Women’s Health Patient Stories
- Christine Bjelde – Lucky to Have Found the Right Doctor
- Jeannie Strasser – The Right Doctor Made a World of Difference
- Mary Krueger – When Enough is Enough
- Janet Brown – Freedom to Enjoy her Grandkids
- Tina Davis – More Fun With Family Ahead
- Phyllis Keller – Timing Surgery to Suit Her Life Was Helpful
- Denver and Roberta Kauffman – An End to Heartbreaking History of Miscarriages
- Sharon Schraper – A New Start
Christine Bjelde Feels Lucky to Have Found the Right Doctor
When Christine Bjelde began experiencing pelvic pain on her left side, her primary doctor referred her to OB / GYN, Dr. Janice Alexander.
“I went from having a little pain, to needing surgery,” Christine said. “With all that I had going on, my mind quickly jumped to the worst possible thing. Dr. Alexander was super nice and put me at ease.”
With some significant health issues to address, Dr. Alexander served as Christine’s confidante and sounding board. “She is more like a friend than a doctor,” Christine said. “I can talk to her about anything. When she knew that I was worried, she used humor to defray the situation.”
After successful surgery, Christine had a one night stay at the Richland Hospital. There she received excellent care from the team on the medical/surgical unit. She was surprised that after having multiple gynecological procedures, she experienced no pain. Today, she is healing quickly. “I have never felt so good,” she said.
Dr. Alexander is a Board Certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist. She believes in “whole person” care that brings you the best options for disease prevention and wellness promotion. She offers a wide range of gynecological services including new, minimally invasive women’s health procedures.
“We are so lucky to have Dr. Alexander here in Richland Center,” Christine said. “I would
recommend her to anyone needing that kind of care.”
The Right Doctor Made a World of Difference to Jeannie Strasser
For 20 years, Jeannie Strasser’s monthly menstrual cycle triggered severe migraines. “The last time I had my period, the migraine I got put me in the hospital for a week,” she said.
With the severity of the migraine, Jeannie was unable to hold down food or water. Her hospitalization was a result of dehydration. At the time, she was diagnosed with P.A.M. (Period Associated Migraines) and started taking medication during her periods to lessen the symptoms. Eventually, she was fitted with a Mirena I.U.D. “That made my life better initially,” she said.
Recently, however, she began suffering from mood swings, hot flashes, horrible cramping and urinary tract infections. “It was PMS, pregnancy, and menopause all at once,” she said. Wondering what was going on, she went to see Dr. Jillian Scherer who referred her to OB / GYN, Dr. Janice Alexander. “Dr. Alexander immediately knew that my IUD had displaced,” Jeannie said. “Being referred to the right doctor for what was going on made all the difference in the world. Dr. Alexander made me feel at ease.”
Together Dr. Alexander and Jeannie created a plan for Jeannie to get her life back. Jeannie had outpatient, hysteroscopic surgery at the Richland Hospital. Using a hysteroscope inserted into Jeannie’s uterus through her vagina, Dr. Alexander performed a tubal ligation and endometrial ablation.
Jeannie took pain medication for a day after her surgery and returned to work in just two weeks. “I decided no more babies and no more migraines,” she said. “I feel great.”
When Enough is Enough
Mary Krueger had pelvic floor reconstruction surgery, performed by OB/GYN and surgeon, Dr. Janice Alexander at the Richland Hospital. She is sharing her story so that other women considering this procedure understand that the outcome can improve their life. And, Mary’s experience with Dr. Alexander and the Richland Hospital was exceptional.
Initially, Mary was hesitant to have surgery. She lived with bladder problems for several years before she decided to go through with the procedure. Though her condition did not keep her from doing the things that she enjoyed, it did make life very uncomfortable.
Dr. Alexander worked with Mary to try to find ways to manage her condition without surgery. After trying several options which produced some relief but did not solve the problem, Mary decided that enough was enough.
“Dr. Alexander was very patient with me as we tried several options to avoid surgery but it got to the point where I felt it was the only solution for me. I was always uncomfortable and it was very annoying,” Mary said.
After Dr. Alexander performed Pelvic Floor Reconstruction surgery on Mary, she had immediate relief. “I have my life back,” she said. “I can garden and do other activities without the issues that used to be so frustrating for me.”
Mary stayed overnight on the Richland Hospital med/surg unit and had a very good experience with the team there.
