Voted "Best OB-GYN" in Towne Lake, Woodstock and Canton Voted "Mom-Approved OBs" by Atlanta Parent magazine readers


August 6, 2013

If you’re a patient of Cherokee Women’s Health, you have probably seen Dr. Litrel’s book that he co-wrote with his wife Ann called A MisMatch Made in Heaven: Surviving True Love, Children, and Other Blessings In Disguise. The book is a “he said, she said” account of stories about family, children, faith and marriage – 25 years to be exact. Published in April of 2013, the book is Dr. Litrel’s second published work, with The Eyes Don’t See: What Patients Can Teach Doctors About Medicine, published back in 2004. Cover of Dr. Litrel's Book

Originally, Ann started helping Dr. Litrel edit the book, but she quickly took on the important role of the woman’s point of view.

“We already knew the subject of the second book would be family and marriage. But after looking over Michael’s stories, I began to think the book would be more enlightening if it included the woman’s perspective, too,” said Ann.

Recently, we received a testimonial from a woman who picked up Dr. Litrel’s book while accompanying her sister to an appointment at our Canton office. She reached out to us about how much she enjoyed the book and we wanted to share her kind words here on our blog this week.

Hi, Dr. Litrel;

I picked up your book at your practice about a month ago when I accompanied my sister for her annual check up. The title of your book attracted me, and then when I flipped through the pages while waiting, it seemed an interesting book with all the fun illustrations.  I have to say that this is the first book I bought in a doctor’s office and it is one of the best books I’ve ever read!

Last night I finished the whole book at 1:45am.  When reading what Ann wrote on “Looking Back on 25 Years”, it made me cry, especially when she said on page 264 and page 265 about “burst of sobbing that seemed to come over me all on their own…”I felt a flood of regret. In trying to be the perfect wife and mother, how many fun, message moments had I missed…”

My husband and I have two children, 8 and 4.  Recently my sister confided with me that my son Ethan (8) had told her that I had too many rules and that he wished he had parents like my sister and her husband.  Now my sister hasn’t had any children yet now at her late 30’s.  Anyway, she just wants to communicate with me so I can perhaps adjust some of my ways.   I know my children love my husband and me but they do not get to do with us all the fun things they do with their aunt and uncle.  After all, they only visit their aunt and uncle 3 or 4 times a year (as during school semesters it is hard to drive 7 hours round trip just for one day’s time together.) They always come to the door to greet me and they always find excuses for me to spend more time with them, especially before bed time.

Your book is very encouraging, for both parenting and husband-wife relationships.  Your writing style is so humorous and oftentimes made me laugh like a college girl. I have to say that I haven’t had time to read a book so quickly being a mom, wife and a full-time employee for a demanding job.  During that weekend I was visiting with my sister in Canton, one of our friends invited us to the Braves Game (the kids and my husband went) and I only attended lunch with our friend. Due to the driving distance, I waited at the downtown Westin Hotel lobby reading your book so my husband didn’t have to drive me all the way back to Canton and go back to downtown again for the Braves Game. I heard my self giggling quite a lot; fortunately I found a closed waiting area, like a cave with one entrance.  I was all by myself.

It touched me to tears when I read the following on page 14;
“I walked for miles in the dark, listening to the sounds of waves crashing, looking at the starts, and wondering why I was there.
Finally I prayed.
God answered me. ….
If Ann died, I would celebrate the short time I had known her with an increased spiritual awareness of the fragility of life, dedicating myself to becoming the person that God meant me to become…”

I told my husband the story in your book when Ann was sick for a month and the illustration was so funny “still accepting hot meals”.  I remembered that our church brought us hot meals when I was on bed rest for 6 weeks before my 2nd baby Kathleen was born. The meals stopped on the day I gave birth.  You comment made me smile as I had some sort of the same thought 🙂 The so many examples of your children are inspiring.  I wonder too, how did Tyler get his teacher to call you on the cell the very next day after he is grounded.

Anyway, I could go on and on…but I am sure you don’t have time to read many words from a reader. I also have to pack up for our vacation at the beach tomorrow, something we’ve promised the kids before school starts.

I just want to thank you and Ann for writing this book.  It is fun, humble and genuine which makes it so unique and attractive. I have to confess I don’t read as much. My husband, on the other hand, always have a book to read.

