What You May Not Know About Reconstructive Surgery

The main problem is using the word “feel,” said Dr. Clara Lee, an associate professor of plastic surgery at Ohio State University. Many women who undergo reconstructive surgery often face broken promises from doctors. They don’t want to give patients false hope or the wrong information, but misconceptions still occur. Dane’e McCree decided to have her breasts removed after learning she had an increased risk of breast cancer, but she didn’t feel like the doctors warned her about the full picture. Although the appearance looks natural, Ms. McCree reports that they’re completely numb, unable to feel anything. “I can’t even feel it when my kids hug me,” she said.

While the breasts may feel “natural” on the outside post-surgery, the patient is unable to feel anything, not even air blowing on the skin. This can be very dangerous! According to the New York Times, “several women interviewed recounted times when they had not realized a bra was cutting into their skin until they saw blood.” Reconstructive surgery focuses on the appearance of the female body, not how the woman feels.

As of now, roughly 25 to 60 percent of mastectomy patients experience nerve damage. The best chance for sensory restoration is to use the woman’s own body tissue instead of an implant to increase the chance the nerves regenerating, but even this results in limited feeling. Luckily, this may be about to change.

A Houston a plastic surgeon, Dr. Aldona J. Spiegel, is working to reconnect the nerves to improve sensation, but Spiegel is careful to explain that it won’t feel like it did before. There are many factors to consider, including the risk of causing chronic pain in an attempt to restore sensation. If you or someone you know is considering breast reconstruction surgery, make sure they know all the facts to make the best decision for their health.

Check out this feature in the New York Times to read more.

Additional Resources

Is Breast Reconstruction Right For You? – BreastCancer.org

Reconstructive Breast Surgery Options – Johns Hopkins

Breast Reconstruction – Susan G Komen

Custom Compression For Kids!

Custom compression garments can be made for people of all shapes and sizes, even kids! It can be difficult to find great compression clothing for kids, especially when it comes to comfort and the fit. Luckily, we’ve found some great options and an awesome story that will give you hope. That being said, meet Lucia.

A popular lymphedema blog, Little Miss Lucia’s Lymphoedema Life, shares the life of Lucia, a young girl diagnosed with Primary Lymphedema. This is a rare condition that is characterized by chronic swelling. Manual Lymphatic Drainage and regularly wearing compression stockings help to manage lymphedema symptoms. While there are plenty of compression stocking brands on the market, nearly all of them are targeted at adults – not children. Though size might be the first problem you think of when buying an adult product for a child, getting a fabric and style that is comfortable for a young person to wear is also a huge issue.

In a touching blog post, we learned about Lucia heading back to school, happily and in style. She was surprised with colorful custom compression stockings made for children that perfectly matched her school uniform! These flashy red compression stockings are custom-made by Juzo to Lucia’s measurements and provide the medical compression she needs. Most importantly, these custom stockings are comfortable for her to wear and allow Lucia to attend school with her brother, Max. For children who need custom compression garments, Juzo offers a variety of colorful options in high compression levels.

Juzo also makes flat knit compression garments for children, including armsleeves! If your child experiences arm swelling from lymphedema in the upper extremity, armsleeves, gauntlets and gloves can help to manage their condition.

More options for kids? Therafirm offers SmartKnit Kids, a line of ready-to-wear socks, compression shirts and more, for children experiencing sensory processing differences. These innovative garments are made with a moisture-wicking fabric to keep your child dry, comfortable, and healthy. Therafirm offers comfortable, healthy clothing for kids, including seamless socks that don’t hurt sensitive feet! Therafirm’s SmartKnit Kids collection offers great, comfortable options for your kids.

Many brands like Juzo offer custom compression socks for children and adults. If you’re in the market for adult custom compression garments, give us a call at 1-877-545-8585.

 

Real Men Wear Pink Compression Socks

We love hearing from our customers! We recently had a customer send us feedback on our vast selection of compression socks and customer service experience. Bruce was very excited to learn how many different styles and colors there are to choose from when purchasing compression stockings. After 25 years of wearing basic black, navy, brown and white compression socks, Bruce was thrilled to find more stylish options with the medical compression he needs.