“Everyone at the Richland Hospital was wonderful.”– Mary Krueger
Freedom to Enjoy her Grandkids
Janet Brown had been battling an embarrassing health issue for years. As a grandmother, the unpredictability of her condition robbed her of opportunities to spend time with the ones she loved the most. Hoping to find relief, she had tried different things including two different bladder slings and physical therapy, but had not found relief. When she learned of the expertise of Richland Hospital OB / GYN, Dr. Janice Alexander, Janet said she found renewed hope.
“I had gone to Dr. Alexander for a totally unrelated issue. She questioned me about my slings, therapy, and the medication I had taken to try and resolve my issue. I told her that my problems were getting worse and that is when Dr. Alexander told me about Interstim.”
Dr. Alexander talked to Janet about Interstim, which is a small, pacemaker like device that stimulates a person’s sacral nerves with mild electrical pulses. Sacral nerves are the spinal nerves located in your pelvis that control your bladder, bowel, rectum and the muscles related to your urinary and anal functions.
Before talking to Dr. Alexander, Janet just figured that she would have to live with her condition. “Talking with Dr. Alexander gave me new hope. I wanted to get started right away! Everything went great,” Janet said. “I had the temporary Interstim which worked well and then had the permanent device implanted.”
Janet had great things to say about the surgeries as well. Rachel Shannon Goodrich was Janet’s anesthetist for both procedures. “She really looked out for my comfort. She was sweet and so were the other nurses in surgery and in outpatient. I don’t remember ever laughing while prepping for a surgery. I was very relaxed.”
Today, Janet is back to enjoying her active lifestyle and spending time with her kids and grandkids. “It was very embarrassing,” Janet said. “I am so glad that I met Dr. Alexander and she was able to help me.”
More Fun With Family Ahead
Tina Davis says it was a radio ad she heard that helped her make the decision to have her latest procedure. “I couldn’t cough or sneeze without having problems,” she said. “Then, I heard Monica Kershner on a radio ad and asked her about her experience at Richland Hospital. She said – Do It!”
Tina struggled with walking or enjoying time with her family. “Activities were nearly impossible,” she said. She had tried different things to help with her issues, but had not found the success she wanted. After an ultrasound, Richland Hospital OB/GYN, Dr. Janice Alexander found the cause of Tina’s problems. Her uterus was lying on her bladder and the pressure made coughing and sneezing huge issues.
Tina works at UW Hospital and Clinics in Madison, but says she wanted to stay close to home for the procedure. “Honestly, I wouldn’t even consider going to UW,” she says.
“Dr. Alexander and the surgical team were just great. Bryan McCarvel’s bedside manner was impeccable.” Tina stayed overnight at the Richland Hospital. It was her first stay with us since the renovation project. “After the remodel, it really doesn’t look like a hospital anymore,” she said. “No green or white tiles. There is lots of natural light and warm colors. It is just beautiful.” Tina compared her stay on the Richland Hospital Med/Surg unit to that of a stay at a spa. “The nurses were so attentive. They were genuinely warm and comforting and gave care from the heart,” she said.
Dr. Balink stopped in to see her during her stay too. “Over the years, Dr. Balink has become my friend as much as my doctor. It was really nice to see her after my procedure,” Tina said.
While she recovers, Tina is getting iron infusions at the Kraemer Center in the Richland Hospital. “This is another beautiful space,” she said.
Tina is feeling much better and getting stronger every day. She can’t wait until she is all healed up. She plans to race her 13 year old daughter and go biking and walking. “I want to have fun and live my life,” she said. “And I don’t want to live it around my bladder.”
Excellent Care at The Richland Hospital Ends a Heartbreaking History of Miscarriages
Denver and Roberta Kauffman are the glowing, proud parents of Audra Maxine Kauffman. “She is our perfect, beautiful baby,” Roberta said.
About a year ago, Roberta had her fourth miscarriage in 7 pregnancies. Shortly after that, she remembers reading a story about Richland Hospital’s OB/GYN Dr. Janice Alexander in the hospital’s newsletter, Hospital Happenings. “The story said Dr. Alexander had experience treating people with hormone imbalance and I thought, I bet my hormones are causing my problems,” Roberta said.
When Roberta and Denver found out they were expecting, Dr. Alexander began monitoring of the situation. “She is totally dedicated to the work she is doing,” Roberta said. “For Dr. Alexander and Marn (Marn Kepler is Dr. Alexander’s Medical Assistant), it is definitely about the patient.” “I really enjoy taking care of the whole person, ” Dr. Alexander said.
