Thursday, December 29, 2011
A few resolutions to consider

By Dr. Anthony Policastro

January is named after the Roman god Janus. He had two faces. One looked back and one looked forward. This is a good time of year for us to do the same kind of thing. We can look back at the last year. We can look forward to the new year. We can reflect on our past mistakes. We can try to prevent similar mistakes the next year. If we do that with an eye on our health, it can be very beneficial. We have a tendency to be somewhat short sighted when it comes to health. We look at things in the short term. That leads to poor decisions. However, if we look at things from year to year, it might allow us to make changes to our lifestyle that are easier to digest. For example, checking weight is sometimes done frequently. People tend to look for little changes. A better question to ask is what did you weigh last New Year. If you weigh about the same as last year, then you did well. If you weigh less, you did even better. If you weigh more, then you have an entire year to correct it. There are a variety of approaches to use. It might mean changing the kind of food that you eat. It might mean changing the amount of food that you eat. It might mean eating less fast food. It might mean counting calories better. However, that is easier to do if the goal is a year away. The same kind of logic could be used for something like cigarette smoking. If you smoked two packs a day last year, perhaps, a goal of one pack a day is a step that can be accomplished. While it would be better to quit altogether, we measure the danger to smokers in what are called pack years. That is the number of packs per day multiplied by the number of years the person smoked. The higher the number, the more likely the individual is to have a problem from the smoking. Thus, the number of cigarettes does really matter. One thing that a smoker can consider doing is taking the cost of a pack of cigarettes and putting that amount of money aside each day. That amounts to a sizable amount each month to spend on other things. A third area to think about is exercise. If we look at daily exercise, it is sometimes difficult to find the time each day. However, if we reflect on what we did over the past year, it becomes easier. We can actually see how little time we spent exercising. We can see the opportunities to increase that amount over the coming year. These are just some of the examples that we can use to take a year end health inventory. More important than what we reflect on from the past year is what we plan to do for the coming year. The goal is simple. It only needs to be a little bit more than we did last year. We would like to see Janus with a frown on his old face and a big smile on the new one.

Black & White Gala is Jan. 21 It will be an evening of elegance and entertainment to benefit the central and southern Delaware communities. The 2012 Black & White Gala will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Dover Downs Conference Center from 6 to 11 p.m. The Kent General Hospital Junior Board will donate its proceeds from this event towards the construction of new welcome areas at the Kent General Hospital Cancer Center, while the Milford Memorial Hospital Auxiliary will donate its proceeds towards the purchase of new ventilators in the Milford Memorial Hospital Respiratory Therapy Department. The gala will feature entertainment by the Funsters, hors doeuvres, cocktail hour, dinner and a cash bar. A live auction will include a 14 karat yellow gold Citrine quartz and diamond pendant donated by Sayers Jewelers and Gemologists in Smyrna. Cost is $100 per person. Sponsorships are also available. Tickets may be purchased online at or by calling 302-744-7015.

Tobacco relapse support group Bayhealth Medical Center is pleased to offer a new support group for individuals who recently quit using tobacco products. The Tobacco Relapse Prevention Support Group will meet from 5:30 to 7 p.m., on Jan. 25, March 20, May 22, July 24, Sept. 11 and Nov. 8, 2012. The group will meet in Bayhealths BETT Conference Room at 208 W. Water St. in Dover. This support group is designed to help individuals focus on relapse prevention and provides networking opportunities for participants to share their unique experiences and success stories with others. There is no need to register in advance for this support group For more information, contact Bayhealth Educator Terry Towne, MSN, RN-BC, NE-BC, at 302-744-6724.

Relay for Life fundraiser Dr. Marie Wolfgang is again sponsoring a 12 night Winter Getaway Cruise to the Southern Caribbean as a fundraiser for Relay for Life, sailing from Cape Liberty, N.J. on Feb. 10. The itinerary includes St. Thomas, St. Kitts, St. Johns (Antigua), St. Lucia and St. Maarten (Philipsburg). Transportation to and from the dock is available. For a brochure, call or visit Dr. Wolfgangs office at One Cedar Ave. in Seaford, 629-4471. Space is limited.

NAR-ANON support group Take Heart, Be Strong is a support group available to those family members and friends who are concerned about the drug/alcohol addiction of a loved one. We find people in NAR-ANON who understand what we are going through and are ready to share their experience, strength and hope to help us. This group meets at 7 p.m. every Thursday in the Youth Room at Crossroad Community Church, 20684 State Forest Rd., Georgetown. If you are interested or know someone who might be, call Beth at 302-745-0466. This is an anonymous program and there are no obligations. Attendance is welcome with no prior arrangements. For more information and other meeting locations, visit

Bereavement luncheons Delaware Hospices New Beginnings bereavement luncheons are an informal way to meet and talk with others, who have had similar loss experiences. Lunch begins at noon and is followed by a brief program.The location rotates each week of the month throughout Sussex County. New Beginnings luncheons are open to the public. Registration is not required. There is no fee except the cost of your lunch. For more information, call Midge Dinatale or Paul Ganster at 856-7717.

New depression support groups If you have been diagnosed with depression, are currently receiving treatment and need extra support, join the Mental Health Association in Delawares newest depression support groups. The support groups provide a safe and comfortable environment for adults who may be struggling with depressionto find others who may be going through similar experiences, learn coping skills and take back control of their life by being proactive. A support group meets in Seaford every Wednesday from 6 to 7:30 p.m. The location of the meeting is provided only to registered members. To register, contact the Mental Health Association in Delaware at 302-654-6833 or 800-287-6423. These new groups are made possible due to a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Delawares BluePrints for the Community program.

Breast cancer support group Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, Inc. (DBCC) has expanded its Beginning Your Pink Ribbon Journey, a program for women newly-diagnosed with breast cancer, by partnering with Nanticoke Memorial Hospital Cancer Center in Seaford. The free, monthly program is offered at the Cancer Center located at 801 Middleford Road, Seaford, the third Thursday of each month from 3 to 4 p.m. To learn more, call Lois Wilkinson at 672-6435. Registration is required and light refreshments and small gifts are provided.

CPR classes at Nanticoke Nanticoke Memorial Hospital will offer community CPR classes to anyone interested in learning CPR at the Nanticoke Training Center located on Water Street in Seaford. Participants will learn how to perform the basic skills of CPR on adults, children, and infants and how to help an adult, child or infant who is choking and use of the AED. This classroom-based, video, and instructor-led CPR course offers families, friends,and community members the opportunity to learn CPR and need a course completion card. Classes are open to participants 12-years-old and up. This program is specifically designed for those who prefer to learn in a group environment with feedback from an instructor. The target audience is those who have a duty to respond to a cardiac emergency because of job responsibilities or regulatory requirements. Cost is $40. Payment and registration is required by no later than five business days prior to the class. Late registrations may be accepted if seating is available. To register and to obtain a listing of class dates/times, contact the Nanticoke Memorial Hospitals Training Center office at 629-6611, ext. 8919. Pre-registration is required.