Straight Answers: Life After A Hysterectomy | CIGC Travel Patient
Cassandra D. Flew To The Center For Innovative GYN Care From Wisconsin To Have A Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy With Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD
“About 7 years ago, I went to my gynecologist concerned about the heavy bleeding I was having with each period,” said Cassandra D, Wisconsin. “He downplayed it saying that I was probably perimenopausal. I spoke with him a couple of times after my period had gotten heavier and heavier and he said it was to be expected. I saw another gynecologist later, and she said the same thing. For years, no one bothered to get to the bottom of why my cycles were so heavy. I had pain every time I had my period.”
Fast forward to 2014. “I went through a whole year before they discovered the fibroid. I couldn’t eat and I was losing weight. The doctors thought I had a bacterial infection and put me on antibiotics. That didn’t resolve the bleeding. I also had a dull pain in my pelvic region, so I went back to see my general practitioner. He said the same thing the other doctors did, ‘Well with your heavy bleeding and dull pain, you know, you’re 46 years old and you are probably nearing menopause. That’s when I asked, ‘Isn’t there some test for this??’ He responded with, ‘The tests are not very reliable.’ And finally he said, ‘I could order an ultrasound if you want me to!’ It was like I had to force the doctor to finally take a look.”
That ultrasound showed a 9cm fibroid at the top of Cassandra’s uterus. Her family doctor told her that there was nothing she needed to do about it. The gynecologist said that she could take it out through an open incision or 5-6 incisions.
“I went for a 2nd opinion and he said he couldn’t believe that nobody noticed this fibroid before. He sent me off to an oncologist, but the fibroid did not show any signs of being cancerous. The 2nd opinion doctor said he could do a robotic hysterectomy, but he refused to just take the fibroid out because he said that I would bleed too much, and it was dangerous.”
NOT GETTING THE GYN SURGERY ANSWERS YOU WANT? KEEP ASKING!
“I was looking for fibroid removal when I found The Center for Innovative GYN Care and the LAAM procedure. One of the reasons I waited and researched more about the subject matter was because many years ago my aunt had a hysterectomy due to endometriosis. Her doctor at the time accidentally sliced her ureter. For that reason, I was very picky about who I would allow to do the procedure. I had a lot of thoughts going through my head. When I read the CIGC website with emphasis regarding protecting ureters, I felt more at ease. I was sitting here looking at the website and was actually excited to see that someone was doing this.”
Cassandra contacted Paul MacKoul, MD about the LAAM laparoscopic fibroid removal procedure.
“Dr. MacKoul told me what would happen in the future, expectations after each procedure. No other doctor had talked to me about that. He let me make the decision about whether or not to have a minimally invasive myomectomy with LAAM or a minimally invasive hysterectomy with DualPortGYN, and what it would look like under both scenarios. He recommended a hysterectomy, but he was willing to take the fibroid out. Because he laid it out differently, it led me to think more about it, it put everything into a different perspective.
“In the end, I chose to have a hysterectomy. On the 7th of March I flew to Washington, D.C. and flew back on the 11th. My surgery was Tuesday, and I wanted to make sure there weren’t any complications so I stayed an extra day. Natalya Danilyants, MD at CIGC performed the surgery and she is an incredible surgeon. She called me when I was back in my hotel to make sure I was recovering nicely.”
In addition to the large fibroid, Cassandra was told that adenomyosis, an extremely painful condition where the endometrial lining grows into the uterine wall, as well as endometriosis were discovered during the procedure.
“I asked Dr. Danilyants after the surgery if I had wanted the fibroid taken out only, would she have removed the uterus after finding everything else, and she said no, which would have meant I would have had to have a separate procedure down the line. Adenomyosis is only cured with a hysterectomy. But that was important to me, because it tells me they would have respected my wishes. In the end, I made the right decision to have a hysterectomy.”
GYN PAIN TAKES OVER YOUR LIFE
“It was a difficult time for me. I didn’t realize how bad I was until after the surgery. You learn to live with this and you just function as best you can. I was crabby all the time. It affected my family. I had pain, and then when I had my period there were things I couldn’t do. It’s hard to be out there doing photography when your cycle hits, and I do web design so with the pain, it was hard to just sit here. I struggled. If you are so used to being sick, you don’t know anything else. You don’t know if you are getting the right tests. I’m such a busy person, that I just kept pushing myself. When the fibroid was finally discovered, I realized it wasn’t in my head. Even to this day I don’t think my family understands what I went through.”
TRAVELING OUT OF STATE FOR A LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY
Many travel patients discover CIGC by searching online for a top minimally invasive fibroid removal specialist. Their options at home are limited to open or robotic procedures, which are painful, and patients take longer to recover.
“That was a whole new thing for me, I had to plan all of my travel out. The surgical coordinator gave me the list of hotels and medical transport information. I had no problem connecting with any of the providers.”
“Right up to before I flew out, I had family and friends against my decision to seek medical attention outside the state. But I knew I had to. All I could think about was ‘You aren’t going to get what you need here.’ I had to go with my gut.”
After seeing her recovery with no pain and no scars, Cassandra’s friends and family admitted to her that they were wrong.
“I did a follow up with my OB/GYN in Wisconsin, he was in awe and said she was an amazing surgeon using only two incisions.”
FINDING A NEW NORMAL: AFTER A HYSTERECTOMY
“I felt so much better a day, 2 days after. I could have gone back to work 5 days later, but I had to slow myself down. I felt so good that I was over doing it a little.”
Cassandra works for the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department. “I went to college for criminal justice and sociology, and wanted to work with juveniles. Now that my daughter is in college it was time to get back into my field.” Cassandra is also a talented nature photographer and enjoys doing some photography for her client’s farmland development project which dates back over 100 years.
WHY WOMEN TRAVEL TO CIGC
Many women who have suffered with complications from these diseases often do not have access to minimally invasive GYN surgery in their hometowns, which can result in too many unnecessary invasive open procedures. Open hysterectomy is one of the most common procedures performed for conditions like endometriosis and fibroids, but it is not the only option. After a hysterectomy, recovery for an open procedure can be 6-8 weeks.
At CIGC, for women who wish to maintain fertility, minimally invasive myomectomy and minimally invasive endometriosis excision procedures are more effective treatments that also spare the uterus. A minimally invasive hysterectomy is also an option for women with fibroids who are done having children or whose endometriosis is confined to the uterus, but those procedures are discussed on a case by case basis. The fellowship trained surgeons take into account a woman’s desire to retain her uterus, and help explain all of the options that best suit her needs. These advanced procedures allow women to return to their lives in days rather than weeks.
TRAVELING FOR GYN SURGERY HAS BECOME EASIER
Doctors are taking advantage of new communication techniques to consult with patients in advance of travel. Communication apps make conversations between patients and medical professionals around the world possible. Increasingly, as specialists are coming up with new and safer techniques to treat conditions, patients are seeking ways to take advantage of these better procedures.
Women travel from around the world to CIGC for our modern techniques that are safer and more thorough than open, robotic or non-invasive approaches.
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 J. 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.
Offices are conveniently located throughout the Washington D.C. area in Rockville, Reston, and Annapolis, MD. Women looking for a GYN specialist for a laparoscopic hysterectomy, endometriosis excision or fibroid removal travel to CIGC from around the world.
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.