The Quest for the Best Eardrum Surgery in the U.S.

John’s Ear Fungus and Perforated Eardrum Story   It was late June when we discovered that John had a fungal infection in his ear. I’m not sure how long he’d had the infection. He’d been complaining about an ear ache off and on for a little while, but it didn’t seem like anything serious. The pain was mild and it would come and go. But one night, on the way home from a trip to the mountains in Colorado, John started complaining about it more. It was really bothering him. So we stopped at a Walmart to see if they had an otoscope for sale. Luckily, they did.   When I looked in John’s ear with the otoscope, I wasn’t expecting to see what I saw. I’d shadowed General Practitioners for several years and so I’d seen inside normal, healthy ears. But John’s ear canal was filled with “mold”, or at least that’s what it looked like. I’d never seen anything like it. Black and white stringy tendrils filled his ear canal. I couldn’t even see his eardrum. A few hours later, the pain was suddenly relieved, but John said he couldn’t hear out of it very well. John’s eardrum had “popped”. We’d discovered the fungal infection in his ear too late.   I regret now that I didn’t just have an otoscope on hand for situations such as this. I might’ve caught John’s ear fungus sooner. Honestly, I’m always surprised to see diagnostic tools like otoscopes on sale because in my youth, such things were not available for purchase. Now, I even bring our little otoscope with us when we travel. If one of us has an earache, I use it with great care so as not to create another hole in the ear. Never stick an otoscope or anything else into the ear willy-nilly. Ear hole surgery, as I learned later, can be a convoluted thing that can lead to huge expenses later, if you’re not careful.   The big expense that I’m talking about is hearing aids. Hearing aids are the product that Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinics sells to make big profits. And if you think about it, the high-profit sale of hearing aids could motivate ENT’s to do a less than spectacular job treating ear problems…but I’ll talk more about that as well as hearing aid alternatives later.   After being given the wrong treatment in Ogallala, NE by a doctor who sprayed an... read more

Interstitial Cystitis Treatment Options for Women Who’ve Tried It All

I’m a healthy person overall. But I’ve had my fair share of health issues. Most of the people who know me probably don’t know that. When problems arise, I tend to be downright secretive about whatever ails me. This blog is my outlet though. I don’t tend to discuss my health problems when they’re afflicting me but I do like to share my experiences with treatments that work so that other people can perhaps find relief for similar problems too.   I’ve written about interstitial cystitis in a previous article that was composed about 2 years ago. It has some of the same information here combined with my experiences with intestinal parasites. Even if you don’t believe you have intestinal parasites, if you have chronic cystitis, you might benefit from reading the article. Two years ago, I didn’t want to believe that I had parasites either, but apparently, most people do have parasites. Treating parasites is relatively painless, affordable, and it can make a huge difference in terms of your overall health. I always recommend a parasite detox using ONE of the following as the first step toward treating chronic interstitial cystitis: 1) Albendazole (I used Valbazen, purchased online at 2) Pyrantel Pamoate  (Also purchased on OR 3) A combination treatment using Wormwood, Black Walnut, and Cloves   That being said, this article, however, addresses interstitial cystitis treatments for bladder irritation that isn’t caused by parasites and that doesn’t respond to a parasite detox protocol…   When I was 4 years old, I tried lifting my dad’s weights. I’d seen him do it and it looked pretty easy. And I loved my dad. I wanted to be like him. As soon as I did it though, I knew it was a mistake. The weights were way too heavy for me and one end of them crashed through the wall. And, I got a hernia.   Of course, my parents didn’t know at first that I’d gotten a hernia. And I didn’t know. I successfully hid the hole in the wall too. For a year, I was plagued with chronic urinary tract infections. My parents took me to a rural doctor who refused to diagnose me with an inguinal hernia even though my mom insisted that this was what was wrong with me. My mom would stand me up on the table and point at the bulge. But the doctor just prescribed more antibiotics and sent me back home—for a year.   Finally, around... read more

