Temple L.R. Shares Her Story Of Discovering A Massive Fibroid Sitting On Top Of Her Uterus And Her Fast Recovery From Surgery at CIGC
It is common for women who have fibroids to have them return after removal. Very often, women agree to have limited laparoscopic procedures that remove only the fibroids that the doctors can reach which can leave smaller fibroids behind, or their doctor only recommends an invasive open procedure that have a higher risk of blood loss, and an increased risk of pelvic adhesions and scarring.
In her 20s, Temple had an open myomectomy that left a large scar on her bikini line. Years later, a new fibroid grew, but without any of the normal signs.
“I didn’t have heavy bleeding, pelvic pain, or any of the common obvious symptoms that I had experienced before. I had a large increase in my belly size, and my belly felt hard and solid. When I asked my primary care physician (PCP), and he told me that I just needed to lose weight. I worked hard and after a year, I lost more than 20 pounds, yet my belly still was hard and getting larger. Multiple people asked me if I was pregnant and more than once I felt uncomfortable with the bloating, nothing I did was helping.”
The Risk of Doctors Refusing To Look Beyond Weight Gain In Overweight Patients
“During my annual physical, I asked my new PCP and she felt my belly, immediately said the hardness was not normal and sent me for a CT-Scan. After that, things went pretty quickly. It was estimated that I had a 19-20 pound fibroid and that it must have been growing for three years, but since I was told it was just that I was an overweight woman, I had ignored it. I also had friends that told me that since I was over 40 my body shifts where it holds my weight. This all sounded feasible, but it was not true.”
Patients often hear that their weight is the only thing wrong with them, and conditions like fibroids can be ignored. While fibroids themselves are not life threatening, allowing a fibroid to get so large that it presses into vital organs can cause irreversible damage. Kidneys, ureters, and blood vessels help the body to function, creating an important transport system. The ureter leads from the kidney to the bladder to remove urine from the body. The veins keep blood circulating. If a large fibroid affects any of these structures, the damage can be severe, and even deadly.
“Luckily, I found The Center for Innovative GYN Care and Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD. Due to the size of my fibroid, most doctors would have performed an open hysterectomy, with a large incision, possibly from my groin up to my belly button or higher. Even my PCP was surprised that I could have a laparoscopic hysterectomy at CIGC.”
The minimally invasive GYN specialists at CIGC perform complex procedures with tiny incisions. They developed the DualPortGYN and LAAM techniques to treat all GYN conditions laparoscopically, without the use of a power morcellator. Their minimally invasive procedures for hysterectomy and myomectomy get patients back to their lives on average in 2 weeks or less.
“My fibroid turned out to be 19 pounds. That’s the size of 2 healthy babies. I feel very lucky, and am extremely glad I chose to have CIGC and Dr. Paul J. MacKoul, MD perform my surgery.”
Tiny Scars For A Nineteen Pound Fibroid
When the specialists at CIGC discuss the size of the incisions with patients, it’s often hard to imagine how these procedures can be performed so thoroughly, and yet leave scars that are practically invisible a couple of months after the surgery. Each doctor at CIGC is fellowship trained in advanced techniques, including retroperitoneal dissection (RPD) and uterine artery occlusion (UAO). RPD allows the doctor to see the entire pelvic cavity, while UAO controls blood loss so that procedures can be performed thoroughly and efficiently.
Temple’s incisions healed beautifully, and you can see how tiny the scar is at just 2 months. Surgical glue was used immediately after surgery.
Recovery In Two Weeks Or Less: Temple’s Diary
If you have ever wanted to know what it is like to recover in 2 weeks or less after a minimally invasive hysterectomy at CIGC, Temple kindly documented her experience so others can truly see how fast she started to feel like herself again.
“I decided that I wanted to document my experience, so that other women could benefit from my good fortune. I recorded my thoughts and experiences every day in voice memos, so that I wouldn’t forget anything.”
Monday, December 7th – Day of Surgery
I used the Hibiclens body cleaner to prepare for surgery, then headed to the hospital. I am super nervous, but have to act like I’m fine so that my family doesn’t worry. Dr. MacKoul, the anesthesiologist and the OR nurse all came in at different times to check on me and let know that everything will be okay. I was wheeled into the OR, smiled and joked with the doctors then went to sleep. When I woke up in recovery, my husband was with me and my pain was at about a 7 out of 10. They gave me meds and I felt better very quickly.
Tuesday, December 8th – First Full Day of Recovery
Woke up feeling pretty good, but super tired. Some soreness and glad to get some breakfast, even a liquid one. Had some minor gas pain, but nothing unmanageable. Dr. Danilyants had given me a run-down of the events of my surgery and let me know that my blood count was low, but nothing to worry about. Otherwise, I was doing great. I was initially nervous about climbing the 17 steps to the bedroom, but it turned out not to be too bad. I was super happy I decorated for Christmas first, since sitting by my tree in the living room made me even happier to be able to recover at home.
