facials, and laser therapies. Talk with any of our providers for further information on these medications and treatments. They will help determine which regimen is best for your teen or preteen.

Treating teenage acne is a very common, yet very rewarding part of our practice. While acne is a normal part of growing up, it can be frustrating and can lower self-esteem during these formative teen years. At Marietta Dermatology and Marietta Facial Plastics, we are honored to help you and your teen through this stage in life, offering the best, most current treatments and product lines available.

Should you have questions about acne or should your teen need an appointment to discuss options for their acne treatment, please contact our office and schedule an appointment with one of our highly qualified providers today!


Shana Boyd Hackworth, MPAS, PA-C is an NCCPA board-certified physician assistant. Shana is a member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, Georgia Academy of Physician Assistants, the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants, and Georgia Dermatology Physician Assistants. Shana earned a Bachelor of Science in Physician Assistant Studies from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree in PA Studies with an emphasis in dermatology from the University of Nebraska.

Dr. Elizabeth (Betsy) Richwine graduated summa cum laude from the University of Georgia Honors Program. She then attended the Medical College of Georgia where she earned her M.D. degree and was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society. Dr. Richwine is a Board Certified Dermatologist.Dr. Richwine is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and a member of the Atlanta Dermatological Association and the Georgia Society of Dermatology and Dermatologic Surgery.

Marietta Dermatology & The Skin Cancer Center
111 Marble Mill Road NW
Marietta, GA  30060

770-422-1013  |  www.mariettaderm.com

Thursday, 26 September 2013 14:04

Fraxel Dual for Restoring Youthful, Radiant Skin

What does the Fraxel® Dual procedure treat?

This effective laser therapy treats skin imperfections such as fine lines and wrinkles, age spots, sun damage, melasma, acne scarring and surgical scars. Fraxel® is an excellent treatment for face, neck, chest, arms, legs and back.

fraxel-modelHow does it work?

Fraxel® light energy stimulates your skin's natural collagen, rejuvenating skin below the surface to smooth the creases and pockets that cause wrinkles and scars. Fraxel® laser technology only treats targeted problem areas so the results are focused and effective.  It uses patented fractional technology to target damaged skin with microscopic laser columns that penetrate deep into the skin.  The laser treats only a fraction of the tissue at a time, leaving the surrounding tissue untouched, which promotes rapid healing. This stimulates your body's own natural healing process, replacing the old & damaged cells with fresh, glowing, healthy skin.

When will I see results?

You will notice changes in your skin after your first treatment as it becomes softer, smoother and more radiant. As you progress through your treatment series, your skin tone, texture and quality will be noticeably improved. The more treatments you have, the more noticeable your results.

Is the Fraxel® treatment right for me?

Fraxel® is the right choice for people who want to improve their skin's tone and texture - and want real results - but don't want the extended downtime or risks that come with surgery.


Dermatology Center of Atlanta
Medical, Surgical and Cosmetic Dermatology

9900 Medlock Bridge Road
Johns Creek, GA 30097
770.497.0699 | www.dermatology-atlanta.com

Dr. Gilman is a board certified dermatologist who has recently moved to Atlanta after 10 years in private practice in New York, NY specializing in medical, aesthetic, and laser dermatology.  Dr. Gilman is often consulted by local & national print and television media for her expert opinion on medical advancements in dermatology and new aesthetic trends & procedures.  She has appeared on Dr. Oz, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.   Dr. Gilman is an expert in the use of the Fraxel Dual® laser and performs this procedure at Dermatology Center of Atlanta.

Friday, 30 August 2013 16:07

Cann Dentistry

Late summer and early autumn usually means weed pollens, particularly ragweed for many allergy sufferers. The fall can be just as troublesome as the spring, and with such a wet season preceding us, we can anticipate high pollen counts for prolonged periods of time. Accordingly, one would take precautions to reduce exposure to pollens such as limiting early day outdoor activities, keeping windows closed, and cleaning outdoor pets before they come into the home.