Roberta’s pregnancy with Audra Maxine was not without complications. Early on, Roberta took things easy and just hoped for the best. Then, lab results determined that she was low on progesterone and Dr. Alexander put her on progesterone. Next, Dr. Alexander performed a cervical cerclage – the placement of stitches in the cervix to hold it closed. It is a procedure used to keep a weak cervix from opening too early which can cause preterm labor and delivery.
“Our goal was to get to 24 weeks so that my baby could live,” Roberta said. “Christmas was 24 weeks, my birthday was 30 weeks, and I just kept looking ahead. I wanted to have this baby at the Richland Hospital with Dr. Alexander. I didn’t want to have to go to Madison.”
Throughout her pregnancy the obstetrics team monitored the baby’s growth with ultrasounds. At 36 weeks the baby’s growth stopped and Dr. Alexander took out the cerclage and took Roberta off of progesterone. Audra Maxine was born just two weeks premature and perfectly healthy.
“It is so sad when you miscarry and you are told, there is nothing wrong. You wonder why and what could have been done?” Roberta said. “Dr. Alexander got us answers and worked really hard to make this miracle childbirth happen.”
Timing Surgery to Suit Her Life Was Helpful
Phyllis Keller has a lot of praise for Richland Hospital OB/GYN Janice Alexander. “She is a very caring person,” she said. “She cares about you as a person. She always takes time and she even called me at home on a Sunday night.”
She had been working with Dr. Alexander for some time. Unable to run or cough or sneeze without problems, Phyllis was just trying to find the best way of handling things until she could have the gynecological surgery she needed. Ladies she had talked to told her that she would be glad when she had the procedure done. Phyllis didn’t doubt them, it was simply not an option until recently.
“I couldn’t have surgery before because I was taking care of my husband,” Phyllis said. “I knew during recovery, I would not be able to lift anything and part of caring for Bun was being able to lift him out of chairs and into and out of cars.” When her husband passed away, Phyllis made the decision to move to town. Again, she didn’t have time for surgery and moving meant bending over and lifting boxes. She wanted to wait until she had the opportunity to follow her restrictions and give her body the time and rest it needed to heal.
“I was on restrictions. No snow shoveling and no lifting,” she said. For Phyllis, that was quite a change. She has always been a self-sufficient, independent lady. When asked if it was worth it? She said, “Oh, my yes. I can let others do those things. I am very happy I had this done.”
With the time that it took for Phyllis to be in a position to have surgery came ample time to talk with Dr. Alexander. “She explains everything well and goes over it step by step and then asks if you have any questions,” she said. “I knew what was going to happen and she makes you feel comfortable, really putting you at ease.”
Right after surgery she said, “It was wonderful. I had no pain after the procedure at all. The nurses were wonderful.”
Phyllis believes that the key to her recovery was the first three weeks after surgery. Her daughter and son stayed with her during the first part of her recovery to make sure she behaved herself. She used a picker to grab things on the ground because she couldn’t bend over to pick things up. She couldn’t sweep or vacuum the floor. And, she couldn’t drive her car.
Today, Phyllis is doing great. She is looking forward to warmer weather and life in her new little house.
A New Start
Sharon Schaper said she doesn’t recall being sick a day in her life until she woke up unable to breathe and asked her husband to call the ambulance one night.
“I was always healthy, I rarely even got headaches,” Sharon recalls. “That night, I didn’t have chest pain or a headache, and I didn’t have pressure, I just could not catch my breath.”
Sharon was taken to the Richland Hospital by ambulance. Once there, tests confirmed that she was having heart problems. Sharon was referred by her primary physician, Dr. Christine Richards to Cardiologist, Dr. Moses.
“When I went to Madison, I thought I would be getting stents, but my veins were too damaged. I smoked for 57 years and that did a lot of damage to my heart and veins. I ended up having quadruple bypass surgery,” Sharon said.
When she was cleared to participate, Sharon began the 12 week Cardiac Rehab program at The Richland Hospital. “The girls in cardiac rehab are terrific. You could not find a better group.”
Sharon has also had procedures done on the veins in her legs. “The surgeon told me that I needed to quit smoking because my veins were in such bad shape,” she said. “I quit that day over a year ago. Now, I have no desire to smoke.”
“Our daughters, grandchildren, and great grandchildren are our world. We spend as much time with them as we can,” Sharon said. “I thank God for the Richland Hospital. We couldn’t ask for better care than we get right here in Richland Center.