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June 19, 2018

Recently, one of our patients made the decision to have the liposuction procedure here at our office. She has chronicled her journey, and we had the pleasure of sitting down with her and learning more about why she made the decision, what reservations she may have had, and what life is like 3 weeks post-op.

Why did you want to seek out Liposuction? 

“I should preface my entire story by saying that I’m not overweight, I’ve never been overweight, but I have always had fat in very unwelcome places. A common misconception is that liposuction is for weight loss—it isn’t! It’s more for when you’re at your ideal weight, but you need to sculpt out the shape you want to be.

My trouble area has always been the “love handle” region. To add insult to injury, I have really high hip bones, so I’ve always felt like next to my long skinny legs and my long slender arms, my stomach had always looked like a tire.

When I heard that my trusted providers of Cherokee Women’s Health were going to start offering this procedure, I was very excited. I haven’t seen Dr. Litrel as my physician in all my years of annuals and during my pregnancy, he is very particular about who he surrounds himself with and the employees he hires, so I knew I could put my full trust in him in regard to my body sculpting goals.”

Were you scared about going through the procedure? What were your reservations?

“Truth be told, the pre-op appointment was, for me, slightly embarrassing. I planned for this though. I haven’t worn a bikini since the birth of my son, who is now two years old. Even before pregnancy, I was never fully confident wearing one, so having my stomach visible for someone to see, judge, and doodle on had me a little uneasy.

All of that aside, Dr. Litrel and his medical assistant Kami put me to ease quickly, even though to me, it looked like he was looking at my stomach as though he was solving the world’s most difficult puzzle. I watched him as he drew out a map and game plan on my stomach as though he could see clearly what my issues were and exactly how to solve them.

During the same appointment, Dr Litrel explained everything that would happen step by step during the procedure and what to expect for recovery. He also carefully laid out that, due to some of the more difficult to reach pockets of fat that I have on my body, I will likely need a follow-up procedure in about 12 weeks. When you have a physician that is completely honest like that, there’s truly nothing like it. I wasn’t expecting perfection from this procedure, more just improvement. I was even more impressed that Dr. Litrel seemed confident that after a second procedure, we could create the silhouette and curves that I both desired and deserved.”

Can you describe the procedure for us? What was it like?

“Since my procedure, the most common question that I get asked by family and friends is, “Did it hurt?”

There are plenty of liposuction resources online, and I believe that many resources can be overwhelming for people to think about in terms of pain and how the procedure is done. For me, the step was to inject a numbing solution into my stomach so that I wouldn’t feel any pain. The doctors waited about thirty minutes for the solution to fully kick in, and while I felt a little pressure, I didn’t feel pain. I was awake for the procedure, but the medicine that was moving through my IV made me loopy, and I was in and out for most of it. One moment that I do recall quite vividly, is having an itch on my nose and not being able to scratch it. I also remember trying to see what was going on throughout the procedure, and each time, the staff in the room would say, “Close your eyes and go back to sleep” in perfect unison.

After my nap, the next thing I knew, the nurses were assisting me in getting my new accessories for the first time. These girdles are necessary for me to wear during my recovery for the next few weeks, and they were explaining the steps of taking them on and off. One full body girdle sits just under my breasts down to just above my knee. It has a convenient hole in the bottom to make bathroom breaks easier. The other girdle is a binder similar to the one you receive after getting a c-section.”

Before and after shots of patient. After shots are 3 weeks post-op.

What does the recovery process look like?

“From the procedure room, the staff escorted me into a separate room to help me “Wake up” from the anesthesia. I was able to have my first few sips of water (something I’d been looking forward to since 7:00am!), and shortly after, my fiancé and son came back to check on me and then take me home.

Dr. Litrel came in to talk to me while I was waiting for my anesthesia to wear off, but I was told I kept giggling at him and then falling asleep, so he updated my fiancé on my after care and medication. The waiting for recovery felt like less than 10 minutes, but I was told it was closer to 45 minutes to an hour. The light anesthesia administered during the procedure makes the procedure an outpatient procedure, however I was having a little bit of difficulty staying awake in the recovery room.

Knowing that I am very sensitive to medication and anesthesia, I was given Phenergan in my IV during the procedure to settle my stomach (and also knock me out for the rest of the day so I could get some sleep afterwards).

On the way home, we stopped at the pharmacy and picked up my antibiotics and extra nausea medications, and I was homeward bound!”

What can someone expect from post-op?

“I slept the rest of the afternoon after the procedure and didn’t wake up from my Phenergan-induced nap until around midnight. I was amazed at how little pain I was in. Most of my discomfort was caused by the girdle and being unsure about moving around in it successfully. Standing up and sitting down in the girdle for the first few days gave he third trimester pregnancy flashbacks! 😊 I assumed that maybe the numbing solution hadn’t completely worn off yet, so I kept my guard up waiting for the pain to hit. I took extra strength Tylenol every six hours or so for the next 48 hours, not necessarily because I needed them for pain management, but more as a “just-in-case.”

