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Finally, a Weight Loss Program That Works!

Concerned about his weight, Orlando police officer Ben Stanaland tried commercial diet programs in an attempt to shed pounds. Despite any initial success, numbers on the scale seemed to go in one direction: upward.Brian Hill treated for chronic back pain through DRX9000 spinal decompression; Ben Stanaland loses weight through Ideal Protein®.

A large man, Ben stands 6-foot-4, and was a football player in high school. His athletic build, assisted by weightlifting, helped hide extra pounds. But as his weight climbed, Ben continued to look for ways to slim down.

He turned to intensive exercise, only to later realize that rigorous workouts weren’t enough to ensure weight loss. First and foremost, it takes dietary changes.

“I started CrossFit®, and I was getting stronger and I was getting faster, with more agility,” notes Ben, who is 34. “But I wasn’t getting any smaller. After a while, I figured out that losing weight was going to have to start in the kitchen rather than the gym.”

He noticed a friend at work had lost a large amount of weight.

“My friend was in our motor unit, and by chance one day, we rode together. He told me about the Ideal Protein® program,” relates Ben.

Ideal Protein is a comprehensive weight loss program at DeLand Chiropractic & Spinal Decompression. The customized plan enables quick weight loss without sacrificing muscle mass, for improved energy and appetite control, improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels and reduced blood pressure.

It also focuses on the long term: The goal is to achieve a healthy weight and also learn how to maintain that weight in a way that is second nature.

Ben enrolled in the program and found it was easy to follow. So far, he’s lost more than 120 pounds. Through one-on-one coaching, he’s also discovering how to put yo-yo dieting behind him.

Brian Hill treated for chronic back pain through DRX9000 spinal decompression; Ben Stanaland loses weight through Ideal Protein®.

Ben and Tracee celebrated when Ben achieved a weight loss of 100 pounds through Ideal Protein.

Personalized Plan

Unlike many weight loss systems, Ideal Protein is part of a personalized plan. It is based on more than 25 years of experience in helping more than five million people lose weight in Europe and Canada, and now a large group of people in the United States.

“Ideal Protein is incorporated into a customized program for patients. On average, our patients lose twelve to fifteen pounds a month,” says Dr. Gordon at DeLand Chiropractic & Spinal Decompression.

Dr. Gordon and his staff have helped hundreds of people achieve healthy weights and lifestyles through Ideal Protein. Most had already tried other weight loss programs, such as Weight Watchers®, Jenny Craig® and Nutrisystem®, without long-term success.

“There are a lot of things that can help people lose weight for a short amount of time,” notes Dr. Gordon, “but very few things that people can actually follow through on long term like Ben needed to be able to do.”

Ideal Protein helps limit the amount of sugars and dietary fats while providing high-quality protein that is easily absorbed. There are four supplements that go along with actual food: a multivitamin, potassium supplement, fish oil supplement and calcium supplement.

“None of the supplements are what you see with the different fad diets. There are no diet pills or stimulants in Ideal Protein,” adds Dr. Gordon. “The Ideal Protein plan is focused on the body’s biochemistry and burning stored fat through eating properly and through proper nutrition. Ideal Protein teaches people to eat healthy.”

Long-Term Success

Dr. Gordon observes that what really sets Ideal Protein apart is the one-on-one coaching and support. The clinic’s Ideal Protein Coach, Tracee Gmitro, meets individually with Ideal Protein clients to guide them on their journey to better health and wellness.

The support, nutrition classes and the Ideal Protein plan’s overall convenience have all helped Ben stick with his weight loss plans and achieve success.

“For somebody in my line of work with the schedule that I have, it has worked out well. I’m able to pre-plan and take what I need to have in the car because I’m not sitting in an office all day,” says Ben.

He meets with Tracee every week. He also attends nutrition classes as part of the program and delves into an Ideal Protein cookbook when preparing food at home.

In his work as a police officer, he adds, it helps to be in good physical condition. Being at a healthy weight is definitely part of that. He is still in the Ideal Protein program and plans to lose more weight to reach an ideal goal.

The bottom line, he explains, is that he found a program that actually works for him.

“Now that I’ve found that Ideal Protein works for me, the sky’s the limit,” Ben emphasizes. “Yeah, it’s been great. The program works when you follow it.”

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Ben’s photos courtesy of Ben Stanaland. Brian’s photos by Nerissa Johnson.

Waist Size and Fitness Data

May 22nd, 2017

Photo courtesy of #000006162962It’s easy to get obsessed with personal numbers these days. Put on a wearable like a Fitbit and see what I mean. The devices track your number of steps during the day, gauge your heartbeat, and record the amount of time you’ve slept at night. They can log your walking routes, with maps, and reveal how fast your feet were really moving.

You can sync to an app that records the calories you take in, for more fun with numbers. (Warning: if you’re trying to lose weight, the daily summary may be less encouraging on days you eat more. You might get something like this: “If every day were like today, you’ll reach your goal by April 18, 2022.” No consolation added if your big reunion is six months away.)

