“I started having symptoms two years ago, and I was having intense cramps,” said Tiffany (Woodbridge, VA). When I had my period, it was 20 times worse. I always had pelvic cramping. I ignored it. I remember the doctor mentioning I had fibroids, but was told I could wait, take birth control, and watch. I did all of that, and took another medication, but nothing helped. I’m only 35 years old, and I was becoming down and distant. I’m always a vibrant person, and outgoing, a little goofy, so my friends knew something was wrong with me. I went back to the doctor again, and there was the option of removing the fibroid. I was also constipated and was back and forth at the GI doctor, and had an endoscopy, a colonoscopy, and yet everything still looked normal. I didn’t know what to do.”
Tiffany’s gynecologist recommended taking out the fibroids, but the result of that surgery wasn’t what she was hoping for.
“I’ve had a total of three surgeries now. The first surgery in April 2015 I had a laparoscopic myomectomy through my gynecologist and it was the worst recovery of my life. I couldn’t walk, I couldn’t eat. I’m already small. Before that surgery, I only weighed like a 120 lbs, and I dropped to 105 lbs after the long recovery. It was a brutal surgery. I kept going back and forth to the doctor and he said there is nothing else I can do for you other than a hysterectomy. I didn’t want to give up, and I wanted to find a doctor who really cared about me.”
At that point, Tiffany didn’t want a hysterectomy so she continued to pursue other options.
“I had an MRI later that year after talking to my primary doctor when I said the sonograms and ultrasounds weren’t showing anything. The MRI showed more fibroids had grown, and I had cysts, and something called adenomyosis.”
“I Googled adenomyosis, and The Center for Innovative GYN Care came up. Here are surgeons that actually specialize in these conditions. I made an appointment with Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD. I also had a bladder problem with spasms, and other areas of my pelvis were starting to be affected.”
Tiffany also had endometriosis. When women have multiple conditions, symptoms can be caused by any or all of them. With endometriosis or scar tissue, neither of which show up on imaging, gastrointestinal problems are common. Dr. Danilyants performed endometriosis resection, and was able to identify and remove scar tissue, fibroids and confirmed the adenomyosis. By resecting (removing) the scar tissue, Tiffany began to feel a little better, but because of the adenomyosis, she soon had other symptoms that were causing her pain.
Adenomyosis is a common GYN condition that can only be detected through an MRI. It is a form of endometriosis that affects the muscle of the uterus. For unknown reasons, the barrier between the endometrial lining and the muscle breaks down, and the endometrial lining grows directly into the muscle of the uterus causing bleeding within the muscle. There can be intense and constant pain with the menstrual cycle, with severe bleeding. The only known definite treatment is hysterectomy. Adenomyosis also dramatically decreases fertility, impairing implantation of the embryo into the uterine lining by 30% or more. Birth control, embolization or ablation do nothing to treat the condition.
“Dr. Danilyants was very nice, she made me feel so comfortable. She listened to my story, and I didn’t just feel like a number. She gave me options. After thinking for a long time, I started to feel like the hysterectomy was the best option for me. I had struggled with the decision for a while, but I got to the point where I decided it was time.”
CIGC specialists are fellowship trained in advanced laparoscopic techniques. Their experience and skill means they have the ability to give patients a choice when it comes to their treatment. It is up to the patient to make the decision based on all of the information that is given to them.
“I love Dr. Danilyants. That is an awesome woman. I have never met someone who sat there as I was crying and she said ‘You know, you don’t have to do this.’ I said ‘No, I want to do this, I’m just freaking out about all the things that can go wrong.’ and she said very sincerely ‘You’ll be fine.’ And she was absolutely right.”
Tiffany had a minimally invasive hysterectomy, a procedure that removes the uterus using just 2 tiny incisions.
DualPortGYN was developed by the CIGC specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD. DualPortGYN hysterectomy procedures are performed in an outpatient setting, so women can return home the same day. Incisions are tiny, and placed in cosmetically appealing locations. One 5 mm incision is placed at the belly button, and another 5 mm incision is placed at the bikini line, so they are practically invisible after they heal. A DualPortGYN hysterectomy has a fast recovery, with most patients are back to their lives in 7 days.
“It’s only been a month, and I feel amazing. I can tell already that the pain I was having is gone. I understand that there are doctors who are trained to remove fibroids, but they aren’t experts like Dr. Danilyants. When I read up about the CIGC specialists, I felt really good about my decision. I’m ready to get my life back, and I feel like I’m headed in that direction.”
“I like to workout, do Zumba, run, everything I missed out on while I was just living with the pain. I’m going to go skydiving again, and I love salsa dancing.”
“The staff was amazing. Once I decided that I wanted to have a hysterectomy, I wanted it done immediately. If they could have taken me the next day, I would have done it. However, they got me in that very same week. I’ve never had a doctor and a staff that made me feel so comfortable. I was scared when I came in for the surgery, but I wanted to get well, and was torn because I don’t have any children, so it was very emotional. One of the nurses sat with me and talked me through it, letting me know that there are a lot of women my age who have the same condition, and there was just an overall warm feeling. I’ve met some good doctors and staff members, but nothing like CIGC.”
ADVOCATING FOR OTHER WOMEN
“I’m excited about the surgery. I didn’t expect to be up and around the first week. It was probably four days after the surgery where I knew I felt different already. A lot of women go through this and they don’t know where to go. I want to help them.”
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.
CIGC is dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated healthcare system. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind.
Their personalized approach to 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.