Author Archive

Right Time, Right Place

Maintenance treatment keeps follicular lymphoma dormant.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Catherine is once again living an active and healthy lifestyle.

Rising up from a small island just off the mainland in the Persian Gulf, Abu Dhabi has quickly grown into the one of the world’s most modern cities. And for the better part of three years, Catherine Goodell called that desert oasis home.

“I was actually there for two years, seven months and a day, but who’s counting,” Catherine says of her stay in the capital of the United Arab Emirates, where her husband worked as a nuclear engineer.

“It was fun for a while,” Catherine adds. “We enjoyed the adventure and made a ton of friends from all over the world that we never would have met otherwise. But it’s a whole other world, and after living there, I value living in the good old USA so much more.”

An Iowa native, Catherine, 52, has spent most of her life in Nebraska, where she was a stay-at-home mom for ten years before working for a few years for a school district. Following their Abu Dhabi adventure, she and her husband moved to Florida.

Catherine now dabbles in photography, and along with her husband, who is semi-retired, she spends as much time as she can fishing and boating on the lake that borders the couple’s Odessa home.

She also fights cancer. Not in the way that anyone outside of the medical field wants to fight cancer – by donating time to fundraising efforts – but on the front lines, where her own personal battle with the disease has been raging since late last year.

“November 29, 2018 was the day I learned of my diagnosis,” says Catherine, who was told she had stage IV follicular B Cell type non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

The symptoms most commonly associated with follicular lymphoma are a painless swelling in the neck, armpit or groin; fatigue, fever and night sweats. With the exception of the latter, which she attributed to menopause, Catherine experienced none of those symptoms.

“What I did experience was a lot of hip pain,” she says. “I’d been dealing with that for about ten years and just couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to the doctor. They did an MRI that showed I had arthritis, but it also showed that my lymph nodes were enlarged.”

The results of the MRI prompted Catherine’s doctor to order a CT scan. That scan showed the lymph nodes swelling in the groin, pelvis and abdomen. It was then that she was referred to Mamta T. Choksi, MD, at Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute.

Totally Treatable

Dr. Choksi’s first order of business was to obtain a biopsy of one of Catherine’s lymph nodes. That biopsy came back positive for follicular lymphoma. Subsequently, a PET scan showed enlarged lymph nodes within the neck, chest, abdomen and pelvis. Bone marrow was also involved with lymphoma making it stage IV lymphoma.

“There are two different kinds of lymphoma,” Dr. Choksi educates. “One is Hodgkin lymphoma. The other is non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and what Catherine had falls under the category of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“It’s called a low-grade lymphoma, but unfortunately, as of today, we still cannot cure it. However, we can treat this kind of lymphoma effectively and there are several treatment options available.”

“When my friends found out I had cancer, a lot of them asked why I wasn’t going somewhere else for my treatment. I told them it was because I felt like Florida Cancer Specialists was the right place to be.” – Catherine

Follicular lymphoma is typically treated with either a single form of chemotherapy or a combination of different chemotherapy treatments. The latter is the approach Dr. Choksi initially took to treat Catherine’s lymphoma.

“I initiated her treatment in early January 2019 with a combination of the chemotherapy drugs bendamustine and rituximab,” Dr. Choksi says. “We also gave her a medication called allopurinol to prevent any damage to the kidneys.

“Now there have been a few reported cases where the combination of the allopurinol and the bendamustine has caused a skin reaction as a side effect. After Catherine had a full cycle of chemotherapy, she developed skin rashes.

“We thought the skin rashes might have been due to the combination we were using, so at that point, we decided not to continue that combination and changed the chemotherapy to R-CHOP.

R-CHOP is a combination of five medicines, including rituximab. Because follicular lymphoma cannot be cured, the goal in treating a patient with R-CHOP is to keep the lymphoma dormant for many years.

Dr. Choksi prescribed five cycles of R-CHOP for Catherine. Each was administered intravenously through a port, and Catherine admits that the chemotherapy treatments “took quite a physical toll” on her body.

Clear of Disease

She lost 18 pounds and all of her hair, but she considers that a small price to have paid, because she is now clear of the disease, according to Dr. Choksi, who has since placed Catherine on a maintenance phase that calls for her to receive a shot of rituximab every other month for 24 months.

“Catherine has had a very good response to the treatment,” Dr. Choksi confirms. “In November 2019 she had her most recent scan, the fourth since beginning the maintenance phase in November, and she is not showing any signs of a recurrence of the lymphoma.”

Catherine receives her maintenance injection of rituximab in the belly. She says it takes about five minutes to complete the injection during a visit that lasts about half an hour, but the results have her feeling normal again.

“My hair is growing back, and I feel good and healthy,” Catherine says. “I’m slowly gaining back the weight I lost during my chemotherapy treatments, I feel strong and I can’t thank Dr. Choksi and the folks at Florida Cancer Specialists enough for what they’ve done for me.

“When Dr. Choksi first told me of my diagnosis, she was very, very positive and easy to talk to. I actually felt very comforted by her because she spent a lot of time with me and my husband and answered all of our questions. And we had a lot of them.

“She and her assistants are so warm; they even gave me hugs. Dr. Choksi made it clear that she’s part of a team of oncologists that all talk about what the treatment should be, so I knew I had a whole team working for me there.

“Everyone at Florida Cancer Specialists is so amazing. They’re very patient, very kind and very knowledgeable. Watching them work with other patients, it makes you feel good because you know you’re being taken care of and treated well, and they took great care of me.

“When my friends found out I had cancer, a lot of them asked why I wasn’t going somewhere else for my treatment. I told them it was because I felt like Florida Cancer Specialists was the right place to be.”

New World View

Photo courtesy of Lee Stillwell.

Lee Stillwell

Revolutionary implant can be adjusted for perfect vision after cataract surgery.

From journalist to press secretary to lobbyist for the American Medical Association, Lee Stillwell experienced first-hand the world of national politics from just about every possible angle during his long and distinguished career.

“I started out as a journalist in the Air Force, and after I got out, I slowly worked my way up to the national staff covering politics for the Scripps Howard News Service,’’ Lee says. “I then went over to the dark side and got into politics myself as a press secretary.

“I worked both sides of the House, first for Abe Ribicoff, a Democratic senator from Connecticut, and later for Bill Armstrong, a Republican from Colorado. From there, I got recruited by the American Medical Association.

“I was the AMA’s senior vice president for advocacy and had staff in Washington, DC and Chicago and spent a lot of time traveling back and forth between the two. As my wife put it, I was an influence peddler for doctors and patients.”