Of course, doctors will remind you that losing extra weight isn’t just about wearing a smaller dress size. The big payoff is better health.

In that regard, if you like tracking your progress in losing weight and getting fit, you might want to try using one of the simple health-screening tools that gauge risk for conditions like diabetes and heart disease.

The health-screening methods – that use BMI, waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio – are based on research that shows body size and shape influences risk of certain diseases.

And they’re pretty simple. All you’ll need to get started is a scale and cloth measuring tape. Once you know where you stand, working toward “low risk” is another goal to strive for.

1. BMI: You’ve probably heard of body mass index, or BMI. The index categorizes people in ranges from normal to super obese. BMI is a formula that includes a ratio of weight and height. The easiest way to crunch the numbers is to use an online BMI calculator, such as this one.

Risk of poorer health goes up for people with BMIs that indicate they are overweight. It climbs higher still for those in the obese category.

A warning, though: For people who are lean and muscular, there may be a hitch. Their BMI can indicate “overweight” or “obese” when they aren’t. This is because muscle weighs more than fat, so their total weight is higher. They aren’t fat, but the BMI formula doesn’t distinguish between toned muscles and flab.

2. Waist circumference: How big is your middle? Where you carry extra weight makes a difference, according to obesity researchers.

It’s a matter of being shaped like an apple or a pear.

The apple-shaped have bellies that are bigger than their hips. Any extra pounds tend to pile up on their waistlines. It’s the opposite for people who are pear-shaped. Extra weight likes to go to their hips and thighs.

Women are more likely to be pear-shaped – until they reach menopause when hormone levels change and weight gain heads for the abdomen.

People who are apples tend to be more at risk for certain health conditions. Their expanded bellies indicate visceral fat. This type of fat lies deeper within the abdominal cavity and has been linked to conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Optimal numbers are based on gender, and individual height and weight doesn’t matter. Ideally, women need to keep their waists to 35 inches or less. The benchmark for men is 40 inches or less.

A screening chart from the National Institutes of Health combines BMI and waist circumference and shows how an apple shape raises health risks. Look at the chart and you’ll see how a BMI that indicates “overweight” puts you at increased risk. Combine “overweight” with a higher-than-optimal waist measurement and the level jumps to high risk.

3. Waist-to-hip ratio:

The size of your waist in relationship to your hips is another simple screening tool for future health risks.

For instance, a British medical study looked at waist-to-hip ratio and how it relates to heart disease. Have a big waistline and comparably big hips? That could be less of a risk factor than having a big stomach and small hips, according to the study.

Again, it’s about too much abdominal fat. In the study, researchers suggest that abdominal fat might alter hormones in a way that increases risk of heart disease. A large waistline in proportion to hips also has been shown to increase risk of uterine cancer, and has long been linked to Type 2 diabetes.

To determine your waist-to-hip ratio, measure your waistline and your hips. Divide the waistline measurement by the hip measurement – or go online for a waist-to-hip ratio calculator.

Ideally, results should be less than 0.85 for women and less than 0.9 for men, according to the World Health Organization.

Happy tracking!

The Power of GENIUS™ 2.0

Advanced technology lets you hear what you’ve been missing.

Michael Espey noticed he frequently asked his wife, Judy, to turn up the volume on their television set.

Michael Espey treated for hearing loss by Melanee Bryans, LHAS, with Genius™ 2.0 hearing aids at Miracle-Ear.

Michael enjoys riding motorcycles and can hear vehicles in all directions.

The high TV volume wasn’t his only sign of hearing trouble. Crowded restaurants or other noisy places were a challenge for Michael when trying to carry on a conversation. In meetings at work, he had to sit near the front of the room or he couldn’t hear the speaker.

Michael is in his mid 50s and works in a high-noise environment as a foreman for heavy construction projects. Being near machines emitting ear-splitting sound, like pile drivers for building bridges, is part of the job.

Aside from noise exposure, he speculates an incident on the job ten years ago might have affected his hearing, too. He was hit by lightning while standing next to a machine that took a direct strike. He was taken to the hospital and recovered.

Recently, he told his wife that he was having difficulty hearing.

“When I kept having to turn up the TV, I said to her, I think I need to get my ears checked,” he shares. “She said she’d find a provider for me and made an appointment at Miracle-Ear.”

The Perfect Fit

Michael saw Melanee Bryans, LHAS, at Miracle-Ear in Ormond Beach.

To evaluate his hearing loss, Melanee administered a hearing test and sought detailed information about his lifestyle and where he experienced hearing challenges. Assessing his hearing loss and understanding how it affected him gave her a foundation for knowing which technology would help him the most.

“Through the hearing evaluation, I saw that he had a severe high-frequency loss in both ears,” she notes. “He’s around a lot of noise all day long on big jobs as a foreman. Ultimately, that gave me a better understanding about the situations he is in and why he was having difficulty hearing speech clearly.”

