Enough is Enough

 

by Tina M. Cameron

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Enough is enough is the hashtag I use almost everyday on different social media sites. It has to do with the articles I read about the numerous, daily, senseless, heartbreaking murders of our country’s Law Enforcement Officers (LEO). They run into danger, and they risk their lives every single day that they go to work. They are husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, moms, and dads. Some are even the furry kind. LEOs are overworked, underpaid, and even disrespected by some until those people need help.

I don’t even watch the news anymore because it is too depressing. What our world has come to? Unfortunately, it is a daily occurrence for gang violence, mass shootings, and police deaths. Police are dying either at the hand of criminals or by their own gun.

Families both blood and blue are being devastated by these tragedies. Children are losing a parent. Wives are becoming widows. Enough is enough. These brave people signed up to serve and protect, and they are being targeted. My heart breaks when I read about their stories. I’ve been told, “stop reading about it,” but it is nearly impossible to not hear about. I am a very sensitive person with a big heart, so I care about people including those who I don’t even know. I feel the family’s pain. I am also a huge dog lover, so when I hear of a K9 officer being injured or killed, my heart also breaks for them.

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My brother retired last December from law enforcement, and I am so thankful he did and that in his career he was fortunate enough to make it home to his family. I have many friends in law enforcement, have dated officers, and just recently in December, I got to spend several hours with the K9 unit from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. It was amazing.

In January 2019, we already lost four police officers by gunfire, and another four officers were shot and injured recently in Houston. Two K9 officers have also been killed. This is unacceptable. Enough is enough.

I wrote about this because it weighs on my heart. If you see an officer, thank them for protecting our streets and tell them to be careful—I do both every time I meet an officer. They deserve nothing but respect from everyone for running towards danger as most would run away. They are heroes without capes.

#enoughisenough

#respect

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Lexington Medical Center Welcomes Heather M. Currier, MD, FACCP

Lexington Medical Center is pleased to welcome Heather M. Currier, MD, FACCP, to the hospital’s network of care at Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery. The physician practice provides cardiovascular surgery with the latest medical technology and state-of-the-art treatments.

Dr. Heather Currier

An honors graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, Dr. Currier graduated with her medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, earning outstanding performance distinction in surgery. She went on to complete a general surgery residency at Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and a cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. She is board certified by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians.

Dr. Currier retired as a colonel from the United States Army after more than 24 years of active duty. At retirement, she was serving as the chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at both Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Fort Gordon, Georgia, and Charlie Norwood Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia.

Dr. Currier is a recipient of the Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster for her combat tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. Her other positions and awards include Deputy Commander of Surgical Services, Chief of Surgery, the Army Commendation Medal and the National Defense Service Ribbon. In addition to these accomplishments, in 2014, the American Board of Cardiology awarded her with its Award of Honor and recognized her as a board consultant for cardiac surgery.

Prior to joining the Lexington Medical Center Network of Care, Dr. Currier was a practicing cardiothoracic surgeon at Augusta University Medical Center, University Hospital and Georgia Children’s Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia, and provided locums coverage at Piedmont Athens Regional in Athens, Georgia. She also serves as an advanced trauma life support instructor.

Dr. Currier proudly joins Lexington Cardiovascular Surgery to provide cardiovascular surgical consultations, follow-up care and vascular labs, as well as a variety of cardiovascular and thoracic services, including aortic/mitral valve replacement, coronary artery bypass grafting, and procedures for ascending and thoracic aneurysms, pulmonary diseases, esophageal tumors, lung masses and carotid arteries.

For more information, visit LexingtonCardiovascular.com.

Superfood of the Month: Cauliflower

Cauliflower is considered one of the healthiest foods on Earth and with good reason. It has a rich supply of health-promoting phytochemicals, a high level of anti-inflammatory compounds, and the ability to ward off cancer, heart disease, brain disease and weight gain. There isn’t much cauliflower can’t do.

Top Health Benefits of Cauliflower
•Helps reduce cancer risk
•Fights inflammation
•Decreases risk for heart disease and brain disorders
•Provides high levels of vitamins and minerals (especially vitamins C and K)
•Improves digestion and detoxification
•Aids in weight loss
•Helps balance hormones
•Preserves eye health

The best ways to cook cauliflower are to gently sauté or stir fry to maintain nutritional value. Cauliflower can also be consumed raw. It’s best to use it within three to seven days of purchase.

