Office Visits with Dr. V
Episode 11:Dr. V‘s COVID Epiphany and The Great Resignation

Episode 11:Dr. V‘s COVID Epiphany and The Great Resignation

October 16, 2021

The global pandemic caused by Covid changed the course of my life.  The hustle and grind of a thriving Ob/Gyn practice was no longer appealing after I realized what was most important to me.  Millions of other Americans have made the same choice to leave their jobs, which is being called The Great Resignation.  Living out my priorities has boosted my health and happiness, which has started me on a path to doing and achieving things I never thought possible.  Be inspired by following your heart's desire.

Episode 10:  Women’s Mental Health

Episode 10: Women’s Mental Health

March 12, 2021

Postpartum Depression. Anxiety. Mental illness.  The shame and silence around these topics is heart breaking, especially when there is a way out.  Dr. V has an eye opening discussion with her friend and neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Samantha Suffren of Women's Transitional Healthcare in Charlotte, NC.  Dr. Suffren freely shares her encounter with postpartum depression and how to recognize when your unhappiness may be something more serious.  She also educates us on how to use the healthcare system to address our mental health needs. 

Episode 9: Conversations for Our Daughters

Episode 9: Conversations for Our Daughters

February 19, 2021

Patients always ask me, “When should my daughter start going to the ob/gyn?” Or “she has _____ and I want her to see you.”  Most often, if your daughter has a gynecologic problem, her first stop should not be the Ob/Gyn.  It should be the pediatrician. This episode addresses the concerns my patients have about their daughters.  Three caring, compassionate pediatric providers answer our questions.  Join Tasha Dial, MD, Kirsten Goolsby, PA and Racquel Tonuzi, MD for an enlightening view into the health issues of our children.

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03:33 - Puberty can be a really confusing time for adolescents, especially girls. With this in mind, it’s extremely important to talk to your kids about puberty from a very young age. This makes them psychologically prepared for the changes that they will experience and makes it easier for them to open up on any issues they might encounter. Unfortunately, many parents don’t know how to talk about these issues with their kids, and that’s why Dr. V. invited three experts for this episode to talk you through the entire process. 

05:19 - Sadly, birth control automatically equals sex for most people. However, that’s far from the truth. From a medical perspective, birth control methods have two main uses, prevent pregnancy and take control of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Some girls experience horrendous menstrual cycles, which, for a teenager, can be overwhelming. So, if your child’s quality of life is being affected by her menses, it’s time you considered using some type of birth control.

12:20 - The pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, yet we seem to forget a group of people that have also been severely affected, our kids. Sometimes parents rarely recognize that their kids are suffering from mental health issues until it’s too late. Dr. V. believes that responsible parents can never be too busy for their kids. It’s your duty as a parent to monitor your kids and look out for worrying signs such as withdrawal or self-harm. That said, always try and create a conducive environment to have those difficult conversations. And if your child approaches you with troubling topics, the least you can do is lend a listening ear. 

16:42 - We all know that puberty is characterized by several changes such as mood swings. So, how can parents differentiate and deal with puberty mood swings and depression-related mood swings? Dr. V. believes that mothers need to cultivate that unique mother-daughter relationship where girls can comfortably open up to their mothers. This way, you’ll be able to teach your daughters reasonable ways to articulate their frustrations and fears. Nonetheless, sometimes things can get a little tense, and it’s up to you to give your child time to cool off, which allows you to have meaningful conversations. 

20:09 - Even with its proven track record, some people are yet to adopt the HPV vaccine fully. This is because there are still a lot of misconceptions and lies surrounding the vaccine. The good news is that the past couple of years have witnessed a reduced number of cervical cancer cases. If you are the parent of a kid below the age of 15, make it a point to get him or her vaccinated. Vaccines act as preventive measures; thus, it would be best if you protected your kid while you still have control over their decisions. 

26:30 - Even though we all enjoy technological advancements, some aspects of technology, like social media, still need monitoring. Without the appropriate monitoring, your kids can and will consume content that we’d otherwise not tolerate. Even though you’d like to give your kids some privacy, it still makes sense to monitor the type of content they are into. Start by teaching them how to safely use the internet, and if possible, block some apps and websites on their phones. 