Melanee recommended a top-of-the-line digital technology called GENIUS 2.0. Utilizing state-of-the-art technology developed specifically for the hearing aid industry, GENIUS 2.0 offers superior sound quality, personalization and audibility.

“The difference in my hearing is a hundred percent. I never knew hearing aids could make such a difference.” – Michael

“We chose a technology that is super automatic for him because he doesn’t have time at work to be fiddling with his hearing aids,” explains Melanee. “GENIUS 2.0 hearing aids have an automatic algorithm that helps reduce listening effort.

“People are able to focus on the person who is speaking and reduce unwanted background noise, which in Michael’s situation at work would be diesel engines and road noise,” she describes. “The hearing aids will automatically adapt to Michael’s surroundings, whether he’s driving, at home watching television or eating in a restaurant.”

Miracle-Ear GENIUS 2.0 hearing aids allow sound to be processed much like the brain does naturally. When worn in both ears, the devices communicate with each other as they pick up audio signals. This expands the ability to clearly understand speech.

Another advantage is the technology’s VoiceTarget 360, which allows users to hear conversations to the front, side or even behind them with precision. The technology is able to detect where sound is coming from and automatically change directional focus.

There is also a wireless windscreen feature that can make all the difference for active people who enjoy outdoor activities but don’t like to hear wind noise. Conversations come through clearly in windy environments, like when walking outside, riding a bike or playing golf.

A key benefit for Michael is Bluetooth® connectivity through the GENIUSlink audio streamer. It allows him to stream the voices of callers from his cell phone directly into both hearing aids.

“As a foreman, he is constantly on the phone, so having that Bluetooth feature – with speech coming directly into his hearing aids – really helps bring clarity to the conversation. It makes his job a lot easier,” states Melanee.

“In that job, it is super important to hear what your workers are asking or saying,” she notes. “He doesn’t have to drop what he’s doing to hold the phone. And he is hands free when talking on his cell phone in the car. It’s helped him tremendously.”

Michael Espey treated for hearing loss by Melanee Bryans, LHAS, with Genius™ 2.0 hearing aids at Miracle-Ear.

Michael’s hearing aids make it easy for him to hear fish breaking the water.

A Hundred Percent Difference

“I love my hearing aids and wear them everywhere,” offers Michael about his new GENIUS 2.0 hearing aids.

“They help me at work because I am able to hear people talk over loud noises. If I’m at a meeting, I’m able to sit just about anywhere in the room.”

At home, he is able to hear the television at such a low volume that his wife once asked him to turn it back up.

In his spare time, Michael likes to ride his motorcycle and is an enthusiastic fisherman. His hearing aids make riding his motorcycle safer. And when he’s fishing, they help him know where to cast his line.

“When I’m on my motorcycle, I can hear vehicles in all directions, where before it was difficult to pick up the sounds,” he comments.

“And you wouldn’t believe it, but I can hear a fish break the water across the lake when I’m fishing. That’s when I turn around and throw my lure or bait into that area. Before, I’d only know when a fish broke the water if I saw it.

“I’m very happy with Melanee and the people at Miracle-Ear. They are good people to work with. I recommend them to everybody because they have been such a big help to me. If I have any questions, I feel free to stop by or call,” continues Michael.

“The difference in my hearing is a hundred percent. I never knew hearing aids could make such a difference.”

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Photos by Nerissa Johnson. Hearing aid photo courtesy of Miracle Ear.

On Her Feet, Out of Pain

Laura Bowen felt the pop in her right calf and fell to the ground. She was playing tennis after a long flight home to Florida from Australia. Unable to walk, or apply pressure to the gas pedal of her car, she needed a friend to drive her home.Laura Bowen skipped going to a physician and went straight to physical therapy at Barr & Associates Physical Therapy after a sports injury. The direct access led to a speedy recovery from a badly strained calf; in less than three weeks, she was walking normally without crutches.

Once home, she looked online for clues about what happened. According to what she read, a probability was calf strain. The condition occurs from torn muscle fibers in the back of the lower leg. A common sports injury among athletes who make lateral moves, like on the tennis or basketball court, it varies in severity and is painful.

“I have a job that requires a lot of physical activity – I run events and tennis tournaments – so I needed to get this addressed right away,” relates Laura, who is marketing director for the United States Tennis Association Florida Section.

Laura knew Jacob Barr, DPT, of Barr & Associates Physical Therapy from playing on a recreational softball team. She contacted him to see if he could evaluate her leg and start therapy.

“I sent him a quick message telling him what I did and asking if it was something I could go to him for,” continues Laura. “I told him that if he saw that I needed to see a physician, I would do that, but I wanted him to look at it first.

“I didn’t want to delay my care by going to a physician and being sent for tests, then having to go back so the doctor could read the tests,” she explains.

“A Huge Advantage”

After contacting Dr. Barr, Laura was given an appointment to see him that afternoon. It was the day after her injury.

“She came in and was basically hopping on her left leg because she couldn’t walk on her right leg. It was that bad,” notes Dr. Barr.