Bruce tried out kneehigh Sockwell compression socks and was just as happy with the look as he was the feel of them. Before finding these stylish socks, Bruce would wear two pairs of socks, one for support, and one on top for fashion, and would have to keep adjusting them from slipping down. Now there’s no need. Sockwell compression socks are available in a variety of colors and styles, so you can always find the look you want.

“The look is just great, just that bit of stripe adds the fashion that I need. No more need for wearing 2 pairs of socks, no more pulling up socks, and, the [Sockwell] socks pull on so easy. The Sockwell support socks fit so nice that you don’t feel like you have the ugly support hose on.”

On top of the large selection available, Bruce was very happy with the customer service he received. He says the order shipped fast and the customer service representative was knowledgeable in the latest fashion trends, and also helped assist him in determining the correct size. They even gave him a style tip!

“The representative had the expertise to help with the right size and the latest styles and yes, I was talked into PINK knee high support socks, as I was told only real men wear PINK.”

Thank you, Bruce, for the great feedback. We take great pride in our excellent customer service and are always happy to help our customers. If you’re looking for more fashionable options, or want to share your own feedback, just give us a call at 1-877-545-8585, or send us an email with any questions or comments you may have. We are always happy to hear from you!

 

Spice Up Your Dinner With This Recipe!

Say goodbye to boring, bland dinners with this Chicken Fajita recipe! The best part about this dish is that it only takes about 18 minutes to whip up. Here’s how you make it:

chicken fajita recipe

STEP 1:

Start by slicing one onion and the bell pepper into thin strips, then sauté in a frying pan. While the vegetables cook, slice the chicken into thin strips and place it into the pan as soon as it’s cut. Add some spices to your dish for flavor.

chicken fajita spices

 

I chose coarse ground black pepper, cilantro, paprika, crushed red pepper and chipotle sea salt. You could also add cumin, a tablespoon of soy sauce or cayenne pepper on top.

STEP 2:

As the chicken is cooking, dice the second half of the onion, three tomatoes and the jalapeño pepper. Add salt, lemon and pepper to taste. Once the dish is done cooking, shred the lettuce into thin strips and place over top.

chicken fajita recipe ingredients

 

Did you know? Tomatoes are good for the heart, eyes and can help to prevent certain types of cancer? Onions help to regulate blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Boost your Vitamin C intake with jalepeños, each one contains ~17 mgs.

STEP 3:

Top your delicious fajita dish with the shredded lettuce, sour cream, salsa, cheese, guacamole or whatever combination you like. Serve with flour tortillas, corn, beans or rice.

fajita dinner recipe

Credit for this tasty dish goes to Positive Wellness, an awesome resource for recipes, fitness tips and healthy living.

Meet Cindy, Marathon Master

Cindy wears compression socks for marathons for this reason.

At the age of 76, Cindy Peterson has run 49 marathons, is a founding member of the Mercury Masters running team, and is also a member of the Seven Continents Club, a privilege she earned from running in at least one marathon on each continent. Cindy ran her first marathon at the age of 55 back in 1994 and has no plans to stop running anytime soon. She is currently looking forward to running her 50th marathon in a few weeks.

We found out about this amazing woman when she called our customer service staff to reorder one of her favorite running accessories – Allegro compression hosiery! She mentioned her upcoming milestone and we just had to know more.  We had the opportunity to get to know Cindy in a recent interview, and pick her brain about marathon advice, strategy, training. Here are Cindy’s best tips and what fuels her motivation and dedication to marathon training.

Q: What motivated you to start running?

It all started about 35 years ago when Cindy made a bucket list of 30 things she wanted to achieve in her life. She looked at it for 2 weeks, then put it away, and forgot about it for a little over 10 years…only to find that 28 things were achieved without even trying! The 29th thing was “own a Jaguar”, and the 30th goal was “RUN A MARATHON”.

