The Center for Innovative GYN Care’s Patient Spotlight: Kristen Hill
Patient: Kristen Hill, Manassas VA
Doctor: Paul MacKoul MD
After experiencing over a decade with debilitating pains stemming from the symptoms of endometriosis, Kristen Hill was no longer willing to compromise her quality of life. Unfortunately, she initially sought the care of her OBGYN and a GYN oncology specialty surgeon in Fairfax who was not properly trained in the advanced techniques that are required to properly execute a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. Thankfully, this horrifying experience led her to seek out the expertise of a true minimally invasive laparoscopic specialist. She found Dr. Paul MacKoul, and her only wish is that she had done so sooner. Learn from Kristen’s story, and choose the most innovative and advanced GYN care from doctors at The Center for Innovative GYN Care.
CIGC: You suffered from a severe case of endometriosis, what were the initial stages of your journey like before finding Dr. MacKoul with The Center for Innovative GYN Care?
KRISTEN: I was diagnosed with a painful and severe case of endometriosis back in 2002, and I was actively trying to get pregnant. My husband and I ended up seeing a fertility specialist who performed a laparoscopy. The specialist said my endometriosis was in stage 3 or 4, and he said getting pregnant was going to be incredibly difficult and probably impossible. My husband and I tried several rounds of IVF with no results.
CIGC: Did you continue to suffer?
KRISTEN: Yes, I suffered horribly throughout the last several years and experienced bouts of debilitating shooting pains. They were so intense that I would be doubled over in agony, and had many symptoms including IBS, lower back pain and crankiness that would all turn out to be interrelated. I also continued to have abnormal pap smears as well as cervical biopsies. These red flags and procedures were both concerning and painful to deal with.
CIGC: How did the chronic nature of your symptoms lead you to the next step?
KRISTEN: Well, I spoke to my OBGYN, and deduced that pregnancy wouldn’t happen. I had blocked tubes, and I decided that a hysterectomy was the best option in order to rid my body of the advanced endometriosis. My OBGYN referred me to a surgeon who she said was highly qualified, and would be the best person to operate on my unique and severe case. If only I’d known what I know now.
CIGC: What happened?
KRISTEN: It was horrible; I went to the hospital with the intent to have a hysterectomy. I wanted the endometriosis to be completely gone. Would you believe that my OBGYN and the referred surgeon actually opened me up, and upon taking a look at the position and severity of my endometriosis, decided to close me back up without performing the procedure! I can’t even describe what that felt like. Waking up after being cut open and finding this out was completely disconcerting. I was so confused. It was a terrible experience.
CIGC: Why did this happen? Why would a surgeon and an OBGYN not go forward with the agreed upon surgery?
KRISTEN: My OBGYN and the referred surgeon explained that if they were to go through with the hysterectomy, I would end up with a colostomy bag for my entire life. The alternative was to go on living with excruciating pain. I’m only 45; can you believe that? As you can imagine, I found it abundantly clear that I had to do my own research to find a second opinion. This couldn’t be the be-all-end-all, and I wasn’t settling for a colostomy bag for the rest of my days.
CIGC: So, you found Dr. Paul MacKoul at The Center for Innovative GYN Care through your own research?
KRISTEN: Yes I did, but my OBGYN urged me to see the surgeon she had originally referred me to. The one that had opened me up without performing the hysterectomy.
CIGC: Oh my goodness, did you do so?
KRISTEN: I did, but the last meeting I had with the original surgeon was the clincher, he brushed off my questions and came back with the same non-solutions. My husband and I walked right out of his office and turned to one another determined to visit Dr. MacKoul. We were convinced he could be the answer to my endometriosis issues. My research showed me that Dr. MacKoul was both the most advanced minimally invasive laparoscopic specialist, and unlike others his costs wouldn’t require me to take a loan out on my house to have the surgery.
CIGC: When you met with Dr. MacKoul, what happened? How did he ease your concerns?
KRISTEN: Dr MacKoul was wonderful, warm and genuine and explained the procedure as well as his innovative techniques in depth. He also drew me a personalized diagram of my anatomy to fully communicate my unique situation and the symptoms related to the kind of endometriosis I had, “Frozen Pelvis Syndrome”. Dr. MacKoul sketched the uterus to illustrate how everything played together, and the specific benefits to his approach including: shorter recovery time, fewer incisions and greater visibility of the anatomy. He put our fears to rest and was confident that he could remove all of the endometrial tissue safely. There would be absolutely no reason for a colostomy bag, thank goodness.
CIGC: So you moved forward with Dr. MacKoul, and you felt you were in good hands?
KRISTEN: Oh, yes. Afterwards my husband and I felt confident and comfortable with Dr. MacKoul performing my hysterectomy to fully remove my endometrial tissue. Dr. MacKoul and the staff that worked with him gave me personal attention during the surgical experience, and it was thankfully nothing like the factory environment during my previous hospital experience. He performed my surgery at a surgery center, and it was like walking into a whole new world in comparison to the hospital environment. It was restful and peaceful, and I didn’t feel rushed in any way. The surgery room was clean and perfect. I was also given all relevant post-operative directions to make sure my recovery would be as swift and with as little pain as possible.
CIGC: How are you doing now? How was the recovery after Dr. MacKoul operated on you?
KRISTEN: ALL of my endometrial tissue was removed during the successful hysterectomy! Also, I can’t say I’m surprised, but Dr. MacKoul’s incisions are barely detectable! My recovery was swift and I was back to work within a week and a half. Unfortunately, the other surgeon that opened me up prior to Dr. MacKoul, and claimed to have expertise in minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery, left noticeable scars that will probably be visible forever. If only I’d met Dr. MacKoul first!
A note to future patients: Dr. MacKoul is so talented, and will provide you with his best recommendations based off of a true expertise, and decades of experience within minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. Please learn from my experience, and go straight to him from the start.
Book a consultation with one of The Center for Innovative GYN Care’s doctors, here.
Get to know more about Paul MacKoul, MD., here.