Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Giveaway: Catholic Health Shopping Tote

June 6, 2013 Update: A winner has been chosen for the Catholic Health tote bag and this giveaway is now closed. Click here to see who won!

July 2, 2013 Update: Because the prize was not claimed within three weeks, a new winner has been chosen.

As you head to the farmer's market or library this summer, take along this shopping tote from the Catholic Health eStore.

This 12 ounce tote bag is made of 100% cotton twill and features a contrast canvas bottom, exterior pocket and web handles. The dimensions are 14.5" h x 14" w x 5.5" d.

How to Enter

To enter to win, leave a comment below, with a screen name or first name (not as Anonymous), answering this question:
  • What kind of articles would you like to read on this blog? What topics interest you?
To enter, you must be at least 18 years of age and a United States resident.

Winner Announcement

We'll choose a winner at random on June 6th. The winner will be announced on the blog.

Don't forget: you can subscribe to our blog by email or RSS to receive our latest blog posts. See the sidebar to subscribe.

Prizes that are not claimed within 3 weeks of the winner announcement will be carried forward to the next draw.

About the Catholic Health eStore

The Catholic Health eStore is your source for Catholic Health merchandise: hats, jackets, lunch boxes and more. Click here to visit the store.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Free Exercise Programs for Women Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health
“If there is a bright side to getting breast cancer, Hope Chest is it,” said breast cancer survivor Adrienne Schulte.

Schulte paddles a dragon boat as a member of Hope Chest, a free, exercise-based support group for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Women recovering from breast cancer face many challenges, including fatigue, limited range of motion, and emotional distress,” said Susan Mumma, President of the Hope Chest Board.

Exercise energizes women and aids in recovery from surgery, while the friendships formed within the group offer emotional support. 

“The women that make up this group are some of the most interesting, kindest, intelligent and humorous women I have ever met,” said Schulte. “It is like no group I’ve ever been a part of because its members are so diverse – yet we all have one common bond. We all have that inner strength that has made us survivors.”

Mumma agrees that the women of Hope Chest, who are anywhere from 40 to 70 years old, form a lasting bond.

“Women come and go in Hope Chest depending on their personal circumstances. But they continue to share the deep, abiding friendships with the women who they have met,” said Mumma.

Exercise Program Designed for Women of All Fitness Levels

Hope Chest's exercise program was designed by a personal trainer specifically for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Women at all levels of fitness are encouraged to partake in our classes. Half of our team members had never exercised prior to their diagnosis. Our instructors work with them at their ability,” said Mumma. “They challenge other women who have exercised prior to diagnosis or who have built up their abilities over time with more difficult versions of the exercises.”

Exercise sessions are one-hour long and include:
  • An aerobic warm-up
  • Strength training
  • Pilates
  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Relaxation
You can participate in Hope Chest's exercise program as soon as you have a medical release, even if you’re still receiving treatment.

Dragon Boat Keeps Breast Cancer Survivors Moving

“For me, the greatest joy is getting to paddle in the Dragon Boat. Paddling gives me the ability to keep moving full speed ahead,” said Hope Chest member Ann Terranova.

Dragon boating is a team sport that requires power, speed, synchronization and endurance.

Hope Chest's paddling program builds upper body strength and improves range of motion through repetitive, non-weight-bearing exercise.

The Hope Chest team paddles two to three times a week on the Buffalo River, May through September, and races in dragon boating events on the East Coast and in Canada. 

While membership on the dragon boat team is free, travel costs can be incurred at out-of-area events.

“Financial scholarships are available to underwrite the cost of participating in out-of-town festivals for women who need financial support,” said Mumma.

Buffalo Niagara Dragon Boat Festival Supports Hope Chest

Hope Chest members paddle in their own community at The Buffalo Niagara Dragon Boat Festival, which is Hope Chest’s largest fundraiser. The money raised helps the organization to continue to operate and expand their free exercise and paddling programs.

This year, the festival will take place on June 15 at Gallagher Beach, located in the NFTA Boat Harbor on Buffalo's waterfront.

Skill levels range from novice to competitive, although no experience is required.

“We will have over 1,000 paddlers from across the community paddling to raise money, enabling the free exercise and paddling programs to continue and expand,” said Laurie Irish-Jones, Chair of the Festival and Vice President of the Hope Chest Board.

