When dealing with any disease, it is important to have a team of specialists you trust to help you stay healthy. My gastroparesis team of doctors include my primary care physician, gastroenterologist, neurologist, urologist, general surgeon, gastric neurostimulator surgeon, pain doctor, migraine specialist, infectious disease, hematologist and my interventional radiologist. They all work with each other when issues come up about my health. I spent many years bouncing around from one doctor to another, never trusting their intentions, skill or knowledge. This is no longer the case as I have settled in with the best doctors (most part of Swedish Medical Center) who I know are fighting for my health and are well educated in the disease of gastroparesis. For those who are looking for specialists in this field, consider contacting them.

Primary Care PhysicianDr. Eileen Bailey

GastroenterologistDr. David Patterson
Dr. Patterson is my gastroenterologist. He joined VM in 1985, however he now works the Swedish Medical Center. I used to be very reluctant to trust new doctors with anything that regarded my health. With Dr. Patterson, though, I’ve learned to trust again. He is very educated in the disease of gastroparesis as well as many other digestive motility disorders. Dr. Patterson is completely patient oriented and works closely with patients to ensure proper care. He also works closely with one of the only surgeons qualified to place a gastric neurostimulator.

NeurologistDr. Sheena Aurora
Dr. Aurora is my migraine specialist. She is a pain and headache neurologist. I see her for my migraines that happen nearly every day. She performed botox on my head and neck the last time I was in, but other than reducing my wrinkles, it really did nothing for my migraines. She is very busy and successful. I hope that my next appointment in April is successful as well.

Gastric Neurostimulator SurgeonDr. Richard Thirlby
Dr. Thirlby was the surgeon who placed my gastric neurostimulator back in February, 2010. He joined VM in 1987. He is very active in the research of gastrointestinal diseases as well as bariatrics. Dr. Thirlby and his team made me feel comfortable in my decision (as well as the decision of Dr. Patterson) to have a gastric neurostimulator implanted by demonstrating compassion, confidence and knowledge in the disease of gastroparesis.

Interventional RadiologistDr. Justin Siegal
Dr. Siegal is my interventional radiologist. He has placed my last jejunostomy tube, measured my stoma for a new low-profile jejunostomy button tube, and also placed my low-profile jejunostomy button tube. I have built up a tolerance to some of the medication they use for sedation so I made my request known to him, that I would need extra medicine and not to start until I was fully asleep. He had no problem agreeing to those terms and he also followed through.

General SurgeonDr. Lily Chang
Dr. Chang was the surgeon who preformed my emergency exploratory laparotomy after I suffered complications from an endoscopical low-profile tube replacement. I was lucky that Dr. Patterson was quick to realize the emergency. Surgery was needed to correct the bowel perforation and peritonitis as well as surgically place a new feeding tube in place of the one that was damaged. Her demonstrated skill under emergency conditions make me confident in her abilities as a surgeon.

Dr. Una Lee
Dr. Lee is my urologist. I was diagnosed with a neurogenic bladder. While it isn’t a really bad issue right now, it could progress into one. She did mention the stimulator for my bladder but that wouldn’t happen until more problems surfaced. Dr. Lee, however, does have the knowledge and right to suggest the procedure. She is very active in patient treatment and is also very patient oriented. Communication is easy with Dr. Lee, and that is always important when health is concerned.

Headache & MigraineDr. Kate Kennedy

Infectious DiseaseDr. Michael Cairns
Dr. Cairns is an amazing infectious disease doctor. For my last three infections, I have seen him daily while in the hospital. He always has a smile on his face and likes to get to know his patients. He really knows his field and is very easy, as a patient, to work with. With my last infection, I looked forward to his visits every evening before he went home for the day. He just seems like a fun guy in what could be considered, one of the most difficult specialties in medicine. He is partners with Dr. Moss.

