Ovarian Cancer Awareness: Chilli Amar Chose A CIGC Hysterectomy
Washington, D.C. Morning Radio Personality Chose CIGC for Minimally Invasive Hysterectomy; Preventative Surgery For Ovarian Cancer
A history of ovarian cancer in your family doesn’t have to decide your fate. Women who have lost immediate family members to ovarian cancer already know that they are at a higher risk for developing the disease. After losing her mother and her grandmother to ovarian cancer, and faced with the likelihood that she was a high risk, local Washington, D.C. area radio host Chilli Amar decided years ago that she was going to be different. Amar was tested for the genetic mutation that can warn women of their risks of developing ovarian cancer.
“I wanted my story to be different than my mom’s,” said Amar. “The genetic testing showed that I am positive for the BRCA-2 mutation.”
It is important for women whose mothers developed ovarian cancer to get genetic testing to help make better health decisions, and decide if preventative surgery is the best path to take. Amar spoke candidly in a Washington Post article about her decision to have a complete hysterectomy, a procedure that would essentially eliminate her risk of developing ovarian cancer.
PROPHYLACTIC SURGERY TO PREVENT CANCER IS NOW A CHOICE WOMEN CAN MAKE
“The first time I ever thought about the surgery was when I read Angelina Jolie’s story in the New York Times and I thought how brave she was,” said Amar. “Our stories were similar. Her willingness to be open about her procedures made me go to my doctors and ask if this was an option for me. If I can do the same for any woman, just to understand that this is an option and it’s not so scary, I’m happy to share my story.”
CHOOSING DR. PAUL MACKOUL, MD AND THE CENTER FOR INNOVATIVE GYN CARE
Amar continued, “We put off things because it’s not the right time. When you have such a positive experience, you think ‘Why did I wait?’ Thanks to Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD at The Center for Innovative GYN Care, not only is my story better, but from beginning to end, my experience was incredible. I had a surgery on a Friday morning, and I was off all pain meds in three days, I wasn’t even taking ibuprofen. Dr. MacKoul said I would be back on my feet in about a week.”
With the minimally invasive GYN surgery techniques at CIGC, women can recover in just a few days. Most women are back to work within a week.
“Other family members who had other types of surgery were out for many weeks, so to hear Dr. MacKoul say that, I was skeptical,” said Amar. “By the end of the first week, I was able to drive myself on an errand. I was stunned at how fast I had bounced back. You can’t even see the incisions and it’s only been 2 weeks.
“When you hear minimally invasive, many women don’t really know what that means. I had a consultation with another doctor, and they too had said minimally invasive, 2 incisions, so why did I choose to go with Dr. MacKoul? What sets CIGC apart is the placement of the incisions. With DualPortGYN, he doesn’t go through the abdominal muscle. He has a very unique method of performing the surgery. This is why I was driving a week out. I was doing all of those things that other women who had other types of laparoscopic surgery wouldn’t be able to for several weeks.”
THE DUALPORTGYN DIFFERENCE
At CIGC, our surgeons make sure that the patients are safe from the beginning. DualPortGYN laparoscopic hysterectomy is one of the most minimally invasive GYN surgery techniques available. DualPortGYN was developed by the minimally invasive GYN specialists at CIGC to help women heal faster and created a safer procedure in the process. Hysterectomies performed with DualPortGYN take advantage of specialized techniques that help to control blood loss and map the pelvic cavity. Hysterectomies are performed using just 2 small incisions no larger than a paper cut through the midline. This means that the incisions do not have to go through the muscle, and patients experience less discomfort as they heal.
GETTING BACK TO LIFE AFTER SURGERY
“Everything was sent to Pathology, everything is clear and I have nothing to worry about,” said Amar. “My personal goal was to have this done in time for my birthday. That’s something that I used as a way to push myself. I have this complete relief because I’m no longer carrying the fear. To have had the knowledge of what I needed to do, as well as the fortune of being able to be proactive, that is relief I can’t put a pricetag on. Now, I can focus on other things and truly live my life.”
One of the benefits of having a DualPortGYN hysterectomy was being able to play with her son and pick him up soon after the surgery.
“I didn’t want to have to miss out on time with Donato while I was home. I was doing this so I can be a mom for a long time, so being able to enjoy that time with him soon after surgery was wonderful.”
MANAGING MENOPAUSE AND HORMONES AFTER A COMPLETE HYSTERECTOMY
Like many women, Amar was concerned about post-surgery menopause, both the symptoms and treatment.
“We came up with a game plan to help cope with it. Whenever I had any questions I got a call back. I learned about appropriate hormone therapy for a woman going through surgically induced menopause, and that estrogen for women who no longer have a uterus is safe to take.”
At CIGC, we understand that hormone replacement therapy is a major concern for women. This is due to misinformation and the lack of clarity around the Women’s Health Initiative study. This issue is confusing because it is not just “one size fits all.” Each woman experiences menopause differently. One woman might have debilitating hot flashes and night sweats, while another might only notice mild vaginal dryness. In addition, each woman has her own specific health history.
For the vast majority of women, hormone replacement therapy, when given correctly, is extremely effective and safe. There are certainly women who should not take hormone replacement therapy at all due to medical reasons. Women should be educated on this matter and decide for themselves if the benefits outweigh the risks.
BREAKING THE TABOO ABOUT WOMEN’S HEALTH
Amar posted a picture on social media of herself in a grocery store surrounded by tampons and pads a few weeks after having the surgery, realizing she would never have to shop in that aisle again. Many women who responded positively to the image, saying they too were happy to be free from their monthly period. Some of these women were also in their 20s and 30s, who had already had a hysterectomy. The response to the image made Amar realize the dearth of discussion surrounding hysterectomy.
“I was shocked at the number of women younger than me who also had a hysterectomy. I realized, that’s why we need to be more open and talk about it. You probably work with someone who had some kind of GYN condition going on. I want them to know about their options.”
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 MD 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 & Annapolis in Maryland, and, Reston in Virginia. 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.