“During my physical examination of Laura, I checked for a tear in the Achilles tendon, which is the tendon that attaches the calf muscle to the heel. If I saw signs of an Achilles tendon rupture, or something else very serious that might possibly need surgery, I would refer her to a physician,” he adds.

Dr. Barr determined Laura didn’t have a ruptured Achilles tendon; she was suffering from an acute calf strain. He recommended physical therapy that could start immediately.

The protocol included ultrasound and laser treatments, general manual therapy, massage and exercise on an anti-gravity treadmill. He also recommended at-home stretching exercises.

“My leg was pretty swollen for the first week. The physical therapy really helped in managing the swelling and pain,” reports Laura.

In less than three weeks, she was walking without crutches at an event for work. In all, she had four sessions of physical therapy.

In Florida, patients are permitted to undergo physical therapy treatment for 30 days before being evaluated by a physician. It’s a welcome alternative for people who have sprains, muscle or back pain or a weekend injury and want quick access to therapy.

Direct access served her well, says Laura.

“I feel like it was a huge advantage for me to get physical therapy within twenty-four hours of my injury,” she comments. “I highly recommend Dr. Barr and his practice. You feel like you’re in a facility where you are being cared for. I really enjoyed it.”

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

Bulging Veins Disappear Without Surgery

David Neddeau runs a white-water rafting business in Maine from late spring into fall, and during the winter, he’s a Florida snowbird. Wearing shorts has always been a comfortable and practical choice, but his exposed legs attracted comments.

Photo by Nerissa Johnson.

David’s legs no longer swell or feel sore after a long day.

“I had some really terrible varicose veins. They looked like a Google map of mountainous terrain,” he relates. “It was a little embarrassing. I’d be outside with guests [white-water rafting], and they’d say, What the heck is that on your legs?
At day’s end, his legs and ankles would be visibly swollen. They felt sore and heavy.
David, who is 73, sought help from a specialist in Maine, but treatment didn’t yield results. “My veins were as bad as ever. They didn’t change a bit,” he shares.
In Florida, David met Charles I. Stein, MD, of Vein Treatment Center of Palm Coast.
“I went into his office, and Dr. Stein examined my legs. He told me, We can take care of this,” remembers David.

More Than Cosmetic

At Vein Treatment Center, Dr. Stein and his partner, N. John Collucci, DO, treat all types of vein conditions, from spider veins to serious venous disease.
“We are dedicated exclusively to vein treatment, and have advanced techniques available to address these potentially serious health concerns,” notes Dr. Stein. “We’re able to provide dramatic success stories for our patients, both cosmetically and functionally.”
David’s bulging varicose veins indicated venous reflux disease, the result of leaky valves in leg veins that allow blood to pool. The condition is more than a cosmetic problem and can lead to skin discoloration and leg ulcers in later stages.
Before and after images courtesy of Vein Treatment Center .David was treated during a series of appointments with minimally invasive endovascular laser treatment (EVLT), microphlebectomy and ultrasound-guided chemical ablation. All are in-office procedures with quick recovery times.
For EVLT, a thin laser fiber is guided into the diseased leg vein, which is gently collapsed by laser energy and absorbed by the body. Microphlebectomy removes problem veins through tiny incisions that don’t require stitches. In chemical ablation, superficial veins are closed through injections of a specialized solution.
“Dr. Stein and Dr. Collucci were awesome,” states David. “I never felt any pain. It was so simple and easy for me as a patient.
“My legs look like they did when I was twenty. They don’t get swollen, and there’s not a bump or vein on them,” he continues. “Some people who saw them before have said, Holy cow, what happened to your legs? They look so good.

The Power to Connect

New hearing technology opens her world.

Martha Patino’s hearing loss started when she was just a child. She speculates the decline may have stemmed from a high fever that struck when she was seven or eight, but the exact cause isn’t known.

Martha Patino treated for profound hearing loss with advanced-technology hearing devices by Kelly Hansen, AuD, at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center.

Martha’s new hearing aids make it easy for her to carry on a conversation.

She immigrated to the United States from her native Colombia more than 30 years ago and now works as a bilingual teacher’s assistant at a middle school.

Her hearing loss is profound, and without hearing aids, Martha would be living in a mostly silent world. At one point, she lost confidence in herself and left her job as a teacher’s assistant because of her hearing. She switched to working on a school maintenance crew as a cleaner, until returning to the classroom last year.

“I cleaned the school for many years because I thought that was the only thing I could do,” she says. “It didn’t matter that I have studied in college and speak two languages.”

It took effort to locate a hearing care provider with the knowledge and caring manner that made her feel comfortable. After visiting many places, she found what she was looking for when she met Kelly Hansen, AuD, at Trinity Hearing & Balance Center.

“Dr. Hansen’s focus is on how she can help improve my life. That’s what I really like about her,” shares Martha.

Martha experienced the power of advanced hearing aid technology recently when Dr. Hansen fit her with new hearing devices. For the first time, she can easily talk on her cell phone. She’s more confident when carrying on conversations and can hear speech clearly. In the classroom, she enjoys talking with children and feels capable of helping them with whatever they need.