Wednesday, December 9th – Lots of Sleeping
I slept most of the day, but am trying to stay on schedule with my antibiotics and ibuprofen. Still had a little gas pain, but was finally passing it, so that was a great relief. A bit of shoulder pain, but not as bad as some people had told me to expect. Had my first solid food at about 1am, dry cereal, so I could take my meds. Then went back to sleep. Was served a lovely omelet by my husband around 9:00am. Not a lot of soreness at all. Still quite tired. Started eating prunes, to make my future bowel movement a lot easier. Also, my incisions are starting to itch. I’m still changing out the gauze on my incision on the bikini line, and it’s still clean. I also got to take a shower today, which felt so good! Slept like a baby, afterwards. Good day.
Thursday, December 10th – Last Day of Pain Medication
I felt really good. Not as tired and no real soreness. Took an ibuprofen, but I don’t think I’ll need it anymore. I had a couple moments of dizziness today, and a bit of a leg spasm from being in bed too long. So I moved around a bit more. I also finished my holiday cards! My wonderful husband took then out to the mailbox for me.
Friday, December 11th – Last Antibiotic Pill!!
Took my last antibiotic today!! I walked downstairs by myself to make a bit of breakfast, and I took a shower by myself. I had a steak and eggs for breakfast, so that I had more iron in my diet. This seemed to help relieve some of the dizziness. Worked on more holiday cards. A small amount of discharge on my center gauze so I will still change it, but very little soreness so I didn’t take an ibuprofen at all. I walked around the house a bit, so I tired myself out a bit. Took a nap in the afternoon. But my husband says I look and sound a lot stronger. More like my old self.
Saturday, December 12th – Had a Couple Girls’ Nights
Doing pretty good. I could actually feel my body readjusting to have room again in my abdomen. Still a bit itchy, but not very sore. Slept really well, and slept very late. Feeling really in good spirits. A friend spent the night last night, so that was fun, watching movies and being silly. Another friend is coming to visit tonight! I ordered Chinese food delivery and felt strong enough to carry my own tray upstairs. This was the first time I didn’t have to use the banister to climb the stairs! I might be pushing myself too fast, but doesn’t feel like it.
Monday, December 14th – Weighed Myself After Surgery
Week 2! Stairs are no longer a problem. No dizziness. No soreness. And still a bit of weird feelings as my internal organs readjust to the lack of a giant fibroid taking up all of the space. It’s been a week since surgery, so I decided to weigh myself and I’m down 19 pounds!!! Bye-bye fibroid! Still get tired, but otherwise I feel pretty normal.
Tuesday, December 15th – First Day Driving and Going to the Store
I drove myself to the store to buy a few more holiday cards and other supplies. I found if I bent over and rose back up too quickly I would get dizzy, so I took it slow walking around the store. I also used a cart, just to have something to hold onto for balance. This, of course, made me buy more than I needed. But I got home unscathed, and didn’t feel any pain. Felt very accomplished!
Wednesday, December 16th – Feeling Pretty Normal and Walking Completely Upright.
Feel really great today. Made my post-op appointment, which I should have made last week, but I can be a bit of a procrastinator. My energy is really good, today and I’ve finished catching up on all of the shows on my Tivo. Also had fun with my coloring book!
Thursday, December 17th – 24 Stairs Down and Back
Had a tiny bit of site pain and nausea when I woke up in the early morning, but after I went back to sleep everything was back to normal. Went downstairs to the basement for the first time. LOTS of stairs! Painted my toenails and was so glad to be able to bend down and reach my toes again! It’s amazing how much I had gotten used to the large fibroid and it’s intrusion on my life. Even just reclining in bed and looking down towards the TV is exciting now that my weird belly isn’t in the way. I keep touching my belly and pushing it, just glad it feels normal and not hard.
Friday, December 18th – Holiday Party & Follow-up Appointment
Had my follow up appointment today with Dr. Natalya Danilyants. She was very pleased with my healing and said my incisions look great. We took off the remaining glue, so I no longer itched. I had no dizziness today and driving felt normal. Wasn’t tired and even felt good enough to go to my office and enjoy the holiday party. It was fun watching everyone’s expressions as they saw my much smaller belly and were amazed that I felt so great already. I start back at work on Monday, and I’m completely confident that I won’t have any issues. Overall, compared to my first open myomectomy surgery about 12 years ago, this was amazing. I had a six week recovery then, and didn’t start driving until my fifth week. I truly feel very lucky and can’t wait for Christmas!
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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.
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