I’d love to meet you and your wife in the future.  I have this sense that maybe our path will cross sometimes doing something meaningful.  How you decided your focus as a medical doctor was a true miracle.  I love the picture of you and Ann at the back of the book.  You have a kind and relaxed smile and your wife’s is so radiant and beautiful! – Lucie

To purchase your own copy of Family – A MisMatch Made in Heaven, you can order online or pick up a copy at your next appointment.

July 31, 2013

Here at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, our mission as OB’s is to ensure that all babies are born well. Part of that mission is a healthy birth, and the other part is that the babies go home to safe homes. To us, well-born means more than just a birth, it’s a way of life. Unfortunately, heartbreaking stories of babies who are born into abusive homes and the existence of domestic violence is far too prevalent. In an effort to help save lives, we felt it important to bring the severity of this issue to our blog this week.

Domestic Violence Statistics

Domestic violence is an issue that doesn’t discriminate on race or status. The root of why men (and sometimes women) beat their partners and children is due to power and control. The abuser’s need for absolute power and control drives them to violence. Often, a man feels powerless in the event of a new pregnancy due to stressors of a new baby on the way, such as finances, the amount of attention the woman and baby are getting, and other reasons.

According to local organization Cherokee Family Violence Center‘s website:

Battering is the single largest cause of injury to women in the United States – over mugging, automobile accidents and rape, combined.  (NCADV 2003).  In 2009, Georgia was rated the 10th highest in the nation for the rate at which men kill women.  In 2010, Georgia mourned at least 130 domestic violence related deaths.

Other frightening domestic violence statistics include:

  • The No. 1 and No. 2 causes of women’s deaths during pregnancy in the United States: Domestic homicide and suicide, often tied to abuse.
  • Georgia is currently ranked 6th in the nation for rate of men killing women, seeing increasing numbers of Domestic Violence fatalities since 2008.
  • In 2012, there were 3,635 Domestic Violence related calls to law enforcement in Cherokee County.

Children are also effected by domestic violence. Children brought up in a home with domestic violence are more likely to develop social, emotional and psychological behavior problems. For the staff at Cherokee Women’s, our commitment to well-born babies is more than just helping women during their pregnancies, it’s a commitment to helping women, children and babies in the long term against the threat of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence Healing

The Cherokee Family Violence Center has had many successful stories of women who have graduated from their program. You can read some of their stories of healing here. One of the stories in particular that touched us so was that of Amanda Fleming, a 25-year-old with three small girls who came to live with Cherokee Family Violence Center in 2005.

Amanda’s story begins after her now ex-husband began verbally abusing her during her first pregnancy. She was without a strong support system and fully dependent on him and his family, who were also abusive. During her second pregnancy, the physical abuse began, in front of her then 2-year-old. At 8 months pregnant, her ex-husband backed into her with his car while she was sitting in the driveway with her other daughter and she went into early labor. He took her to the hospital and the staff were able to stop the labor. It was at this time that she decided to leave him and began working on a plan to do so. The week she planned to leave and move in with family, she not only found out he’d had past substance abuse issues with marijuana and cocaine, but she found out she was pregnant for a third time. Unable to handle the stress of the situation, she broke down and confided in her OB/GYN and by law, he had to report her situation to an agency, which forced them to take in-home parenting classes and family counseling. Her ex-husband rarely attended. Her counselor told her something that impacted her to finally leave: “Do you want your daughters to be married to a man that treats them this way, ’cause staying with him is teaching them that it is OK.” Her counselor helped her get her GED and driver’s license, neither of which she’d had before.

Just a week after the delivery of her third child, Amanda began to have complications with her heart. When her youngest was only 3 months old, she suffered from a TIA, or mini stroke. Her plan to leave was put on hold due to her health. A couple months later, she received a call from family that her grandfather was not doing well, so the entire family came up to Georgia for a visit. The night they arrived, he passed away. The next night her ex-husband started going into withdrawals and took off from her mom’s house to a local bar, only to return drunk and screaming. He left for their own home shortly after. Amanda and her children came home and immediately started packing up the house, locking it down so he couldn’t come inside. The police were called and her parents called a U-Haul truck to bring her things back their house. She lived with her mother for 3 months until December 2005, when she came to live with CFVC. CFVC Survivor

Amanda worked 2 jobs and attended school all while taking care of her 3 children. Eventually, she was able to drop one job and focus on finishing her schooling. Amanda graduated from Appalachian Technical College as Valedictorian with her LPN. She has been working in hospitals ever since, and is now fully independent and working at Northside Hospital in Atlanta. Amanda is now an advocate for victims and speaks on their behalf. She is no longer a victim nor a survivor, but a thriver. Amanda is pictured here with her three girls.