Now retired and living on the beach in Clearwater, Lee and his wife spend as much time as they can traveling. Lee says “the entire world” is on their bucket list, and they plan to scratch the Seychelles and South Africa off that list in 2020.

“There’s always something new to see,’’ says Lee, who will be seeing those new destinations better than he’s seen any before, thanks to the expert work recently performed by Robert J. Weinstock, MD, at The Eye Institute of West Florida.

Lee sought out Dr. Weinstock last summer after he noticed a discernible change in his vision. Thinking the decreased sharpness was the result of cataracts, Lee first visited an optometrist who confirmed his suspicion.

“He said the cataracts had to come out, and because I wanted to get this done before our next big excursion, I immediately started looking for a specialist to do the surgery,’’ Lee says. “That’s how I found Dr. Weinstock.

“While reading about Dr. Weinstock, I learned that he does a lot of research and is tied with the FDA; that is important to me. After reading about him, it was just a matter of meeting him and deciding what kind of replacement lens I was going to get.

“I’m a guy who likes to get the latest and the best, and when I mentioned that to Dr. Weinstock, he suggested that I might want to go with this new thing called LALs that he and his technicians were all talking about.

“So, I went back and read up on these LALs, looked at all the data and studies and realized the FDA had just approved them and that The Eye Institute of West Florida was going to be the first in the Southeast to use them. I liked what I read and decided that’s what I wanted to do.”

Groundbreaking Lens Option

Photo courtesy of Lee Stillwell.

“I see everything perfectly,” Lee enthuses

LAL stands for light-adjustable lens. It is a revolutionary lens replacement option for people having cataract surgery that is implanted just like any other intraocular lens, except that it can be adjusted for better vision following surgery.

Those adjustments are made about a month after the surgery during a relatively routine vision exam during which the lens power can be customized and locked into place by shining an ultraviolet light onto the exterior of the lens.

“This lens has been in development for almost ten years, and it’s allowing us to do a better job of reaching the goal of modern-day cataract surgery, which is to get the patient completely out of glasses,’’ Dr. Weinstock educates.

“Typically, when picking a replacement lens for a patient and later implanting that lens, there are some inherent inaccuracies and healing factors that we can’t control. These factors can result in the patient’s post-op vision being close but not quite perfect.

“It’s never far off, but sometimes, we have to go back and either give the patient glasses, which we hate to do if we’re trying to get them out of glasses, or do another procedure afterward that is not super invasive but still, it’s another procedure with healing.

“With this light-adjustable lens, you take the best numbers and measurements before and during surgery. Then, you put the lens in the eye. You let the eye heal and review the results at the patient’s follow-up appointment.”

Lock in Perfect Sight

“If the patient’s vision is not perfect, you can adjust the lens inside the eye. To do that, all you need to do is dilate the patient’s eyes, they look at this blue light and the new prescription is programmed into a laser, which makes the adjustment. When the vision is where the patient wants it, the final lens power is locked in.

“The adjustment is made in about thirty seconds to a minute, and you can do it up to two or three times over the course of the first couple months after surgery. It’s a much more customizable approach than we’ve ever been able to do before.”

Dr. Weinstock says the only drawback to being fit with light-adjustable lenses is that, prior to receiving the final adjustment, the patient must wear special glasses that protect their eyes from ultraviolet light.

“That’s done to keep the lenses in the stage where it is still adjustable,’’ Dr. Weinstock notes. “So you’re wearing those glasses for a month or two, but do you want to wear glasses for a month or forever? Most people will say they’ll wear them for a month.”

Dr. Weinstock warns that the light-adjustable lens is not a good fit for every cataract patient. He says it’s best for those who prefer a correction called monovision, where one eye is corrected for distance vision while the other is corrected for nearer vision.

“This is the best lens I’ve seen for monovision patients,” Dr. Weinstock enthuses. “It’s also an amazing lens for people who have had LASIK, PRK or radial keratotomy surgery, because those throw another curveball into measuring the eye and picking the right lens.

“In Lee’s case, he wanted his distance vision to be 20/20 or 20/15, so what we did was make one eye outrageously sharp in the distance. The other, we set for intermediate use, such as looking at a computer.

“Now, when he’s using both eyes, he has almost a full range of vision. That’s because we set the second eye in such a way that he would be able to read most anything without glasses, so he is pretty much glasses free.”

Lee, who had his cataract surgery done in early October and had the adjustments made about a month later, confirms that he is indeed glasses free. He says the freedom the new lenses have given him is nothing short of fantastic.

“I can sit at the breakfast table in my home and read texts on my iPhone® and read my iPad®, which is right in front of me, and also look out at the TV in the other room and see it all clearly, without glasses,’’ Lee exudes.

“I see everything perfectly. I can even read menus in restaurants without glasses. This is perfect for my lifestyle, and I thank Dr. Weinstock for recommending it and for guiding me through it.

“As you might suspect, I’ve been around a lot of doctors, and his background really impressed me. Then I got around him, and I found him to be very personable. He’s a very engaging guy, and he stays on top of things.

“I’ve already recommended him to others because his recommendations have sure worked out for me. I am more than satisfied and happy, and I can’t wait to see all those wild animals up close in Africa.”

Lifting the Dark Cloud of Depression

Combination of therapies sparks sunny outlook on life.

It’s not hard to see why Anne-Marie* grew into adulthood thinking a dark cloud followed her wherever she went. She was born in London, England after all, and after living there for 16 years, she and her family moved to Seattle, Washington.

“I just happened to spend the first thirty or so years of my life living in what can sometimes be two of the rainiest, dreariest places in the world,” Anne-Marie says. “Now don’t get me wrong; London and Seattle are beautiful in their own ways.

“But it rains a lot in London, and in the fall and winter, not only does it rain a lot in Seattle, but there aren’t that many hours of daylight on the nice days. That’s one of the reasons why I moved to Florida. I felt like I needed some sunshine in my life.”

She did, but the move came too late to save Anne-Marie from the throes of depression, a condition she’s wrestled with since she was 14. She knows better than to lay the blame for that on where she lived, but she’s convinced it didn’t help her much either.

“I definitely suffered from seasonal affective disorder, where you feel worse when the weather gets bad,” says the 38-year-old violin teacher. “But depression is something I’ve had to fight even on the brightest and sunniest of days.

“It’s something I’ve gotten a lot of help for over the years. I’ve been to lots of doctors and taken more antidepressants than I can remember, but unfortunately, nothing really helped me until I got to Florida and found Dr. Pollack.”

Robert Pollack, MD, is the founder of Psychiatric Associates of Southwest Florida, where he embraces the use of many emerging therapies in his treatment of depression, which he describes as a legitimate major illness.

