770.720.7733
Voted "Best OB-GYN" in Towne Lake, Woodstock and Canton Voted "Mom-Approved OBs" by Atlanta Parent magazine readers
February 4, 2016

RED-HEARTDid you know heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing 1 in 3 deaths each year? That’s approximately one woman every minute so it’s important to know the symptoms and how you can take control of your risk factors.

Following are the most common heart attack symptoms in women:
Shortness of breath
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest.
Nausea, vomiting, cold sweat or lightheadedness
Pain or discomfort in any of the following: jaw, neck, stomach, arms (one or both).

How can you help prevent it?
There are many things you can do to control heart disease and with the right information and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended. Studies show that healthy choices have resulted in 330 fewer women dying from heart disease per day.

Here are a few lifestyle changes you should make:
Don’t smoke
Manage your blood sugar
Get your blood pressure under control
Lower your cholesterol
Know your family history
Stay active
Lose weight
Eat healthy

Trust your gut
Women are less likely to call 9-1-1 when experiencing symptoms of a heart attack themselves so trust your gut. If you aren’t feeling normal or are experiencing any of the symptoms above, call 911 or head to your local emergency room.

Northside Hospital-CherokeeSince 1993, Cherokee Women’s Health has delivered more babies at Northside Hospital-Cherokee than all other OB practices combined. Readers of AroundAbout magazines and Family Life Publications have voted Cherokee Women’s Health “Best OB-GYN” in both Canton and Woodstock.

Most recently in 2017, the practice was voted #1 “Reader’s Choice” in all three locations of Towne Lake, Woodstock, and Canton.

 

A Powerhouse OB Team: High-risk Pregnancy Management, Holistic Nutrition and Midwives

Pregnant women who come to Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists find a truly holistic practice, combining a significant depth of knowledge with technological advances. All the physicians have the expertise to manage high-risk obstetrics as needed. Ultrasound services are nationally accredited by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine and headed up by our Chief Ultrasonographer Brenda Peters. Four-dimensional ultrasounds are available when needed for diagnostic purposes, and healthy pregnancies are confirmed with advanced technologies for noninvasive testing including Nuchal Translucency or Cell Free DNA testing.

Dr. Gandhi part of the Best OB-GYN team in Canton and Woodstock.

Dr. Gandhi with a baby delivered at Northside Hospital-Cherokee

Additionally, Drs. Hale and Crigler are experts at noninvasive muscle floor pelvic strengthening options, including Apex and Intensity devices. Both vegans, they build on the mind-body-spirit approach of the practice, with Dr. Hale recently achieving certification in plant-based nutrition from T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Her election to the National Medical Honor Society Alpha Omega Alpha is a distinction shared by Drs. Litrel and Gandhi.

Our Midwife Team Teaches Other Midwives at Multiple University Programs

Certified Nurse Midwife Susan Griggs and Ruth Roser round out this team of providers to complete the picture of a practice with total dedication to the health of their patients, before and after childbirth. Susan earned her Masters of Nursing with a specialty in Midwifery at Emory University and has served as a clinical preceptor for midwife students at multiple university programs, including Emory University and Kennesaw State.

The Center for Disease Control made headlines this week when they announced that sexually active women of childbearing age should never drink alcohol unless they’re on birth control. The recommendation met with both support and backlash: many women agree that it’s not worth the risk, while others argue that telling 3.3 million women not to drink isn’t feasible. What do you think?

Are You Expecting?

pregnant woman with wineYou probably know that consuming alcohol during pregnancy can negatively impact a baby’s mental, physical, and behavioral development. What you may not know is whether or not you’re expecting. Some moms-to-be take 4 to 6 weeks to realize they’re pregnant. And as many moms of lovable broods know, about half the pregnancies in the United States are unplanned. Even women actively trying to get pregnant might continue drinking. According to the CDC, only 1 in 4 women stops drinking alcohol when they go off birth control. Exposure to even minimal alcohol during pregnancy may affect the baby’s health. So is the risk worth it?

The Effect of Alcohol on Developing Babies

Whether you’re happily expecting or simply trying, we know your baby’s health is your #1 consideration. But you may not realize just how much damage drinking during pregnancy can cause. Even small amounts of alcohol can cause:

FASDs can affect a child’s development both before and after birth. Symptoms can include anything from abnormal facial features and underdeveloped growth to poor memory, attention or hyperactivity disorders, learning disabilities, speech and language problems, and low IQ. Many people suffering from FASDs also have impaired hearing or vision and problems with their hearts, kidneys, or bones.

