You will want these Heart Pillows…

We are so excited to be delivering over 100 of these heart pillows to Baylor Uptown and UT Southwestern Clements University Hospital. Let let me explain. I know a heart pillow may not sound exciting or fancy, but let me tell you they are sooooo useful. After having a mastectomy, the seat belt in the car feels like a razor blade —- but the heart pillow helps. When you need to sleep on your side, but you have tissue expanders in, the mattress feels like huge tweezers pinching you (slip it under your arm) —- but the heart pillow helps. When the covers slipping across your newly operated on breasts feels uncomfortable — the heart pillow helps. When you think about the pain you are experiencing and the people who donated their materials, love and time to make these little gems — the heart pillows help. Thanks to the people who make these! Thanks to the Angels of Mercy (aka nurses) who take care of us after our surgery! Thanks to Baylor Uptown and UTSW Clements University Hospital for all they do!


I had my journey in the closet, yes me.

In March of 2013, I found out about my diagnosis. Besides sharing the news with my immediate family (husband and young adult kids) I only shared it with two trust people at work. People I needed to know the reasons why I would be missing some work. I swore everyone involved to secrecy. Why? I think this was one way I could control people’s reactions to me. If they didn’t know, then everything would remain the same in my relationship with them. Right? In hindsight, it added a lot more pressure on me. Hiding the changes in my body as I went through surgeries. Hiding the lack of energy after surgeries. Hiding the changes the medication caused in how I felt. Even though I took on this additional load, what I didn’t get was unending sympathy that was unwelcome. I was down enough and didn’t need (seemingly well intended) was people asking me how I was 50 times a day. THIS is what I wanted to control. You always hear people going through some major medical problem say they want to be treated normal. I guess my way of handling it was making sure I got the normal treatment. I’m not saying this is  right for everybody. I’m not saying it was easy. It was a year after all my treatment and surgeries that I finally was able to talk to everyone about this. Why do I tell you this now? Because I want you to remember this as you interact with others going through something. Use a little empathy. Use a bit of compassion, but not too much. Am I clear?


All Kinds of Healin’ Goin’ On!

When we think of healing we think of incisions, surgeries, illness from chemo and getting over these hurdles. But what about what’s left after all that is over. I’m telling you there is mental and emotional healing that needs to happen. How do I know this? Let me give you some examples. I recently had a patient write her story to me privately in an email. She poured her heart out…talking about recognizing her new normal, her relationships that suffered and her feelings, trials and tribulations. Many times those of us going through breast cancer are NOT CAPABLE of expressing ourselves while everything is going on. In fact, sometimes it takes years to be able to talk about it. I am SO glad this young woman reached out to us. I want to encourage any of you trying to find the courage to share your experience with us…. know that we are here. Know that we will listen. And know that you need to release this pressure valve within you and say what you need to say. As a person who was in the closet during my journey, (next blog), I get the lack of communication. But it isn’t healthy to keep it forever. Let us be your sounding board.

We are here.

We understand.


Holidays don’t stop just because you have cancer…

It’s the holidays and its time to party and socialize and be out and about. But maybe you don’t feel like it. Or maybe you don’t look well (in your mind). It can be hard to try and find the will to get out and act normal. Let me propose this to you, you may not set the tone for everything going on in your body, for you can set the tone for what’s in your mind. Have this mindset: Cancer is temporary, treatment is temporary, my strange appearance is temporary. The survival rate for cancer now is higher than ever. Choose to be a survivor! Choose to live as normal as you can. So put on a smile, some nice clothes, some makeup for color, brush on eyebrows if you must, fix your hair/wig/scarf and TELL YOURSELF you will have pep in your step. Go to that party, socialize like you normally would. You will probably realize after that staying home would have been much more boring. Now you have stories to recall, and memories to cherish. Chalk it up to: Ok, I’ll embrace this temporary situation I’m in now. And who knows, you might have time to catch a snowflake on your tongue!



Breathe, Oxygen, Cell Respiration, Repeat

Today I’m very excited to share with you a video I have wanted to do for a while now. I’m very thankful to Jennifer Moreland who agreed to lead the Alternate Nostril Breathing Exercise. Did you know that many times when we are stressed, our respiration becomes shallow and less efficient. When this happens our cells are not able to regenerate the way it was intended. I invite you to find a quiet place, watch this video and follow along. This video shows you 10 rounds of alternate nostril breathing. Doing this relaxes your body to the point that you can rest and relax calmly. Try it! The reason we did all ten rounds is for you to feel the full benefit of this length of an exercise. Once you learn the routine, you can do this anytime, anywhere, because as my yogi, Ricky Tran  says “Your breath is always with you!”  I hope this exercise brings you as much peace a relaxation as it has me.  And thanks to our corporate sponsor, MD Martin Staffing for making this video possible. Namaste!


Is there sex after cancer? Email me at

There is a discussion that needs to be had. A discussion many women are too embarrassed to ask their doctors about. A discussion that many women wont have because they accept their “new normal.”  I’m talking about vaginal dysfunction after cancer treatment. I’ve mentored women very young who, after being thrown into chemical induced menopause, are no longer able to have intimate sexual relations with their husbands. Vaginal walls become atrophied, dry, lacking blood vessels, and unable to tolerate any penetration. After winning the cancer battle, should women be robbed of this once pleasurable segment of their lives. I’m asking you to email me personally at and let me know of the issues you are having in this arena. I am researching various treatments and want to make sure these can address your issues, take away pain and add the pleasure back in your life. Men are often asked by their doctors about sexual dysfunction issues. It’s now time for women to be asked the same thing!



