December Newsletter

Doctors are great at what they do.  Even when you trust that your doctor’s recommendations or treatment plan is the right one for you, sometimes the power of getting a second opinion can be beneficial.  It may not only confirm appropriate treatment your doctor has determined but it can also present options you were unaware of.  Other times, it can provide an answer to something your doctor cannot quite figure out.  We have a case where a second opinion saved someone from having a very serious, high risk surgery that can impact life-long challenges.  (Her name was changed for privacy reasons)

What Exactly Is Happening?

Susan started experiencing continued abdominal pain.  She sought local treatment and was diagnosed with irritate bowel syndrome (IBS).  They put her on a gluten-free, dairy-free and starch carb-free diet. Her pain did not improve, it actually got worse. All the while, her GI doctor was still diagnosing her with IBS. 

A couple of years later, she arrived at the ER in severe pain. Susan was told she had sigmoid volvulus and emergency surgery was performed the next morning. She did well for 6 months until one evening, the excruciating pain returned. Another trip to the ER was made and another obstruction was found. She was put on a Nasogastric (NG) tube and off work for 1 week.  2 weeks later she was in pain and made a trip back to the ER where they put her on a NG tube again. 

Finally, the head of the GI department at the hospital told her that they would need to remove her colon. Removing your colon is no simple surgery.  It comes with high risks for complications, not to mention life long changes that might require a permanent colostomy bag.

Yet, the next day she was released from the hospital. No explanation was given as to why she was told she needed surgery the day before to her release to go home. 

Decision to Get A Second Opinion

After her discharge, Susan decided it was time to get a second opinion. She was referred to a facility in Boston that offers excellent care and is patient centered. After the first visit the GI doctor and Colorectal Surgeon suspected she might have an outlet obstruction. They recommended she see the pelvic floor clinic at another medical hospital nearby. The hospital did a diagnostic study, defogram, that is not done locally in Halifax. Based on the results of this study, a true diagnosis was finally given  – Idiopathic GI Dysmotility. 

The proposed treatment for this is physiotherapy for the pelvic floor, biofeedback and massage for the colon. Surgery for this condition is the absolute last option. 

Susan returned home, began this treatment and as of today, is doing well. She takes no medication and most importantly, she has her colon.

Susan’s Words

‘The difference between the local doctors and the facility I visited in Boston is that the doctors in Boston worked as a team. They reviewed her records prior to her appointment so that both of their time was put to good use. Doctors locally do not communicate as a team and they want you in and out ASAP. I was a very compliant patient and this was my frustration. How can I do everything they are saying and more and be no further ahead. It didn’t make sense to me. As far as a real diagnosis here (in Halifax) they really never came up with one. It may be “scar tissue” was all they could come up with.’

Consider a Second Opinion

Health Vantis works with several reputable facilities that can provide second opinions to you.  If you have something undiagnosed, recently diagnosed or are scheduled for a serious surgery, consider getting another opinion.  It may prevent something unnecessary or even just give you the peace of mind that what has been recommended is appropriate.  We are happy to help make the arrangements!


Enjoy Some Tips for A ‘Healthier’ Holiday Party

Holidays are known for over indulging and the notion that you will re-start your diet as a New Year’s Resolution.  But you can still attend a holiday party and indulge without breaking all of your healthy eating habits.  It just takes planning and sometimes strategy.  

Here are some tips to keep you in check:

  • Offer to bring food and choose a healthy one.
  • Eat a small piece of protein prior to going so your belly already has something in it.  It will prevent that craving that makes you want to over indulge when you see the spread.
  • Mentally go in knowing how much you will allow yourself to eat or drink.
  • Choose veggies or protein first as they will fill you up faster.
  • Do the ‘1 bite’ rule where you only take enough for 1 bite just to have the taste.
  • Use a smaller plate or glassware.
  • Only go back to the table once and do not linger to avoid picking.
  • Have water between helpings and alcoholic drinks to keep you full.
  • Avoid eating everyday foods – Instead of using all of your calories on foods you can have any time of the year, pick foods that are truly unique to the season.
  • Don’t cave into peer pressure to have more. Have a line ready such as ‘It all looks delicious so I’m going to try and pace myself’!
  • Have a mint or chew a piece of gum.  The feeling of a clean palate can curb additional snacking.

Most of all, focus on the joy of being around others.  Really being in the moment of the conversations will force you to forget about the table behind you calling your name!


Happy Holidays

We wanted to take the time to thank you for all of your support and continuous interest in Health Vantis this year.  Our success comes from you and the relationships we’ve made.  We wish you a heartfelt Holiday Season full of laughter, family and love!  Christy & Leanna

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