33:20 - Over the last two years, especially during lockdowns, the number of obese children has dramatically increased in the U.S. However, the problem has been with us ever since Michelle Obama was First Lady, and it will continue plaguing us unless we do something about it. Dealing with child obesity has to start with the type of foods we make available in our houses.

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Episode 8:  Menopause: Transition not Tragedy

Episode 8: Menopause: Transition not Tragedy

February 6, 2021

Menopause. Perimenopause. Do you have to be sweaty, moody, forgetful with a spare tire around your waist? Not necessarily.  The average age of menopause is 51, some start before and some start after.  Learn how you can make this time a new phase of life and not a hardship.

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00:30 - For the most part, both men and women view menopause as a death sentence. The misconceptions, rumors, and negative beliefs associated with menopause make it an unbearable concept once a woman hits 45. Well, it’s not a death sentence, neither is it a disease, and Dr. V. is here to tell you why it’s perfectly normal to have pre and post-menopausal symptoms. 

 

01:30 - Medically, menopause is described as a one-year period when a woman fails to experience her regular menstrual flow. The ovaries are one of the places where estrogen is made, and by the time a woman hits menopause, estrogen levels will have gradually dropped by a whopping 95%. Consequently, the uterine wall, which develops as a result of estrogen stimulation, does not grow as much as it used to. Thus, a woman’s periods become lighter and lighter until they eventually stop. Once you start experiencing lighter to no menses, it would be best if you kept track of your periods because any post-menopausal bleeding can be a sign of something serious.

 

06:10 - Perimenopause is the time before and after menopause where a woman starts to experience symptoms marking the end of her reproductive years. Unfortunately, just because your periods have stopped doesn’t necessarily mean that your menstrual symptoms will also stop. Symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats can go on for years, which might force you to seek professional help. You might also experience symptoms such as vaginal dryness, mood swings, memory loss, low sex drive, joint pain, or low metabolism.

 

10:44 - Menopause is inevitable, and whether we like it or not, every woman must pass through this stage. As a woman, it helps to be physically and mentally prepared for menopause. The symptoms will be there, and it’s up to you to start changing certain aspects of your life. To do this, start by exercising, having regular sleep patterns, reduce stress, and maintain your weight. Not everything has to be fixed using a pill; somethings can be fixed by just eating healthy. 

 

12:07 - By eating healthy, Dr. V. talks about avoiding processed and deep-fried foods and instead adopting a plant-based diet. In particular, Dr. V. advises women to start consuming soy because soy has been proven to stimulate estrogen receptors the same way the ovary does. Back then, it was believed that soy consumption caused cancer. However, a recent soy study quashed all the misconceptions with findings pointing to several benefits, such as a 45% reduction in symptoms of hot flashes. If you’re experiencing severe bouts of hot flashes, you might want to consider incorporating soy into your diet. 

 

20:36 - When it comes to treating menopausal symptoms, most people prefer using pills as a quicker and easier option. Dr. V. is not against taking pills in severe cases, but she believes that people should consider other options before taking medication. She particularly believes that if everybody, including men, were to exercise regularly, we could potentially see a drop in the number of people booking medical appointments. Dr. V. further explains why exercising is essential for women who’ve reached menopause since the reduction in the body’s metabolism rate can lead to a sudden weight gain.

 

25:55 - Next to puberty, menopause is the other increasingly stressful time in a woman’s life, so it’s normal to be a little anxious. However, seeking quick fixes is something that should be avoided at all costs. Back in the day, women experiencing menopausal symptoms used to take estrogen and progesterone, similar to vitamin pills. Recent studies have pointed out that when taken together, estrogen and progesterone increased a person’s chances of suffering a stroke or heart attack. By itself, estrogen is not as bad as when combined with progesterone. 

 

38:24 - As earlier mentioned, menopausal symptoms can also include mood swings, which can significantly affect your social life. Your doctor might recommend antidepressants, which, interestingly, also help reduce hot flashes. So, if you’ve been experiencing hot flashes and can not take hormone replacements, you need to consider antidepressants. 