If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please seek help. Their crisis hotline is 770-479-1703 (En Español: 770-720-7050).

Together, we can help save lives.
July 26, 2013

So you’ve just discovered that you’re pregnant! Congratulations from the team at Cherokee Women’s Health! One of the most important things you can do to get ready for your new baby is, well, eat!

Best Foods for Pregnant Women

If you’re already out of your first trimester and/or are fortunate enough to not have morning sickness as a symptom of your pregnancy, try to eat a healthy balance of the following food groups:

  • Protein – If the idea of lean chicken or fish turns your stomach, try eggs, nuts, beans, or legumes, which are all great sources of protein during pregnancy. High-protein foods also contain amino acids, are the building blocks of every cell in your (and now your baby’s) body.
  • Low-fat dairy – Calcium will help your bones grow strong during pregnancy, and will also help your baby’s growing bones. Try a creamy yogurt smoothie or a quick snack of string cheese to help get you through the day.
  • Colorful fruits and veggies – Load up on any kind of green, yellow, orange, or red fruits and veggies you like (smoothies and juices count). Pinterest has a wealth of healthy food options for pregnant women, and there’s a recipe for just about everyone.
  • Water – Ok, so water’s not a food, but it’s especially important to drink plenty of water during pregnancy because it provides benefits like building new cells, delivering nutrients, and flushing toxins. Woman eating healthy foods

Fighting Food Aversion and Nausea

If you’ve been relegated to crackers and ginger ale, don’t worry – here are a couple good options for your growing baby that are bland and easy to keep down.

  • Lemons – Citrus fruits are packed with Vitamin C, an important nutrient during pregnancy. Try adding lemon juice to your water for an added punch. Other citrus fruits to try are oranges, tangerines and grapefruit.
  • Pretzels – Had enough crackers? Pretzels are also a bland choice that add a little variety.
  • Dry cereal
  • Brown rice
  • Applesauce (try to look for an organic option, if possible)

Have a question about a food that’s a do or a don’t during pregnancy? Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor when you’re at one of our offices for your next prenatal appointment.

July 16, 2013

A few months back, we shared a video of Dr. Gandhi’s medical assistant Sammy sharing about Cherokee Women’s connection to faith and health, miracles in the exam room, and a more personal side of Dr. Gandhi herself. We wanted to revisit the video about Dr. Gandhi here on our blog in case you missed it.

Dr. Gandhi of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists

Sammy describes Dr. Gandhi as a down-to-earth doctor who really takes the time to get to know her patients when they come in for an appointment. Her kind sense of humor makes patients feel more comfortable when they may be feeling anxious about an OB/GYN appointment. Her patience and thoroughness make her a favorite here at the Cherokee Women’s offices, and even our older patients feel that she has a “thoughtful maternal instinct” when shes’ in the exam rooms.

Dr. Gandhi joined Cherokee Women’s in 2007, and recently celebrated her ACOG Board Certification, a ten-year process that starts when doctors enter medical school. About the experience, she shares, “There is no one more important to me than my family,” says Dr. Gandhi. “We all share our successes, and I feel really fortunate to have had their support through all the years of my medical training. I really found my calling in OB/GYN, and I so much enjoy practicing here at Cherokee Women’s Health – thank you to everyone!”

July 11, 2013


Eight years ago my wife Ann was hospitalized for a life-threatening bleed in her brain. I sat in vigil at her bedside for many hours through the days and nights as she lay there in pain, unable to move, barely able to whisper. I was afraid that I would lose my wife – and my young boys their mother. But early one morning Ann spoke one sentence to me, and the heavy feeling of worry that had filled my chest suddenly evaporated. In its place was a wonderful certainty my wife would be okay.

A shunt had been placed by the neurosurgeon to alleviate the pressure on Ann’s brain. The shunt slowly dripped out blood-tinged cerebral spinal fluid the entire week. I watched from my chair next to Ann’s bed as, drop by drop, the fluid fell into the collecting system. The fluid had a reddish color at first. As the days passed, the fluid gradually clarified to a pinkish tinge. Finally one morning the fluid had the healthy hue of fine champagne.

Ann was still in such pain she could hardly open her eyes. She squeezed my hand as she woke up and whispered good morning. I tried to cheer her up.

“Your cerebral spinal fluid looks so good this morning, I’m tempted to take a sip,” I said wryly.

