Women Physicians
GYN Medical Group
Care of Women by Women

Index   --   WPGYN Newsletter  --  Volume 11, Issue 2,  April 2014

Parking Perils
Secure Messaging Through Patient Fusion
How to Register for Patient Fusion
Know Your Health Risk!
Loving An Addict
Women's Health Forum at El Camino-Los Gatos

Parking Perils


Blood pressures have been going up in our office as patients arrive frenzied and frustrated from spending 20 minutes looking for a parking place.  And then blood pressures go up at Women Physicians because if we see a patient who arrives 20 minutes late we will invariably be that much later for all the subsequent patients.  Please take this into account when allowing time for your appointments.  A few suggestions:

· Use valet parking at the main entrance to the hospital.

· Park at Cuesta Park (NOT the YMCA) and walk over.  That only takes 10 minutes and you get 10 minutes worth of exercise.

· Arrive 30 minutes before your appointment time and listen to books on tape or a good radio program as you search for a parking place so that you enjoy that time and don't feel rushed.

· Call the El Camino administration and ask them to fix this problem, e.g. El Camino staff may have to park off campus as they did while construction was going on.


Secure Messaging through Patient Fusion

We can now offer secure electronic messaging with our patients through our electronic medical records.  You must first sign up for Patient Fusion which also lets you see some of your lab results, vaccinations, and diagnoses.  The messaging is a newly launched program so there may be a few hiccups that need to be ironed out.  Please do not send any urgent messages that require answers sooner than 2 business days.  Messages sent through Patient Fusion should be short and require no more than short responses – such as prescription refills or yes or no questions.  If a question requires a significant chart review or complex decision making, then an appointment would be required.  Examples would include prescribing a new medicine or a discussion of new symptoms or changing symptoms with an existing condition. Otherwise, email communication might generate a charge similar to a telephone consultation.  Insurance only reimburses face-to-face interactions.

Please direct your question to the most appropriate staff member –

Mandi - scheduling issues
Michelle - medication /symptom issues
Patty - billing issues

Don't forget that you can now schedule online with Dr. Sutherland or Barbara Dehn.

And you can save time by completing your annual history form at home before your appointment.

How to Register for Patient Fusion


Currently, in order to register for Patient Fusion, we must enable your account.  You can request this by email, phone or in person.  Mandi will be happy to help.  She will give you a PIN number and you will receive an email that will ask for that PIN number.  You then develop your own password for the site. 


There are some changes coming soon that will simplify this procedure and allow you to register more automatically on-line.  The process will require your email address, phone number and birth date.  These must be the same ones we have on file for you in order to confirm your identity to begin the registration process. 


Know Your Health Risk!


Want to Learn More About Which Diseases Could Be in Your Future?

And How to Reduce Your Risk?


It's always nice when win-win opportunities come along.  The world of genomics and personalized medicine is exploding with new possibilities and you can be part of that momentum.


I am currently participating in a beta launch for a company that has done an outstanding job of combining information on your lifestyle, your labs, your family history, and your genotyping to identify which diseases are most likely to specifically affect you.  They focus on “actionable” changes – how you can modify your risks.  They understand that physicians know their patients best, so we can walk you through the needed lifestyle changes to reduce risks of common complex diseases (heart disease, alzheimers, diabetes, cancer, etc.).


Focus -  Focus is on common complex diseases which have a genetic component as well as a lifestyle and environmental component.  They are the most common causes of mordity and mortality. 

Genetic testing performed   Genotyping.  This means only selected spots along your DNA are looked at.  These are spots that have been associated with common complex diseases.  This is similar to the testing done by 23andMe.  If you have already had 23andMe testing, it can be uploaded into the program.

Advantages - Inexpensive, informative, motivating.  Analysis is very specific to your current lifestyle, physical characteristics, and genetics.  You can easily predict how changes in your nutrition, weight, or labs, will change your risks.  It syncs with fitbit so your exercise can be automatically uploaded.  Risk analysis comes from evidence based medicine and citations are included. 

Limitations - This platform only looks at certain specific genetic changes.  It does not look for rare mutations (<1%) like the BRCA mutation for breast cancer, Lynch syndrome for colon cancer, or genes associated with sudden death. It does not screen for carriers of recessive diseases like cystic fibrosis or spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The genetics of common complex diseases are not fully understood, so many of the studies show a relationship but not necessarily a cause and effect.

Cost - Program is free for 1 yr but may require the cost of genotyping (if not already done) of $130 and the cost of discussion with the physician (me!) which could be up to one hour of time.

In return for your participation, the company will want to have your feedback on the program.  If you have questions or are interested in participating, please email me at drkatherinesutherlandgyn@gmail.com or call the office at 650-988-7550.

In the interest of full disclosure, I get no financial benefits from the company with which I am doing the beta project. 

Loving an Addict

By Therese Frey

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

You may be the spouse, parent, child, sibling, friend or partner to one of the estimated 22 million adults and teens struggling with drug or alcohol addiction in the United States.  All relationships are unique and dynamic in and of themselves and the type of connection a person has with an addict can vary greatly depending on a number of factors such as geographic proximity, familial ties or emotional bonds.  Whatever the relationship, clearly the ideal scenario would be for the addict to choose sobriety.  While the desire for sobriety needs to be initiated by the addict, the choice of a loved one to make positive changes to him or herself and the way they interact in the relationship with the addict can have a domino effect on the addict’s own journey to sobriety.