Infectious DiseaseDr. Gregory Moss
Dr. Moss is my other infectious disease doctors and works closely with Dr. Cairns. If one isn’t around, the other is. They work out of a side office called Minor and James. Dr. Moss is a very good doctor as well. As a patient, you can always tell who genuinely cares for you and your health and Dr. Moss and Dr. Cairns are two of those types of people. Dr. Moss was the guy in charge when I came to Swedish in septic shock. He was the one who identified the infection type and got me on the right antibiotic. Without the right antibiotic, my temperature remained critically high and survival was very low. I would never doubt or question a decision Dr. Moss and Dr. Cairns have made. They are -that- good and I’m happy to be their patient!

Pain SpecialistDr. Andrew Friedman
Dr. Friedman is a pain doctor that I had briefly a few years back. He is in high demand and appointment times are difficult to come by, like many specialists. I saw him today on recommendation of my PCP and GI. I thought they wished me to see him so he can prescribe my medications but it seems that they merely wish for me to see him as a fall back to them prescribing my medications. I hope they are both clear on what needs to be done so I don’t end up with nothing for my pain.

HospitalistDr. Richard Kadera
Dr. Kadera was my hospitalist while hospitalized at the Issaquah campus every time. He originally came from Virginia Mason, but when Swedish made a big recruitment drive, Dr. Kadera switched over to Swedish with Dr. Patterson and many others. He is a positive asset to the Issaquah campus. He met me each time I was admitted and is the only doctor to ever go to great lengths to connect with his patients in order to understand their position and treat them accordingly. My last admission had me in full septic shock; when the fog lifted enough for me to remember things, my first of him was when he entered my dark room, me still ventilated, and sat beside my bed and cried for me. By this time, I have had many visits with him. I am just a bit older than his own daughter but that is where he places me in his attempts to understand what I might be going through as well as those around me. When he cried that night, he felt as everyone else did, frightened at the real possibility that I might not make it through the current infection. He did everything in his power, to make sure I was physically comfortable. If I could have him as my PCP, I would. He is the only one I feel truly understands me and all of his other patients. Just as I looked forward to the visits of my infectious disease doctors, I looked forward to him visiting me. He never woke me up as everyone else did (full lights on and loud slow speaking voices just as I was getting to sleep after being awake in pain all night), he respected me, my choices and my rights. I love this guy and whenever I find myself at the Issaquah campus, for check-ups or follow-ups or even for hospital stays, I seek out Dr. Kadera for a chat. There is no other internist that I would want or even consider besides Dr. Kadera. He truly is a special and amazing doctor that I have been lucky to have crossed paths with.

CardiologistDr. Elizabeth Chan
Dr. Chan is a wonderful cardiologist. I see her regularly so as to stay on top of some of my heart problems that I believe to be caused or associated with my intestinal problems. Maybe from prolonged malnutrition. She is very patient oriented and out of all the doctors I have left in Virginia Mason, I have kept her on my team because I am confident in her skills as a doctor. I have had enough appointments with Dr. Chan that allow me to have this confidence. I see her again this week, so we will see what has come of my repeated and long heart monitoring tests.

SleepMedicineDr. William J. DePaso
Dr. DePaso is my sleep specialist. He is helping me get into a better sleeping schedule as the one I have (if you can call it a schedule) is horribly off. Dr. DePaso seems to be very active in trying to come up with solutions. We have done two sleeping studies, numerous monitoring and journaling but we have yet to find a solution. Right now I’m on a new medication that is supposed to help me be more alert and able to do more physical activities so that I am more tired and ready for sleep. It is called Metadate CD. I just started taking it and haven’t figured out if it is working. I return to Dr. DePaso in a month.

EpilepsyDr. Jehuda Sepkuty

Other Specialty Doctors that help form my team

PerinatologistDr. Brigit Brock
Dr. Brigit Brock is works with the Obstetrix Medical Group in Seattle working in maternal-fetal medicine. In other words, she is a high-risk OB/GYN. I was referred to her by my fertility specialist doctor because of my conditions of low weight, GP, pacer, tubes and previous myomectomy for 10cm fibroids. This doctor is wonderful. She is a tell-it-to-you-straight kind of doctor and I love those. Sometimes it is hard to hear everything she has to say but she remained positive and upbeat and reassured me that I can have kids. I will check in again with her in January 2011.