“Depression Is an Illness”

“Depression is a brain disease,” Dr. Pollack informs. “It’s not an adjustment disorder. It’s not somebody who’s feeling sad. In the same way that cancer and diabetes are illnesses, depression is an illness, and it’s treatable with a multitude of therapies.”

Those therapies include genomic testing, which can determine which antidepressant will work best for a patient, and intravenous infusions of an anesthetic agent called ketamine that can alleviate suicidal thoughts, and acts more quickly than many antidepressants.

Dr. Pollack is also one of an ever-growing number of mental health professionals who have begun offering treatment for major depression through the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and theta-burst stimulation (TBS).

“I was really fortunate to find [Dr. Pollack], because he’s really compassionate. He’s someone who really cares about what he’s doing.” – Anne-Marie

Discovered by a team of researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in the 1980s, TMS uses short, 10Hz magnetic pulses while TBS uses 50Hz pulses to rouse the part of the brain that is underactive in people who suffer with depression.

These magnetic pulses are similar to those used in MRI stimulation, and they’re delivered through a paddle-shaped device with a magnetic coil that is placed on the prefrontal cortex while the patient rests in a comfortable chair similar to a dentist’s chair.

In the United States, TMS gained approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use in people with treatment-resistant depression and those who can’t tolerate the side effects of antidepressants in 2008. TBS was approved for use ten years later.

The biggest difference between the two noninvasive treatments is the amount of time required for each treatment session and the number of sessions prescribed during a typical treatment period.

TMS treatment sessions last approximately 19 minutes, with patients typically receiving a total of 36 treatments over a period of six to eight weeks. TBS treatment sessions last only three to six minutes and are typically administered daily over the course of two weeks or as the doctor deems necessary.

What the two treatments do have in common is their effectiveness. Studies show that about 40 percent of patients receiving these treatments become completely asymptomatic, while about 60 percent “feel better” but do not consider themselves to be free of symptoms.

Combo Package

Those numbers didn’t quite hold up with Anne-Marie, who first visited Dr. Pollack last summer and initially scored a 21 on a personal health evaluation test in which zero means you’re elated and 27 means you are severely depressed.

Based on that score and his evaluation of her condition, Dr. Pollack began his treatment of Anne-Marie in June by administering TBS treatments. After ten such treatments, however, Anne-Marie said she felt only “a little better,” not significantly better.

A TBS booster shot administered a month later didn’t do her any good either, as Anne-Marie’s mental health score fell all the way to 27. That prompted Dr. Pollack to try ketamine infusions. Like the TBS treatments, though, the ketamine infusions had little effect.

“After that, I sat down and did some head-scratching and said, Let’s see what happens if we pair TBS and ketamine,” Dr. Pollack relates. “The first time we did that was on August 12, and by August 28, her mental health score had dropped to eleven.

“We continued those treatments, combining TBS with ketamine, and by October, her mental health score was six. I’ve seen her a couple of times since then, and her mental health scores have consistently been in the six, seven or eight range.”

This wasn’t the first time Dr. Pollack succeeded in helping a struggling patient by combining therapies. He did it once before by combining TMS, TBS and ketamine in a patient who now only requires ketamine infusions to feel good.

“Most people who do poorly with ketamine tend to do well with TBS,” Dr. Pollack reports, “and most people who do poorly with TBS tend to do well with ketamine. In Anne-Marie’s case, she didn’t do well with either one by itself.

“The thing about TBS and ketamine is that they have an interesting relationship. So what I did was give her TBS as a kick starter and the ketamine to help push it a little further. After just one session, you could already see a difference.”

Anne-Marie felt that difference. After years of “pretending” to feel good around others and more or less plodding through each day, she now has a real energy and vitality that inspires her and carries her through the day.

“My approach to each day used to be, If I fake it, I’ll make it,” Anne-Marie confesses. “And that took a lot of effort because I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, and I really just didn’t want to do anything. I was always going through the motions.

“That was how I felt when I first went to see Dr. Pollack, but now, since I started the TBS and ketamine treatments, I feel completely different. I actually feel sort of normal in a way that I haven’t felt in a really long time.

“I’m a lot more chatty now, and I have this desire to do things I’ve always wanted to do but never did, like yoga. I’m a lot more outgoing, which is something I really haven’t been since I was in my early teens.

“I don’t think I would feel this way were it not for Dr. Pollack. I was really fortunate to find him, because he’s really compassionate. He’s someone who really cares about what he’s doing. He has a lot of empathy, and my experience with him has been nothing short of great.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.

Corrective Measures

Unique treatment brings atrophied arm back to full strength.

 Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Jim is among those who have regained full strength through MCU therapy.

If you were to ask Jim Finck to describe his life in a single word, he would more than likely say busy. He owns and operates two businesses, and when he’s not working, this 58-year-old entrepreneur is playing and playing hard.

“I’m very athletic, and I engage in a lot of sports,” Jim says. “I play tennis, pickleball and squash. I ski, sail and play basketball. The list just goes on and on. I’m fifty-eight-years young, athletic and with the two businesses, I am very busy.”

Busy gradually evolved into laborious a few years ago after a cervical issue that went undiagnosed for nearly two years caused the muscles in Jim’s right arm to atrophy to a point where he could no longer perform a lot of common, everyday tasks.

“Something as simple as lifting a suitcase to put it in the luggage compartment of an airplane I couldn’t do because I couldn’t lift anything over my head with that arm,” Jim explains. “This arm problem even affected my tennis game.

“If you’ve ever played tennis, you know that you have a topspin stroke. Well, this issue got to where, when I geared up for that topspin stroke, I’d get about halfway up and lose total strength because I had no ability to extend my arm.

After two years of slowly watching his arm strength deteriorate, the incidents with the luggage and on the tennis court finally prompted Jim to seek medical help. But none of the doctors he visited across a two-month period could find a cause for the loss of strength.

Then, while attending a charity event one evening, Jim met Bryan T. Hunte, DC, the proprietor of Advanced Spineworks in Bonita Springs, where Dr. Hunte takes what he refers to as “a highly scientific approach” to chiropractic care and physical rehabilitation.

Above and Beyond

“There are very few facilities that offer the combination of chiropractic care and physical rehab that I can offer,” Dr. Hunte says. “That’s where my strength lies, and along with the advanced equipment we have, that is what makes our facility unique.

“We are also unique in that we do more than just get you out of your pain. A lot of managed care facilities stop at pain. Once you’re out of pain, you’re asymptomatic, you’re good to go and the doctor doesn’t see you anymore.