 

Dr. V’s message to you today is that menopause is not the end of everything. Your sex drive might take a hit, and you may experience sudden mood swings, but that doesn’t mean you should stop living a normal life. Menopause is just a transition that all women must go through.

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Episode 7: Part 2 Itchy & Fishy: Let’s fix it.

Episode 7: Part 2 Itchy & Fishy: Let’s fix it.

January 22, 2021

Yeast or BV? Which one could it be?  FYI-BV is Bacterial Vaginosis.  In these 2 episodes, you'll learn how to know when Houston has a problem with your vaginal discharge.

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00:30 – In part two of our Itchy and Fishy topic of discussion, we discuss the Itchy part-- a yeast infection. As mentioned in part 1, BV is very common among women, but yeast comes in a close second as far as vaginal infections are concerned. In fact, yeast is so common that there are actually over-the-counter medications in almost every pharmacy.

01:47 – Normally, yeast is characterized by a thick white vaginal discharge that comes out daily with the likelihood of the infection becoming worse. The second symptom is actually the topic of today's discussion-- severe itching. Yeast patients often find themselves scratching the areas around the vulva because with a yeast infection comes a burning sensation that can be quite uncomfortable. If not treated early enough, the scratching can weaken the vulva leading to severe ulcers.

03:18 - According to Dr. V., the best way to go about treating the yeast infection is by seeking help as soon as possible because the longer you wait, the harder it will be to get rid of the yeast. The thing to note about yeast infections is that 25% of the tests done might not show a yeast infection; thus, your doctor might be forced to rely on some other symptoms to come up with a diagnosis.

07:28 – According to Dr. V., yeast infections can be caused by a lot of things. If you find yourself time and time again coming down with a yeast infection, then you need to consult your doctor. One common disease that might lead to a yeast infection is diabetes. If you have a lot of extra sugar in your system, you are more likely to get a yeast infection because yeast thrives on excess sugar.

09:24 - Over the years, Dr. V. has noticed that a lot of women tend to apply lotion or perfume to the regions around the vulva due to several different reasons. However, lotion and perfume have been known to alter the vagina's pH of the vagina, leading to a yeast infection. So, if you ever find yourself scratching after applying these products, that's your cue to stop because you might be causing more harm than good.

10:28 - As you probably already know, herpes can also lead to a burning and itching sensation. With most people associating the itching with a yeast infection, many people tend to self-diagnose and self-treat a potential herpes infection as a yeast infection. Dr. V. blames this sorely on the availability of over the counter medication. Dr. V. advises women not to rush when self-diagnosing a potential yeast infection because yeast and some other STDs have many symptoms in common.

14:03 – We all want to live happy and healthy lives. However, having an itchy vulva is not what comes to mind when we think about happiness. So, if you are unsure about the itchy feeling you've been struggling with, it would be best if you consult your doctor immediately. Dr. V. concludes the episode by again mentioning the demerits of douching. As mentioned in the previous episode, douching can potentially alter your vaginal pH, thereby leading to a yeast infection.

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Episode 6: Part 1. Itchy & Fishy.  Let’s fix it.

Episode 6: Part 1. Itchy & Fishy. Let’s fix it.

January 8, 2021

Yeast or BV? Which one could it be?  FYI-BV is Bacterial Vaginosis.  In these 2 episodes, you'll learn how to know when Houston has a problem with your vaginal discharge.

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00:35 - In episode 1 part 1 of the Itchy and Fishy discussion, Dr. V talks about Bacterial Vaginosis or BV for short, is a bacterial disease that is not necessarily an STD but behaves a lot like a typical STD. As mentioned in the previous episodes, vaginal discharge during ovulation is normal, and it's something that shouldn't worry you one bit. However, with BV, Dr. V explains that the vaginal discharge is usually heavy, white, and produces a fishy odor. The foul smell is the symptom you need to look out for if you suspect that you might have BV.