I can thankfully say that I never got the pain I was expecting to feel afterward. I was sore, but unless my toddler crawled around on me, I never really hurt.

“By Sunday morning, my tiny incisions were done draining and had pretty much healed. I had minimal bruising, something I’m very thankful for. I didn’t have many post-op restrictions, so by the end of the weekend I was feeling well enough to clean my house.”

What have the first three weeks of post-op been like?

“I spent the first week with a little soreness. I was slightly uncomfortable, but mostly annoyed with the full body girdle. The opening at the bottom that I first found so funny suddenly was more frustrating than funny. Trying to find clothes that fit over the girdle was a little difficult, as it’s hard to hide a knee-length girdle under pants. (And I had the weirdest panty lines all the time!)”

What about the second and third weeks?

“By the second and third week, I had all but forgotten I’d even had the procedure done. Dr. Litrel approved for me to remove the body girdle but recommended that I continue wearing the other girdle for a while. By the end of the second week, I was starting to notice subtle changes in my stomach. It was visibly smoother, although I was still swollen. Dr. Litrel assured me that the swelling would go down but reminded me that the full results of the Lipo take up to twelve weeks.

Currently, I’m in my third week post-op and it feels like my procedure was performed months before. I am so excited to watch my body continue to change, and I am already feeling more confident thanks to Dr. Litrel and his amazing surgical team.”

This interview was completed three weeks post-op. We invite you to stay tuned as we continue to chronicle her journey after having the liposuction procedure done. If you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for liposuction, please contact our office to speak with our cosmetic services scheduling division at 770-720-7733.

 

October 22, 2013

When it comes to family, we usually first think of parents, kids and spouses. But more and more families are adding pets to their families. Maybe it’s because they’re adorable, funny creatures or maybe it’s because more of us are learning the health benefits associated with having a “fur baby” in the house. After all, it’s been shown in study after study that pets have the ability to vastly improve quality of life. They can help children develop, they can help prevent allergies and improve immunity, and they even help to improve mood. So it’s little wonder that a recent survey shows that 68% of U.S. households own at least one pet. This equals a staggering to 82.5 million homes.

As a family practice, we understand the importance of a loving, supportive family but we also realize that we’d be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge all the wonderful ways our furry friends add to the happiness and health of our homes. So as we start heading into the holiday season, we’ll be celebrating all things family – including our furry friends.

When word got out around the office that we were going to run a Cutest Pet Photo Contest in November, it got us all talking about the impact pets have on our families. One staff member in particular surprised us with this touching testimonial about how she dealt with the devastating news that she would not be able to have children…

“I was 38 and on a business trip 1,000 miles from home when I received a call from my OB/GYN. I held my breath as I recognized the number on my caller ID. This was the call that would determine whether or not I could have children. After a few years of trying and months of receiving hormone shots to ready my body for a baby, this was it. The time had come. Sitting in the back of a rented car with three of my co-workers, I discreetly answered my phone as they went about chatting. In less than a minute I was told my FSH level was over 100 and that it would be impossible for me to have children of my own.

I didn’t say a word to anyone about it on that trip. In fact, I barely told any of my friends when I got back home. And when I did, I tried to keep it very matter of fact for fear of being a downer. After all, my circle of friends were all at ages where they were either having babies or in the throes of celebrating motherhood.

Thankfully, my husband was a rock during this time but even so, I felt there was only so much he could understand because not only is he a guy, but he’s a very left brained, logical-thinking kind of guy so while he was very understanding and supportive, I felt there was only so much he could relate to.

I did, however, find one “person” I could talk to – and cry with – for as long as I needed. I received no judgment, I never felt guilty for burdening him with my troubles and I could go on and on and he would patiently listen to me. He’s the one I credit with saving me during that very dark time. This “person” was my dog Jack.

CWHS dog, Jack

Jack 🙂

Because I didn’t know anyone who had experienced what I was going through, I truly felt that Jack was the only one I could talk to. And talk I did. We’d lay for hours on the bed, with my head on his big furry body, clutching him for dear life as my tears fell on him. He became my savior. I could just be me while I let out all the anger, sorrow and guilt for not being able to give my husband a baby and for the loss of our dreams. He was by my side morning and night. To this day, I truly believe he understood how much I needed him at that time. He was extra loving and attentive and there was a connection with him that I’ve hardly felt with any other person, much less an animal.

So when people ask me how I dealt with that type of news at such a young age, I credit my husband for being a such a rock but I also credit Jack for truly saving me because I honestly don’t think I would’ve come out the other end as well as I did without him. His unconditional love was exactly what I needed at that time and it’s something I don’t think anyone else could have offered. So when we think of pets, it’s easy to be flippant about them but their very special kind of love and support can’t be discounted. And to me, that sounds like the very best kind of family member!”