“That’s not how we work here. We don’t stop at getting you out of pain, because we know that if we stop there, you could be back in three or six months, and we don’t want that. So we focus on the corrective phase of care.

“The corrective phase of care is what prevents someone from needing care again or future surgery. Our goal is to create an independent patient, someone who needs minimal chiropractic care to maintain lasting results.”

Jim learned about what Dr. Hunte does during his casual conversation with him at the charity event. That conversation resulted in an invitation to visit the doctor after Jim asked about the problems he had been having with his arm.

“When Jim first came to see me, his right arm looked like that of a child,” Dr. Hunte says. “Because of the atrophy he’d experienced in the muscle, it was about twenty percent the size of what it should have been.”

In an effort to find the cause of the atrophy, Dr. Hunte performed a detailed examination that showed the gradual weakening in Jim’s arm was the result of the steady deterioration of two discs in his neck.

“The two discs were essentially bone-on-bone, and that situation was creating so much pressure and inflammation that the muscles in Jim’s arm were no longer stimulated,” Dr. Hunte says. “It was a situation similar to that of someone whose arm had been in cast for a long time.

“When your arm’s in a cast, you’re not moving that arm, so you’re not stimulating the nerves. That’s what causes the muscle to atrophy. The problem with Jim’s arm was that it had been in that situation for almost two years.

“That’s atypical, so I had to tell Jim that there might be some degree of permanency to his problem. It was almost to where I had to say, There’s nothing I can do for you, but I thought we could still get some strength back, and he wanted to try that.”

To restore some level of strength to Jim’s arm, Dr. Hunte first needed to alleviate the impingement on the nerve leading to the muscles in his arm. That process started with Dr. Hunte performing some standard chiropractic care.

When that care began, Jim could only lift a two-pound weight with his right arm. After a few weeks of chiropractic care, however, Jim was able to lift a five-pound weight. That told Dr. Hunte he was on the right track, which soon took a dramatic turn.

After performing nine weeks of traditional chiropractic care, Dr. Hunte saw enough progress in Jim to believe that his condition could be further improved through treatment using a unique chiropractic tool called the Multi-Cervical Unit, or MCU machine.

Unique, Nonsurgical Device

 Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

MCU machine

The MCU is a nonsurgical device that isolates and strengthens the muscles around the neck and provides a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s physical progress while the patient receives the therapy.

Used in what doctors refer to as evidence-based medicine, the MCU records 16 different ranges of muscle movement for strength to determine the specific areas of the neck where there are weaknesses, imbalances or a loss in range of motion.

Once that data is produced, a customized treatment program that normally consists of 27 sessions across a nine-week period is designed that allows the MCU to correct the underlying problems. Those programs have proved to be highly successful.

A recent study shows that after receiving MCU therapy, patient pain levels decreased by 66 percent while strength levels increased by more than 70 percent, with more than 90 percent of patients making a full recovery.

Jim is among those who fit the latter category. Though Dr. Hunte believed Jim had permanently lost some of the strength in his arm, Jim says “the entire issue is behind me now, and I have recovered to full strength.

“The end result was, the MCU exercises balanced and strengthened the muscles around my neck, and that totally resolved the issue,” adds Jim, whose recovery might not have been possible were it not for the MCU machine.

“Once the strength in his neck came back, the muscles were able to absorb the force, which took pressure off the nerve,” Dr. Hunte educates. “That allowed the nerve to fire again, and that’s when the strength in the arm returned and the atrophy disappeared.”

Jim’s ability to run his two companies and compete athletically was increasingly compromised by the effects of the nerve impingement in his neck, and he credits Dr. Hunte and his expertise for correcting that problem.

“I’ve had experiences with chiropractors because of various issues, including a sciatica problem, all through my life,” Jim explains. “So I know the difference between medical doctors and chiropractors and who knows their stuff and who doesn’t.

“I also know that properly diagnosing a problem is the most important thing that can be done in terms of correcting a medical issue and that the second most important thing is prescribing the right treatment and exercise program.

“I can tell you that Dr. Hunte is top-shelf in both of those regards. He is a very fine, obligated, caring guy, and he knows his game. It’s built on science, and I recommend Dr. Hunte to anyone needing any kind of physical therapy.

“In fact, I have referred business to him, and I will gladly do so again because he’s got a good foundation on everything that’s necessary to improve the life of someone who needs proper spinal balance, whether it’s a simple adjustment or major fix like I had.”

Creating Healthy, Attractive Smiles

Photos by Fred Bellet.

Debi Grover

As an investment REALTOR® and design consultant, Debi Grover works face to face with people all day long. She knows all too well then just how important it is to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

“When you greet someone, one of the first things they notice about you is your teeth,’’ Debi says. “I’ve known that for years, and there was a time not long ago when that became a concern for me because I suspected for a while that I had periodontal disease.

“I wasn’t experiencing any bleeding or anything like that when I brushed, but there was a lot of plaque built up on my teeth, and I knew that over time, some damage had been done to my gums.

“I wanted to be able to smile and not feel like I had to hide my teeth when I smiled, and because I really wanted to save my own natural teeth, I got to a point where I knew I needed to find a dentist who could help me do that.”

Debi began her search for a dentist by doing some homework, researching gum treatments such as the laser-assisted LANAP® procedure. That’s where she came across Advanced Dentistry of Fort Myers.

“I read that they are very skilled and knowledgeable in treating gum disease with this laser, so I made an appointment in the hope that I would gain some additional knowledge about it,” Debi explains.

During her first visit to the practice, Debi met with Joseph H. Farag, DMD, who confirmed Debi’s suspicions. “Just as she suspected, Debi had moderate to advanced stages of periodontal disease,” Dr. Farag reveals.

Breaking with Tradition

Simply put, periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that supports the teeth. The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) estimates that between 50 and 75 percent of all Americans have some form of periodontal disease, some through no fault of their own.

Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that causes irritation, redness and swelling. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a second, more serious stage called periodontitis that can lead to bone loss around the teeth and cause the pockets around the teeth to get deeper.

Traditional gum treatment involves cutting away the infected gum tissue and placing sutures to hold the reduced tissue in place during the healing process. One of the problems with it is that the scalpel cannot differentiate between healthy and diseased gum, so the patient loses healthy tissue as well as diseased tissue.

“The great thing about the LANAP procedure is the speed of recovery and the tissue response. It doesn’t take weeks or months for that to happen. It literally takes just a couple of days . . .”– Dr. Farag

That’s why the traditional surgical approach often results in a recession of the gums, or a lowering of the level of gum tissue. If that tissue recedes too far, it can leave the sensitive tooth roots exposed, which can lead to other complications.

