Kate’s Story: You Don’t Have to Suffer in Silence
In July of 2006 I was diagnosed with Vulvar Vestibulitus Syndrome (VVS). I was completely unaware of this condition and was stunned by the news. While it was a huge relief and weight off my shoulders to finally receive a diagnosis, confusion and disappointment soon set in as I learned more about VVS. With the guidance of Dr. Richard Marvel I worked to reduce my pain as much as possible over the course of 8 months.
One of the best things Dr. Marvel did for me was to refer me to Her Health in Columbia , MD to have my pelvic floor evaluated and treated. Melissa Reinhardt and Jennifer Ortiz, both physical therapists at Her Health, are top notch and were incredibly supportive and compassionate. I found an extraordinary amount of success during my sessions with them and they always gave me as much information and time as I needed. They welcomed my husband and encouraged him to attend some of my sessions so that he could understand what was happening and even learn how to help me. Melissa and Jen are extraordinary health care providers, amazing human beings and they both fill a great need that receives little attention by the medical community and general public. Her Health truly improved the quality of my life and without them, I would be another woman bouncing from doctor to doctor, miserable and confused.
After 8 months, the reduction in general pain was a fantastic improvement mentally, emotionally and physically; but, there was one localized area—my vestibule—that was still severely painful with contact. It became obvious that the variety of treatments I tried would not eradicate my vestibular pain. I was given the option of surgery and in June of 2007 I underwent a vestibulectomy with vaginal advancement.
As you can imagine, I was extremely nervous about the surgery; I worried that I would be “messing” something up and that if the procedure didn’t work, I would either be back to square one, or would have worse pain. Fortunately for me, and for about 90% of women, the surgery was a tremendous success. I could not believe that a minor procedure could actually take away such a severe, encompassing pain. My recovery didn’t stop in the surgical room either; the aftercare I received from Dr. Marvel and his staff was phenomenal. I attended follow up appointments and continued with my physical therapy once I healed. Melissa and Jen delighted in my success and they continued to provide treatment to reduce the possibility of painful scarring and to ease muscle tension.
Today, I am pain free! I hope for more funding, more research and most of all, more awareness in the medical community so that, in the future, women do not have to suffer like so many of us have. You don’t have to suffer in silence, there is help and there is hope.
The story of JS
I was sent to Melissa with a diagnosis of chronic pelvic pain due to pelvic congestion, tender and weak pelvic muscles, and my left leg was shorter than the right – which was causing back pain. When I started therapy my pain was daily and an 8 out of 10. I was angry, depressed, and didn’t think anything would help. After three to four weeks of therapy with Melissa my days were relatively pain free; something I thought was not possible. Melissa found that my left hip muscles were tight so with some stretching and other exercises she got it back in place and my back pain disappeared and hasn’t returned. She gave me exercises and heat therapy for my pelvic floor and I haven’t felt this good in two years – after only six weeks of therapy! Melissa was great. She made me feel comfortable with everything we did and helped educate me further with my condition and why we were doing the therapy. It’s been a great experience and I’m so thankful for therapists like Melissa. It wasn’t always easy and there were ups and downs but now I feel great! It was worth the work.
A Patient with Pelvic Pain
I had an on-going problem with pain while having intercourse that just kept getting worse to the point of avoidance. After numerous visits to my GYN doctor I was referred to Dr. Marvel MD. After exam his diagnosis was pelvic spasms and I was referred to…Melissa Reinhardt. With continued therapy by Melissa and exercises, I was able to have intercourse without pain.
As a young woman with endometriosis and pelvic congestion, I felt my life was severely limited by the pain my conditions caused. For years I suffered without even knowing what was causing such anguish. When my pelvic pain specialist finally offered me a solution through pelvic vein embolization, I jumped at the opportunity to get my life back.
The pelvic vein embolization procedure is minimally invasive and has provided me great relief. During the procedure the doctor talks you through out the process and gives you feedback about the pain in order to treat the right area. In my particular case, they inserted tiny platinum coils into the inflamed veins to enable blood flow and to prevent the painful throbbing and cramping that I would usually encounter. The recovery was not bad at all - really it felt like menstrual cramps - and I was able to return to normal activities within 2 weeks.