Teams represent Western New York corporations, breast cancer survivors, police forces, firemen, and other community organizations.

Get Involved

You can support Hope Chest by making a donation or by volunteering, joining Hope Chest, or by attending Hope Chest Buffalo Niagara Dragon Boat Festival.

For more information, click here to visit the Hope Chest website.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ask Us Anything: Do You Perform Essure Reversal?

"Do you perform essure reversal?"

Note: Essure is a non-surgical birth control procedure in which small, soft implants are inserted into the fallopian tubes through the natural pathways of the vagina and cervix. The Essure website states that the procedure is not easily reversible and should be considered a permanent birth control solution.

Dr. Ali Ghomi Responds:

Unfortunately, Essure reversal procedure is almost impossible to perform. The medical coil used during the procedure is intended to cause severe body reaction and hence scar formation at the junction of the uterus and the fallopian tube. Even if essure coils were to be removed, the degree of damage to the surrounding tissue would not render the area amenable to function properly for pregnancy.

If Essure removal is considered for symptomatic relief, such as abdominal cramping during menstrual cycles or pelvic pain, the procedure may be attempted; however, the results would vary on a case-by-case basis.

– Dr. Ali Ghomi

Dr. Ghomi is the Director of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery and Chair of The Robotic Surgical Committee at Sisters of Charity Hospital. He is the only physician in Western New York who performs Sacrocolpopexy Prolapse surgery using the da Vinci® robot. Sacrocolpopexy is a proven “gold standard” procedure worldwide to repair severe pelvic prolapse. Click here to learn more about Catholic Health's OB/GYN services.

Dr. Ghomi sees patients at the M. Steven Piver, M.D. Center for Women’s Health & Wellness in Buffalo.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Is Your Heart Broken, Physically?

When tragedy strikes, we often say that we’re heart broken; we use the expression as a metaphor to express the anguish that we feel. But the phrase can also be taken literally, as emotional pain can cause physical heart break as well.

Broken Heart Syndrome stems from your heart’s physical reaction to stress. It mimics the symptoms of a heart attack and is most prevalent in women.

Dr. Vinay Mehta, a cardiologist at Buffalo Heart Group and an affiliate of Catholic Health, discussed Broken Heart Syndrome on Winging It! on CW 23. You can watch the interview below.


Symptoms of Broken Heart Syndrome

Common symptoms are similar to a heart attack and include:
  • Chest pain or pressure
  • Squeezing sensation in chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pain in shoulders, neck, jaw, arms or upper body
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Nausea

Do You Have Broken Heart Syndrome?

"Broken Heart Syndrome is virtually indistinguishable from a heart attack," says Dr. Mehta.

In Broken Heart Syndrome, results from blood tests, EKGs and ultrasounds will all be consistent with a heart attack.

Dr. Mehta says that the only way to distinguish between Broken Heart Syndrome and a heart attack is to do a coronary angiogram, where doctors will look at the heart's blood vessels. If you’re having a heart attack, the blood vessels will be blocked. If you have Broken Heart Syndrome, the blood vessels will be clean.

The Dangers of a Broken Heart

"The heart shows significant dysfunction in Broken Heart Syndrome," says Dr. Mehta. "The pump function of the heart decreases significantly from the normal output."

Broken Heart Syndrome can lead to other dangerous heart conditions, such as arrhythmia, an irregular heart beat, and blood clots.

"About 90-95% of the patients, if not more, recover," says Dr. Mehta. "But you should still contact your doctor, because you cannot tell whether it is a heart attack, which needs immediate treatment, or Broken Heart Syndrome."

How to Treat a Broken Heart

"Patients should be admitted to the hospital, observed and possibly supported by pain medications and intravenous fluids," says Dr. Mehta.

Broken Heart Syndrome is only temporary and usually heals with 2 to 3 weeks with treatment.

"A broken heart heals itself if given enough time and support," says Dr. Mehta.


Heart disease is the leading killer of men and women. If you have any symptoms of a heart attack or Broken Heart Syndrome, you should seek medical treatment immediately.

Click here for information about cardiac services at Catholic Health.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Ask Us Anything: Should I Get the Shingles Vaccination?

"I am 61 year old woman and have heard shingles can be painful. I haven't gotten the vaccine yet. What do you suggest?"

Beth Nicastro, Corporate Nurse Educator, Responds:

Also called herpes zoster, shingles is a a painful rash caused by the varicella zoster virus, which is the same virus that causes chickenpox.