“I watched the NYC Marathon in 1993, when the Founder, Fred Lebow, ran with a brain tumor. I was so motivated that if he could run with a brain tumor and complete the Marathon, I could also run it, even though I had varicose veins, couldn’t walk a block, and was 20 pounds overweight. I was motivated!!”

Cindy crossed off the last item on her bucket list in 1994, (a year after rediscovering the list), when she completed her first marathon in NYC. Now, flash-forward to 2016, as she prepares to run her 50th marathon back in NYC in a few weeks.

“Reaching my goals with the training every day, makes me feel great, makes my mind sharp, and feel a lot younger than my 76 years of age.”


Q: Tell us about your experience with the “Mercury Masters.” How does getting involved with a group change the running experience for you?

Cindy is one of the Founders of the “Mercury Masters,” a running team for women 50 and over. It all started with a handful of runners who met in NYC once a week and trained together in Central Park.

“We really bonded together when we ran the Mini Marathon, which is a 10K women’s only race in NYC. Then we set out to run the 1996 100th Boston Marathon, where 5 of us came through the finish line together holding hands. Since then, we have 74 members in the group.”

The Mercury Masters team encourages each other by running together, attending running classes together and supporting each other. The President keeps the group motivated and informed about upcoming team races, as well as any other member news. This group of ladies have played a big role in encouraging Cindy to run.

“Running with The “MERMS” as we are referred to by other teammates, has been a wonderful experience through the years, without which I would not have completed so many marathons. We motivate each other.”


Q: How do compression stockings benefit you during training? Why do you love Allegro Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose for running?

Many runners wear compression socks to enhance performance, speed up muscle recovery afterwards and prevent injury like shin splints. Cindy loves wearing our Allegro Sheer Compression Pantyhose for training and marathons. In her early running career, she started wearing compression hosiery to manage varicose veins and relieve the pain caused by them. Compression socks have played a vital role in allowing Cindy to train.

“The support pantyhose were a big relief. I will not go out for a run without wearing support pantyhose. They give me stability, comfort and confidence, and are a part of my uniform. I would not train without them because I would not be able to run very far with the pain from the varicose veins. They were a miracle for me. I had absolutely no pain after a 6, 10, or even a 15 mile run.”

Cindy wears the Allegro Essential Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose (#32) in 20-30 mmHg compression for long training runs and marathons. This level of compression is ideal for boosting athletic performance and for managing varicose veins. Cindy also likes to wear the Allegro Essential Sheer Open Toe Pantyhose (#14) in 15-20 mmHg, which is great for speeding up recovery and relieving muscle fatigue and minor swelling.

“The Allegro open toe pantyhose gave me great support on my calves, quads and my toes were free. They had more stability than my previous hose, and I was able to start running again. It was an amazing find!!”

You may have seen runners wearing bright colored athletic knee high socks. Other runners and gym-goers opt for compression leggings or pantyhose for full leg coverage. Cindy loves wearing sheer pantyhose with an open toe. Since there is no difference in the compression provided between an open or closed toe style or between a sheer or opaque fabric, it’s mostly up to personal preference.

“I love the sheer style because it gives my legs a great look. It does not look like I am wearing pantyhose at all. The reason for the open toe is so my toes are not constricted at all. Two years ago I had major surgery on my toes, which made my feet wider. My support pantyhose would constrict my toes and cause me great pain and discomfort.”


Q: What’s an overall week of training look like for you?

When Cindy isn’t training, she is running about 6 miles a day, 6 days a week, adding up to a total of 30 miles each week. While prepping for a marathon, Cindy averages 50 miles weekly. If you want to run a good marathon, Cindy advises completing at least three 20 mile runs. To prepare for a marathon, it’s a complete lifestyle change. Diet is also important, just like exercising and staying hydrated.

“When setting out for a run, I eat a banana, and that’s great for a 6 to 8 mile run. When running a long run, I bring “Gu” which is an Energy Gel. I also have a product called “The Right Stuff”, which is an electrolyte drink additive for hydration to make you perform stronger and recover faster. It is developed by NASA for astronauts.”