Make the Healthy Choice

At Cherokee Women’s Health, we advocate for the health of mothers and their babies. All expectant mothers should refrain from drinking alcohol during pregnancy. If you’re trying to get pregnant, we recommend that you stop drinking alcohol until you go back on birth control. If you discover you’re pregnant unexpectedly, stop drinking immediately. Inform your doctor about any alcohol you may have consumed in the early stages of your pregnancy.

Cherokee Women’s Health has a team of obstetricians, certified nurse-midwives, and board certified surgeons on staff. We specialize in normal and high risk pregnancies, with expert care providers trained in both natural and standard births. To learn more about how to ensure a healthy pregnancy, call today to make an appointment with one of our providers.

Wine and Pregnancy Image

Dr. Sara Bolden picDr. Sara Bolden is a Women’s Health Physical Therapist, board certified Women’s Health Clinical Specialist, owner of Women First Rehabilitation in Woodstock, GA, and author of What a Girl Wants: The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex.

Adopting a Higher Quality Obstetrical Care Model for Women in the United States

If you’ve ever had a baby, witnessed one being delivered or heard of someone’s detailed labor and delivery story, one thing’s for sure, there was pain involved. We’re not talking about a little discomfort here, folks. We’re talking about deep, intense, I-could-kill-the-man-that-did-this-to-me pain. Quite honestly, we’ve come to expect extreme bodily pain during a situation like this. It would be absolutely crazy to think otherwise. I mean, we’re talking about a small melon exiting out of an opening the size of a child’s sock. Yes, the sock will stretch, the melon will emerge, but not without some repercussions…sometimes big repercussions. Often, these consequences can be serious and have lasting musculoskeletal effects. So what’s a girl to do?

Physical Therapists are NOT Massage Therapists
Many would say, childbirth trauma is inevitable so proverbially “push” through the pain and try to get over it quickly. Unfortunately, this is frequently the default response to childbirth in the United States. There is little to no preparation of the pelvic floor muscles, the low back, the abdomen, nor education for proper breathing, delivery positioning, energy conservation or anything, for that matter, that adequately prepares the body’s musculoskeletal system for the delivery of a small human being. However, for many years now, international countries, such as England, Germany, Australia, Brazil and South Africa (to name a few), have taken proactive measures to assist women with labor and delivery and thus lower the risk of long-term musculoskeletal injuries or urogenital dysfunctions. One way they have elevated the standard of obstetrical care is to include physical therapists throughout pregnancy, during labor/delivery and for post-partum recovery. You might be saying to yourself, “Physical Therapists? Don’t they just give massages?” Brace yourselves…wait for it…no, they don’t. Physical therapists are not massage therapists. They are, however, musculoskeletal experts that have unique knowledge of the evaluation, assessment, treatment, disease/injury prevention and general wellness of the human body.

The Difference a Women’s Health Physical Therapist Makes
In other countries, the physical therapists that assist with prenatal and post-partum women are called obstetrical physiotherapists and have advanced skill and training in women’s health. In the United States, we call them women’s health physical therapists. I know, ingenious. They, too, have advanced knowledge and extensive training in women’s health; however in the U.S., their services have only been considered for the prenatal patient with abnormal or life-altering pain or for the complicated post-partum patient with pain and/or pelvic floor dysfunction (i.e. urinary incontinence, organ prolapse or pain with intercourse).

Higher Standards of Obstetrical Care
If the U.S. adopted a more comprehensive standard of obstetrical care, every pregnant women would be evaluated by a women’s health physical therapist. During the prenatal phase, she would get education and training on pelvic floor stabilization, core strengthening, body mechanics, birthing positions, perineal massage, breathing, relaxation and proper Valsalva for effective pushing, etc. Then, a women’s health physical therapist would be included in the delivery room to help with pain management, assist with birthing positions that open the pelvis and decrease risk of vaginal tearing, perform perineal massage to allow adequate room for the decent of baby, provide biomechanical support and coach the patient on the when’s and how’s of proper pushing…just like obstetrical physiotherapists are doing right now in other countries!

After the birth of the baby, post-partum women would follow up with their women’s health physical therapist to assess healing of vaginal and/or abdominal tissues, be educated on scar management and facilitated tissue recovery, learn mechanics for lifting baby as well as for breastfeeding and restoring pelvic strength. Of equal importance, women’s health physical therapists would help new moms get their bodies back in shape, set realistic goals and expectations of motherhood and restore her vibrant, sexual health. Yes, I said “vibrant!” Who wouldn’t want that?!