Research studies show that LANAP, which stands for laser-assisted new attachment procedure, is superior to conventional surgery in a number of ways, the most notable being that it allows the patient to retain a healthy gumline that supports the teeth.

“We don’t want the gums to recede, because that can make the teeth appear longer,” Dr. Farag explains. “Our goal is to leave the patient with healthy gums that reattach naturally to the teeth. And when doing the LANAP procedure, we achieve that goal by making three passes along the entire gumline with a special laser and some other sonic dental devices.”

He discussed the LANAP procedure as well as conventional surgery with her. Together, Debi and Dr. Farag decided that the

Photos by Fred Bellet.

Debi is no longer embarrassed to smile.

LANAP option was the best choice to alleviate her gum disease. “Because she had already researched the LANAP procedure, she knew she wanted to have that procedure rather than go through a traditional gum treatment,” shares Dr. Farag.

During the first laser pass, the energy from the laser kills any bacteria in the gums, vaporizes the diseased gum tissue and dehydrates any tartar on the tooth, making it brittle and easy to remove. This is also the step during which the diseased lining of the tissue is removed.

During the second pass, the tartar is removed with a vibrating, fine-tipped, ultrasonic instrument, and the pockets are flushed with an antimicrobial substance that stops the growth of new bacteria.

Finally, during the third pass, an antimicrobial seal is created that prevents re-infection and releases growth factors from blood cells that help regenerate the attachment between the gums and the teeth. The entire procedure, Dr. Farag emphasizes, is painless. So is its aftermath.

“The great thing about the LANAP procedure is the speed of recovery and the tissue response,” Dr. Farag educates. “It doesn’t take weeks or months for that to happen. It literally takes just a couple of days, which is truly amazing.

“When the bacteria or the tartar that is causing the inflammation and infection is removed from the tissue to the point where it’s sanitary – that is what the laser does – the tissue heals ever so quickly.

“The analogy I use with patients is, say you cut yourself while working in the garden or because you work with your hands a lot. You get that cut and if you don’t clean it and don’t put NEOSPORIN® on it, you’ll go for days and it will burn and get irritated.

“It will eventually heal, but it will take a lot longer and you’ll feel it. But if you get a cut and you clean it, sanitize it, disinfect it and routinely put an antimicrobial on it and keep it clean, it will heal very quickly without pain and without scarring.

“That’s what LANAP does. It cleans, disinfects and sanitizes, and the body just heals up really quickly afterward, which is something that is very hard to do in the mouth because our mouths are not a very clean environment.

“Our mouths are filled with bacteria, and when you have that constant flow of bacteria in the mouth, it just makes it harder for the gums to heal. However, when you remove the bacteria and tartar and plaque, the gums heal quickly.

“Another advantage of this procedure is that it’s quick. Debi’s gums were treated in about three hours. Had she opted for conventional surgery, she would have had to make several visits to complete the process. LANAP is much faster, and there’s less discomfort afterward.”

Long-Term Commitment

Dr. Farag’s treatment of Debi didn’t end with the LANAP procedure. As he does with all of his patients, he took time to emphasize the importance of practicing proper dental care at home after the procedure is completed.

“When we sit down and discuss treatment options for gum disease, I want to be assured by that patient that they are committed to taking care of their teeth afterward,” Dr. Farag notes. “The laser treatment is the first step in getting the teeth healthy, but the patient needs to be committed to keeping the teeth healthy long-term in order for it to be effective.”

Patients are encouraged to have their teeth cleaned regularly, brush and floss daily and be aware of any sudden changes to their oral health.

“In order to keep the gums healthy, people need to keep their teeth clean. That requires a daily commitment,” Dr. Farag reiterates.

Debi has a renewed desire to maintain a healthy mouth now that the procedure is complete. She looks forward to continuing her care with the team at Advanced Dentistry of Fort Meyers.

“Dr. Farag and the entire staff are personable and knowledgeable, and they make me feel confident.”

 

Refresh Button

Vitamin, nutrition and hormone therapies deliver energy boost.

The human body is built to move. As a working single mother of two active teenage boys, Christy’s* body is one that’s in perpetual motion.

“Both my sons are big into sports, so I spend a lot of time just getting them to and from practices and games,” says the 52-year-old freelance photographer. “Throw in work and taking care of the house and things like that, and I’m always on the go.”

A former college volleyball player, Christy managed for years to squeeze a few hour-long workouts into her hectic schedule. However, a little more than a year ago, she abandoned those workouts. It wasn’t because she was too busy, but because she was too tired.

“I suddenly became very fatigued,” Christy says. “At first, I thought maybe I was coming down with something. Then, after a couple of weeks, I went to the doctor, and he couldn’t find anything wrong with me. I didn’t have a virus or anything.

“After seeing the doctor, I thought the problem would eventually pass, but it didn’t. So, for a while, I was going to one of those IV bars where they give you the intravenous treatments that supposedly give you an energy boost.

“A friend of mine talked me into it, but the IV bar thing didn’t work at all. It was really a waste of my time. Then I read an article in Florida Health Care News about a real health and wellness facility and decided to check it out.”

The practice Christy read about is the Dean Wellness Institute in Vero Beach, where Melissa Dean, MD, and her staff have been providing patients with a holistic approach to wellness for more than 15 years.

Medically Managed Treatments

“We focus on each patient individually, and instead of offering cookie-cutter treatments for them, we tailor our treatments specifically to that individual,” Dr. Dean emphasizes. “And a lot of those treatments are given intravenously.

“For example, we specialize in treatments such as intravenous vitamin therapy, intravenous ultraviolet blood irradiation (UBI) therapy and Prolozone® therapy, all of which are medically managed.”

Intravenous (IV) vitamin therapy uses a mixture of vitamins and minerals that are delivered directly into the bloodstream to fight fatigue and correct potential vitamin deficiencies that are often caused by a diseased state.

“I noticed a difference from the vitamin IVs almost immediately. About a week after starting them, I just felt a lot better.” – Christy

Ultraviolet blood irradiation is an in-office procedure where the patient’s blood is exposed to ultraviolet light. The light exposure helps regulate the body’s immune system, which helps it fight off infection and manage autoimmune conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.

Prolozone is a reconstruction and pain management treatment in which ozone gas is injected into damaged areas of the body. The gas increases the amount of pure oxygen in the body, which helps relieve all forms of musculoskeletal and joint pain.

Dr. Dean, who practices internal and preventative medicine, has trained with some of the pioneers in alternative medicine, including Dr. Frank Shallenberger, Dr. Charles Runels and Dr. Patricia Kane.