“Dr. Hansen explained to me how the new technology would benefit me,” continues Martha. “It’s been life-changing.”

Expanding Communication

Dr. Hansen has more than 21 years of experience diagnosing and treating hearing, balance and dizziness disorders. Her practice is AudigyCertified™, a designation that gauges a practitioner’s experience, credentials and expertise along with a commitment to patient satisfaction, continuing education and application of current technologies.

She works side by side with patients to help find a solution to their hearing problems. One of her tools is a part of Audigy’s service called ePatient, a software program that helps people understand how their hearing works and what happens when someone has a hearing loss. It also assists Dr. Hansen to show how hearing aids and procedures are effective in reconnecting people to their world through better hearing.

A key advancement in hearing technology is Bluetooth® connectivity as well as made-for-iPhone® hearing aids that allow audio streaming from connected devices such as cell phones and tablets directly into hearing instruments.

“Martha’s hearing aids were more than five years old and no longer working. She needed a new set,” notes Dr. Hansen. “Five years ago, made-for-iPhone hearing aid technology was available but not for individuals with profound hearing loss. Today we are able to fit people with profound hearing loss with made-for-iPhone technology because the technology platform has been expanded. Martha can now stream a caller’s voice from her iPhone and listen to music and watch movies on her iPad®. It’s made a big difference for her.”

Martha used to rely mostly on texting when communicating by cell phone. With her new Bluetooth-connected hearing aids, she can talk easily on the new iPhone her husband gave her for Christmas. It used to be hard for her to talk with him on the phone, but not any more.

“My life has changed, and I feel everything is bright for me.”– Martha

“I like speaking by phone now rather than texting. It’s because I can hear what the caller is saying,” she explains.

Gaining Confidence

A key part of Martha’s success was selecting Dr. Hansen as her audiologist.

“Dr. Hansen is a very kind person and she explains everything,” notes Martha. “She gives me advice about which hearing aid is best for me and tells me, Martha, this is going to be okay. I feel very safe to be with a person like her who really takes care of me.”

She also appreciates how Dr. Hansen keeps her informed of wireless accessories that could help in challenging listening environments. One device Martha loves is the Roger™ Pen, a wireless microphone that resembles a pen and helps to boost speech understanding in noisy places or over distances.

While Martha enjoys her new ability to talk on her cell phone, she notices how much more clearly she can understand speech when having a conversation in person, too. Thanks to her new hearing aids, she is sure about what she is hearing. That capability has given her confidence and helps her feel outgoing.

“The most important thing is that I can hear more clearly than before. I feel more secure about what I’m saying. Before, I would be thinking to myself, What is she asking me? or What’s going on? I am more than happy with my hearing aids.

“My life has changed, and I feel everything is bright for me. I love to talk to people now.”

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Photo by Fred Bellet. Graphic from

Best Foot Forward

Before retiring and moving to Florida from Long Island, Roger Giordano experienced a life-changing medical challenge. It happened more than a dozen years ago, when a small infection between two toes took on a life of its own.

Roger Giordano, longtime patient of David S. Goris, CPO, at Sonlife Prosthetics and Orthotics, is fitted with new fiberglass foot.

Roger is able to stay active
with his new foot.

Roger, who is 72, has diabetes, which made it harder for him to fight the infection. He was hospitalized for a period of several months as it spread. A series of operations failed to stop the progression, until finally his lower leg was removed.

Since then, he has relied on a below-the-knee prosthesis.

When he retired from his job as a motor vehicle operator for the United States Postal Service, Roger and his wife, Betty, relocated to Florida.

“I needed to find someone to help me with my prosthesis after we moved. I asked my doctor for recommendations,” recalls Roger.

His doctor gave him a list of professionals who specialize in prosthetics, and Roger chose David S. Goris, CPO, at Sonlife Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Lots of Choices

Roger has entrusted David with his prosthesis care since 2005. His latest need was for a new foot for his prosthesis. He noticed recently that the old foot was showing signs of deterioration, such as a hole in the lining, which is normal over time.

People who wear lower-limb prostheses have a wide range of choices for prosthetic feet – ranging from feet designed for everyday walking to those for niche sports like rock climbing.

Many prosthetic feet are lightweight with a spring-like response because of technical advances, and they come in a variety of materials, including fiberglass, carbon fiber or combinations of physical springs with carbon fiber.

With so many choices, there is no one-size-fits-all prosthetic. A key part of satisfaction is selecting the right foot based on individual needs and lifestyle.

When talking with patients, David listens carefully to information about their activity levels, wants and needs before making a recommendation.

“As prosthetists, we have access to any type of foot and any component that’s out there. Our job is to stay up on all the new advancements and be able to share with patients about how a specific foot will work for them,” notes David.

Roger stays active around his home through tasks like cutting the lawn with a riding mower and finishing woodworking projects. He doesn’t normally use a cane, but prefers to use a scooter or wheelchair when shopping or on a family excursion where he would have to walk long distances.