A few moments later Ann responded. “If you swallow….a mouthful,” she croaked, “it will raise your IQ…fifty points.”

I was stunned. Immobilized in Intensive care for over a week, my wife had just made a joke. A funny one to boot!

I knew then that Ann was going to be alright.

Our son Tyler inherited his mother’s courage and sense of humor. Several years ago he was injured in a skiing accident. It was a two-hour ambulance ride to the nearest city hospital. With a fractured bone almost sticking through the skin, Tyler suffered the bumpy ride along the mountain road in agony. Just before Tyler’s surgery, his doctor told him he would need a strong narcotic for the pain. He recommended Vicodin.

“Oh, that’s my favorite one,” my twelve-year-old offspring quipped.

The surgeon looked shocked.

“That’s the one that Dr. House takes.” Tyler grinned as he referenced a family TV favorite about an E.R. doc, “House.”

Last week Tyler required another major reconstructive operation, casting a shadow of fear and worry over our household. As a surgeon, I find it far easier to be the one providing care than the one worrying about my loved one. Both roles come with moments of fear. But no matter on which side of the medical relationship I find myself, I know this to be true:

The hospital is a holy place. Here in this holy place, we seek help when we or our loved ones are injured or ill. Here in this holy place, gathered together, are people who have dedicated their lives to helping strangers in need. Here in this holy place, Love manifests itself through us in the most concrete of ways – all of us helping one another when we are in desperate need. And here in this holy place, God grants healing and relief.

Nevertheless, as a Dad sitting next to my son’s bed before major surgery, I was a bit anxious. Tyler grabbed my hand moments before he was to be wheeled back to the operating room.

“Dad, I need you to remember something for me,” Tyler said in a low, intense voice.

Unsettled, I leaned forward to listen.

“971-32-2745-1994. Write it down.”

I fumbled for a pen and wrote the number down, repeating it back to Tyler at his request. Confused, I waited.

“If I die, you will be contacted. Give them that code number,” Tyler said. “Within a week, you will receive ten million dollars cash – in untraceable bills.”

His face still wore the trace of a smirk as the nurses wheeled him back to surgery.

Later, as I sat for hours in the waiting room during the operation, I found myself again worrying. Life can be frightening and painful. We suffer so much, and over the course of a long life, lose what matters to us most – our bodies, and our loved ones. It’s so easy to forget the truth: despite our being biologically mortal, we are spiritually eternal.

I remembered Tyler’s last minute joke. It was going to be okay.

And so it was.

-Dr. Mike Litrel

July 9, 2013

Urinary incontinence (UI) affects millions of women each year. Some women may urinate a little when they’re laughing or exercising. Some may feel an increased urge to urinate right before losing a large amount of urine. Many women feel like urinary incontinence is a natural part of the aging process, or even something they have to be ashamed of. At Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we know that neither are true.

Causes and Types of Urinary Incontinence

Causes of urinary incontinence vary from woman to woman, but childbirth, trauma, and hormone changes due to aging can all be linked to UI. The different types of urinary incontinence include: i stock photo_pelvic

  • Stress incontinence – Coughing, laughing, sneezing or other movements that cause you to leak urine.
  • Urge incontinence – Commonly caused by inappropriate bladder contractions, urge incontinence occurs when you lose urine for no apparent reason after feeling the need to urinate.
  • Overactive bladder – Occurs when abnormal nerves send signals to the bladder at the wrong time. Symptoms include frequent urination during the day and night, urinary urgency, or leakage or gushing of urine that follows a sudden, strong urge.
  • Functional incontinence – A result of physical or medical conditions that might hinder the signals that your body needs to urinate, e.g. dementia or arthritis.
  • Overflow – Rare in women, but this type occurs when the bladder doesn’t empty properly, causing overflow.
  • Mixed incontinence – Two or more types of incontinence together, typically stress and urge.
  • Transient incontinence – Urine leakage for a short time, e.g. during a bladder infection, pregnancy or post-pregnancy.

Treatment for Urinary Incontinence

Thankfully, there are a variety of treatment options for women who suffer from UI, many without the need of surgery. Schedule an appointment with your doctor to determine the treatment that’s best for you. He or she can provide an effective treatment option. Successful treatment options for UI include simple changes to your diet and fitness routine, medications, or minimally-invasive surgery.

Urinary incontinence is very common in women and is also very treatable at all ages. If you’re concerned about UI, don’t hesitate to call us to schedule an appointment at one of our convenient locations in Canton or Woodstock.