Q: After completing 49 Marathons, what advice do you have for beginner runners?

Cindy’s advice to a runner preparing for their first race is to partner with a friend or join a group like the Mercury Masters for motivation. This will help you stay dedicated, the time will go by faster and you have someone to push you. When you’re running with a friend, they won’t let you make excuses for missing a run! It also makes it more fun to train for the same race and help each other grow.

“The time spent running will go quicker and you will begin to feel the energy you get from the daily run. Eventually, you can plan for your first 5K, and move on to a 10K. Training is the key, and maybe you can even plan to do your first marathon. All you need is DETERMINATION! I ran my First Marathon at age 55. You can do it too no matter how old you are!!” – Cindy Peterson

Want to know more? Check out this interview Cindy did with New Jersey TV:

It’s Get To Know Your Customers Day!

Here at BrightLife, you’re not just another customer. If you need compression, we’re here to help! For Get To Know Your Customers Day, we would love to hear from you. Don’t be shy, share your story with us! Over the years, we’ve heard from people who use compression for travel and lifestyle, as well as lymphedema, dysautonomia, diabetes and more.

Get to know your customers day - BrightLife Direct

Click to read more of our customer’s posts!

Whether you wear compression garments for traveling, fatigue or to manage a condition, we have what you need to live a comfortable, healthy life. Allegro compression hosiery is our exclusive line of affordable, high quality compression socks and garments. We offer the same kind of products as the bigger brands, but at a much lower cost to you. Allegro is a longtime customer favorite and is one of our best selling brands. To learn more about Allegro, check out the full online Allegro Catalog.

It's get to know your customers day! Thanks from BrightLife Direct

Click to read more reviews!

Our excellent customer service team is here to assist you with any questions you may have. With years of experience and specialized training, our helpful team can help you find the best garment for your needs. BrightLife Direct works hard to offer you the lowest prices on the best products available. Plus, we’re also the only place to get free shipping in the US with no minimum purchase when you order online!

Check out what our customers have to say about us:

BrightLife Direct has the best customers!Laura Baker helps to raise awareness for fat disorders, and recently connected with our company. We’re here to support our customers however we can. If you’re passionate about a cause or are advocating awareness, reach out to us!

Get to know your customers day!

 We take pride in our caring customer service team and offering the latest and great compression products available. If you have questions about the perfect product for you or don’t see what you’re looking for, just give us a call at 1-877-545-8585.

BrightLife Direct has the best customers!Tell us what you think! Is there a brand that you can’t live without, or a product you just have to have? When you love it or hate it, let us know so we can offer our customers more of what they love. Don’t forget to leave a product review for a chance to win each month!

 

Dysautonomia Hacks and Facts Giveaway!

Dysautonomia Awareness Month Hacks And Facts From BrightLife Direct!

In honor of Dysautonomia Awareness Month this October, here’s your official spoonie guide, complete with tips and information to educate your friends, families and doctors. Plus, enter to win a $50 gift card in honor of Dysautonomia Awareness Month. See below for entry and details.


FACT: Dysautonomia symptoms can include lightheadedness, fatigue, fainting, blood pooling in the extremities, brain fog, chest pain, heart palpitations, nausea, migraines, shortness of breath and more.

HACK: Laying down or wearing compression socks can provide relief for some symptoms of dysautonomia. Many POTS patients have difficulty standing, so laying down can help your body improve the blood flow and reduce symptoms. A proper diet and exercise regimen can also help regulate symptoms.


FACT: Dysautonomia is an umbrella term for disorders of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), which helps to maintain the ideal blood pressure and body temperature, controls your heart rate, breathing, sleep cycles and digestion. Many dysautonomia patients look “normal” because their symptoms are invisible.

HACK: Educate others about the symptoms of dysautonomia and be aware of your own. The severity of symptoms varies between patients. Keep track of medications that work or don’t work, activities that provoke symptoms and note how your body reacts to different situations, so you can stay in control of your symptoms.


about dysautonomia


FACT: Over 70 million people worldwide have developed various forms of dysautonomia. A common form of dysautonomia is Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which can be found in people of all ages and genders. POTS impacts an estimated 1-3 million Americans, and is most often found in women.