Dr. Lora Shahine
Dr. Lora Shahine is my Fertility Specialist. She is brilliant. Dr. Shahine is so kind and warm and truly feels your distress or pain and frustration during the whole pregnancy process. She has not worked with patients like me who have so many different things going on, and has taken it upon herself to do as much research into my conditions as possible. Dr. Shahine has also contacted all my other doctors (Dr. Patterson, Dr. Rakotz, and Dr. Cari Martin) to make sure they all were on the same page. Looks like with everyone’s help I can move forward!

  • 8 Responses

  • Sarah S says...

    first time here and just wanted to stop by to say hi all.

  • Linda L says...

    I just stumbled across this today…I have been recently diagnosed and I am very scared. I had my colon removed in 2008 so anything that has to deal with my tummy I am frightened by. My doctor prescribed Reglan and I thought I was going to have a nervous breakdown and was immediately taken off and prescribed Domperidone.
    I am menopausal and I have been crying a lot without any support from my spouse. My PCP has prescribed Xanax for my anxiety and depression. I have Bursitis in both hips and have back problems in my L4/L5 which I have been receiving epidurals for the pain.
    I cannot get into a specialist until June 1st and I don’t know if I can see him or not since he is NOT in my network. Any help you could give me or encouragement would be greatly appreciated.

  • Kirby says...

    Hmm…well, I’m not quite sure what to do. I understand very much the depression and anxiety that goes along with having chronic illnesses and am on medication myself. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with Xanax. I would suggest seeing a psychiatrist because they are better at prescribing medications for that sort of thing plus they are helpful to listen to any problems you may be experiencing since your husband doesn’t seem to want to support you in this way. I see both a therapist and a psychiatrist and from her I get my medicine to help me sleep (Lunesta), anxiety (Ativan), and depression (Effexor). All of those are very helpful for me to control my emotional state through difficult times. And therapy helps when I just need someone unconnected with anyone else, to talk to, who would have no reservations about me or pass judgement. There is no shame in visiting these people. Chronic illness and pain is a difficult problem and really is too much for one person to handle.

    As for your hip pain, I would very much support investigation into the spinal cord neurostimulator. You would need to find a doctor who would be willing and able to place the device and there be many steps you would have to go through before even the trial would be suggested but I think it would be a positive step, to find a pain doctor who specializes in maybe back problems and is associated with the spinal cord neurostimulator program. You can search your area on the medtronics website for a doctor who qualifies. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. You’re not alone. You can tell by exploring this site that you are not alone. Always remember that!

  • IRIS says...

    I wish there were more doctors in West Australia that could help me with my Gastroparesis

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  • Melissa says...

    It is so hard to find people that know what I’m going through.I am a chronic migraine sufferer, I have psuedo tumor cerebri, optic nerve drusen, hypertension, and now gastroparesis. It sucks, I suffer every day but still push myself to do things. Like go fishing with my 7yr old son & husband, go to the park, go swimming and household chores. It is a battle every day. And trying to find things that I can eat & it taste good is a hard task. Plus having to record all this crap sucks. Thank you for letting me vent a little. Lol. I wouldn’t mind talking to someone with these issues also.
    Thank you,

  • joann says...

    Hi, My mum lives in Ireland and suffers with severe gastoparesis and acid reflux. she has a PEJ feeding tube insitu since last year but gets bad flares up of the paresis on a regular basis. We are very willing to travel out of Ireland to seek professionals who have experience in this condition as we have travelled all of Ireland now. Please please advise. Thank you soo much. Joanne Murphy.

  • Wendy says...

    Thank you for posting info on the backpack for TPN. I have been on TPN for almost a year now and I find it hard to find a good backpack that actually works out for everything I need it to do.

    I also have a team of doctors for my severe gastroparesis, esophageal and intestinal motility disorders, severe migraines, autonomic dysfunction disorder, osteoarthritis in both of my hips, pain management specialist and a gi that specializes in the celiac plexus block procedure for gastroparesis pain.

    One thing I found kind of interesting is that you live in Ireland and I live in the USA however we both have the same migraine specialist. I absolutely loved Dr Aurora when I saw her at Stanford medical center. She is a very caring and compassionate doctor.

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