Good news! You belong to a cutting-edge OB-GYN practice and are hearing about women’s health physical therapists! I invite you to do a little research and see for yourself how effective this type of physical therapy is for pregnancy, labor, delivery and post-partum. Don’t be shy: ask your doctor to include physical therapy as part of your prenatal and post-partum experience.

Company bio:
Women First Rehabilitation is an elite healthcare practice devoted exclusively to treating individuals with pelvic pain, urogynecologic disorders and pelvic floor dysfunction in all phases of life. All of our practitioners are licensed women’s health physical therapists with advanced knowledge and training in women’s health. For more information, visit www.WomenFirstRehab.com.

January 21, 2016

Your feedback is very important to us. The doctors and staff at Cherokee Women’s Health care about what you want from your doctor visits, which is why we regularly survey our patients. Your feedback tells us that you want doctors who listen, spend time with you and have a great bedside manner. And of course, you want an educated physician who can clearly explain your symptoms and treatment options.

Dr. Litrel wants every patient of Cherokee Women’s Health to feel seen, heard and compassionately cared for so he has hand-picked an amazing team of caring, compassionate and highly educated doctors. All our providers pride themselves on engaging with their patients while making sure the patient feels accepted and heard while discussing symptoms or treatment.

Following are a few testimonials from our patients:

Dr Litrel is always very caring and considerate. He listens to your symptoms without making you feel like he’s in a hurry to move on to the next patient. He has offered alternative help with my Sjogren’s Syn. Disorder. He treats you with respect.” Sue H.

“Dr. Gandhi serviced my prenatal appointments, and I thoroughly appreciated how she listened to me and my body. Nothing unnatural was forced, which I believe helped in a very smooth delivery. She was always very upbeat and her excitement bubbled over. By the end of each visit, I was always smiling. Susan delivered my baby, and she did a wonderful job. She was very comforting and soothing. Again, I appreciate how she let my body naturally deliver the baby it its own time. This was a wonderful pregnancy and birthing experience.””Billi R.

“Doctors actually listen to me and do what’s best for me. They care more than another other doctor I’ve been to.” Emilee Z.

“In June of 2011, I was rushed to Northside Hospital in Canton in severe pain only to find I had a ruptured tubal pregnancy. My family and I were so devastated. Dr. Litrel came to my bedside and prayed with us, and then I was rushed to the operating room for surgery. He was so wonderful, kind and had the best bedside manner. It’s February of 2012, and we are expecting again. Everyone in the office is so kind and respectful. I wouldn’t have any other group of doctors take care of me in our situation, and couldn’t imagine any other doctor bringing our miracle baby into this world.” Kimberly L.

“Dr. Gandhi is an extremely professional and caring doctor. She always makes sure that I am completely informed of what is going on with me. She also explains everything in a manner that is easily understood. I am so thankful for her hard work, dedication, and concern for my well-being. I cannot imagine trusting anyone else with my health than Dr. Gandhi and Cherokee Women’s.” Lyn B.

Cherokee Women’s Health wants to be your OB/GYN healthcare provider. With a diverse group of five doctors – male and female – a seasoned midwife and a nurse practitioner, we believe you will find the care, compassion and excellent care that you are seeking. Please call 770-720-7733 or visit cherokeewomenshealth.com to schedule an appointment today at our Canton or Woodstock locations.

December 17, 2015

pregnant-woman photoYou just had a baby, but something feels “off “down there. You’re not quite sure what to expect because you’re new to the whole postpartum process, but you’re certain that a bulge in your vagina is not normal. When the vaginal pressure does not ease up, you decide to check in with your doctor, only to find out that you have a type of Pelvic Organ Prolapse called Uterine Prolapse.

As scary as this diagnosis may sound to you, there are options available to relieve symptoms, or repair the prolapse.


Uterine Prolapse: Causes and Treatments

You wonder how this prolapse happened. One day your uterus is snugly in place, and the next, you are suffering the unpleasant symptoms of pain, pressure and an aching lower back. A prolapsed uterus is a common occurrence after a vaginal birth, but even women who have never given birth can also develop a prolapse. When damage to the fascia, ligaments and muscles of the pelvic floor occurs, it can cause the uterus to sag into the vaginal canal – leading to incontinence, and a feeling that something is “stuck” or “falling out.” These problems may worsen with age, as decreased estrogen causes the pelvic floor to relax even more.

