By Karen McConnaughey
I was full of energy one day and decided to make
appointments that have been long overdue. For instance, it’s been four years
since I’ve been to the dermatologist. I thought it was time. So I thought I
would share my experiences and costs with you since those are the type of questions
we’re asked most…“What about health care in Mexico?” And “What did that cost?”
I had a wart on my ear. It had been there for about a month.
When I had my regular massage therapy (yes, it really is a therapy!) with
Barbara Rotthaler, she suggested I see a dermatologist.
Andrea Biviana Ruiz Leal
Dermika (they accept Visa & MasterCard)
Carretera Oriente No. 57
Phone: (376) 766 2500
Mon - Fri: 9:30 am to 7:30 pm
Sat: 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
Their services include: Medical dermatology, Laser
dermatology, Dermatological surgery, Cosmetic dermatology, Pediatric
dermatology and ophthalmology services (which hasn’t been added to their web
The doctor I saw last time and made the appointment with
again is Dra. Andrea. She is there on Tuesdays and Thursdays. She speaks English and is very good about
explaining everything she’s going to do or what needs to be done. She’s very
gentle too. Didn’t feel a thing!
When I saw her about my wart, she said it was inflamed, and
while she didn’t think it was serious, she wanted to send it for a biopsy just
to be sure. She anesthetized the area, scraped it for the biopsy and then
burned it off.
Cost for everything: $450 pesos (approximately $34 USD).
This included biopsy and follow-up visit for results of biopsy and further
checking of the ear. I also got Bill in on the ‘treatment.’
I have been worried about Bill’s scalp for awhile. Bill is ‘follicly challenged’ :-) and
doesn’t wear a hat or sunscreen. His scalp had developed a few dry patches and
scabs (because he also keeps being attacked by trees in our yard).
talked Bill into going into the office with me, just in case ‘it was bad news’
I wanted him there with me. And, of course, that was partly true…I wasn’t
worried, but you never know, right?
Dra. Andrea was finished with me, I blind-sided both her and Bill by asking the
doctor to look at Bill. You should have seen the look on Bill’s face. Dra. Andrea
laughed and said, “It is okay…I have a husband too and he is my worst patient.”
has Actinic Keratosis (another name is solar keratosis). It is a
pre-cancer, sun- damaged growth. “Actinic keratosis is not a skin cancer yet,
but a certain percentage of these may go on to develop into a skin cancer. An
actinic keratosis generally does not need to be surgically treated. Treatments
include freezing with liquid nitrogen, applying a topical medication or
photodynamic therapy. Often, the biopsy will remove the actinic keratosis, but
if any roughness or lesion remain when the biopsy has healed, the area should
be reexamined in the office.”
After Dra. Andrea explained all his options, we opted for
the Photodynamic therapy, which will be performed on February 18.
What is photodynamic therapy?
Photodynamic therapy or PDT is a treatment that uses special drugs, called photosensitizing
agents, along with light to kill cancer cells. The drugs only work
after they have been activated or “turned on” by certain kinds of light. PDT
may also be called photoradiation therapy, phototherapy, or photochemotherapy.
Depending on the part of the body being treated, the photosensitizing agent
is either put into the bloodstream through a vein or put on the skin (Bill’s
therapy will be on the skin). Over a certain amount of time the drug is
absorbed by the cancer cells. Then light is applied to the area to be treated.
The light causes the drug to react with oxygen, which forms a chemical that
kills the cells. PDT might also help by destroying the blood vessels that feed
the cancer cells and by alerting the immune system to attack the cancer.
The period of time between when the drug is given and when the light is
applied is called the drug-to-light interval. It can be anywhere from a
couple of hours to a couple of days, depending on the drug used. Bill’s
‘drug-to-light interval’ will be two hours and it will be sitting out in the
Pros and cons of PDT
Studies have shown that PDT can work as well as surgery or radiation therapy
in treating certain kinds of cancers and pre-cancers. It has some advantages,
- It has no long-term side
effects when used properly.