David suggested Roger try a carbon fiber foot that is lighter than the fiberglass foot he was used to wearing. Roger found that it didn’t have the give he preferred. He tested another foot made of fiberglass, which seemed to have more flexibility when his heel or toe struck the ground.

“Roger tried the fiberglass foot and said, This is my foot! It made him feel comfortable and confident,” notes David.

Over the years, Roger has been appreciative of the care he has received through David and Sonlife. He relies on David’s knowledge, accessibility and genuine concern.

“There’s really no one like David. I tell you, he’s fabulous,” raves Roger, who keeps Sonlife business cards in his wallet in case he meets anyone who needs an excellent prosthetist.

“If I’m in a store, I’ll meet other amputees, and we talk about where we got our legs. I’ll ask, Are you happy with who you’re going to?” continues Roger. “If they tell me, No, I’m in a chair all the time, or something like that, I’ll pull out a Sonlife card and hand it to them.

“I hear people talk about their care, and they don’t get one one-hundredth of what I get at Sonlife,” he adds. “David takes very good care of me.”

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Leading-Edge Approach to Glaucoma

A second opinion gives glaucoma patient a second chance.

Sue Thielke had dealt with glaucoma for nearly a dozen years when her eye disease progressed, despite therapies like eye drop medication. Called the silent thief of sight, because it typically has no signs or symptoms such as pain or a sudden loss of vision, glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness.Sue Thielke treated for glaucoma through microinvasive surgery procedure by Sarah S. Khodadadeh, MD, at Center for Advanced Eye Care.

“Glaucoma runs in my family. My mother was almost blind when she died,” shares Sue, who is 69 and retired.

“I’d been going to a doctor for years, who I loved, but he finally said to me, Sue, there’s just nothing I can do for you anymore. You’re going to need eye surgery, which I don’t do, and you will need to see a specialist in that arena.

Sue chose to travel to an academic hospital for major glaucoma surgery. Unfortunately, the operation didn’t stop the progression of her glaucoma.

Glaucoma comes in many forms. The most common type of the disease harms the optic nerve through increased pressure within the eye. After Sue’s surgery at the academic center, her intraocular pressure was still abnormal.

Sue returned to the academic hospital for follow-up care but decided to seek another medical opinion. She wanted to do all she could to keep her mother’s fate from becoming her own.

“There’s nothing scarier than possibly going blind,” she stresses. “It’s just the scariest thing you can face.”

She made an appointment with Sarah S. Khodadadeh, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist and surgical glaucoma specialist at Center for Advanced Eye Care.

In Dr. Khodadadeh, Sue found a glaucoma specialist with advanced training from a leading academic center.
Dr. Khodadadeh, who joined the Center for Advanced Eye Care in 2014, completed a glaucoma fellowship at Yale University. She is also the co-author of a chapter in the 2015 edition of the medical textbook Advanced Glaucoma Surgery about traditional and novel surgical techniques to manage glaucoma patients.

“I did my homework and looked at Dr. Khodadadeh’s background. Her education is just superb,” says Sue. “I knew that I needed the type of doctor she is – someone who is on the forefront of emerging medical techniques.”

A bonus for Sue was that she didn’t have to travel for care, or wait weeks for an appointment. Dr. Khodadadeh’s office is right in Vero Beach and easily accessible.

Sue received even more than she expected when she first met Dr. Khodadadeh.

“I found a doctor who really cares, and that makes all the difference,” explains Sue.

Quick Recovery

“When Sue first saw me, she was having visual complaints in both eyes and described her vision as blurry,” notes Dr. Khodadadeh. “She’d had surgery about seven months prior and wanted to know if there was anything else she could do to bring her eye pressure down.”

Sue has a type of glaucoma called normal-tension glaucoma, so-named because it can damage the optic nerve even though eye pressure measurements fall within the range of normal. The condition tends to be more common in women and can be more aggressive than other forms of glaucoma.

Dr. Khodadadeh noted that Sue’s prior glaucoma surgery was performed correctly, but that Sue was still suffering from progression of her glaucoma. In some cases, the response to the surgery isn’t successful.

Over the course of the next two months, Dr. Khodadadeh kept a careful watch over Sue’s intraocular pressure. It continued to increase. She recommended Microinvasive Glaucoma Surgery, commonly known as MIGS, to open up the eye’s natural drainage system and lower the pressure.

“Instead of performing another larger glaucoma procedure on Sue again, I discussed newer, less invasive surgical procedures with her called microinvasive procedures to treat her elevated eye pressure,” says Dr. Khodadadeh. “With these procedures, patients have much quicker recovery times, and can typically go back to their everyday, normal activities within a day or two. With a traditional, larger glaucoma procedure, it can take up to a few months to return to normal activities.”

Microinvasive glaucoma surgeries, which vary in type, have emerged over the past five to ten years.