She also earned a Master of Metabolic and Nutritional Medicine degree and specializes in adrenal support therapy as well as bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). The latter is considered the most natural and effective solution for hormone-related issues.

Those issues can include insomnia, vaginal dryness and an inability to focus. BHRT has also proven to be effective in preventing diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease and cardiovascular disease while also slowing the aging process.

Bioidentical hormones are natural byproducts of a plant derivative that are molecularly identical to the hormones produced by the human body and can be administered in a number of different ways.

“Some people want to do topical creams, which are very inexpensive and easily managed, while others prefer sublingual tablets,” Dr. Dean educates. “We also do a lot of bioidentical hormone pellets, which are about two times the size of a grain of rice.

“With the pellet therapy, we make a small incision and insert the pellet subcutaneously [below the skin]. The pellet slowly dissolves and is absorbed into the system. Many patients find that approach to be much easier than managing a daily application.”

Prior to prescribing any of her available treatments, Dr. Dean meets privately with each patient to learn of their activity levels, lifestyle choices and medical history, including where women are in the cycle of life.

“My first appointment with a new patient can last up to an hour because I really dig deep,
Dr. Dean explains. “I want to know what I don’t feel well means to that patient and what’s really bothering them, whether it’s fatigue, memory loss or possibly depression.

“And I always ask questions like: What do you eat? How many hours a night do you sleep? How would you rate your moods? Do you have things that you do for hobbies that bring you pleasure? If the patient is a woman, I ask, Are you menopausal?

“These are all things that, once I get the answers, I can use to better determine exactly what will and won’t work for a patient. Once I’ve done that, I come up with a treatment plan that fits that patient’s unique needs.”

Balancing Act

In examining Christy and further evaluating her answers to those questions and the results of the lab work she ordered, Dr. Dean discovered that Christy’s lack of energy was tied largely to a vitamin deficiency and a hormonal imbalance.

To correct those problems, Dr. Dean prescribed a combination of general nutrition and IV vitamin therapies as well as BHRT pellets. The combination of treatments has given Christy the energy boost she needed, and more.

“I noticed a difference from the vitamin IVs almost immediately,” she says. “About a week after starting them, I just felt a lot better. Then, about a month after beginning the BHRT therapy, I started feeling more energetic. I was more like my old self again.

“Up until a year ago, I was always very active, but something sort of robbed me of the energy to do a lot of the things I needed and wanted to do. The combination of therapies prescribed by Dr. Dean changed all that.

“Now, I’m going to the gym again, and I’m not feeling as weary as I once did. I’m also enjoying work more because I have the energy to give it my best effort. I’m even enjoying my kids’ games more because I’ve got more energy to cheer them on.

“Dr. Dean was confident these therapies would work for me, and she was right. I’m so glad I found Dr. Dean, and I’ve already recommended her to some friends, including the one whom I visited the IV bar with. I told her, Dr. Dean beats that by a mile.”

*Patient’s name withheld at her request.

Less Is More

“Treat-as-needed” protocol successfully corrects retinal condition.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Helayne Sipes

Most of the country’s state-run lottery systems use slogans such as “You can’t win if you don’t play” to entice people to buy lottery tickets. For 30 years, Helayne Sipes couldn’t win her state lottery because her job prohibited her from playing it.

“I was restricted from playing because I worked for the lottery,” Helayne says. “I worked in the human resources department for the Michigan Lottery, and it was a lot of fun, but I couldn’t buy lottery tickets.”

Helayne retired from the Michigan Lottery in 2002. A year later, she and her husband moved to Florida, where the couple dabbled in residential real estate for a while before moving back to Michigan in 2017.

The couple recently moved back to Florida, mostly to accommodate Helayne, who has been battling some health issues, not the least of which was a condition that greatly affected the vision in her left eye.

“The vision problems began in 2016,” Helayne recalls. “They didn’t have an effect on my distance vision, but anything up close became very blurry and difficult to see. I was especially having trouble reading, and I love to read.”

Thinking it might be temporary, Helayne waited several weeks before seeking help for her vision issue. It persisted, though, and thinking then that the cause might be a cataract, she visited the Center for Advanced Eye Care in Vero Beach.

“My husband had been a patient of Center for Advanced Eye Care, and he assured me that I would be in good hands there,” Helayne explains. “It turned out that I didn’t have a cataract after all, so I ended up seeing Dr. Katz.”

Adam M. Katz, MD, a partner at the Center for Advanced Eye Care, is a board-certified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained retina specialist who has more than 20 years of experience treating patients with retina and vitreous disorders.

Dr. Katz first saw Helayne in May 2016. At that time, he diagnosed her with a central vein occlusion, a retinal condition that often results in the development of fluid in the macula, or a macular edema.

That presence of fluid in the macula, which is the functional center of the retina that gives us the ability to see images clearly, can cause blurred vision, and without treatment, the vision will continue to deteriorate.

“A central vein occlusion is like a hardening of the arteries in the eye,” Dr. Katz describes. “It’s what happens when the vein that is mostly responsible for draining blood from the retina gets closed off, and any number of things can cause that to happen.

“High blood pressure is usually the main culprit, but obesity, lack of exercise, smoking and high cholesterol can be causes as well. Whatever the cause, the occlusion can lead to a development of fluid in the macula, which usually requires treatment by a retina specialist.”

Scientific Breakthrough

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Dr. Katz and his staff did a great job of putting Helayne at ease.

For years, retina specialists had no means of eliminating the build-up of fluid caused by a central vein occlusion. As a result, patients suffering from such a condition often lost their vision in the affected eye.

A little over a decade ago, it was learned that injections of a protein-based medication into the eye – a procedure known clinically as an intravitreal injection – can eliminate the fluid, at least temporarily and in some cases permanently.

“These injections have become the gold standard for any condition that results in a development of fluid in the eye,” Dr. Katz educates. “That includes macular edema, diabetic fluid in the macula and macular degeneration.

“Now macular edema and macular degeneration are two completely different diseases. But both result in a build-up of fluid in the macula and both respond to the same treatment. There are also three different protocols for that treatment.”

One such protocol calls for the patient to be injected once every month for an indefinite period of time. The theory behind that protocol, Dr. Katz says, is that it keeps the fluid from redeveloping in the macula.

A second protocol calls for the patient to receive an initial injection, after which the patient receives a second injection one month after the first, a third injection two months after the second and a fourth injection three months after the third.

Dr. Katz, who has performed more than 8,000 such injections, prefers to give as few injections as possible and therefore follows a third protocol, which he refers to as the “treat-as-needed” protocol.