I cannot begin to express the relief I had when I was able to stand to teach my students and sit and have a conversation without cringing in pain. This procedure has made all the difference.
His view... (A perspective from a patient's grateful husband)
My wife C.G. was recently a patient of yours. She told me that you asked her to tell you, how she was getting on. Well, I thought I'd let you know on her behalf. Let's just say that things have turned out very, very well. She "feels" great in may ways! Between Dr. Walton's skilled surgery and your assistance with physical therapy our quality of life is superb. I also have to thank C.'s relentless dedication to following your guidance in rehabilitating herself. I think this card "says it" quite well. I hope you enjoy the humor. Life is good!!
A Letter of Gratitude
My friends at Her Health,
As I have just been discharged from the practice I wanted to take this opportunity to thank each one of you for the part you played in resolving my nagging right hip and pelvic pain. When I was first referred to your practice by Dr. Abrams she assured me that I would be very well cared for. The "discomfort and pressure" in my pelvic area had reached a point that I was unable to enjoy many activities, was gaining a lot of weight due to inactivity, and was not able to sleep through the night.
During the 6 months that I came for therapy I had the opportunity to work with each one of you at least one time. I was very impressed with the professionalism, passion, and dedication that each one of you exhibited in your own way.
Initially I was a bit nervous about answering some of the questions Laura asked on the first day. Her calm, friendly and yet professional manner allowed me to relax while being educated about the approach to resolving my problems. She never seemed to be annoyed by my questions. We often joked about my case being so complex that I was sure she would have to publish it at some point. Thank you Laura for starting the process.
One night I had an appointment with Sharon, since I was unable to get one with Laura. As Sharon was checking my alignment she needed to consult with Jill. Jill, bless her soul, was on break in the next room but came in to give her opinion. I really appreciated the fact that Sharon did not hesitate to seek advice when she had a question. She was confident enough to ask for assistance, knowing that Jill would willingly respond. This is an indication that this practice embraces the true meaning of teamwork. Thank you Sharon for your willingness to seek help.
Jill has a wonderful amount of energy and enthusiasm. She willingly accepted my difficult case and patiently encouraged me even when I had a setback or reached a plateau. She had a wonderful ability to make me laugh even when I felt like or was crying. At times I felt that I would never be able to resume normal activities, but Jill kept encouraging me and pushing me to move to the next level of recovery. During my sessions with Jill, we would talk about all sorts of things. At times I would reflect on our conversations and think that I revealed things to her that I would only have told my best friend. She is a warm, sensitive, and dedicated therapist and truly and asset to this company. Thank you Jill for being willing to push me patiently and rejoice with me.
As I reached another plateau, Jill suggested that I have a consult with Jennifer or Melissa. When I first met Jennifer I was impressed by her educational and communication skills. She reviewed my progress, and spent a great amount of time educating me about other modalities or treatments that were available. She obviously is interested in assuring every patient reach their maximum improvement. She taught me some techniques to stop the cycle of muscle spasm by doing some self releases. She suggested that I see Melissa to do some deep tissue massage. I really appreciate that Jen was able to identify the therapist that would be best suited for this final stage of therapy. Thank you Jen for sharing your gift of communication and having the self confidence to direct me to Melissa.
Melissa is a very strong yet compassionate woman. She was able to release some muscle spasms and address an alignment issue which had caused problems for many years, if not for my entire adult life. She laughed at me when I was silly of fell off the ball, showed true compassion when I shared distressing news with her, and celebrated my progression to being discharged. Thank you Melissa for your unique ability to release muscle spasms with the deepest message on the face of the earth.
Erica and Jessica, thank you for putting up with my million phone calls to schedule, reschedule, and re-reschedule my appointments. You were both always friendly and never showed any signs of impatience. I have never before been to an office that had the ability to efficiently wait list patients to call in case of a cancellation. this system really helped me a number of times. Thank you Erica and Jessica for being so patient and organized.
I truly want each one of you to know that you all played a valuable part in my success story. I wish all of you the best and pray that you will continue to bless other people with your incredible gifts. I hope to never have the need for physical therapy but if I do, I will surely call Her Health right away.
A Patient with Urinary Incontinence
I am a 22 year old that has bladder incontinence – never thought someone as young as me would have this problem – but with the help of Melissa R. – I have overcome my problem. I can laugh, workout, sneeze, without thinking, “Oh no! What if…?” I loved this experience just because I learned what I can do in the future to increase my bladder strength.