To see more ways of how pets can be beneficial to your family, click here.

*According to the 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey

October 10, 2013

Last week on our Facebook page, we featured a photo of our certified nurse midwife Susan Griggs after her 500th delivery at Northside Cherokee in Canton in honor of National Midwifery Week and received a great response. Susan has been a part of the Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists team for six years, and many of our patients choose to have Susan assist them when it’s time to have their babies. With all of the questions a new mom has to ask herself to prepare for a delivery, “What is the difference between a certified nurse midwife and a regular obstetrician?” might be one of them. Here’s a closer look.

What is a certified nurse-midwife? Susan and Dr. Litrel

A certified nurse-midwife is a separate but complementary profession to an obstetrician. Physicians are experts in pathology (the study and diagnosis of disease) and should have primary responsibility for the care of pregnant women who have recognized complications or diseases. Midwives are experts in normal pregnancy and in meeting the needs of pregnant women that aren’t related to pathology. In many countries, midwives have the primary responsibility for women with uncomplicated pregnancies.

With a focus on the normalcy of pregnancy and its potential for health, midwives view birth as a natural process that should be treated as such until there is evidence of a problem. Midwives are experts in supporting and enhancing the normal physiology of labor and delivery as well as breast-feeding.

With Susan on our team at Cherokee Women’s, we are pleased to be able to give women more flexibility in regards to their labor and delivery options, ultimately offering them the best in prenatal care for each patient. Here is one of a handful of testimonials we have received about Susan’s six years with us:

“Thank you to everyone at Cherokee Women’s for all you have done for me and my growing family. Susan Griggs is my favorite midwife. She is highly recommended, and the office is very friendly. They have carried me through my 4th pregnancy, and now 5th. Wouldn’t go anywhere else.” Kathy V.

If you have more questions about the differences between an obstetrician and a certified nurse-midwife, don’t hesitate to contact one of our offices to make an appointment with Susan or one of our other doctors.

 

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 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.

March 14, 2013

A few weeks back, the team at Cherokee Women’s Health received this adorable drawing by Nicollette Maki thanking Dr. Gandhi for bringing her little brother, Sean Ethan Maki, into the world. We posted it to our Facebook page but wanted to share some of the other amazing photos taken that day, courtesy of the Maki family. Here’s the hand-drawn testimonial Nicollette created for Dr. Ghandi (Click on images to enlarge):

Dr. Ghandi Testimonial

Sean Ethan Maki was delivered by c-section on December 19th, 2012 and weighed 8lbs and 1.6oz. (Note: These photos may be graphic – not for young eyes.)

And here’s a photo of the budding artist with her brother when he turned a month old:

Nicollette and Ethan

What a lovely family!

For more information on Dr. Gandhi or to schedule an appointment, please call 770-720-7733 or visit Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.

February 8, 2013
Amanda Parker recently gave birth to her and her husband’s beautiful baby boy Jaxon Luke. Here she shares how both her sons were delivered by Dr. Gandhi at Cherokee Women’s Health.

“Dr Gandhi delivered my first son Logan in 2007. That was the first time I had ever had a conversation with her because during my entire pregnancy I had seen Dr Litrel. I was so worried about her delivering him because I thought she knew nothing about me or my issues during the pregnancy. I had to be induced at 36 weeks due to preeclampsia. To make a very long story short she was a complete blessing to me and my family.

“The labor was agonizing and tiring but Dr. Gandhi stayed with me through the entire thing.”
Logan had some issues when he was born so he had to stay in the hospital for 11 days…she didn’t have to check on me during this time but she made a point to come up to my room numerous times to make sure I was okay. From then on I considered her not only my doctor but a friend. Since then she has seen me through two miscarriages… lots of testing to find out the problem… a long second pregnancy full of both worry and PURE JOY and the amazing pain-free birth of my second son Jaxon Luke Parker.
Dr. Gandhi truly is the most amazing doctor I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. I appreciate her and all of you at Cherokee Women’s Health so very much!!”
In the photos are Amanda, her husband Cody and both of their sons.
For more information on Dr. Gandhi or to schedule an appointment, call 770.720.7733 or visit Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists.
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December 28, 2012

testimonial-for-site_final“I had been through many different doctors to try to treat my symptoms and I always got the same answers:  “You’re fine, it’s all in your head.”  Finally, I found Dr. Gandhi and she’s been a complete lifesaver!  I know now that I don’t have to live in pain and what I was experiencing was not normal.  A woman wouldn’t normally talk about their experience with a gynecologist, however my experience has been such a blessing in my life (a real life changer) that I tell everyone!  I’ve actually referred two friends to her because I don’t want women to go through years of pain and sadness like I did.  They both love Dr. Gandhi as much as I do!”

Thank you for your story, Sarah!  I also want to personally thank you for sending two friends our way!

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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

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