“In that protocol, if no fluid is present a month after I give the initial injection, I don’t recommend another injection,” Dr. Katz says. “Of course, if fluid is still present, we provide another injection. But once the fluid is gone, we stop the injections.”

Dr. Katz followed that third protocol in treating Helayne, who received an injection in May 2016 and another in June 2016. She was scheduled to receive a third injection in July 2016, but due to a lack of fluid in the macula, the injection was cancelled.

Shortly thereafter, Helayne and her husband moved back to Michigan, where for nearly two years, Helayne’s condition was monitored by an ophthalmologist who, much to her chagrin, followed the first of the three treatment protocols.

A Good Move

“First of all, I want to say that Dr. Katz was wonderful,” Helayne raves. “The injections only took about fifteen seconds; they were done in a very clean, sterile environment; and he and his staff were very friendly and thorough. They did a great job of putting me at ease.

“When I moved back to Michigan, however, the experience wasn’t anywhere the same at all. It was a horrible experience, actually. The doctor there was giving me injections every month, and once, he forgot to numb my eye.

“After that, I went to another doctor, who gave me an injection after five weeks, then another after eight weeks and another ten weeks after that. That happened through the rest of 2017 and 2018, then we moved back to Florida.

“When we moved back to Florida, we moved back to Vero Beach, partially because it’s a wonderful place but also because of Dr. Katz, whom I’ve seen twice since returning. It’s been more than six months now, and I have not needed another injection.”

It’s likely Helayne didn’t need any of the injections she received while in Michigan either. Though the injections are a treatment for macular edema and not a cure, Dr. Katz believes some patients receive far more injections than they ever need.

“I’ve taken many patients who were getting regular injections and said, Let’s just hold off for a while and see if the fluid comes back,”

Dr. Katz explains. “And many of them have never needed another injection.

“Now if the fluid does come back, I’m not opposed to providing a treatment and giving them an injection. But my protocol is quite successful. Several studies show that and right now, everything is moving in the direction of not injecting people regularly.

“So I’d like people in the area to know that if they’re going to a physician who recommends monthly injections or every-two-months injections for problems like this, it might make sense to get another opinion.

“There are other options, and I believe Helayne is a good example of that. She hasn’t had an injection in more than six months, and her vision is 20/30. She’s doing great, and she’s relieved to know she doesn’t need regular injections.”

The Heart of the Matter

Family-like atmosphere makes retirement community special.

Photo courtesy of Hibiscus Court.

Kathy Kearcher (center) with residents Fred Stay (left) and Artis France

Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family, but sometimes it is the family you choose that can mean the most on a holiday.

Kathy Kearcher, the associate executive director and director of resident care at Hibiscus Court Assisted Living and Memory Care Community, chose to spend Thanksgiving with her “extended family” – the 78 residents who call Hibiscus Court home.

“I have three sons scattered across the country. I was fortunate to spend the holiday working because I feel like this is my family,” Kathy says. “I love the people who live here, and I care for them with all my heart.”

A licensed practical nurse, Kathy is very proud of her team and the many services it provides.

“We’re an assisted living facility, and while we have residents who are fairly independent, for those who might need some help, we offer bathing, grooming and medication management,” Kathy says. “We also provide laundry and housekeeping services.”

In addition to assisted living, Hibiscus Court also provides senior day care services, short-term respite stays for seniors recovering from illness or surgery and a secure memory support community called The Garden. And with approximately 30 staff members to serve them, its residents receive a level of personalized attention they would not get elsewhere.

“Places that are large can be overwhelming, and residents can sometimes get lost in the shuffle,” Kathy shares. “One thing I love about having seventy-eight residents is that I know every one of them by name and needs. That’s how it is with our entire staff. We know all the little nuances. That helps us provide the best care possible for them.”

Photo courtesy of Hibiscus Court.

Paige Blossom (center) with residents Brenda Daugherty (left) and Pat Towers

That care includes a series of daily, weekly and seasonal activities that, thanks to resident program director Paige Blossom, incorporates regular interaction with the community outside Hibiscus Court.

“I have partnerships with schools in our area, and sometimes, we go to those schools and have our residents read to the younger children or play games or do crafts with them,” Paige explains. “And sometimes, the children come to us.

“There’s one school that sends a different grade every month. I have teenagers that come to visit or volunteer. We have residents who are retired servicemen, teachers or worked for NASA. There’s so much they can share with young people, even just be a friend to them, so we are excited about our new mentoring partnership with another school.

Kathy says Paige’s desire to keep residents active in unique and meaningful ways is typical of the attitude shared by all of Hibiscus Court’s staff members. She says that attitude is a big part of what makes life at Hibiscus Court special.

“We all feel as if this is someone’s home, not just a place to work each day,” Kathy notes. “And we have been invited in to help them. That’s the attitude that permeates throughout the staff, and it’s what makes us different.

“To do this job right, you have to love it. Every day our actions must be driven by caring with compassion and understanding. We have to show respect by being ethical and honest.  We have to find the balance of providing support that respects needs and preferences.

“You can’t do this job if you’re only looking for a paycheck. When we are hiring a new team member, we look for someone who wants to care for others, someone who tells us, I have a heart for this.

Just for Dudes

Aesthetics aren’t only for women.

Like his father and grandfather before him, Michael* attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts, graduated with honors from college and went on to practice law for a firm in Satellite Beach.

Unfortunately, those achievements are not the only things Michael, 33, has in common with his father and grandfather. Like both of them, his hairline began to recede when he was in his late 20s. Unlike both of them, he has since decided to do something about it.

“I don’t want that same horseshoe hairline that they had so I started looking for a place that offered men’s aesthetic services,” he says. “The place I found is Physicians Body Sculpting in Melbourne.”

At Physicians Body Sculpting, Michael Wolfington, MD, and his staff specialize in aesthetic care for men and women and offer a variety of anti-aging and rejuvenating services for the body and mind, including the aesthetic treatment known as CoolSculpting®.

“Michael came to us with concerns about his thinning hair as well as some expression lines across his forehead,” says Vivian Santiago, a clinical aesthetician at Physicians Body Sculpting. “After several consultations with me and Dr. Wolfington, we agreed on a treatment plan for him.”

That plan called for Michael to receive a series of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) microneedling treatments to foster new growth along his receding hairline and a noninvasive laser treatment called Laser Genesis to smooth out the deep wrinkles in his forehead.

“The PRP for hair loss treatment is a natural process that begins with us drawing some blood from the patient,” Vivian explains. “We then spin the blood in a centrifuge, where the plasma, which contains the PRP, is extracted from the blood.”