 

07:00 - BV normally thrives in an environment where your vaginal pH is higher than normal. So, the way to treat BV is by using antibiotics that return your pH to normal. A word of caution from Dr. V is that you should try as much as possible not to drink alcohol when taking antibiotics because alcohol is known to cause sickness if ingested together with antibiotics. Another thing to keep in mind is that BV recurrence is mainly caused by people not completing their doses. The common trend among patients is that immediately a person feels better, that's the last day they take their medication. If you never want to produce that fishy smell ever again, not finishing your medication should be the last thing on your mind.

 

10:35 - Back in the day, women used to douche their vaginas in preparation for going to church or special occasions. While this was considered normal, these women increased their chances of getting BV because, according to Dr. V, douching potentially tampers with the normal vaginal pH. Another way of keeping your vaginal pH stable is through using a condom. Tests done on semen have found that semen has the capability to alter a woman's vaginal pH. On matters prevention, Dr. V concludes by highlighting the demerits of running a bubble bath. Sometimes taking a bubble bath might not be good for you because Dr. V believes that the more you bubble bath, the more you run the risk of tampering with your pH. 

 

14:10 - Although BV is not sexually transmitted, the common thing between BV and an STD is that the pH is usually impacted. Dr. V goes on to explain that BV is normally harmless to pregnant women but is known to cause early labor. If you feel like you might have BV during pregnancy, the wisest thing to do is talk to your doctor. Don't self-diagnose or self-treat against BV using over the counter drugs. This is because BV sometimes shares similar symptoms with other STDs, making it impossible to differentiate unless properly tested. If you feel like you might have BV, please make a point of visiting your doctor first.

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Episode 5: Herpes: “Ain’t nobody got time” for the shame and the fear.

Episode 5: Herpes: “Ain’t nobody got time” for the shame and the fear.

December 25, 2020

Please listen to this episode! Please!  Get your joy back, if you have Herpes, and if you don't, learn more about this infection.  Merry Christmas!

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01:34 - Although herpes can affect everybody just like the other STDs, it should not be treated as a common STD since there is usually a lot of stigmas, shame, and miscommunication surrounding herpes. After contracting the disease, you'll probably start seeing a blister or an ulcer around your genital area, which is usually very painful. The pain is usually because herpes loves making camp in the nerves. In extreme conditions, patients can sometimes get a fever or general body weakness.

04:21 – Like most STDs, the only way to get herpes is through skin to skin contact or sex. And by sex, Dr. V refers to everything that involves sexual organs, so that also includes both anal and oral. The bad thing about herpes is that it can sometimes be asymptomatic, which means a person can have it and not know about it. Dr. V advises people to seek medical help as soon as they notice any symptoms or feel like they might have come into contact with an infected person.

07:30 - In order for your doctor to test for herpes, they will take samples from the blisters. If you don't have blisters on your genital area, your doctor will instead draw blood and test it for herpes.

10:20 – Physical treatment of herpes is usually straightforward, your doctor only has to deal with the blisters, and you'll be fine in no time. However, the emotional part of it is sometimes hard since the fact that herpes will be with you all your life is something most patients struggle to accept. There are three reasons why doctors treat herpes. The first one is to prevent an outbreak. If you have herpes outbreaks they can attack you every once in a while and doctors have a medication for treatment. The second reason is to prevent you from transmitting the infection to other people. The third reason is to protect your unborn child from contracting herpes. 

14:47 – As earlier mentioned, once you contract herpes, you'll have it all your life since there is currently no cure. This means that a lot of people tend to stigmatize people with herpes forgetting that contracting herpes is not the end of life. In fact, the CDC states that the anxiety and stigma surrounding genital herpes does not reflect the severity of the disease. Although herpes is incurable it is not as detrimental as some other diseases with life-threatening consequences. Dr. V believes herpes does not define an individual negatively, because many people have been known to live happy and healthy lives just like normal people with herpes.

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Episode 4: I have HPV and you do too!

Episode 4: I have HPV and you do too!

December 11, 2020

Human Papilloma Virus. What is it? Why do I have it? Take a breath, relax, and learn how it can affect you and what you can do about it.