- It’s less invasive than
- It usually takes only a short
time and is most often done as an outpatient.
- It can be targeted very
- Unlike radiation, PDT can be
repeated many times at the same site if needed.
- There’s little or no scarring
after the site heals.
- It often costs less than
other cancer treatments.
But PDT has limits, too. It can only treat areas where light
can reach. This means it’s mainly used to treat problems on or just under the
skin, or in the lining of organs that can be reached with the light source.
While some of the drugs can travel throughout the body, the treatment only
works where the light shines. This is why PDT can’t be used to treat cancers
that have spread to many places. Also, the drugs that are currently used leave
people very sensitive to light for some time, so special precautions must be
taken after the drugs are put in or on the body.
Total Body Care Spa Visit:
Ocampo #33. Ajijic
(corner of Ocampo and Juarez)
Tel: 01(376) 766 33 79
Parking available in Manix Restaurant (½ a block away)
Of course, I consider my spa day an essential appointment! I
usually get a manicure, pedicure, facial, lower-leg waxing, reflexology (foot
massage), scalp massage and a full-body massage. I finally divided these
treatments because three hours lying on a table is a lot more wearing than it
sounds. So for this visit, I got the mani/pedi, facial and waxing. The total
cost for these four treatments (without tip) was around $720 pesos (around
$54.00 USD). I always leave there feeling on top of the world and really
pampered. When things slow down a bit, I will make an appointment for the three
Victor J. Youcha
Doctor of Chiropractic Licensed in Mexico & USA
Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician, USA
Member of the American Chiropractic Association
Appointments | (376) 766 1973
Cel. Ph. (33) 3200 5583
Stacy Hewitt wrote an article about Dr. Victor for one of our newsletters.
It took me awhile to go to a chiropractor here in Mexico. I had
become disenchanted with them in the United States because, once my first
chiropractor retired, I always felt as if I were on an assembly line with the
younger ones. I didn’t feel special…there was the same treatment every time
without really checking to see how I was doing. I once spent $450 USD on weekly
appointments to straighten something out. It never got any better, and I
finally said, ‘enough.’
With Victor, it’s different almost every time I go. Your
first appointment for a consultation and exam is $600 pesos (approximately $45
USD) and thereafter, it is $500 (approximately $38 USD) pesos per visit. He
checks me every time to see how my spine and neck are doing based on what work
we had done in the past. Sometimes my back is tight and sometimes my neck isn’t
moving very well. He is also a big proponent of exercise and occasionally has
an instructor come in to teach classes on the Foundation exercises.
Victor says on his web site,
“Sometimes healing changes can be brought about by simple changes in posture
and awareness. At other times a more extensive intervention is necessary. The
body will make specific adaptations to imposed demands (S.A.I.D). The approach
of correcting weight bearing and compression strategies of joints is key to my
work. Manipulating and freeing segments that have lost mobility is as crucial
to healing as strengthening and stabilizing areas that are weak or hyper
He talks to you too. He doesn’t
just slap you on a table and start cracking. I think he is the best
chiropractor I have ever been to.
a holistic approach to acute and chronic conditions, based on more than 40
years of experience in Alternative Medicine and Pain Therapy.
Sta. Isabel 240,
I have been seeing Barbara since 2008 when she helped savemy back for an important business trip I was going on. She saved me then, and
then again in May 2010, I had more back problems that almost crippled me. Since
then she has helped me with holistic remedies, exercises, massage therapy, and
counseling that is worth its weight in gold.
As Barbara always says: “Illness as a wake-up call: Illness, pain or dysfunction
is meant to be a friend that is sent to us as a message…a lesson. The deeper
meaning is that ‘something’ is out of harmony.” That’s what she wants to do
more than anything…put you and your body back in balance and in harmony.