In addition to taking measures to reduce exposure to fall pollens, many people also supplement with over-the-counter anti-histamines, nasal saline or decongestants. There are also several plant-based therapies which have shown benefit:

• Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) – Commonly used for headaches, two studies confirmed its efficacy in head to head trials versus OTC antihistamines. Make sure you purchase "PA-free" formulations to avoid liver toxicity

woman-in-nature• Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) – Although evidence is lacking for its role in treating allergies, I have had several patients report dramatic improvements in rhinitis symptoms from using Nettle formulations.

• Quercetin – Provides Flavonoids, a potent anti-inflammatory, which has been demonstrated to have anti-histamine properties in test tubes. Lacking clinical evidence but testimonials from patients carry weight, given its low risk.

Lastly, consider the role of diet, emotions and stress in inflammation. Remember that the body is always trying to restore homeostasis, so try and lead a lifestyle that fosters this process.


Avicenna Integrative Medicine
1000 Johnson Ferry Road, Suite E200
Marietta, GA 30068

(770) 977-9300 | www.avicennamd.com


Maziar Rezvani, MD, FAAAAI serves as director of Avicenna Integrative Medicine and Avicenna Allergy and Asthma. He specializes in integrative medicine and allergy, asthma and immunology, and his interests include the role of inflammation in various disease states, diet and nutrition, and botanical medicine.


This article is brought to you by Avicenna Integrative Medicine
For information on other topics from Atlanta's experts go to www.bestselfconnect.com

Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics Center is led by Seth A. Yellin, MD, FACS, formerly Chief of Facial Plastic Surgery at Emory Healthcare from 1999-2011 and a nationally recognized expert in creating a natural look when performing facial rejuvenation and rhinoplasty. The Center provides patients with a state-of-the-art aesthetic experience in a freestanding, beautiful, modern facility designed with your needs in mind.

Whether you are seeking advice on how to best care for your skin or perhaps you have a concerning mole or skin condition requiring special attention our Dermatologist partners at Marietta Dermatology are on-site and ready to help. Additionally, our in-house medical aestheticians and laser experts can educate you and determine the best and most economical care plan to address your skin concerns.

Our aesthetics center, which is staffed by highly trained and knowledgeable skin care experts, is the ideal place to experience non-invasive treatments for your facial blemishes, unwanted skin redness or brown spots, facial lines and wrinkles and or loss of collagen in the face and neck. These issues can be addressed with therapies ranging from topical medications and cosmeceuticals to chemical peels, intense pulsed light, vibradermabrasion, laser facials and other laser procedures designed to provide maximum benefit with minimum downtime. Unwanted body hair can also be addressed with laser hair removal. Ultherapy, which uses high intensity ultrasound energy to contract and tighten relaxed skin of the face and neck, is an exciting new technique that really expands what can be done to improve ones appearance with no downtime. Lastly, cellulite is effectively treated with SmoothShapes technology, which not only smoothes the skin but also helps reduce inches in the treated areas.

marietta-facialIf facial aging or simply looking tired, in spite of getting a good nights rest, is an issue or perhaps there is a facial feature that you have never been comfortable with, a personalized consultation with Dr. Yellin will be comprehensive and informative and is an ideal forum for getting all of your questions answered. Dr. Yellin will complete his assessment by providing you with a written summary of his customized plan, which may range from home skin care products to in office minimally invasive injectable treatments or if necessary, surgical procedures. If surgery is recommended, procedures can often be performed in our office operatory under local anesthesia or if general anesthesia is required, at a certified outpatient surgical facility, which is the ideal location for aesthetic surgical procedures as it provides the same level of safety and patient care as a modern hospital in a friendly, patient-oriented environment.

Lastly, our practice provides a truly integrated care approach to the management of skin cancer. Whether you need a full body skin check, a biopsy to diagnose a suspicious skin lesion, specialized Mohs skin cancer removal, pathologic expertise or extensive facial reconstruction, our practice provides all of these services and more and has been serving Marietta and all of North Georgia for more than 40 years. Come visit with us and see how we may serve you.


Seth A. Yellin, MD,FACS
Facial Plastic Surgeon

Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetic Center
111 Marble Mill Road NW
Marietta, GA 30060



This article is brought to you by Marietta Facial Plastic Surgery & Aesthetics Center
For information on other topics from Atlanta's experts go to www.bestselfconnect.com