Fortunately, you don’t have to deal with these meddling symptoms. There are options, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

Relax – not every uterine prolapse will require surgical repair. You and your doctor can work together to decide the best course of action to fit your lifestyle and diagnosis. Many women with mild symptoms find that pelvic floor physical therapy is helpful in reducing symptoms. Those with more moderate symptoms might find reprieve by wearing a device known as a pessary, which is fitted to your vagina, and worn internally. A pessary can help to lift the uterus out of the vagina, and relieve many of the distressing symptoms. If your symptoms are more severe, Pelvic Reconstructive Surgery may be the best option to ensure that you are not living with the troublesome effects of uterine prolapse.

You are not alone! Many other women are dealing with the inconvenience and pain of a prolapsed uterus, and you don’t have to suffer in silence. Make a list of questions and concerns and contact your doctor today. A prolapsed uterus doesn’t have to rule your life.

Specialists in Female Pelvic Anatomy
Physicians who are board certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery (FPMRS) understand complex female anatomy, and are able to offer a range of effective treatment options when problems occur. In fact, Cherokee Women’s is the only OB/GYN practice in the southeast with multiple OB’s who are also board certified in FPMRS.

You’re in good hands – during your pregnancy and after. Talk to your FPMRS physician about your options to find relief for your symptoms – and help that “bulge” disappear.

Many women spend weeks, months, or even years reaching the decision to have vaginal surgery. Each woman has her own reasons for the choice: discomfort, pain, embarrassment, or decreased sexual pleasure, to name a few. But once surgery day arrives, this transformative life experience becomes a waiting game. Even the most knowledgeable patient can succumb to fears while healing from a vaginoplasty. That’s why Cherokee Women’s Health gives you top care, expert follow-up, and direct access to your surgeon when you need it most.

Is My Post – Vaginoplasty Healing Process Normal?

  • How long does it take to recover after vaginoplasty surgery? Because every woman’s body is different, each patient recovers at a slightly different rate. Many patients can start to move around as soon as the anesthesia wears off. Ice the incision area in the 24-48 hours after surgery. Most patients can return to a normal behaviors (such as non-strenuous work) after 48-72 hours, but a full 6-8 week recovery period is necessary before engaging in sexual activity. Optimize your healing process by carefully following the post-op instructions of your physician. 
  • pelvic painI still feel vaginal pain a week post-op. Is that normal? Many women experience pain as the skin and muscles of their most sensitive areas knit back together. Vaginal pain is still expected one week after surgery. If you’re experiencing post-op pain, take your prescribed painkillers or ice the area as recommended by your doctor.
  • I’m not happy with my results. Can I schedule another surgery? A patient cannot appreciate the results of a vaginoplasty before she’s fully healed. Tenderness, swelling, and myriad other factors may influence a woman’s perspective of her post-op results. We recommend waiting 6 months to 1 year after surgery to allow the site to fully heal and the vaginal muscles to settle into their new permanent state. If you’re still not happy with the results of your vaginoplasty, ask your surgeon about a follow-up procedure or labiaplasty.

Do you want to learn more about vaginal rejuvenation and recovery? Schedule a consultation with one of our GYN surgeons board certified in FPMRS (Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery).

December 16, 2015

dr-hale-sunburst-pngTalking Veggies with Dr. Hale
We recently sat down with Dr. Hale to chat with her about her nutrition journey. Always a proponent of healthy eating, Dr. Hale began eating a plant-based diet last fall. She was enthusiastic about the positive results from her new eating habits, and shared the surprising connections between diet and “classic” female health issues, ranging from polycystic ovaries to adult acne, and even heavy, painful periods.

Pegan Dish PhotoThe Unhealthy Vegan – Go “Pegan”
Specifically, Dr. Hale’s diet can be referred to as a whole food, plant-based diet with an emphasis on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes. “This is an important clarification,” she said, “because it is often confused with a vegan diet.” Her diet is not vegan; as vegan diets can still consist of a lot of processed, unhealthy foods.

A “pegan” diet is low glycemic, still high in vegetables and fruits, but allows for a small amount of high quality organic meats or low mercury, low toxin fish. Here, meat is used more as a condiment rather than the main feature. This is Dr. Hale’s second choice as an ideal diet. Her preference is still a completely plant based diet.

What advice would you give to others for transitioning to a plant-based diet?
The big thing is to consider food as medicine. (There’s lots of emerging evidence on this topic.) So if health is a priority, you need to be more attentive to what you’re putting into your body. If you try to have a more plant-forward diet (having more of your meals and more of your plate consist of vegetables), you are likelier to get a healthy dose of antioxidants and other things that help your body naturally detox.