Only someone who has gotten chickenpox (or, in rare cases, the chickenpox vaccine) can get shingles. The virus stays in your body and can cause shingles many years later. It is not contagious; you cannot catch shingles from another person with shingles.

A shingles rash appears on one side of the body and lasts for 2-4 weeks. The main symptom is pain. It can also cause fever, chills and headache. On rare occasions, the infection can lead to pneumonia, blindness and encephalitis. For 1 in 5 people, the pain can continue and is called post herpetic neuralgia.

Shingles is more common in people aged 50 years and older. It is also seen in people whose immune systems are weakened due to cancer, steroids or chemotherapy.

A single dose of the shingles vaccine is recommended for adults aged 60 years and older, regardless of previous history of shingles or chickenpox. A usual site is the back or side of the arm.

You should not get the vaccine if you:
  • have a weakened immune system due to AIDS
  • are receiving cancer treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy
  • are on prolonged use of high dose steroids
  • are pregnant or could be pregnant
  • are allergic to neomycin, have a life threatening reaction to gelatin or any components of the shingles vaccine
Precautions are taken if you are on antivirals (acyclovir) 24 hrs. before vaccination. If possible, delay taking antivirals for 14 days after your vaccination.

Someone with a moderate illness or fever of 101.3 or higher should wait until they recover.

Consult with your doctor on what vaccines are right for you. For more information, visit the CDC’s website, call (1-800-CDC-INFO) or visit the Western NY Adult Immunization Coalition's website.

– Beth Nicastro

Beth Nicastro, PNP-BC, is a women's health community coordinator/educator. She also sees patients as a nurse practitioner at East Aurora Pediatrics.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Creative Ways to Announce Your Pregnancy

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health

One of the many exciting things about finding out you are pregnant is telling the people you love. Here are 10 ways you can share your exciting news with your friends, family and spouse. 

1. Stencil a Onesie

Pick up a baby onesie and stencil your last name onto the front with fabric paint and a wax paper stencil (click here for a tutorial). After the paint dries, wrap up your onesie and present it to your spouse, with a note that his real gift will arrive in nine months.

2. Have a Game Night

 Have a casual game night at your house and spell out your exciting news in Scrabble.
You could also use Charades, Pictionary or Taboo.

3. Reminisce About Your Childhood

Visit the Treehouse Toy Store and buy toys that you and your spouse loved as children and put them in a gift bag. Give the gift bag to your parents or your spouse, and tell them that you hope your child will love them as much as you did.

4. Bun in the Oven

Put a single bun in the oven and ask your spouse or any friends or family members who may be visiting to check on the oven for you. Take a picture and send it to family and friends as a pregnancy announcement.

5. Capture the Moment

When you are with family members or friends, say you want to take a picture of the group and set the camera to a timer or video. Right before the camera goes off, announce you are pregnant and capture everyone's reaction.

You can also enlist the help of a professional photographer to break the news to your spouse. JMS Reflections Photography specializes in maternity and family photography and can help you capture every moment of your pregnancy, starting with the announcement.

6. Create a Movie or Music Theme

Have a movie night with your spouse, but only watch movies that have the word "baby" in the title. Or make a playlist with songs that include the word "baby" and see if he catches on.

7. Get Crafty

Create DIY pregnancy announcements with supplies from Buffalo Stamps and Stuff. Your announcement might include a family tree, with the new addition to your family and your due date.

8. Host a Dinner

Plan your dinner around foods associated with the word “baby,” such as baby carrots, baby corn and baby spinach. For dessert, consider mini cupcakes, cakes or cookies. Ask your guests if they notice a theme.

9. Send Flowers

Send flowers from Flowers by Johnny with a card to your parents or your spouse's congratulating them on becoming grandparents.

10. Bake

Make cookies or cupcakes and frost them with blue or pink frosting to make your announcement. If you are having a party or family gathering, The Dessert Deli Bakery makes large, specialty cakes with baby themes. You can also pick up cupcakes by the dozen for smaller gatherings or to bring to work with fondant onesies and other baby themes from The Cupcake Orchard.


If you have children, how did you make the announcement you were expecting? What's your plan for your pregnancy?

Monday, May 6, 2013

Ask Us Anything about Pregnancy: C-sections, Midwives

Do you have a question for our staff? Click here to submit it.