If you are involved in a tightly woven relationship with your addicted loved one, you may spend much of your time and energy, not to mention resources, focused on keeping your addict safe while hoping they will commit to a clean and sober lifestyle.  Somewhere in the midst of chaos and devotion, it is not uncommon for the loved one to all but neglect their own physical and emotional wellbeing.


In fact, caretakers of those with an addictive disorder are at higher risk for suffering depression and anxiety, in addition to overall poor physical health, than those caring for loved ones with a chronic medical condition such as dementia, kidney disease and the like.  Why?  Because life with an addict is often filled with uncertainty, confusion, anxiety, stress, guilt, shame, self-blame, fear and anger with a sprinkling of hope that the addict will enter treatment.


The most important gift you can give yourself and your addict is to be kinder and gentler with yourself in order to gain the strength necessary to weather whatever the future brings.  It is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.  Do what you can when you can but if you choose to do something every day you will likely begin to feel newfound strength.


Eight Steps You Really Can Do To Take Care of Yourself


Educate yourself.   Learn as much as you can about the addiction of your loved one’s choice.  The more facts you know, the more confident you will be in your ability to support yourself and your loved one through their journey.  Be careful to distinguish between facts and opinions.  The experience and opinions of friends are not the same as those of professionals and data.


Practice caregiving and not caretaking.   There is a distinct difference between caregiving and caretaking.  Caretaking feels stressful, exhausting and frustrating while caregiving feels right and inspiring.  For example, caretakers start fixing when a problem arises for someone else; caregivers empathize fully, letting the other person know they are not alone and wait to be asked to help.  Caretaking crosses boundaries while caregiving honors them.  Caretakers don’t practice self-care because they mistakenly believe it is a selfish.  Caregivers know that self-care provides them the strength and wellbeing to provide healthy support to those around them.  If you find you are often caretaking rather than caregiving, being mindful of the difference and working toward caregiving can foster more peace and contentment within yourself and your relationships with others.


Show up.  Taking care of your responsibilities is vital to your wellbeing. Whether it’s a real paycheck, an emotional paycheck or a confirmation that you are doing something that is important to you, you need to continue doing it.  It will validate your sense of purpose.  If you have children or other loved ones who rely on you, make sure you are present and involved in your relationships with them.


Replenish yourself.  Stress not only affects the way you think but it manifests itself in your body.  It is important to nurture your mind, body and spirit with some kind of physical or mental regimen every day.  For some, that might be a walk or few minutes of stretching.  Others might find peace in yoga, meditation or prayer.


Find your passion.  Chances are you have put aside or put off activities or hobbies that bring you fulfillment and joy.  Or, perhaps you have put off the idea of learning something new or starting an activity because you haven’t had time.  Not only do interests and activities provide a strong sense of personal accomplishment, they can be a lifesaver through difficult times.


Personal mantra.  Favorite sayings or mantras can shape who we are and become our personal signature.  Most importantly, they can act as a mental comfort or daily reminder.  “Listen and learn,” “Let it begin with me,” “Keep it simple,” “I’m doing the best I can,” are examples of sayings that can comfort you through a challenging day or situation.  Find sayings that are positive and speak to who you are and the way you would like to live your life.  Begin the process of incorporating them into your daily life.


Volunteer work.  It can be a peaceful breath of fresh air to do simple things for others without fear of judgment but rather heartfelt appreciation.  It can allow you to focus on what you do have rather than what you don’t.


Reach out for support.  Isolating one’s self and withdrawing from any support are hallmark characteristics of a loved one of an addict.  Perhaps the single most important thing you can do for yourself is to reach out for support.  While friends and family can provide well-intended advice and guidance, your struggles regarding your addict could dominate the relationships and become too much of a burden for family and friends to handle.  Luckily, there are a number of resources available to not only provide you much needed emotional support, but can also provide you up-to-date data regarding your addict’s substance, resources and treatment options.  Look in your area for Al-Anon (friend and families of alcoholics/addicts), Alateen (teenage friends and family of alcoholics/addicts), or Coda (Codependents Anonymous) in your area.  Support groups are not for everybody.  If that is the case for you, consider seeking professional counseling from a licensed marriage and family therapist or addiction specialist who can support you through your journey with dignity, respect and a guiding hand.


“You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.”
Bob Marley





Therese Frey, MA, LMFT, is a private counselor who specializes in working with clients who are in relationships with addicts.  Her second area of speciality are clients who are caregivers for loved ones with chronic diseases, like cancer.  Therese was born and raised in the Bay Area  and received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology at the University of San Francisco.  She is married, and the mother of two kids and two dogs.  You can contact her at:

 155 E. Campbell Avenue, Suite 219, Campbell, CA 95008          408/242-8743          freytherapy@gmail.com


Women's Health Forum at El Camino Los Gatos


The annual Women’s Health Forum will be taking place at the Los Gatos campus on Saturday, April 26, 2014.  This is is an educational event for women who are focused on maintaining and improving their health. It's fun, informative, interactive, and free!


The schedule will include yoga warm-up, talks on women’s health topics, lunch, health fair, and health screenings. 


Register now!


El Camino Women's Medical Group provides comprehensive Obstetric & Gynecologic care for patients throughout the Bay Area. Minimally invasive surgery, infertility, women's mental health, and the MonaLisa Touch are just a few of the specialized services we offer.
The MonaLisa Touch treatment is available at El Camino Women's Medical Group. Call the office (650-396-8110) or email Shar (Shar@ElCaminoWomen.com) for more information.
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