“There are new procedures coming out every year, and I take it upon myself to keep all of them in my surgical repertoire so that I can tailor the procedure for each of my patient’s specific needs,” emphasizes Dr. Khodadadeh. “For the community of patients in Vero and surrounding areas, it means that you have access to the highest quality of glaucoma care, including innovative techniques which require less recovery time and access to traditional glaucoma care, without the lengthy office visits that take up an entire day of your life.”

Dr. Khodadadeh discusses and personalizes each procedure based on her patient’s lifestyle, age, medical history and stage of glaucoma.

“I tailor the procedure to every patient because everybody is different,” she explains. “I not only look at the eyes

of my patients, but discuss their medical conditions from head to toe in order to determine the best procedure to perform.”

For Sue, she and Dr. Khodadadeh chose a microinvasive glaucoma surgical device called VISCO™ 360. Dr. Khodadadeh performed the operation on Sue’s left eye, which had developed a higher level of pressure.

The microinvasive procedures take from five to 15 minutes to complete, require only minimal sedation and are performed in the Center for Advanced Eye Care’s on-site surgical suite attached to the clinic in Vero Beach. To perform the VISCO 360 operation, Dr. Khodadadeh makes a self-sealing microincision in the cornea, then inserts a small catheter and opens up both sides of the eye’s drainage network. No stitches are required.

Sue Thielke treated for glaucoma through microinvasive surgery procedure by Sarah S. Khodadadeh, MD, at Center for Advanced Eye Care.

Sue relaxes with her dog, Luke.

Dramatic Improvement

Sue’s recovery was relatively simple: She used antibiotic drops for about a month and anti-inflammatory drops for two to three weeks.

“Other than staying put for a couple of days, there wasn’t much I had to do. There was no pain involved,” she reports.

Three months after the procedure by Dr. Khodadadeh, a follow-up examination showed that Sue’s eye pressure had dropped dramatically, by 40 percent. Before the surgery, she needed four types of eye drop medication in her left eye; she now needs only one.

Sue is retired from running her own real estate company on Long Island in New York and worked as an executive in Pan American Airways. In Vero Beach, she is active through a ministry in her church and has authored a book.

“My sight is really important to me, just like everyone’s sight is important,” she says.

Knowing that Dr. Khodadadeh is easily accessible – and highly trained in leading-edge glaucoma care – puts her mind at ease.

“Her accessibility, her caring, her willingness to work you in on a busy day makes a big difference. I never hear that I can’t have an appointment for three weeks because she’s out of town,” continues Sue.

“When I go to see Dr. Khodadadeh, the wait time is maybe ten or twelve minutes. When I would go to these larger practices, it was an hour and a half.

“I recommend Dr. Khodadadeh to people all the time and have sent friends to her,” says Sue. “Half the battle is finding a doctor like Dr. Khodadadeh. I really feel like she is fighting for me.”

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Patient photos by Jordan Pysz. Diagram photos from Building photo courtesy of Center for Advanced Eye Care.

Get the Most from Medications

May 1st, 2017

When picking up a prescription at a drug store, customers typically are asked, Do you have any questions for the pharmacist? For most people in a hurry, the routine answer is no. But investing a few moments in understanding the medication you’ve just been handed isn’t a bad idea.get-most-from-medication_istock-509483224

For instance, should you take the medicine with food or water? If you’re taking another drug – or even something over-the-counter – will there be an interaction? Does it matter what time of day you take the medicine? How will you know it’s working? What are potential side effects and when should you be concerned?

Information about how to take a specific medicine can be found by reading drug insert labels or visiting a reputable online source such as MedlinePlus at the National Institutes of Health. However, your doctor or pharmacist may have more specific advice about what is right for you, so be sure to ask them for their recommendations.

Being an informed patient will help you get the most out of your medications and take them safely.

The following are just three examples of medications that are easy to take incorrectly:

Prilosec: A proton-pump inhibitor for treating acid reflux, this popular drug’s generic name is omeprazole. Typically, it supposed to taken in the morning an hour before eating. Taking it to alleviate symptoms – when your heartburn is flaring – won’t have the same effect.

Thyroid medicine: Drugs like Levoxyl are tablets that dissolve quickly in the throat. It’s recommended to take them with a full glass of water so they don’t get stuck or cause choking, gagging or difficulty swallowing.

Blood pressure medicine: Millions of older adults skip doses, stop taking the medicine altogether or fail to fill prescriptions, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure is often silent until it causes cardiovascular damage or other harm, so maybe it’s easy to forget you have it. Don’t! If you need blood pressure medicine, you need to take it as prescribed every day to avoid a heart attack or stroke.

Meanwhile, there’s a rule of thumb we should all know: If you’re taking antibiotics, please do the rest of the world a favor and finish the whole bottle. Even if you’re feeling better before all the pills are gone. This helps prevent the development of “super bugs,” the germs that are resistant to today’s antibiotics.

For learning more about medication and being a smart consumer, the Food and Drug Administration offers plenty of information online. Visit its consumer information center for free drug-related publications to read about prescription and over-the-counter medications and how to take them safely.

