Lotomua Thomas has been to a variety of different doctors in an abundance of locations. In fact, with both her husband and herself serving in the military for 8 years of their marriage, perpetual travel and relocation of their family (and their medical care for that matter) were two of the only things that were certain.
Even though Lotomua has been retired from the military since 2008, it doesn’t mean her life has been any less busy. “I’m a substitute teacher, I volunteer on base, I have 3 children to take care of and my husband is on deployment – I’m busy! I don’t always have time to take care of myself.”
But a couple years ago, when Lotomua was experiencing pain in the left side of her abdomen, she knew she needed to go into the doctor. “My primary care physician did an ultra sound and an MRI – that’s when they found out about the kidney stone,” she said. “It was really big, and was blocking blood flow to my kidney – I had to go in for surgery.”
Her primary care physician referred her to Dr. Jason Phillips, and Lotomua met him for the first time. Even though she lives in Murrieta, she came down to Tri-City to meet with him.
“He was so welcoming, approachable and nice. His knowledge of everything is impressive and he was so confident about what he was talking about. I’m the type to always research everything after a doctor’s appointment, and everything he said was supported in my research. It was refreshing to know he’s honest and truthful about the issues and about the different treatment options.”
Lotomua’s surgery with Dr. Phillips was successful – but, as she was soon to find out, her kidney stone would come back again soon.
“Dr. Phillips discovered I have Randall’s plaques, a really rare and not very researched disease. It runs in my family, but none of my cousins or parents knew that was what we had. Dr. Phillips was the first to actually figure out why we were having so many issues.” Randall’s plaques disease is rare and there is not much research to support the cause or cure. “Dr. Phillips told me that there aren’t enough studies about this specific type of plaque – sure enough I went to research it, and there really aren’t. Patients don’t want to complete the studies because the stones hurt too bad and kept coming back.”
This ultimately meant that the kidney stones that caused Lotomua so much pain were destined to come back.
On Christmas Eve of 2015, Lotomua was feeling a lot of pain and went to a hospital in her area to be checked out. This time, not only did she have a kidney stone, but she was also infected with E.coli. “Everyone had to wear full gowns and masks around me – it was awful.”
Lotomua was scheduled to have surgery the next day with the urologist on staff, who happened to know Dr. Phillips. “Next thing I know, I’m getting a phone call from Dr. Phillips! He called around the whole hospital to find me and talk to me – on Christmas Eve! Even the nurses couldn’t believe that my urologist would be so compassionate. It was unbelievable.”
Lotomua is thoroughly impressed with Dr. Phillips. As a Marine, she has traveled around the country and the world, but “Dr. Phillips is the best doctor I have ever been to by far. Of everyone I’ve seen, he is my number one choice. I always have a wonderful experience with him, and he helps make sure that I’m taking care of myself. He listens, he’s intuitive, and he doesn’t sugar coat anything – for all those reasons and more, I trust him and more importantly I believe in him.”