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01:17 - While it might be a new term to most men, a lot, if not all women know what HPV is. HPV stands for Human Papillomavirus, a common STI with Dr. V confirming that a staggering 80% of adults will get HPV at some point in their life. Dr. V goes on to address the infidelity issue concerning HPV. Since HPV is known to reactivate itself even after treatment, a partner’s infidelity should not be judged primarily through an HPV infection. 

 

04:02 - Just like every other STD, the only way to contract HPV is by coming into physical contact with an infected person or through sex. Condoms are usually a recommended prevention measure, but as you might probably know, they are usually not 100% effective. 

 

04:40 - Dr. V stresses that cervical cancer from HPV is preventable. A point to note about cervical cancer is that it takes years before the infection can become cancerous. As earlier mentioned, condoms are not very effective in preventing HPV, so Dr. V emphasizes the need for abstinence and faithfulness. Although those two measures are easier said than done, they are the surest way to protect yourself against HPV. 

 

07:19 - The past few years have witnessed a decrease in the number of patients coming down with HPV. This is because the HPV vaccine launched a couple of years ago is proving to be effective. The vaccine is so effective that the cut off age to get the vaccine has increased to 45 years. 

 

08:21 - Unless advised by a professional doctor, pap smears should be started at 21 years of age. This is because, at 21, most women are usually sexually active. Since the body can naturally deal with foreign materials in your body in a 1-year time frame, many doctors are advising their patients to get pap smears every 3 years. Disclaimer: Every patient is different and should consult with their doctor about any changes in their health care plan.

 

10:41 - Most cancerous cells can be easily dealt with if detected early enough, and the same is true for cervical cancer. Cervical cancer cells take years before eventually becoming cancerous so Dr. V advises her patients to look out for signs such as pre-cancerous cells which can be easily dealt with if detected early enough. In severe cases, medics might be forced to remove your uterus and the cervix, but you’ll still need to get a pap smear every three years to prevent any reactivation of the HPV cells. 

 

12:17 - Although warts are usually highly infectious, Dr. V admits that she rarely meets patients suffering from warts. However, that doesn’t mean that warts aren’t real. The good news is that warts are easily treatable, and patients have been known to be feeling better in no time. 

 

13:03 - HPV is real, and although a lot of people have it, it’s not a death sentence. Since it might take a couple of years before HPV can cause cancer, it pays to contact your health provider early enough to get the necessary tests done. Dr. V’s message for you today is that you need to free yourself from anxiety and worry about HPV. You are not alone, there is help. 

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Episode 3: If your period is _____, we need to talk.

Episode 3: If your period is _____, we need to talk.

November 27, 2020

Your period should not be disruptive to your life. If you can't eat, sleep or go to work/school because of it, that's a problem. If you have to pack a bag, wear different clothes, or avoid certain activities, your period is too heavy or painful. You might not know what a normal period is because you may not have discussed it with anyone. That's why you have Dr. V.

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02:00 - Today's topic is one of the issues that Dr. V believes would require a whole podcast series to cover period or the more technical term menses. While most people seem to have regular menses, the few that don't tend to lead frustrated lives. But how do you define normal periods? According to Dr. V, if you have painful, long, heavy, or irregular menses, then there's a problem. Menses are a part of a woman's life, and if by any chance your menses are disrupting your life, then it's time you seek professional help. 

 

04:10 - During ovulation, the body modifies itself to receive sperms by preparing the uterine walls. If fertilization doesn't take place, then the body is forced to get rid of the uterine wall, and that's what comes out during menstruation. 

 

05:12 - A lot of reasons can lead to abnormal periods. The number one cause, however, is fibroids. Although not cancerous, fibroids are abnormal tumors that tend to grow in a woman’s uterus. The interesting thing about fibroids is that about 70% of women have them, and about 90% of African American women have them too.  Fibroids that develop within the uterine cavity may distort the lining of the uterus, which could potentially cause heavy flow and irregular menstruation.