By Susan Hemmingway

A Dentist to Count On

High-quality care, comfortable atmosphere relax patients

As a military career officer, Ron Sellers did his share of moving between assignments, and landed twice at a base near Satellite Beach. He and his family had relocated to the area for the second time when he met Merrill A. Grant, DMD.

Ron Sellers has been a patient of Merrill A. Grant, DMD, for nearly 30 years, and is among a large group of Dr. Grant’s patients who have been with the practice for years.

Ron has entrusted his dental care to Dr. Grant for nearly three decades.

“My family and I had just gotten back to Satellite Beach – in August 1988 – and were looking for the typical services that need to be set up after a move. My wife asked someone in the community if they knew a good dentist and was told, You need to check out Dr. Grant on Jackson Avenue,” recalls Ron.

Many years later, Ron can still remember what he experienced and how he felt during his first visit with Dr. Grant.

“During my first visit at Dr. Grant’s office, I told him that I wasn’t very comfortable going to the dentist. Being apprehensive about the dentist was just something that’s been an issue throughout my whole life. And I was pleasantly surprised by how he accepted me saying that,” Ron shares.

Despite any initial worries, Ron soon found it was easy to feel comfortable in Dr. Grant’s office. The friendly atmosphere helped him feel at ease. Dr. Grant also is an Air Force veteran, which gave Ron a sense of rapport.

When Ron retired from the military, he and his wife, Annette, decided to stay in Satellite Beach. They have lived in the area for nearly 30 years.

A lot can change over three decades – their kids are now adults, for example – but their choice of dentist never did.
Dr. Grant has been their dentist since they first saw him in 1988. They are part of a large segment of Dr. Grant’s patients who have entrusted him with their dental and preventive care for years.

The People Connection

“We have a lot of patients who have stuck with us over the years and keep coming back,” notes Dr. Grant. “I think part of that is because we listen to our patients. We find out what their needs and wants are and do our best to give them what they need and want.”

Dr. Grant specializes in general and preventive dentistry and has a wide range of skills that includes cosmetic and restorative dentistry. He has a reputation for excellence in a comprehensive range of services, including custom crowns, dental implants and periodontal therapy.

With a keen attention to detail, Dr. Grant is meticulous about planning and welcomes the patient as a partner in creating customized treatment plans. For instance, he keeps people informed through taking photographs and videos of their smiles and thoroughly explaining the treatment process. He presents choices when people need dental care and encourages them to make their own decisions about which course of treatment to pursue.

“We take our time with patients instead of being in a hurry,” says the skilled dentist. “We don’t work up some sort of treatment without consulting with them. We discuss everything we do, and I think people are comfortable with that.”

Dr. Grant and his staff place a priority on creating a caring atmosphere within the office. His goal is to have a “high-trust, low-fear” relationship with patients. He understands that most people would rather avoid the dentist’s office, and he goes above and beyond to help everyone feel comfortable.

“We like people to feel secure,” emphasizes Dr. Grant. “The treatments we do on our patients are the same as I would do on my family, if one of my family members needed treatment. I think people sense that.”

“If you really want a good dentist, and want to go someplace where you’ll end up staying, you need to see Dr. Grant.” -Ron

A key characteristic of the practice is how Dr. Grant and his team take the time to get to know people in his dental chair.

“We actually get to know our patients and they get to know us,” says Dr. Grant. “A lot of places aren’t like that anymore, but we believe that it really makes a difference.”

Ron agrees wholeheartedly.

“Dr. Grant is very approachable. He has a manner about him that allows people to connect with him,” describes Ron. “His staff is also good in how they connect with people and make them feel comfortable. I’ve been in the people business my whole life, in the military and out, and I was struck right away by the quality of his staff.”   

Lasting Impressions

Under Dr. Grant’s care, Ron has kept his teeth and gums healthy through regular preventive visits. He also has occasionally needed other dental work, such as crowns.

He appreciates that Dr. Grant always takes the time to call him later in the day after he’s undergone a procedure.

“I don’t think Dr. Grant ever forgot the fact that I came in the door saying, I’m not very comfortable going to a dentist’s office,” comments Ron. “Any time that I’ve had any type of procedure beyond a cleaning, I can count on him to call later. He’ll call just to check up on me and say, How are you doing? Everything okay?

“To have a dentist make that kind of call is unusual. It’s made a lasting impression on me that he remembered what a patient said to him thirty years ago about being uncomfortable at the dentist’s office.”

Ron admits he’s still a little apprehensive about dental care, but having Dr. Grant as his dentist has eased his discomfort.

“It’s still not the most comfortable thing I do in my life, but one of the things that puts me at ease when I realize that I have to go and have something done is that I’m going to Dr. Grant,” he explains.

“Whenever anyone tells me they need a dentist, or mentions the word dentist, I don’t let them leave without telling them: If you really want a good dentist, and want to go someplace where you’ll end up staying, you need to see Dr. Grant.

FHCN article by Susan Hemmingway. Photo by Jordan Pysz.
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