July 6, 2013

beauty girl cry

Sixteen years ago, when I first started my private practice, the complaints of some of my patients confused me. Despite normal exams and lab results, a number of women told me they just weren’t feeling well. They didn’t have energy and felt overwhelmed by life. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. The visiting pharmaceutical salesmen, however, came to the rescue. The diagnosis, I learned, was depression. The solution to my patients’ complaints was the pharmaceutical company’s product, taken once a day, every day — forever.

In my first year of practice, I selectively began prescribing antidepressants. I was pleased to see that many patients experienced a lifting of their sadness. I continued prescribing depression medication judiciously. Still, the diagnosis and treatment troubled me.

Early in my medical training, I had anticipated that psychiatry would be my specialty. The word “psychiatry,” literally translated from the Greek, means “treatment of the soul.” I had entertained the idea of a joint degree at Emory in both medicine and the ministry, so the idea of practicing in the field of medicine that handles the human soul called to me. But I soon learned that the reality of the practice of psychiatry was not what I had imagined. Psychiatric patients were placed on powerful medications with little real understanding of the diagnoses or the mechanism and side effects of the drugs.

Now, twenty years later, my work hours and job duties can be demanding and emotionally draining. There are desperate moments in the dead of night when a life is at stake and I am rushing into the operating room. But no matter the hour, I find the cries of a healthy newborn baby a joyful reminder that God is always present in our lives. Obstetrics and Gynecology has proven to be the spiritual field of medicine I was seeking as a young man.

I stopped prescribing antidepressants years ago, after a patient who had been on Zoloft came to my office in a desperate state. I found her curled up on the floor of the exam room. Having quit her medication three days earlier, she said she felt like she was going out of her mind. She quickly felt better after resuming the medication. But her withdrawal symptoms were too similar to those I’d seen experienced by addicts. People abuse drugs to be happier, to alleviate their suffering. Antidepressants affect the neurotransmitters in the brain with a mechanism similar to that of cocaine.

We all experience sadness in our lives, a sense of confusion about what we are doing, and, at times, an overwhelming feeling of despair. These are normal human emotions that all too often have a spiritual purpose. Drugs supply relief; but are they the solution? Health is not just about vital signs, laboratory findings and medical diagnoses. Part of health is understanding our purpose in life and following that path in our daily actions. When we stray, we are designed to experience unhappiness.

After all these years in practice, seeing thousands of patients, it’s been my observation that depression is not a true diagnosis of the body like cancer or pregnancy. It’s a spiritual discomfort to remind us to look deeper at our lives — and to make a change.

-Dr. Mike Litrel

July 2, 2013

If you’re a friend of Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists on Facebook, you might remember a few weeks back when we shared a few videos of Dr. Gandhi’s medical assistant Sammy sharing about a variety of topics, one being the strong correlation between faith and health here at Cherokee Women’s.

How CWHS Views Faith and Health

As discussed in the video, Dr. Litrel is known for making a priority out of praying with his patients before surgery. This is something that many patients appreciate and see as a way of connecting with their doctor on a more personal level.

One of our patients had this to say about Dr. Litrel and his strong connection between faith and health:

“Dr. Litrel, I am so grateful to have you as my doctor. I wanted to write you this thank you note to tell you how thankful I am that God brought me to you and your practice. I have prayed for a kind, caring, get-to-the-issue doctor for years and my prayer was finally answered. Not only have you made me feel comfortable you have shown and demonstrated to me the love of Christ. I never in a million years would have thought my doctor would pray with me before surgery. And when you did, I knew for a fact that God had His hand over me that day and it brought me complete peace. I could never say thank you enough. Praying that God blesses you, your family and your practice always. That He will continue to give you wisdom and favor in all you do. 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 In His Love.” – Allie S.

We invite you to view the other videos on our Youtube channel, and be sure to check back often for additions to the page. You can follow along with us on Twitter and Google+ as well.

June 18, 2013

As young girls age and grow into teenagers, preparing them for their first gynecological exam can be a daunting task for parents. Your daughter may not understand why she has to go to the doctor when she feels perfectly fine, so communication is essential when it’s time to sit down and discuss the first visit. Here at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists, we place a heavy importance on starting young women off on the right track in regards to their health.

