Surgery Buds 

After 30 years of dealing with acid reflux and trying different medications, Michelle Richardson finally decided to treat the problem with surgery.

She spoke to a neighbor who recommended that she see the same local surgeon who helped him. Dr. Adrian Park, of Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center (LHAAMC), Michelle learned, is internationally known as a leading authority in minimally invasive surgery.

Feeling reassured, Michelle started the process to take control of her health.

A few weeks before surgery, she met with Registered Dietitian Allison Maurer to go over a special diet in preparation for her surgery. Allison also told Michelle about an online support group established for patients of Dr. Park.

“We created this forum to foster a community of sharing and encouragement among patients,” says Dr. Park. “The opportunity to connect with others who have been down this path before them and even those who are making the journey in parallel with them often provides great comfort and reassurance.”

Michelle signed up and posted that her surgery date was coming up. She quickly heard back from Karen Pearl. The two shared the same date for surgery and decided to keep in touch.

They texted almost daily. “It made me feel like I was not alone,” Michelle says.

“The group was really helpful because I could gain perspective from actual patients who had already had the procedure,” adds Karen.

On the day of their surgery, Michelle and Karen saw each other in person for the first time.

“That was wonderful, not only to see each other in person but also know that the surgery was behind us. It was a day to celebrate,” Karen says.

The two planned their follow-up appointments on the same day and had lunch together before going to Dr. Park’s office.

“I think of her as my ‘surgery bud,’” Michelle says.