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Melissa Berkelhammer Headshot

Feeling Good on the Inside, Looking Great on the Outside

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Monday was technically a holiday, but as soon as the last vestiges of the Columbus Day parade were cleaned up to make way for a clear Fifth Avenue (for those who stayed in the city this weekend, there was also a Spanish parade on Sunday), many Manhattanites took advantage of their regained mobility to do a bit of cocktail hopping. Two of the most well-attended fetes of that evening were both book party launches, albeit about two subject matters that are, arguably, on opposite ends of the spectrum. Or maybe not.

My first stop was at Donny Deutsch's Upper East Side townhouse, where The Today Show's Hoda Kotb celebrated the publication of her new book Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer and Kathie Lee. Deutsch, who opened up his new home for the first time especially for the occasion, welcomed a host of friends, celebrities, and media types the likes of Joan Rivers, Al Roker, Tory Burch, Suze Orman, Alison Brod, Stephanie Greenfield, Matt Lauer, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, David Zinczenko, Dan Abrams, and of course Mrs. Gifford herself.

While the title of the book may be tongue-in-cheek, that does not change the fact that the main subject matter is as serious as they come. Of course, it can only help to keep one's humor when facing something like cancer, and Kotb confirmed to me her belief that a positive attitude can truly affect one's prognosis. To that I would add that finding the right team of doctors is also crucial, but even that ultimately circles back to "attitude." Because if one feels that he or she is in the right hands, then one becomes positive, less stressed, and able to live a better quality of life, and hopefully a longer one. One need only see those horrific commercials for the Cancer Center Treatments of America to realize that the quality of care can make or break the fate of a patient.

On to a slightly lighter subject matter, my next stop was at Central Park South's New York Athletic Club (aka NYAC) to join Couri Hay, Sharon Bush, Alison Mazzola, Janna Bullock, and Christine Schott in celebrating the publication of Dr. Robert T. Grant's book Cosmetic Surgery. Guests the likes of Michele Gerber-Klein, Lilliana Cavendish, Jean Shafiroff, and Maggie Norris gathered in the club's Olympic Suite for some cocktails and scrumptious hors d'oeuvres while doing some dish of their own: who needs some work done and who has had too much (I'll never tell, though you could probably guess). During a brief question and answer session, I asked Dr. Grant that age old question: when or how do you tell a patient that enough is enough? He conceded that is one of the hardest things for a doctor to do, but if he feels that a patient is beginning to look overdone, he will simply refuse to perform any additional surgery - or give any more injections.

And as if there was any doubt about his statement, the proof was in the pudding - or, in this case, the appearance of Dr. Grant and of those who work in his office. I think it goes without saying that the easiest way to tell a good plastic surgeon from a not so good one is to take a long, hard look at the doctor himself. If his face is pulled tighter than Phyllis Diller's at a Friar's Club Roast, move on. However, Grant and his staff all look incredibly natural, which is proof enough to me that this gentleman has a deft touch with a needle. I don't know if I will ever go that route myself, but it's comforting to know that, should I ever decide to take that step, there are doctors who know how to do it right. And if a slight tweak makes someone feel a little better; a little younger; then maybe, just maybe, that extra shot of confidence can boost one's immune system and long-term health. It certainly can't hurt.