 

06:50 - Endometriosis is another known cause of irregular menses. What happens during endometriosis is that the endometrium implants itself in different parts of the body, such as the intestines or stomach. When this happens, the woman involved usually faces longer cycles since the body has more tissues to shed. Endometriosis was low-key in the past but has been gaining ground for the past couple of years. 

 

08:08 - Irregular ovulation can sometimes lead to abnormal periods. The most common factor leading to irregular ovulation is obesity. With the number of people suffering from obesity increasing daily, Dr. V is worried that the number of women who might experience irregular ovulation might be on the rise. Dr. V admits that while it might be hard to lose weight, it's doable and well within your control. 

 

11:08 - To understand what's making you have irregular menses, Dr. V normally performs a couple of tests and starts with the physical exam where she examines your belly for any abnormal tissues. The second procedure is usually the internal pelvic exam which gives medics a lot of information about what's happening inside you. In extreme circumstances, Dr. V might recommend surgery so that they can go in and find out what's bugging you. 

 

11:25 - Anemia can also sometimes cause irregular menses. Anemia is a condition in which the body's hemoglobin count is below the normal count based on age and sex. People with heavy menses are more susceptible to anemia since the high amount of blood lost contains iron, and if not replaced, can lead to anemia. If you are anemic, visiting your doctor might be the fix you need to get rid of those irregular periods. 

 

13:10 - According to Dr. V, before you even get a doctor’s appointment, change your lifestyle. What you eat and how you live are a significant determinant on how your menses behaves. Change your diet, avoid processed foods, start exercising, and stop drinking milk, if your problems persist, please seek medical help.

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Episode 2: Save your copay. It’s just cervical mucus.

Episode 2: Save your copay. It’s just cervical mucus.

November 12, 2020

What is the cervix? What is mucus? This is one of the common things I see in women that I know is normal but they don't. You don't need an antibiotic to fix normal. It's something that every woman has and it has a purpose.

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01:02 - Dr. V starts off by highlighting that she'll try as much as possible to keep the podcast episodes short since her main goal is to make the podcast short yet impactful. Dr. V understands that she can't tell it all in one episode so she'll limit the topics to 5 facts that are as relevant as possible.  

 

01:31 - When you visit your doctor, you'll have to part with a specific amount of money unless you're there for your annual wellness check. After several years in the industry, Dr. V noticed that some women actually visit their doctors complaining of entirely normal stuff. Issues like vaginal discharge are familiar to every woman, yet some women will still schedule an appointment to get the discharge looked at. 

 

02:10 - Most women don't understand that vaginal discharge is a crucial element of their menstrual and reproductive cycles. It's not their fault, though, since these topics are usually not taught in schools, so women have to figure it out on their own. If you notice some form of mucus discharge from your vagina, that's just the usual stuff. However, if by chance the mucus is either smelly, itchy, or has a weird color, then it's time to schedule that appointment. 

 

02:50 - The cervix is one of the most important body parts in the female reproductive system. The most common roles played by the cervix are keeping the baby safe during pregnancy, dilating to let the baby out during birth, and most importantly producing mucus. According to Dr. V, the mucus produced not only welcomes the sperms deposited into the vagina but also regulates temperature and ph inside the vagina. 

 

04:13 - Women who would like to use natural birth control techniques can use mucus discharge as a sign of ovulation and therefore abstain from sex. Other than delicate breasts, clear egg-white like discharge is a sign that you're ovulating and couples looking to get pregnant can also take advantage of that. Dr. V being a woman, she goes through the same things as every other woman out there. So, she goes on to describe that at first, the mucus will be clear but after some time turn thicker and yellowish, which is a clear sign that you've ovulated. 

 

05:40 - The only time you won't see any mucus is when you're not on any birth control medications or not ovulating. Women past their menopause are also less likely to produce any mucus since their bodies are not able to make any more babies so their reproductive system kind of shuts down. 

 

09:15 - Dr. V's message to you today is that, as a woman, it's up to you to take the initiative to learn about your body. Doctor’s appointments are pretty expensive, so you need to start learning what's expected by tracking the different cycles in your body. 

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