Recipe
Grilled and Marinated Flank Steak with Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

Yield: 5 servings
Total Time: 36 to 46 minutes (marinate 8 to 24 hours)
Prep Time: 20 minutes (marinate 8 to 24 hours)
Cook Time: 11 minutes (rest 5 to 15 minutes)

INGREDIENTS
• 2 to 3 lb flank steak or London Broil
• 2 T balsamic vinegar
• 2 T fresh lemon juice
• 1 T Dijon mustard
• 1 T Worcestershire sauce
• 1 T finely minced fresh garlic
• 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
• 1/2 tsp. dried basil
• 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
• 1 tsp. smoked paprika or paprika
• 1/4 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS
1. Combine balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, Dijon, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and spices.
2. Whisk in olive oil.
3. Trim flank steak of visible fat. Make small scores about ¼-inch deep and ¼-inch apart on both sides of the meat.
4. Place meat in a small Ziploc® bag.
5. Pour marinade mixture over meat.
6. Marinate in refrigerator for 8 to 24 hours.
7. Take meat out of the refrigerator, drain out marinade, and let it come to room temperature while preheating a grill to high heat.
8. Turn grill to medium-high or let coals cool before grilling the meat.
9. Using a meat thermometer, cook to 130°F.
10. The meat will continue to cook as it rests, so remove it from the grill when it’s underdone rather than overdone.
11. When the meat reaches temperature, remove it from the grill.
12. Let rest 5 to 10 minutes for smaller pieces or 10 to 15 minutes for larger pieces.
13. Cut meat into thin slices across the grain, and serve immediately.

Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower
Yield: 2 servings
Total Time: 55 minutes
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients
8 oz cauliflower florets horizontally sliced
2 T melted butter
1 T olive oil
½ cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. chopped parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Toss sliced cauliflower with butter and olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper.
3. Transfer the cauliflower to a baking sheet. In single layer, roast until almost tender about 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven and sprinkle cauliflower with grated Parmesan and chopped parsley. Roast until the cheese melts and is slightly crusty, about 5 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Wear Red Day 2019

Today begins American Heart Month. It’s also National Wear Red Day. Hospital employees gathered to take a special photo to show support for the awareness of heart disease.

Lexington Medical Center wants you to “Just Say Know” to heart disease. Visit LexMed.com/Know to take a quiz about high blood pressure, heart disease or heart attacks.

Sweet Valentine

candy-3936989_1920By Rachel Sircy

Well, just like Halloween, Valentine’s Day presents a special challenge to the gluten-free eater. For those of you out there with children with celiac or who may have classmates or friends with food allergies, this can be an especially challenging time of year. Valentine’s Day can be fun, but being left out of the celebration can be heartbreaking for school children. There are metric tons of candy on virtually every store shelf in the country but figuring out which ones are actually safe for celiacs to eat is so difficult that it’s almost depressing.

Many major brands (like Hershey’s and Nestle, etc.) have certain candies and chocolate bars which are only gluten free in certain seasons and in certain shapes and sizes. For instance, Hershey’s milk chocolate bars are gluten free ONLY in the 1.55 oz size – all other sizes, shapes and varieties of the Hershey’s plain milk chocolate are NOT gluten free. The same applies with Nestle’s Butterfingers. The regular and fun size bars proudly proclaim that they’re gluten free, but all other sizes, shapes, and varieties are not gluten free. Hershey’s and Nestle aren’t alone. Jelly Belly Jellybeans are all technically gluten free, HOWEVER, they are sometimes packaged by different companies, and the Jelly Belly corporation cannot vouch for these other companies. They tell you that you must look closely at each individual package of Jelly Bellys and call the packaging facility on the back to find out if this particular package is gluten free or not. Honestly, I feel like I need a flow chart, a food scale, a calculator, and possibly a Ph.D. to keep up with some of these candy companies.

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It’s really important in light of all of the confusion to teach your celiac (or allergic) children to resist temptation. Easier said than done, right? Temptation often gets the better of adults, let alone kids. The best way to ensure that your child stays safe while unsafe candy and wheat-based cupcakes are free-flowing is to make sure that they have their own safe-to-eat treats. I wrote in the summer about the Be a PAL program. PAL stands for Protect A Life. This program teaches children how to be a safe friend for others with food allergies by helping to make sure that these other children stay safe from dangerous foods and also from food-allergy bullying. Even if your child doesn’t have food allergies, you can help protect and reach out to other children who do have potentially dangerous allergies by being intentional when purchasing candy and treats for school parties.

