Christine G., CIGC Hysterectomy Patient, Endometrial Cancer
Regardless of how early it is caught, hearing the phrase “endometrial cancer” is scary. Even if you have a background in healthcare, the first rush of the words can rock you back on your heels.
On September 28, 2015, Christine G. had a biopsy on her uterine lining in Altoona, PA. On October 1st, she was told it was cancer. It was caught very early, and had not reached stage 1. After the initial shock, and talking with several people, she knew she was going to be fine. She also knew she was going to need a hysterectomy, and was very clear on what she didn’t want. Things started falling into place soon after.
First Opinion: Open Invasive Surgery, 6 Weeks to Recover
From the beginning, Christine was uncomfortable with the surgeon from her normal GYN’s practice.
“I had a bad experience in Altoona with a doctor who didn’t want to involve me in any of the decisions about my surgery,” said Christine. “I live in Maryland, but my gynecologist and primary doctor are in Pennsylvania. The surgeon who was chosen to do the surgery was in the same practice as my gynecologist, but I had never met him before.”
“I had a lot of questions: ‘Am I having a partial hysterectomy, a total hysterectomy? How are you going to perform the procedure? Years ago I had glue for one surgery. How are you going to do the sutures?’ And I had mesh from a previous surgery that I was concerned about.”
The surgeon in Altoona didn’t give her any other GYN surgery options.
“He already had his course set, there was no deviating. He said I would have an open procedure, be in the hospital for 2-3 days, and have a minimum of 6 weeks to recover. He was going to use staples and they would come out a week later.”
These were all red flags to Christine.
“When I questioned him, he seemed annoyed. I had concerns. I had a multiple abdominal procedures, and an umbilical hernia. There was mesh placed in an area where he was planning to cut, which worried me. When I told the nurse that I was going for a second opinion, she couldn’t believe it.”
Second Opinion: Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy, 10 Day Recovery
“We left the doctor’s office and I started doing research for physicians who do hysterectomy around Hagerstown, MD.
After reading the testimonials about Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD, Christine called The Center for Innovative GYN Care, spoke to Brandi, and immediately set up a consult.
The minimally invasive hysterectomy procedure performed at CIGC uses DualPortGYN, an advanced technique that minimizes blood loss and uses just two tiny incisions, each only 5MM. One incision is placed at the belly button and the other at the bikini line. Once the incisions heal, they are virtually undetectable. The procedure is safer than other laparoscopic, robotic or open procedures. The surgeons use retroperitoneal dissection to map the pelvis, so that all of the delicate areas are protected. Women recover from a DualPortGYN hysterectomy in about 10 days, and many return to work in a week.
“From the beginning, I felt very comfortable, he explained everything he was going to do and he was going to do it laparoscopically. When I left his office, I knew this was the right decision. I have told everybody how wonderful he was, the staff was, and how he made me feel. You know your body. This would have been my 3rd abdominal surgery, and I didn’t trust the other doctor to do it.”
Christine was scheduled for surgery on the 17th of November. “On the 18th I got up, and was walking, I made breakfast, and even though I had company with me, I knew I had to be up and moving. I can’t do this sitting around stuff. I was ready to go back to work that Friday. I just went back to work (on Dec 7) and I was amazed.”
Going Back to Work
Christine works full time, part time and has her own baking business.
“To be out of work for six weeks wouldn’t have been good for me, or my business. The Thursday after my surgery I was baking muffins. I called the office once to find out what I absolutely couldn’t do. I was planning to drive to Altoona for Thanksgiving the next week. And I’m a neat freak, I needed to clean my home.
“The cancer had not spread anywhere else. I was so happy, and after the final consultation, Dr. MacKoul gave me a hug. There was such a difference between the practice I had been going to for 28 years and being uncertain, then meeting Dr. MacKoul for the first time and being so comfortable with him.”
Being Your Own Advocate: Know Your GYN Surgery Options
“To be involved in my own care was really important to me. To not have any options wasn’t OK. There are quite a lot of physicians in Altoona. There need to be more physicians who bring those other doctors up to date with new procedures. My gut was saying you need to look elsewhere. The other doctor was going to do a large bikini cut. Dr. MacKoul completely avoided the mesh. How you feel and how you recover, how you feel towards the surgeon and the surgery itself, is going to impact your recovery.”
BOOK A CONSULTATION
GYN surgical specialists can often see women sooner because they are focused entirely on surgery. Each patient gets detailed, in depth attention from Dr. Natalya Danilyants and Dr. Paul MacKoul. This personalized care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so that they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.
CIGC TRAVEL PROGRAM
Even if you are not from the DC area, many patients travel to The Center for Innovative GYN Care for our groundbreaking procedures. We treat women from around the world who suffer from complex GYN conditions.
Learn more in our travel program.