Pegan Dish PhotoWhen I’m counseling patients about making a lifestyle change, I get them to look at lifestyle changes that will improve their health in the long-term.

When I was younger I had very heavy, painful periods. One of my main goals for transitioning to a plant based diet was to improve my periods as well as my overall health.

What are the benefits for women who choose to eat a plant-based diet?
While not everyone is guaranteed to have the same results, women with endometriosis can benefit from avoiding red meat and dairy as a means to reduce inflammation in their body. Many women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) can improve their hormone balance through a low glycemic, plant based diet. A plant based diet is also a great strategy for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It also can reduce their risk for heart disease, which is the leading cause of death for women in the United States.

Are there any downsides to not eating meat?
I personally don’t think so. Contrary to what many people think, pregnant women can be completely meat-free and get sufficient protein to support a healthy pregnancy. They should, however, supplement with B12 and DHEA since these nutrients are harder to get naturally on a completely plant based diet.

dr-hale-running-picWhat are the first things you noticed happening to your body/mind after you changed your diet?
An increase in energy was the most noticeable change. Excess sugar sucks my mental clarity. Also, my menstrual flow wasn’t as heavy with hardly any cramps. As an added bonus I
also lost about 20-25 pounds.

How soon did you notice a difference after you switched up your diet?
In terms of my cycle, I noticed changes within a few months. A lot of people do notice that their skin clears up because you’re removing those inflammatory foods. That aspect for me has been a slower process since I’m working through multiple food sensitivities which I’ve learned also affects acne in adults.

How do you view your role for patients looking to make a dietary change?
I see my role as trying to help patients attain and maintain long-term health. Improving your nutrition is a way to be proactive about your health and do more than just depending on pills. I encourage patients to focus on the things they can add to make positive lifestyle changes rather than focusing on what they can’t have or do. Making small changes over time can help produce more sustainable change in the long term. This also helps fight an all-too-common diet “crash-and-burn.”

Do you have any suggestions on how to make the changes easier?

Having a buddy makes it easier. I have a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition through the T. Colin Campbell Center of Nutrition Studies that I feel equips me to support patients wanting to make positive changes in their diet. Dr. Crigler has many years of experience with a plant based diet so is also a good resource. There are also numerous resources available including websites, books, movies and more. While the New Year is a common time to make lifestyle changes, there is never a bad time to improve your health.

Below are a handful of resources that Dr. Hale recommends:

21daykickstart.org – free meal plans by the Physician Committee for Responsible Medicine in addition to numerous informative articles
Yum Universe – the blog that got Dr. Hale started with tasty plant based recipes
T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies – articles, inspirational stories and recipes
The China Study – a book based on a landmark study in nutrition and disease.
Happy Herbivore encouraging blog and low-cost meal plans
Forks Over Knives – inspirational film, app and meal plans
Food Matters TV – hungry for change movie
Mark Hyman, MD – a proponent of the pegan diet
Plant Pure Nation – movie released earlier this year. You can join a “pod” in your area for support for your healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Hale on Vacation! Staying Healthy – Mind, Body and Soul
With all that hiking and fresh air, it’s clear to see that Dr. Hale not only talks the talk, she walks the walk!

Dr. Hale Vacation Photos

 

 

December 4, 2015

Essure photoEssure is a permanent birth control method that is over 99% effective preventing pregnancy. Approximately 750,000 women and their doctors have chosen Essure for permanent, non-hormonal birth control without surgery.

Recently, the safety of Essure has come into question, and the FDA has received thousands of complaints about the device from women and doctors. The FDA held a committee hearing on September 24th to review Essure’s safety and efficiency, but no recommendations have yet been made to the agency.

According to the FDA’s website about Essure, they are currently reviewing information from the September 24th meeting, the public docket, and additional medical literature and adverse event reports which have been published or received since the panel meeting.

They anticipate communicating the next steps publicly at the end of February 2016.

The Essure Procedure
Essure is an in-office procedure in which a qualified physician inserts a soft, flexible coil into your fallopian tubes. The inserts work with your body to form a natural barrier that keeps sperm from reaching the eggs, preventing pregnancy. Once the Essure inserts are in place, you must continue to use another form of birth control until you have your Essure Confirmation Test, which is usually performed three months following the procedure.

Essure is only to be used as a method for birth control and does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

What are the Risks of Essure? 
As with any procedure or other birth control method that alters a woman’s fertility, there are risks involved with the Essure procedure. Talk to your doctor about any questions or concerns you may have before starting any birth control method.