She always starts treatments for someone in a chronic condition with a
two-hour, case-taking interview. To find out what the problem is, she looks
into all different levels of your being…the physical, the emotional and the
mental level. She asked me questions that no other practitioner had ever asked
me. It was and still is an amazing experience what she ‘drags’ out of me in our
discussions…things I would never think to tell someone else and had never been
After the initial interview, she works with you to develop a treatment plan
that includes different techniques and approaches depending on your individual
situation and, most importantly, your willingness to get healthier.
A regular 1-1/2 hour appointment costs about $600 pesos, but if a treatment
plan needs to be long-term, she will discuss options with you. I have often
said that Barbara saved my life, and I truly believe that. Of all the health
care practitioners I go to in the Lake
Chapala area, Barbara is
one I will never give up.
In the last 10 years, whenever I was back in the States, I always seemed to
get my eyes checked when I was there. Again, I don’t know why I avoided doing
it in Mexico…it
just seemed more convenient at the time. However, my eyes had gotten so bad
right now that I really needed to see someone.
My ophthalmologist’s office is also located at Dermika.
Dermika (they accept Visa &
Carretera Oriente No. 57
Phone: (376) 766 2500
Mon - Fri: 9:30 am to 7:30 pm
Sat: 9:30 am to 3:00 pm
I was very pleased with Dra. Monica. After telling her about
the problems I had with my eyes, she gave me advice no other ophthalmologist
gave me, and this has been a continuing problem since I was in my 30s.
First of all, for $450 pesos
(approximately $34 USD), she checked my eyes
for glaucoma and macular degeneration, along with examining me for a new
prescription. No glaucoma whatsoever; slight macular degeneration, but nothing
to worry about. She said it would be best to come into her office in Guadalajara to get a
benchmark for my MD so she can check it every year to see how it is progressing.
She did not dilate my eyes for these exams.
She told me that part of my problem is very dry
eyes, and she suggested that I use a baby shampoo as a face cleanser to help
add moisture to my eyes, as well as to continue with my Theratears or Humylub
eye drops. Or I could just use the baby shampoo to wash my eyes. We went to
Walmart, and I was able to get a bottle of lavender-scented baby shampoo that
I found that a very interesting solution. I have
used Clinique for most of my adult life and since it is for very oily skin, I
wonder if that has helped contribute to my dry eyes. Something to think about,
and just wanted to pass it on as a suggestion in case you're having the same
issues I am. Very nice doctor...she is in the office on Fridays and Saturdays.
I got a prescription. They do
not have glass frames there, so I had to go elsewhere for those.
Opticas Milenium is directly across the carretera from
Dermika…a small strip-mall of stores, two doors down from Prasad. I think he
had a nice selection, but, then, I knew what I wanted and found it almost
immediately. I understand that if you want to see more, he can get them from Guadalajara. With
transition and progressive lenses, they cost $2600 pesos (approximately $196
USD). That was cheaper than what I paid in the states at one of the cut-rate
places, so I was very happy. It will take about a week to get my glasses.
They have shops in Guadalajara,
Jocotepec, Ixtlahuacan (didn’t know that before we went!), and Chapala also.
I have been very happy with my choices and look forward to
keeping a better check on my health…not waiting so long to see the
dermatologist or the ophthalmologist especially. I need to keep my balance in
Good luck with your doctor appointments. Stay healthy!
My dental appointment comes up next week, so we’ll
talk about that in March as well as Bill’s photodynamic therapy and how that
Feel free to post comments on this article if you
would like to recommend a health care professional you’re particularly pleased
with. This is information we all need to know.
Karen’s note: This is meant
as my personal experience only in the Lake Chapala
area and is not meant as medical or professional recommendations of any kind. Please
note that this is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice. Please
seek the help of your medical practitioner before embarking on medical or
surgical procedures. Obviously, this is not intended to be a scientific
- cancer. org
- dmgnc. com
- chapalahealth. com/
- victoryouchadc. com