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      Your Health Matters: A solution to acid reflux

      Kellie Parkes takes her job seriously. She owns Kellie's Hallmark in Manistee and thrives on being a business owner.

      "It's a 24/7 job. It doesn't end at six and we're here on weekends," says Parkes.

      It was a constant discomfort of acid reflux for several years that started to affect Parkes' full time responsibility.

      "I'm here a lot and have to do a lot of lifting and it became very uncomfortable. It started with heartburn for years and the reflux got worse and worse," says Parkes.

      These symptoms along with years of taking anti-acid medications finally lead Parkes to turn to her doctor at West Shore Medical Center in Manistee.

      The center is the first in the region to offer a unique procedure called: Transoral Incisionless Fundoplication or TIF.

      "It's a surgery done for reflux disease. It's for patients who have been on medical therapy for quite some time and may still have some symptoms," says Dr. Vinson Ulep with West Shore Medical Center.

      Dr. Ulep recommended that Parkes have the TIF procedure to end her acid reflux discomfort.

      "Chronic reflux disease can actually have multiple complications everything from erosion of the teeth to erosion of the esophagus lining," says Dr. Ulep.

      "Dr. Ulep went in and did the scope and found my reflux valve wasn't there anymore," says Parkes.

      "In Kellie's case her valve was stretched out to the point it wasn't functioning properly. Our TIF procedure works to actually re-create that valve and reform the valve," says Dr. Ulep.

      The surgery is generally out-patient and Dr. Ulep says it's minimally invasive. Plus, a major benefit is the idea of a close to home procedure that's resulted in major health benefits.

      "I think it's huge for patients here in the community. Being a member of the community myself it's great to be able to offer this," says Dr. Ulep.

      "You couldn't have asked for a better scenario. I didn't want to leave home if I didn't have to. This is available, it's available here and it's simple," says Parkes.