Short-term risks for Essure include:

– Mild to moderate pain during the procedure
– Your body may absorb a large amount of the salt water solution used during the procedure
– Mild to moderate pain and/or cramping, vaginal bleeding, and pelvic or back discomfort for a few days following the procedure. Some women experience nausea and/or vomiting or fainting, so you should arrange for transportation after the procedure.

Long-term risks for Essure include:

– Essure is made of materials that include a nick-titanium alloy. Once placed inside the body, small amounts of nickel are released from the inserts. Patients with a nickel allergy may have an allergic reaction to the inserts.
– Some reports of chronic pelvic pain related to the Essure procedure have been documented.
– Having the NovaSure procedure after the Essure procedure may affect the blockage in your tubes, and a risk of pregnancy may increase.

Putting It In Perspective

For patients who are considering forms of birth control, we asked Dr. Litrel to comment on the Essure controversy. “Pregnancy is a natural process, but it’s important for people to remember that unplanned pregnancy may be riskier than contraception. It’s important to discuss your specific health goals with your doctor.”

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re finished adding to your family and are looking for birth control solutions, schedule an appointment at 770.720.7733 to speak with your doctor to determine a good option for you.

December 3, 2015

dr-litrel-round-pic
An Interview With Michael Litrel, MD, FACOG, FPMRS

What was your first job?
I was a waiter at Kennedy Airport, at the international arrivals building. I was seventeen years old, and had to wear a bow tie. It was great preparation for being a doctor. I met people from around the world, served people with their basic needs, and I had to utilize my time efficiently. I shuttled between tables just like I do between exam rooms – and I tried not to drop anything.

What is your legacy? How do you want to be remembered?
As the longest living person alive? (He laughs.)

I want to have always done my best, and to have always been honest, and to accomplish what God had put me on the planet for.

What book has influenced you most?
In 1984 I read The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck – that really influenced me a lot. I also really like Richard Bach’s book, Illusions.

Other books include Mere Christianity, by C S. Lewis, and The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran, which has influenced me a lot again this year. One of my all-time favorites that I’ve re-read for several years is The Holy Man, by Susan Trott. It’s short, funny, and quite profound.

A book that’s influenced me this year is The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I especially recommend it to young mothers.

Dr. Litrel study photoWhat words of wisdom would you pass on to your childhood self?
I think believe in yourself and know that the dreams in your heart are gifts from God to pursue. And I would say that I think there’s so much bad stuff – and it’s so easy to believe the bad stuff – but what’s most important is to believe the good stuff, and to then pursue. Never give up. Keep endeavoring despite the pain and the sadness.

If you could master one skill right now, what would it be?
Surgery. That’s the skill I’m most endeavoring to master. You don’t cut into the human body willy-nilly. During each and every individual operation, I try to master the surgery.

I think the pursuit of mastery is the purpose of life. You have to seek mastery. You can master the ability the walk at two years old, but that doesn’t mean you don’t trip sometimes. When performing surgery, I think that I serve, not that I’ve mastered. In every surgery, my goal is to serve each patient and God at the same time.

Okay, a question just for fun – If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?Dr. Litrel Santa hat photo

Chinese food. I really like Szechuan beef, but now I’m a vegetarian. I’m an aspiring vegan, following in the footsteps of Dr. Hale and Dr. Crigler, so I’ve given up a lot of my favorite foods.

Cookies, a personal favorite, are sadly not on the list.

FUN FACTS

chris-and-dr-litrel-twin-pic2Unexpected Twin
Dr. Litrel is an identical twin. Born before the technology of ultrasound, he was unexpected until the very day he and his brother Chris were delivered. His first birth certificate named him “Baby B”

Chinese-Italian Culinary Mutt
Dr. Litrel grew up eating custom ravioli from his Italian father’s pasta shop on Long Island, and authentic Chinese dishes homemade by his Chinese grandmother in the Bronx

Healer With a Black BeltDr. Litrel Karate photo
Dr. Litrel is a lifelong martial arts student. He has studied karate, chi gong, bando, tai chi, and has a black belt in tae kwon do. He has also studied the Japanese healing art of Reiki.

POP QUIZ:  How well do you know Dr. Litrel?

Which of these jobs has Dr. Litrel NOT had?

A. EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) on ambulance
B. High School Chemistry Teacher
C. Forensic Intern (assist with autopsies)
D. Waiter

ANSWER:
Sorry – trick question! Dr. Litrel has worked in ALL these jobs.

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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