I’ve said all that to say this: I am going to provide a list of companies who strive to make products that are safe for everyone:

  • Enjoy Life Foods: Hands down, this is the absolute best company for food allergy sufferers. ALL of the products made by this company are allergy friendly. They are free from all of the 8 major allergens (including gluten of course), and they are delicious. I have been a loyal customer since the early days of my diagnosis. They are expanding their repertoire lately, and they have Valentine’s candy packs which would be perfect for parties at your child’s school. They also have baking mixes,
    snack bars, cookies, you name it.

https://enjoylifefoods.com/our-foods/valentine-chocolate-minis/

  • Yum Earth: The gummy candies and lollipops from this company are organic, free from nuts, chemical dyes, high fructose corn syrup, and are vegan. They also come in fun heart-shapes for Valentine’s Day.

https://shop.yumearth.com/Organic-Valentines-Day-Gummy-Hearts/p/YUM-018334&c=YumEarth@Valentines

  • Glutino: One of my primary go-to gluten free brands. I love their pre-packaged cookies AND their cake mixes AND their crackers AND their chocolate covered pretzels…the list could go on for a while. If you’re thinking of making gluten free cupcakes for your kid’s school, I would suggest you use the mix from this brand. The downside of Glutino products is that they are not necessarily free of the 8 major allergens. HOWEVER, their website does state that the ingredients label on the package that you’re purchasing should have all possible allergy contaminants listed in the ingredients section.

http://www.glutino.com/products/

  • Schar: Okay, so as far as gluten free convenience food goes, I’ve saved the company with the tastiest stuff for last. I have actually eaten myself sick on both their Chocolate Dipped Cookies and their Honeygrams. Actually, their Honeygrams are so delicious that whenever we have a family cookout with s’mores, even the non-gluten-sensitive people ask for them. If you get put in charge of bringing the graham crackers to your kid’s school, try this brand. You can find them at Walmart, and even though they’re a bit pricier than regular graham crackers, they’re totally worth it. They also have a very intensely specific FAQ section on their website. FYI: this company focuses on celiac disease, not necessarily other allergens.

https://www.schaer.com/

Well, I hope this list of gluten-free (and some allergen free) candy, etc. helps out with your child’s Valentine’s Day! Happy February!

Where Did The Time Go?

By Lisa Baker

Has anyone really looked at the calendar today?  Where did January go?  Here we are one month into 2019.  Time goes by so fast.  I talked to Dad this morning on the phone; it was hard to understand all that he said.  From what I could piece together, he is tired of sitting around and no one coming to visit him.  I tried to explain to him that both my husband and I have been sick.  He told me he has never had a cold, and that shouldn’t stop us from coming to see him.  He wants to see Mom and go to his house.  He thinks he can stay by himself.  He wants to walk in the yard and in the road so he can go wherever he wants.

He thinks that no one watches him at the facility.  It doesn’t matter how many times you try to tell him that staff watches him, he can no longer comprehend that he cannot be alone and that he is being watched.  He cannot communicate because he can’t verbalize what he wants to say.  He repeats words over and over thinking that he is completing his thoughts.  Dad will never again be able to be alone.

Right now, Mom seems to be doing OK.  She has been a little dizzy and has had some pain lately, but she seems to be settling in at her new facility.

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I want you to sit down and think about this: you can’t speak clearly, and you can’t remember which words to use to express your thoughts.  You feel so isolated and alone because you are having huge communication issues.  Can you begin to understand how a dementia patient feels? How about the family that is trying so hard to keep their loved one at home? At this point, it doesn’t matter if they are in a facility or at home.  If they are at home, you or someone must be with them 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you have no help, you start to feel like you are losing your mind too.

Now imagine you are married.  Your spouse works outside the home.  You have to care for your children, keep up with your house work, prepare meals, wash clothes, and help your kids with homework. Now add a loved one with dementia to the mix.  Imagine they are at a point where they don’t want to bathe or eat. If you thought you had your hands full before, you were dreaming.  You are very quickly wearing yourself out.  You need help. Is it any wonder that caregivers for a loved one with dementia stand a very high chance of getting it themselves?