UTSW Plastic Surgeons Use Art and Creativity to Improve Patient Outcomes!


You may not think of surgery as an artistic process, but UT Southwestern’s breast reconstruction surgeons apply their background and interest in art to provide the best aesthetic results for their patients. Dr. Nicholas Haddock, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Plastic Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery, and Dr. Sumeet Teotia, Associate Professor of Plastic Surgery and Director of the Breast Reconstruction Program, operate together at William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital and work together to create and refine new breast reconstruction techniques.

Upon arriving at UT Southwestern four years ago, Dr. Haddock brought extensive experience with the profunda artery perforator (PAP) flap procedure, a breast reconstruction technique he helped pioneer and develop, which involves using a patient’s own tissue from the back of the thigh to reconstruct breast tissue.

Meanwhile, Dr. Teotia was perfecting similar techniques using tissue from the abdomen. “I came on board and he was already doing these types of reconstruction on his own,” Dr. Haddock said. “He came in with this beautiful flap and I thought that we could creatively use it and make it even better than described,” Dr. Teotia added.

Dr. Haddock has been involved in fine arts for most of his life, and Dr. Teotia currently serves as Director of the Classical Drawing elective course at UT Southwestern while maintaining an art studio in Dallas. “He’s more of a classic artist and I’ve been involved in plenty of art in my lifetime,” said Dr. Haddock.“We both solve creative problems at the end of the day,” Dr.Teotia said. “We use the aesthetic angle to achieve a betteroutcome for each patient.”

By combining their artistic eyes and extensive experience, the doctors use a co-surgery model that’s difficult to replicate in most other institutions. While one doctor works with tissue in the upper body, another doctor works with tissue in the lower body. The technique allows constant motion in the operating room, and patients benefit from reduced recovery times and better results.

This unique co-surgery model has allowed the doctors to offer breast reconstruction patients more options, faster operative times, and better aesthetic results, and colleagues are taking notice. They’ve presented the model at multiple meetings and recently won the Bostwick Competition Best Paper Award for Breast Surgery for their creativity.

“None of the stuff we’ve done would have been possible if we weren’t working together,” Dr. Teotia said. “Our operating room staff is also very breast-
dedicated,” Dr. Haddock added. “We have a team of the same people we work with all the time. It’s a pretty well-oiled machine.”

Individuals who have undergone these procedures under the care of Dr. Haddock and Dr. Teotia are some of the best advocates of their approach to breast reconstruction surgery. In fact, many patients have created blogs and some have started their own nonprofits to raise awareness. “We’re just honored to be a part of it,” Dr. Teotia said.

October 19 is Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day

Each year, on the third Wednesday in October, The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and The Plastic Surgery Foundation (The PSF) lead the Breast Reconstruction Awareness USA Campaign, one of the few breast cancer campaigns dedicated to building awareness around breast reconstruction options.

According to ASPS, only 23 percent of women know the wide range of breast reconstruction options available, and even fewer are familiar with the possible outcomes. “Many people, even in America, don’t get breast reconstruction or aren’t presented with all of the available options,” Dr. Haddock said.

The doctors are holding a local Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day event at the Samuel Lynne Galleries Oct. 19 at 6:30 p.m. The event includes a presentation on the various types of breast reconstruction available, and a panel discussion with past patients moderated by Dr. Teotia.

Click here to learn more about the upcoming Breast Reconstruction Awareness Day event.
— Casey Conway


Article from UTSW!


October is the Breast Month of the Year…

It is with such mixed emotions that I sit here writing this blog as we enter the month of October 2016. I am so thankful for all the women we have been able to help and those to whom we have imparted knowledge. I am thankful for those we have provided acupuncture treatments to help them get through chemo. I am thankful for the doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals who have helped us spread the message of options, alternative treatments, and little known things to help along the way. But my heart is filled with sadness and my eyes with tears as I remember those we have lost, the brave fights fought. The countless needle sticks, drugs taken and scalpel cuts to get back to health. Some of us make it, and some of us don’t. Who chooses that? What is the difference? Why does a 50+ year old survive when a 30 year old with small children does not? This disease is a life changer, even for the survivors. I have my moments of anger and discussions with God about why some are chosen to die. I don’t have an answer, but I do have the drive to continue to fight, educate and hope for a cure.  My only other option is to give up, and THAT, I know,  is not an option!


Wine: There’s good news and bad news…

Like everything in life there is a good side and a bad side to nearly everything. I often get asked how much wine or alcohol is too much. We have often heard about the benefits of wine and how it can raise your good cholesterol. Well, like anything moderation is key. So I’m going to put this out there and some will like it and some won’t. Up to 7 oz of wine is ok. If you regularly have more than that, it has negative impacts on the body that can actually increase you chances of cancer. As adults, we make choices every day.  Now that you’ve heard this, you can go and make the best choice for you!


Wait! What? Weight.

I’m going to put it out there right now. This is NOT one of my favorite subjects. As a person who as struggled with weight most of my life, and I hate to admit it, but that extra fluff can be responsible for you getting breast cancer. Some doctors even say it is the most important factor after genetics when it comes to your odds. Let me explain. As women age and their ovaries produce less estrogen, your body stores estrogen in fat. So the fat cells keep estrogen levels higher in your body than what it would be without the extra fat cells. Most common breast cancers are fed with estrogen and sometimes progesterone. So if you want to reduce your changes to get many types of cancer, reduce the fat cells too.  Let’s do it together!