Side Effects of Abdominal Mesh for Groin Hernia

Before I write blog posts for AlivenHealthy, I always do keyword research to try to find the best search terms that will help readers find my posts in search engines when they need them. Doing keyword research for health-related issues is always interesting because it can tell me a lot about the trends. For example, while researching keywords for this post, I first researched the words “hernia surgery”. According to the results, few people do a Google search for “hernia surgery”. On the other hand, a LOT of people search for the words, “No Mesh Hernia Surgery”. Why is that?   I have a theory…   When I was about 5 years old, I thought it would be fun to lift weights like my dad did. Unfortunately, in doing so, I ended up with an inguinal hernia. It took some time for my parents to realize that I had the hernia and then, when they took me to the doctor, he refused to diagnose me. I had chronic urinary tract infections for a year before he finally admitted that I needed surgery. This was back in the early 1980’s and, once diagnosed, the surgery was quick and simple. They used general anesthesia, made an incision in my lower abdomen, sewed up the abdominal muscles with stitches, and then sent me back to recovery. Thirty-five years later, after several years of running marathons, training for a black belt in Taekwondo, pregnancy and a C-section surgery, and lifting furniture for 22 different relocations across the country, the incision is still holding strong. I had this traditional surgical procedure back in the 1980’s and my body healed without issue. But today, most doctors don’t even offer traditional hernia surgery to their patients. Instead, doctors offer hernia surgery that uses a mesh “fabric” to close the hole in the abdomen. Many patients don’t realize that they have a choice about whether to get mesh or not until after they’ve had the mesh put into place and it starts causing problems.   Then patients… LOTS of patients apparently based on my keyword research, start searching on Google for “No Mesh Hernia Surgery”.   But I’m hoping this article will be found and read by people who may have just realized that they need hernia repair or people who think that they might have a hernia, but aren’t sure. I’d like to educate the people who haven’t already had the mesh installed in their bodies... read more

On Endovascular Surgery, Fluoroscopy, No Mesh Hernia Surgery, Gallbladder Removal, and the Metal Coil for Intestinal Aneurysms

MY MOM’S STORY   As a medical writer who specializes in writing about controversial topics, I have a good sense of what’s hype and what’s not on the Internet. This ability to recognize the bullshit is really helpful to me in day-to-day life when everyone I love in the world is happy and mostly healthy. It’s easy to sift through all the crap to find information about things like toxins in shampoo, or how eating a gluten-free diet can totally change your life for the better. When there’s no time pinch and no emergency, I can wade through all the misinformation to find the good stuff. But recently, my mom started vomiting blood. She was bleeding profusely from her rectum. She passed out in a pool of blood. It happened very suddenly and there was little to no time to do research and try to figure out the best course of action for her. She was swept up into the hospital and transferred twice to bigger cities for procedures I’d never heard of before. I was on the road, driving or talking to doctors and I was grateful for every bit of information online that helped me and my family make decisions for my mom.   My mom is not someone who watches what she eats. She thinks that alternative medicine is only a last resort and that it’s mostly fluff. Her lifestyle isn’t particularly healthy. But though she and I don’t agree on very many “medical” things, I still wanted to prevent her from being sold on a procedure that might kill her or leave her with a lower quality of life. She was stabilized initially at a tiny rural hospital before being transferred to a slightly better equipped hospital an hour away. There, they discovered that she was bleeding from an area of her small intestine just beyond the duodenum—an area that they couldn’t reach with the technologies available to them. So they transferred her yet again to a bigger hospital in a city four hours away. Again, I was on the road…driving, driving, driving.   At the new hospital, they used an endoscopy to try to find the bleeding. Because she’d vomited blood, the doctors felt like it was likely that the bleeding was coming from an area of the small intestine that was at least close to the stomach. This little piece of information—that she’d vomited blood–was important because it gave the doctors a clue... read more