HACK: The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Get involved with a local support group or volunteer with an organization like Dysautonomia International or participate in Dysautonomia Awareness Month activities to help fundraise to find a cure.


FACT: Dysautonomia is a relatively unknown condition to doctors and patients.

HACK: Find a doctor or a specialist who is knowledgeable about Dysautonomia or autonomic disorders. It’s important to work with someone who can determine the most appropriate medications for you to effectively manage your symptoms, and who can answer any questions you may have. Finding a doctor who can create an individualized treatment plan is crucial. You can click here to find a doctor near you.


Spoon Theory - Dysautonomia Awareness Month


FACT: Although Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) is not a rare condition, it is frequently misdiagnosed. The average diagnosis can take almost six years.

HACK: Participate in Dysautonomia Awareness Month this October to educate patients, doctors, friends and family about this condition. Share your story or get involved with organizations like Dysautonomia International and support research to find a cure.


FACT: There is no cure for Dysautonomia.

HACK: Adapt your lifestyle to assure your symptoms do not get worse. Remember to wear compression socks to prevent blood from pooling in your legs and relieve the dizziness or lightheadedness from orthostatic hypotension. Get organized, fight off stress as much as possible, and eat lots of lean proteins, fibers, fruits and vegetables. A high sodium diet of about 2-4 grams of salt a day is recommended, along with increasing your fluid intake to about 2-3 liters of water each day. Refrain from consuming refined sugars and caffeine as much as possible. Make sure you are staying active as much as your symptoms allow and are getting a good night’s sleep. Most of all, stay positive!


Have some great tips and tricks of your own? Comment below to share!


ENTER TO WIN OUR DYSAUTONOMIA AWARENESS MONTH GIVEAWAY!

To win, follow the rules below and participate in Dysautonomia Awareness Month for your chance to win. Just comment on this post or share it on social media. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway!

Breast Cancer Awareness Month Giveaway Contest

Here at BrightLife Direct, our customers are very important to us. Each day, we talk with people who have been diagnosed with lymphedema and hear not only their questions, but their struggles. Lymphedema is commonly overlooked by doctors and can go undiagnosed for a very long time. Many people battling breast cancer are unaware that lymphedema can be a side affect to treatment and are unprepared for managing this condition. It can also be hard to obtain the resources needed to manage lymphedema due to a lack of regional availability of therapists and the financial cost. Since there is no cure for lymphedema yet, patients must wear a compression armsleeve everyday which can be costly, especially depending on the severity of the swelling.

The BrightLife Direct Armsleeve Assistance Program

BrightLife Direct Komen Armsleeve Program for LymphedemaIn light of this, BrightLife has partnered with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to provide compression armsleeves to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it. We will be providing free compression sleeves to patients at six different Komen grantee organizations here in Washington, D.C. These awesome organizations will help the patient measure for the correct fit and find the best armsleeve to help manage their symptoms. They will then send this information to us, and we ship out the armsleeve free of charge the same day. Check out Francia, pictured on the left, happily showing off her new compression armsleeve!

Enter Our Breast Cancer Awareness Giveaway!

You can win! In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BrightLife Direct wants to give back to the lymphedema community. To help others with the financial burden of lymphedema, we are offering a $100 gift card for one lucky winner to choose any armsleeve or compression stockings of their choice! See below for entry and details.

lymphedema fashion compression armsleeves and compression socks

Lymphedema Style Guide

BrightLife Direct offers tons of compression armsleeves in a variety of sizes, colors, patterns and fabrics so you can find the perfect sleeve for you. If beige isn’t your style, we have lots of fun patterned armsleeves like LympheDivas and the new Juzo Signature Prints. The Juzo Dream Collection offers armsleeves and lower extremity compression garments in fun seasonal colors and tie-dye patterns. If you’re looking for eye-catching patterned leggings, try the new Juzo Soft Print Leggings, available in a large variety of patterns. Check out our style guide below for our customer’s favorite lymphedema options:


Lymphedema Compression Garments for Fashionistas

Mild to Moderate Lymphedema Garments

Moderate to Severe Lymphedema Garments

Lymphedema Compression Wraps

Juzo Soft Fashion Compression Socks and Lymphedema Armsleeves

Sizing Help

If you’re shopping on your own and don’t know your size, check out our Size Machine! Just enter your measurements and we’ll tell you what fits you best in all of the major brands. If you still have questions or would like some help deciding, please contact our customer service team.

You Can Win!

The rules are simple – the more you share, the more likely you’ll win! You can comment on this blog post to share your experience with Breast Cancer or Lymphedema, or share this post on social media. For details, see the Rafflecopter Contest Box below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Compression garments, coming to an astronaut near you!

Nasa is working with BSN Medical on compression garments for astronauts!

According to recent NASA research, compression garments can help astronauts once they return to earth to prevent orthostatic intolerance (OI). Once gravity hits, many astronauts experience a rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, the feeling of lightheadedness, or even like they might faint. Whether you are in space for two weeks or six months, once you return to earth your body experiences many changes, such as a lack of strength, blood volume, differences in coordination and balance, and even a struggle to walk or stand.

To help astronauts transition better back to life on earth, NASA is teaming up with BSN Medical, an international company that supplies therapeutic medical compression garments. BSN engineers are designing custom three-piece elastic gradient compression garments to protect astronauts against orthostatic intolerance (OI) symptoms, which occur when the body reacts to an upright or standing position.

It’s not just astronauts who can benefit from wearing compression garments to prevent orthostatic intolerance. Other chronic orthostatic intolerance conditions such as Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS) and Neurally Mediated Hypotension (NMH) fall under the OI category. NMH occurs when your blood pressure is normal while sitting or laying down, but is much lower after standing or being in an upright position. POTS refers to an increased heart rate while standing, but remains normal while in a resting position. Wearing compression socks can help fight symptoms of dysautonomia and prevent the feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness after standing up.

While we have compression stockings that help manage these symptoms, this new, innovative garment designed for NASA is still in the research phase and shows a lot of promise. Check back for the latest on the development of this cool new compression garment.

Horses Wear Compression Bandages Too!

 

equicrown horse bandages by juzo

There are many reasons to wear compression garments for humans and animals alike. Did you know that horses can wear medical compression bandages to stimulate the lymphatic flow in their legs? This helps to remove lymph fluid and toxins while managing swelling. Yes, after a long day of standing or running around, even horses get tired and swell up like the rest of us!

Interestingly enough, horses have about 8,000 lymph nodes, which is the most out of any mammal. This makes them much more prone to developing moderate to severe swelling, or lymphedema. In comparison, there are about 500-700 lymph nodes in humans, which are much larger than the lymph nodes in a horse.

Luckily there’s a solution. Juzo manufactures medical compression bandages that are specifically designed for horses to support and stimulate lymph flow. However, horses can benefit from wearing compression bandages for more than just swelling. Compression garments are recommended for anyone (humans and animals) standing for long periods of time to help increase circulation, to prevent and relieve swelling or fatigue. Since horses are almost always standing, compression can also be used as a preventative method to keep your horse in the best shape possible. Here’s how EquiCrown bandages can benefit your horse:

EquiCrown by Juzo Benefits for Horses

Juzo’s EquiCrown bandages provide precisely-defined pressure to relieve swelling in the horses’s legs. These flat-knit compression bandages are soft, durable and stretchy as to not interfere with performance. EquiCrown bandages are designed to promote circulation, treat wounds and scars, prevent and relieve swelling, and for managing injuries. These breathable bandages are even safe to machine wash and dry! EquiCrown compression bandages are available in ready-to-wear and custom sizes to fit mild to severe swelling. Here’s how it works:

equicrown horse bandages - how it works

Still have questions about how these innovative bandages work? Comment below!