PRP is a substance that contains proteins. Those proteins promote cell growth when injected into the body. In this case, the injection was done following microneedling, a procedure where the scalp is penetrated by a pen or small roller containing dozens of microfine needles.

“After the microneedling, we apply the plasma to the targeted area, and the plasma actually stimulates the stem cells, which are located in the root, or follicle, of the hair. That’s what promotes the new hair growth,” Vivian educates.

Hair grows naturally in stages, so the time it takes for new hair to start growing following PRP treatment depends on the growth stage the hair is in at the time of the treatment. But most patients see new growth within a month of completing a PRP treatment, Vivian says.

Like PRP, Laser Genesis treatments give a boost to the natural healing process, but through a heat laser that boosts collagen growth. A typical Laser Genesis treatment protocol includes six treatments, which is what
Michael received.

“This Treatment Really Works”

“The results were amazing,” Michael exudes. “After six laser treatments, all of the lines in my forehead were pretty much eliminated. My forehead looks a whole lot smoother at least. Let’s put it that way.

“The best part, though, was the hair treatment. I was a little skeptical about it because there are a lot of companies promoting services that supposedly stimulate new hair growth but don’t. This one does.

“After about a month, I noticed a little stubble growing along the crown of my head where my hair was receding. That was about a month ago, and the hair is still growing, so this treatment really works, and I definitely recommend it.”

*Patient’s name withheld at his request.

Optimal Hearing

Advanced technology amplifies quality of life.

Photo courtesy of Gale Cossette.

Gale Cossette

When Gale Cossette earned her PhD from DePaul University in 2008, the then 58-year-old career educator was one of only a handful of college students to have earned a degree exclusively through an online curriculum.

Now, more than a third of all college students are taking at least one class online, and half of those students are following Gale’s lead and earning their degrees exclusively through online classes. And Gale is helping them.

“When I got my PhD, it really opened my eyes to what online education is and can be, so now I teach online through a number of universities,” Gale says. “I’m also an e-learning instructional designer, so I’m involved in creating online learning systems as well.”

Like all teachers, Gale spends a good part of her time interacting with students. The difference is that instead of interacting in person, she does so through video conferencing. For several years, a hearing issue made that part of the job difficult for her.

“I’ve been wearing hearing aids for about four years now, and until just recently, I wasn’t very happy with them,” Gale confides. “The problem was that even when I wore my hearing aids, I still wasn’t hearing very well.

“That was a problem for me because there were times when I missed so much of what someone was saying to me that I failed to respond in the proper way. As you can imagine, those moments were rather embarrassing for me.”

Gale suffered those embarrassing moments not only in her professional life but in her personal life as well. Hearing friends while out to lunch or dinner was difficult for her and so, too, was hearing an instructor during one of her favorite activities.

“I like to go to the firing range and practice shooting, but when I would put the hearing protection on, I could no longer hear the range commands,” she says. “And if someone came by to offer me advice, I couldn’t hear them either.”

Change of Pace

Thinking that her problems stemmed entirely from her poor hearing, Gale never considered changing her hearing aids until this past February, when she visited EarCare in an effort to find a replacement part for the hearing aids she was wearing at the time.

“While I was there, I was talking to the office manager, who told me EarCare does hearing tests both with and without their hearing aids for people with existing amplification to see how well they’re hearing with them,” Gale says. “I thought that was a pretty good deal, so I made an appointment.”

Gale’s full diagnostic exam was performed by board-certified audiologist Karen Cowan-Oberbeck, AuD. The results of the exam were quite revealing. They showed that even with her hearing aids in, Gale was understanding only 44 percent of the conversation she was having with someone.

She wasn’t hearing much worse without her hearing aids, so Glenn A. Oberbeck, BC-HAS, a licensed hearing aid specialist at EarCare, offered Gale the opportunity to try on a pair of ReSound LiNX Quattro hearing aids.

“When Glenn put those new hearing aids on me, I couldn’t believe it,” Gale says. “The difference was so profound that I literally wept right there in the office. I thought, Wow, this is incredible, and so I got them, and I have to say, they have changed my life.

“I recommend Glenn and EarCare to anyone who has a hearing loss. What they’ve done for me has changed my life.” – Gale

“To demonstrate that, I happened to be in a store with my cousin a day or so after I got them, and I was down the aisle from her about twenty-five feet with my back turned to her. I didn’t even know she was there, but when she called my name, I heard her clearly.”

As they did for Gale in that moment, the ReSound LiNX Quattro creates an environment in which the wearer can better identify speech and other sounds in noisy surroundings while maintaining a better dimension of control over all sounds, no matter the setting.

“We’re not just talking about adjusting the volume,” Glenn says. “With these hearing aids, the wearer has individual controls over the microphone patterns, noise cancellation and the manipulation of the frequency response throughout the different hearing levels.

“You have the ability to modify the bass, treble and mid frequencies, and you can save programs after you’ve manipulated those settings so that when you get back into that environment or one with similar acoustics, you can retrieve that program.”

Gale’s new ReSound hearing aids are also made with Bluetooth® technology, which allows the wearer to stream the sound from a television set, computer or smart phone directly through the hearing aids and into their ear.

Gale says that feature is the one she appreciates the most because it allows her to clearly hear her students when she’s conferencing with them and friends when she’s talking with them, whether it’s on the phone or in a crowded setting.

The Extra Mile

She also appreciates that Glenn went the extra mile for her and fit her with an attachment that allows her to clearly hear voice commands at the shooting range while also receiving the protection she needs when firing.

“The attachment is a custom ear mold that has the highest rated attenuation of noise, and what we do is we attach speakers to them,” Glenn says. “We drill them out and then imbed the speakers into the noise protection.

“Once we’ve done that, we create a program so that when the patient goes to the range, they can switch to that setting that weakens the loudness levels when they’re shooting while still allowing them to communicate normally when they’re talking with someone.

“We do that for people all over the state because EarCare actually sponsors a shooting team, and we want to get the word out that this is the best solution we’ve come across for people who have hearing loss and need to protect their hearing. It’s phenomenal.”

Phenomenal is precisely how Gale describes her hearing now that she’s got her new hearing aids. She says they have greatly improved her quality of life and made life easier for those she interacts with.

“I actually think I have better hearing than most people who have good hearing and don’t need hearing aids,” she says. “The difference they have made in my life has been profound. I couldn’t be happier with my hearing aids or the people at EarCare.

“Glenn absolutely rose to the occasion when I told him I’m a shooting enthusiast, and I just love how open and accommodating the staff is. I recommend Glenn and EarCare to anyone who has a hearing loss. What they’ve done for me has changed my life.”

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