Ode to Her Health PT
Pills and surgery
Didn't do it.
Her Health, PT
Was what got me
And thanks to Jennifer
I figured out
What this bladder of mine
Is all about!
I can sit through Church now
And do my shopping
Without a lot
Of bathroom hopping.
So now I gratefully
That "Her Health PT"
Is the absolute BEST!
With thanks and gratitude,
A Patient with Endometriosis
What can I say, you’ve changed my life!!! A lot of what I’ve through has been medical, but the physical therapy has been the icing on the cake. It truly helped me so much to be where I am today. I’ve been down a very long road and my road has had plenty of potholes. (Physical therapy) and Dr. Marvel have brought me to happiness once again. I really value your knowledge, expertise and guidance…For women reading this testimonial, I want to… give you some advice. DON’T GIVE UP and follow everything your medical team says to do. Ask lots of questions. If you don’t understand the medical terms, ask for clarification and do some research on your own with the internet, library or friends and family. If you have a medical professional who doesn’t give you the time to answer your questions or makes you feel silly or stupid, find another doctor/therapist. Dr. Marvel and Melissa educated me, guided me and answered my many, many questions. They have been my cheerleaders along the way when I have felt there was no end in sight…
A Patient with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
I am still trying to think of the diplomatic language I will use to tell my OB-GYN (20 years, 3 deliveries) how wrong he was when he said I was wasting my time with this. First I learned so much about the muscular structure of my pelvis that I was able to explain mystery muscle spasms, hip pain, and sometimes even abdominal cramps. I have an overactive bladder according to the urologist and I have stress caused IBS with constipation. Learning the connection that a tight muscle in my (?What’s the nice way to say this?) butt had to several other areas of discomfort was fascinating! Also feeling the relief from pain after just a few stretches was great. My tip to other IBS sufferers: My large intestine still functioning for days if I ignore my diet. Even though Zelnorm helps – if the right amount of food isn’t there – nothing happens.
A Patient with Lymphedema
My experience…has been very positive. I received PT…to treat lymphedema caused by axillary node dissection in the treatment of Breast Cancer. The results of the treatment for lymphedema was more than I had anticipated. My primary goal was to find a way to eliminate problems at night sleeping where I would wake up with pain and numbness on the right side. Not only was this accomplished but I also have less swelling around the bra line where I was occasionally experiencing pain. I also was very pleased to notice that my breast was softer and not so leathery. I had thought the firmness in my breast was due to radiation therapy and didn’t realize lymphedema was causing a lot of this problem. I now have home exercises to use for reducing the lymphedema and even my husband was shown techniques for helping the lymphatic flow. I am also now equipped with exercises to help correct my poor posture which also contributes to the problem and has been a concern of mine for years.
A Patient with Lymphedema
After years of dealing with secondary lymphedema in my left leg caused by lymphoma, I had resigned myself to having a swollen, ugly leg. Melissa’s dedication to helping me and her enthusiasm for the treatment process kept me coming back and getting great results. She championed acquiring the home maintenance equipment and garments I need and has given me hope of perhaps even daring to wear “strappy shoes” again one day…for short periods of time, of course! Thanks Melissa, you rock!!! With heartfelt thanks…
Patient With Pelvic Floor Prolapse
My urologist referred me to Her Health for a pelvic floor prolapse after the birth of my second child. Even though I was hopeful that physical therapy would improve my condition, I was nervous because I thought it might be too embarrassing for me. I decided to go through with it and have been seeing Mandy for the past two months. She always makes me feel so comfortable and I look forward to seeing her each week. We have made a lot progress with the prolapse and it is barely noticeable now so I just completed my last appointment for pelvic floor therapy.
I have also been experiencing neck pain in recent years and decided to go to Her Health for that issue as well since I've had such a good experience there. I have already started treatment for my neck with Mandy and I'm sure we can get this under control like we did with the prolapse.
I just want to thank you for creating an environment that makes women feel comfortable coming in for physical therapy, whether it is for a female issue like my prolapse or some other condition. I didn't even know such an office existed until my urologist told me about it. I want to especially thank Mandy for being so wonderful!