Q. How long does it take to prep for a C-section delivery? What time should I arrive?

A. Mary Ann Murphy, Director of Maternal Child Services at Mercy Hospital:

Prep for the delivery will include a blood test, a detailed health and pregnancy history, fetal monitoring and the initiation of an intravenous line to begin IV fluids prior to anesthesia. You will also meet with your anesthesiologist prior to your delivery.

A. Mary D'Angelo, Director of Maternal Child Services at Sisters of Charity Hospital:
Patients are usually given two times: the time they are scheduled for and the time they should arrive at the hospital. The arrival time would be two hours prior to the start time.

Q. What kind of medications do you offer for moms in labor?

A. Mary Ann Murphy, Director of Maternal Child Services at Mercy Hospital:

We offer many different modalities to increase the patient's comfort in labor: massage, hydrotherapy, jacuzzi baths and positioning. We also offer an epidural or an injection of Nubain, which is a pain reliever. The patient's physician will work with her to decide which modalities work best for her.

A. Mary D'Angelo, Director of Maternal Child Services at Sisters of Charity Hospital:

We do not have the jacuzzi tubs at Sisters Hospital, but we do have massage and narcotics, as well as epidurals. The nurses will work with the mom to change position, use warmed blankets, ambulation and birthing balls to facilitate the progress of labor.

Q. Can I bring my own hospital gown to wear while in labor and during delivery?

A. Mary D'Angelo, Director of Maternal Child Services at Sisters of Charity Hospital:

We do permit patients to wear their own gowns, but really prefer that you wear a hospital gown as they are fashioned with snaps at the sleeves for easy maneuvering around IV's. Since childbirth can be a messy business, we can change your gown as needed to keep you comfortable.

Q. I would like to have a midwife deliver my baby. How can I contact the midwife in your hospital?

A. Aimee Gomlak, Vice President of Women's Services:

At this time, the group that provides midwifery outpatient care and delivery is OBGYN Associates of WNY. If you are a patient in our primary care clinics, you will likely will have the support of a midwife at delivery.


You can learn more about childbirth at Mercy Hospital and Sisters of Charity Hospital by visiting our website.

If you have a question about your health, click here to ask our experts.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Athletes: Stay in the Game This Summer by Preventing Injury



Each year, 1 in 100 female athletes injure their knee. Injuries commonly occur to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which helps to keep the knee joint in place.

If your ACL is injured, you could be away from your sport for up to 6 months as you undergo physical therapy or surgery, depending on the severity of your injury.

"Some sports have a higher risk of ACL tears, including soccer, lacrosse, basketball, and volleyball," says Athleticare physical therapist Kira Kremer, who is certified in ACL injury prevention.

In most cases, ACL injuries are caused by changing direction, slowing down while running or landing after a jump.

To keep athletes on the field, Catholic Health’s AthletiCare is hosting two summer camps that can teach you to prevent injury, or if you’re currently recovering from an ACL injury, ease your recovery.

"It’s a great transition from physical therapy to return to play,” says Kira.

Camp Activities

Over the course of six weeks, you’ll learn skills to help you avoid ACL injuries and will receive training in:
  • Plyometrics, a program that focuses on jumping techniques to prevent injury and develop muscle control and strength
  • Strength
  • Agility
  • Flexibility

With feedback from instructors, you’ll also improve your speed, endurance, stability and balance.

The camp meets twice each week for 90-minute sessions.

Who Will Benefit

The program is designed for individual athletes, and participants generally range in age from 15 years old to 25 years old. However, both younger and older athletes have participated.

Sports teams can be accommodated by request. If your entire team is participating, instructors can tailor programs to the specific needs of your sport.

Register by May 7th for the First Session

Camps will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays, first at Hilbert College in Hamburg from May 14 and June 20 and then at Villa Maria College in Buffalo from June 25 to August 1.

Registration for the first camp is due by May 7, 2013; registration for the second is due by June 18, 2013.

Click here to register.


Don’t let an ACL injury take you out of your favorite sport. Attend an ACL Injury and Performance Enhancement camp to reduce your risk and take your sports skills to the next level.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

15 Ways to Celebrate Mother's Day

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health

If you're stumped on how to spend Mother's Day this year, check out the ideas below to jumpstart your planning.