Timing is Everything

It’s very important to listen to clues that will help you determine when your daughter should schedule her first gynecological exam. If your daughter is experiencing heavy or painful periods, is sexually active or has questions that you aren’t quite sure how to answer, scheduling an appointment will introduce her to the important role a gynecologist plays in a woman’s overall health.  Group of teenage girls

Communication is Key

When you’ve broached the subject of scheduling an exam, communication is important to maintaining trust. Educating your daughter on what to expect during the visit can help calm nerves and ease her mind. Helping her prepare to answer questions the doctor might ask will take some of the fear of the unknown out of the appointment. Types of questions the doctor might ask are:

  • When was your last period?
  • Are you sexually active?
  • If so, are you using birth control?
  • Are you with one or multiple partners?
  • Do you have any problems with your period such as pain or discharge?
  • Is there any chance you could be pregnant?

Encourage your daughter to answer honestly, as everything she shares with her doctor is personal and confidential, and her doctor will be able to give her the best care the more information he or she has.

After the Appointment

Once the appointment is over, talk with your daughter about it. It is important that your daughter feels she is in a safe, trusting environment. Once she’s had her first visit, help your daughter make annual appointments to keep her on a happy, healthy track. To contact us for an appointment at our Canton or Woodstock offices, please call 770.720.7733 or fill out our contact form.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

June 6, 2013

art-of-circumcision blog photo

A Lousy Way to Start your Day

A circumcision is a lousy way to start off life. For a newborn baby boy, the procedure’s only saving grace might be that five minutes of pain must pale in comparison to the agony of being born. Most mothers-to-be receive an epidural to alleviate the pain of labor. For the baby – no pain medication at all. Squeezed from the warm, dark comfort of his mother’s womb, he suffers through a ten-hour marathon of suffocating agony to land in the hands of yours truly.

And the next day we meet again, so I can cut the foreskin off his penis.

Moms generally like me pretty well.

Newborns probably don’t.

Making It Look Easy

I was taught the art of the circumcision by Paul Taylor, a Physician Assistant at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta. In his thirty-year career, Paul had probably performed more circumcisions than anyone else in the country. To date I have done only fifteen hundred, a mere ten percent of Paul’s total count. I still consider myself pretty good. But Paul was the best.

A year ago, Paul was tragically killed in a bicycle accident. I think of him every time I do a circumcision. Sometimes I am saddened by his untimely passing. But then I focus on the five-minute task at hand, grateful for his lessons almost twenty years ago.

When I watched Paul do that first circumcision, I naively commented that it looked pretty easy.

“When Jack Nicklaus hits a golf ball 300 yards down the center of the fairway, he makes it looks easy, too,” Paul retorted.

Paul was right. There are subtleties to the art of the circumcision that I have come to appreciate. But Paul’s technique has no doubt been responsible for my years of circumcisions unbroken by a single complication.

“Give a man a fish, feed him for the day; teach him to fish and feed him for a lifetime.”

Alleviating Pain

There is, however, one thing I do differently from Paul. When my sons were newborns, it bothered me that they received no pain medication whatsoever. This was the traditional way to perform circumcisions: strap the baby down, cut the foreskin off his penis, and let him cry himself silly.

I am proud that I have used pain medication for every circumcision I have ever done. I apply topical pain cream an hour beforehand and also use an injection at the time of the procedure. Yet even though I am diligent in this “alleviate suffering” matter, my babies still cry. So sometimes I resort to another trick Paul showed me. Sugar water on the pacifier works like a charm. The baby sucks happily and usually stops crying.


The take-home message is this: life hurts, no matter what you do. The expectant mother with the epidural still cries when the baby is coming out, and the newborn on Dr. Litrel’s pain medicine cocktail still doesn’t like having his penis cut open.

Life’s pain begins when it’s our time to be born. And Life’s suffering ends, just in time for our funeral.

How we understand and handle that pain determines who we become. Do we take drugs, or alcohol, or sugar, to get through yet another day? Or do we build spiritual resilience, in understanding the purpose of our short time here on this earth?

Those are the questions we answer all our lives. The less we need to take, the more we have to give.

-Dr. Mike Litrel

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“Dr. Litrel was a fantastic doctor. I had my first exam with him, although at first I was skeptical about a male doctor for my GYN. But after I met him I’m glad I kept an open mind, and I couldn’t have dreamed up a better doctor. He cares about you as a person and not just a patient. The front desk ladies and nurses were very friendly and it’s a great office, very clean and not intimidating. I highly recommend Cherokee Women’s Health.”
– Vicki