Ruchika S. (Rhode Island Travel Patient) Misread the Signs of a Large Fibroid Taking Over Her Abdomen as Just Part of Growing Older
LAAM minimally invasive fibroid removal surgery at The Center for Innovative GYN Care has such an amazing recovery, our patients do not have to put their lives on hold. Ruchika S. from Rhode Island, an active woman both outdoors and in her job, was getting back to her normal routine just days after her surgery thanks to choosing laparoscopic fibroid removal specialist Paul MacKoul MD at CIGC.
The CIGC minimally invasive GYN specialists perform LAAM using just two small incisions.
“I was back to myself in a week and a half, and that was important to me. After two weeks I was back at work. Compared to the alternative, I’m so grateful. Everything is back to normal now. I’ve been working out. I went ice climbing two weekends ago, and I’m traveling for my normal insane life. Three weeks after the surgery I was running 7 to 8 kilometers.”
Ruchika was on her way to go skiing when she shared her story. “I had lived in Colorado and loved the lifestyle, hiking, skiing.”
Maintaining that active lifestyle got more difficult over time as her stomach started to expand due to fibroids.
“Except for my stomach getting really big, I didn’t have any symptoms of fibroids at all,” Ruchika continued. “No pain, no excessive bleeding. I’ve always had a relatively flat stomach, and I just turned 38. I remember back in January last year, I was working out, and not eating very much, and yet my stomach was getting bigger. I travel out of the country a couple of times a month. I run the international business for a medical device company. The crazy lifestyle that goes with that I just assumed it was part of it. I thought ‘Well, I’m getting older.’ I was resigning myself to it. Everything else was fine, except my stomach.”
CHOOSING A LAPAROSCOPIC FIBROID REMOVAL SPECIALIST WAS A PRIORITY
“I’ve never been very good about doing the annual check-up. I finally went to see a regular gynecologist for a check-up. She checked my stomach and said ‘Well, what do we have here?’ I said what?” and she said ‘You’re pregnant.’ I’m pretty sure I’m not pregnant. I’ve had my period. ‘You’re four-to-five months pregnant.’ Obviously, I wasn’t pregnant, but she started doing tests and the ultrasound didn’t show anything. Then I had an MRI. The MRI showed that I had one gigantic fibroid. When I got my MRI results, I saw what it was and realized this needs to be taken out.”
“I did a bunch of research on my own after that, and started looking up different treatments. Due to the size, embolization wasn’t possible. Finding a surgeon who could perform a laparoscopic fibroid removal procedure versus a painful open one was my priority. Since I’m in the medical industry, I talked to some of my colleagues about the devices used and the risks of power morcellation. Most of them said that an open procedure was really my only option.”
“During all of my research, I came across Dr. Paul MacKoul. I started doing more research on LAAM, and when I talked to Dr. MacKoul on the phone. He was pretty confident that he could get a large fibroid out with this procedure.
“It was the end of October when I finally got diagnosed. It was around Thanksgiving when I finally spoke to Dr. MacKoul. Everyone in Rhode Island was saying I would have to have an open procedure. I was worried about my January schedule for travel and Dr. MacKoul was able to fit me in the week before Christmas. Timing wise it was great.”
The fibroid was 1700 grams (close to 4 lbs). A normal uterus is 70 grams. Most surgeons would perform this as an open procedure with a 6-8 week recovery.
“I flew to DC, got the surgery done on Tuesday and was back in Rhode Island on Thursday. By Saturday I was fine to be on my own. I wasn’t up for going out and doing much for Christmas, but I really enjoyed being at home in my own space which I never get to do. I was off from work until New Years, and I had meetings in Europe and China the following week, so I was on a plane 2 and a half weeks after the surgery, and back at the gym. I don’t even think about it anymore. I have a flat stomach now!”
TRAVELING FOR FIBROID REMOVAL SURGERY
Many travel patients discover CIGC by searching online for a top laparoscopic fibroid removal specialist. CIGC is a premier destination for minimally invasive fibroid removal. Often, patients options in their home state are limited to open or robotic procedures, which are painful, and have longer recovery times. When women discover the size of the incisions, recovery time and ease of scheduling surgery, traveling to CIGC becomes easy.
“Getting on a plane to go anywhere is not that a big deal for me at all. I live on the East Coast, my boyfriend lives on the West and my brother lives in New York, so regardless of where I had the surgery, they were going to have to travel to be with me. I was looking for the best surgeon. The one thing I have learned is that choosing the right surgeon matters. If he had been in Germany, I would have gone to Germany. All of the information that was sent to me was very straightforward. I’ve been to DC quite a bit. DC is a fairly central place, not hard to get to. Mine was one of the first surgeries of the morning. My brother asked a lot of questions and he was really happy with the details.”
PATIENTS PREFER RECOVERING AT HOME
“Both my brother and boyfriend were able to take time off to be with me. We found a 2 bedroom apartment on AirBnB in the area near the surgery center, and after the surgery we just hung out. Tuesday after the surgery I was a little out of it, but by Wednesday morning I was fine. Thursday evening, we all flew back to Rhode Island. I didn’t need any of the narcotics after the first day. I was on Advil the rest of the time.”
“Recovering at home was nice. My support system was there for me regardless of where I was. Not having to be in the hospital was nice. Having the surgery didn’t impact my work life at all. I took the last two weeks of the year off, and everyone else was taking vacation, so the timing was perfect for me. The whole experience was really good. ”
“I’ve been telling some of my friends about the LAAM surgery, and how what Dr. MacKoul does is so cool. What he is doing is quite impressive. I’m talking to a lot of people about it. It’s surprising how many women have fibroids. I never appreciated how common they are and to have to go through this kind of surgery, having a myomectomy option that has a faster recovery is important.”
BOOK A CONSULTATION
The CIGC state-of-the-art specialists are available at three locations in the DC metro area. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA location, and Saturday appointments are available. Maryland offices are located in Rockville, MD and Annapolis, MD.
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, Dr. Paul MacKoul and Dr. Rupen Baxi. 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.