1. Have a Movie Night

Buy your mom her favorite movies or ones she's been dying to see. Grab some blankets and enjoy family time together with a movie night. Consider SUGU snacks for a healthier alternative to popcorn and candy.

2. Go Bowling

If your mom has a competitive spirit, get the family together and spend a fun afternoon at your local bowling alley. Come up with creative challenges, such as bowling backwards or with your opposite hand. Whomever wins can pick meals for the rest of the week or what movie your family will watch next. Most bowling alleys have open bowling on Sundays and offer special family rates.

3. Shop at Vidler's 5 & 10 (East Aurora)

Take your mom on a trip down memory lane at historic Vidler's. With two floors of merchandise, the shop has something for everyone. Products range from gift items to old-fashioned candy. After shopping, take a walk down Main Street.

4. Have Afternoon Tea (North Tonawanda)

Enjoy tea time at The White Linen Tea House. Afternoon tea includes scones, sandwiches, salad and other food items along with a beverage. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. Mother's Day is usually busy, so call (716) 731-1685 to make reservations.

5. Volunteer

Some people may be lonely on Mother's Day. You and your mom can write letters to residents in nursing homes who might be missing their families. Ask them about their favorite memories of their mothers. You can also volunteer with Meals on Wheels, which delivers meals to elderly people who want to maintain their independence but cannot shop for themselves.

6. Attend a Wine Tasting (Niagara)

Take your mom to Wine Trail Blossoms, a wine tasting event on Mother's Day weekend celebrating the 11th anniversary of the Niagara Wine Trail. The trail features 17 wineries that specialize in Pinot Noir, Cabernet, Icewine and Syrah. Tickets for this event will include 3 wine tastings at each participating winery, wine charms and commemorative glasses.

7. Have an At-home Spa Day

Pamper your mom this Mother's Day by turning your home into her own personal spa. Buy her candles and bubble bath so she can have a relaxing day. You can also give her a massage or an at-home facial or manicure.

8. Visit the Decorators' Show House (East Aurora)

See how local decorators have updated 50 rooms in the historic Knox Summer Estate, a 14,400 square foot home built in 1916-1917 at Knox Farm State Park. The redecorated house is part of a fundraiser for local charities and is sponsored by the Buffalo News and the Junior League of Buffalo.

9. Visit the Farm (Clarence)

At Kelkenberg Farm, you and your family can enjoy hay rides, pony rides and farm tours. Many of the animals have given birth this spring, so celebrate Mother’s Day with the new moms and their babies. Proceeds from this event will benefit the Food Bank of WNY.

10. Go for a Run (Buffalo)

Get active with your mom by participating in the 4-mile Elephant Run or walk around  Hoyt Lake in Delaware Park. The run also includes a 1-mile fun run or walk and activities for kids and family members. The Elephant Run benefits The Marcena Lozano Donate Life Scholarship Fund, which awards scholarships to the recipients of organ transplants. 

11. Go for a Hike (Jamestown)

Take a hike at the Jamestown Audubon Center and Sanctuary, a 600-acre wetland preserve with 5 miles of hiking trails, gardens and educational centers. The Audubon Center will host a Wildflower Walk on Mother's Day, which features spring flowers and a hike on the center's trails.

12. Visit the Carousel Museum (North Tonawanda)

Attend the Herschell Carousel Factory Museum's Mother's Day Celebration, which features crafts and activities for moms and kids. The museum also has exhibits and tours that focus on the amusement park industry over the past two centuries. While you're there, make sure to check out the hand-carved carousel animals, photo exhibits of carousel production, music roll machinery, and the museum's two historic carousels.

13. Eat Brunch (Buffalo)

Do something different for Mother's Day brunch this year. The Buffalo Zoo will host an up-scale brunch for moms and families that will include animal presentations. Admission is included, so make sure to check out your favorite animal exhibits after the event.

14. Go to an Amusement Park (Grand Island)

On Mother’s Day, moms get free admission to Martin's Fantasy Island with the admission of one child. Play miniature golf, check out Kiddie Land, ride the gondola wheel or brave the roller coasters and thrill rides, if you're daring.

15. Go for a Drive

Spend quality time together on a mini road trip. Pick a scenic route, such as the 219 or Route 5, and drive. Pack a lunch and pull over for a picnic. Play 20 questions or use the time together just to catch up.


How are you celebrating Mother's Day?
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