Treatment: Laser treatment for burn scars
Laser(s) used: n/a
Number of Treatments: n/a
Scars: 53% of entire body burned
“I had areas on my chest and upper arms that stuck out, and they flattened out pretty quickly. There was a noticeable improvement in the scars on my face pretty quickly as well. It’s increased the elasticity of my skin. My goal is to turn my head and neck more easily than I can now. My treatments have given me an increased level of self-esteem. When I wear make-up you don’t notice the scars on my face as much as you could before. (Dr. Waibel) made me believe that so much change was possible. She was brought into this industry for a reason; she was meant to treat burn patients.”
Where are your scars?
53% of the upper part of my body was burned, and 49% of my body was used for skin grafts. So pretty much 100% of my body was damaged in some ways, and Dr. Waibel treats all of it. My left arm had to be amputated.
How did you find Dr. Waibel?
I emailed the Berns Triplets, and they gave me her cell phone number. She was so sweet, told me she would be honored to have me as her patient and told me about a case study they were doing. She offered to treat me for free three times, and then eventually told me she would continue to treat me for free. I have also become close friends with her very first patient, Tami, and we even took a trip together.
Tell me about the process. What was the first treatment like, and your reaction to it?
My first treatment was July or August of 2010. Her staff is great, very kind. You receive numbing cream and, I believe, a Valium. She starts with one body part and goes on from there. She does check to make sure you’re ok, but I always just grit my teeth and tell her to crank it up. The amount she is able to get done depends on how busy she is that day. Sometimes it’s all in one day, other times it’s over two days.
Can you give me an estimate of how many treatments you’ve had so far?
I would guess six treatments, but I am not positive about that. It is a long-term process for my burns.
When did you first start seeing results, and were you happy with them?
You’re always happy whenever you see a difference, regardless of how small or large. I had had areas on my chest and upper arms that stuck out, and they flattened out pretty quickly. There was a noticeable improvement in the scars on my face pretty quickly as well.
Tell me about the pain?
It’s kind of like having really bad sunburn, but it only lasts a couple of days.
Did you have any mobility restrictions before that have been eased or eliminated by the treatments?
It’s increased the elasticity of my skin. My neck has been tightening up, and I am really hoping that the next few treatments will help decrease that. The lower part of my face and neck seem really tight to me right now. My goal is to turn my head and neck more easily than I can now.
What is something you can do now that you couldn’t do prior to your treatments with Dr. Waibel?
I have an increased level of self-esteem. When I wear make-up you don’t notice the scars on my face as much as you could before.
How far do you travel to see Dr. Waibel?
I am in Wichita, Kansas and I travel to Miami. The flight is a few hours in length. I take a shuttle from the airport to the hotel in Miami, so the trip takes a few hours total.
How do you feel about Dr. Waibel as a doctor and a provider?
She is the best provider that I have seen during this entire process. She has helped me resource other doctors for burn reconstruction, for example. She even called a doctor on my behalf. When you are released from a burn center, no one provides you with resources. It is scary because there are so many complications that can arise in a situation like mine, so Dr. Waibel’s references were invaluable. She always returns my calls promptly. She made me believe that so much change was possible; it makes me feel hopeful. She was brought into this industry for a reason; she was meant to treat burn patients.
Do you have to lay low after treatments?
With Dr. Waibel’s approval, I continue to work out. The first shower after each treatment is painful. I always end up flying home on the day that I look the worst following each treatment, so that can be difficult.
What would you tell fellow patients?
Be patient; it does work. I was lucky enough to heal pretty quickly from it. If you have any questions or concerns, definitely call Dr. Waibel’s office. Sometimes people feel funny about doing that when someone is doing something for you, but it’s important to do so in order to make sure that everything is ok.