CIGC’s hysterectomy patient from Maryland – Tracy J. – was struggling with fibroids that caused severe GYN symptoms. Tracy had not been sick before and she first ignored the signs when she first experienced pain and discomfort back in 2012. As years passed, she became extremely anemic due to very heavy bleeding and developed a small embolism in her leg that could have been fatal.
“The day I had to call my family and tell them that I was in the hospital with a blood clot, the hospital staff kept telling them that I could have died, which didn’t help their fears. I had an 8-week course of iron infusions. I had a baseline of 5. It’s supposed to be 12. I realized after that I had adapted to the amount of iron in my system.” Tracy said.
A friend spoke to Tracy about us years ago and she decided to reach out and seek surgical treatment when her symptoms got truly severe.
“At this point, I was having this horrendous bleeding, even though the clotting was managed, the bleeding was out of control and my stomach was always swollen. I now had a new job and great insurance, so I called The Center for Innovative GYN Care.”
“After the surgery, I am a one-woman marketing team, a grassroots campaign manager. I took a stack of business cards and I give them to people who I know have GYN problems. I’m happy to be here. I don’t believe in wasting a day. I’ve lost friends at young ages and have known people who have lived into their hundreds. I want to be one who lives a long life.”
Regina R. from Los Angeles, CA was diagnosed with fibroids years ago and was told she needs to have a hysterectomy. At the time, she was not ready to consider this procedure and decided to wait. She actually found a doctor in Beverly Hills, CA who said he could shrink fibroids with a tool that he had invented. When Regina went to see this doctor, he raised several red flags for her.
“He said ‘I can’t do the procedure on you, because there is literally no room in your abdomen to even put the tool in there. Your uterus is the size of 30 week pregnancy. You should have back pain, acid reflux.’ and he was looking at me in disbelief. That freaked me out. He said ‘You really need to take care of this. You can damage your kidneys. Your organs don’t have any room. The fibroids have filled in whatever space was left.’” Regina recounted.
“I drove home so upset. All of a sudden I was feeling the fibroid, whereas before this I hadn’t even noticed it. I do yoga 4-5 times per week. I was doing backbends and running around. I do power yoga for an hour and a half every day. I was doing 50 sit-ups at one point, and doing arm balances and headstands. I’ve been doing it for 6 years and I’m pretty advanced.”
“Once I got home I knew I had to take care of this. The trauma of open surgery wasn’t something I wasn’t willing to go through, especially still not having any noticeable symptoms, except that I didn’t have a flat stomach. It was pure vanity that started the whole thing. I still kept feeling like I didn’t need to do this, but at the same time I knew I did.”
CHOOSING TO TRAVEL FOR MINIMALLY INVASIVE HYSTERECTOMY
Regina’s doctor was only able to perform an open surgery, with 4-5 days in the hospital and 8 weeks recovery time. She researched her options online hoping to find a better approach and discovered CIGC.
“Reading all of the blogs and hearing these women’s testimonials, I realized I could do that. There is the expense of flying and hotel, but in the end it’s my body. My only options were open surgery here or flying to Washington, D.C. It was a no-brainer. After reading every person’s comments and blogs, and procedures, and looking up reviews on both doctors, I felt comfortable enough to say ‘I’m doing it.’ Mentally, I was now feeling the fibroid. I was ready to get it out of me and move on.” Regina said.
“I have a friend who is a gynecologist, who just told me to have the open surgery in LA. She said there was no way they could remove a uterus that big laparoscopically. My husband is good friends with her husband, and he was at their house prior to it. She kept saying ‘There’s absolutely no way they can do that. Don’t let her go!’ My husband stood firm saying ‘She’s done her research, I trust her and back her up.’”
LAPAROSCOPIC HYSTERECTOMY WITH DUALPORTGYN AT CIGC
With the DualPortGYN technique, minimally invasive hysterectomy can be performed for a uterus up to 20 pounds. Because of the minimally invasive approach, only two 5 MM incisions, recovery is minimal – 7 days. DualPortGYN hysterectomies use a specialized technique called retroperitoneal dissection that helps control blood loss and maps the pelvic cavity so the surgeon is able to fully visualize the pelvis.
“Open surgery was never even discussed. He does this surgery all the time, and it was business as usual. The phone consultation was very direct. I wanted someone straightforward for whom this kind of surgery is no big deal. I want to be one of a thousand, not one of a few.”
“The surgery was complex. When Dr. MacKoul came back in to talk to me he said that the ureter was wrapped around the uterus on both sides and some of the other organs were on top of it. I definitely needed to take care of it. It was remarkable. I obviously had a stomach, but I didn’t realize that the fibroid was going past my hipbone or my rib cage. It was the shape of a giant jellybean. After the surgery, my stomach is totally flat now.”
HAPPY WITH HER DECISION TO TRAVEL FOR SURGERY
The decision to travel for surgery is not an easy one to make, especially when family and friends have their doubts and try to change your mind. Regina however felt confident in her choice and went all the way. She recovered quickly after her laparoscopic hysterectomy, with very limited pain.
“I’ve been taking it easy, I’m basically back to normal, I didn’t really take any pain medication except to go to sleep the first couple of nights home. I’m totally feeling fine! People come to see me and it’s so weird because you don’t look like you’ve had surgery! I keep forgetting that I’ve had major surgery, you feel the incision a little bit, but it’s not anything that keeps me from doing anything.”
“Coming from a large city in LA where you can find an expert on everything, and having family and friends not understanding why I was going literally across the country for this procedure, my family especially was very uneasy. We are used to having everything within driving distance and even when I explained it to them, they couldn’t understand.”
“As the time got closer, it was a mental thing, I hadn’t met the doctor in person, I haven’t been to this hospital before, of course you get nervous. However, from the time that I called, to get information, to get my insurance approved, to speaking to the doctor, to having Emily call me and schedule the surgery, to the follow-ups for the lab work I needed, to the email communication, everything was so professional and so perfect. I didn’t have to worry about thinking about anything. The only thing I had to worry about was getting a flight and getting a hotel room.”
BOOK A CONSULT
If you would like to discuss your DualPortGYN hysterectomy with a CIGC specialist Dr. Paul J. MacKoul or Dr. Natalya Danilyants MD, call 888-SURGERY or contact us online. The Center for Innovative GYN Care has offices in Bethesda, MD, Annapolis, MD and Reston, VA. Patients who reside outside the Washington DC area travel to CIGC through our travel program.
Q. What is the recovery time after DualPortGYN procedures and what are common complications?
A. DualPortGYN gives you the fastest recovery possible. We’ve done thousands of these cases including a very large study in a local hospital which shows that the recovery time on average is 7 days back to work. That can be for a uterus the size of a grapefruit to a uterus the size of a watermelon. Recovery is typically 7 days and it can be 10 days with more extensive procedures. When you talk about robotic surgery it’s 2-4 weeks and with open it’s 6-8 weeks. The complication rate is the lowest possible compared to the other procedures.