So what are you going to do?

Give up yourself completely? Find extra help who you will have to pay? Start looking at long term care facilities? The answers to all these questions and many more vary from person to person and family to family.

I do not have all the answers, right or wrong.  I can only do what’s best at the moment for myself and my parents.  What can I tell you then?  Well for me, I almost immediately made an appointment with my doctor.  I had no idea just how bad things could be, but I knew I would need help for me.  I knew I needed to be very honest with my doctor about my physical health as well as my mental health.

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I knew that the stress of everything could be very high, but I also knew that I needed help.  I needed someone who I could share all the burdens and business of having both parents with a dementia diagnosis.  While I do have both of my brothers, I knew I needed someone else with some medical experience to help me with things.  My sister-in-law was a perfect choice.  She has medical experience which makes it so much easier when we have to split up with one of us with Mom and one of us with Dad.  We set up a group text between my sister-in-law, both my brothers, and myself, so we could communicate effectively to each other about both parents. Early on, I mentioned that my parents had their wills already done and their POA financial and medical already picked.  All their legal paperwork was in order.

Even with that, you need a human support system. I don’t see how anyone can do this without help.

What other things can you do? Look at the questions below.  Sit down with your loved one NOW and go through these.  Write their answers down or better yet, video record them and their answers.  You may think it’s not important now, but later you will wish you had done this.  Sometimes you don’t realize just how much is gone until you start thinking about the things you can never go back and ask your loved one because they are too far in the dementia process to be able to remember.

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This disease takes so much away from us all even before your loved one dies.

fb_img_1541818060307Sorry folks, I’ve been pretty deep in thought about the process and how we’ve already lost so much of Mom and Dad even before they pass.  You start realizing you can’t just ask them the things you used to because they don’t remember.

Strive each and every day to make as many memories as you can.  Take lots of pictures.  Journal about your loved ones as well as yourself.  You never know if the day will come, so you will be so thankful that you did.

 

The Importance of a “Best Girlfriend” No Matter Your Age

By Janet Prince

Women need to have a “best girlfriend” just as much as younger girls do.  You know, the type of friend you can call on at any time day or night and know she will be there for you.  I am very blessed to have several “girlfriends” in my life.

Recently, my best friend sat with my daughters while I had surgery and then helped them get me home and settled.  Gary was away on his “bucket list trip,” so it was up to the girls to take care of me until he returned.  Then, she was with me again on the day of our daughter’s wedding rehearsal and dinner when I had to go back to surgery.  We were supposed to be spending that day decorating for the wedding, not at the surgery yarn piccenter, but thankfully I was able to attend both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding!

Back to my best friend, Susan.  She always takes the time to pitch in and help me, and she is always there when I call.  She has prayed for me through many surgeries and challenges over the past 18 years.  I honestly don’t know what I would do without her in my corner.  Because I don’t have any sisters, I am thankful that God brought us together all those years ago at the MOM program at Holland Avenue Baptist Church.  We have watched each other’s children grow into young adults and teenagers and have shared many special events in the kids’ lives.  We are “family” in every sense of the word.

friends 1I also have my best girlfriends in GFWC-SC.  I am blessed and very fortunate to have four women in my life who I know are there for me and lift me up when I am feeling down.  When the decorations needed to go up for the wedding, Jackie was there with her husband helping Ashlan’s new mother-in-law, Marsha, and Gary make everything perfect.  Jackie and Tammy gave a wonderful brunch for Ashlan and her bridesmaids which I didn’t get to attend.  Tammy also helped the bridal party put makeup on the flower girls and made sure they looked beautiful. Most importantly, Jackie, Laurie, Marian, and Tammy weren’t only there to witness Ashlan’s marriage to Joe, but also to show their love and support for me.  The “Fab-Four” are my travel companions when attending GFWC conventions and board meetings.  We enjoy the meetings, but we more so enjoy the time friends 2we get to spend together talking and laughing.  We are true “girlfriends” in our hearts.

I hope you all are as blessed as I am with those special “girlfriends” in your life.  If you are, let them know how much your relationship means to you.  Plan a day of shopping, going to a play, or trying your hand at a new craft.  Make it fun and enjoy the laughs you have together!