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Unread 03-21-2006, 10:54 AM
Da Vinci ???

Hello to all,
I just refered a sister to a site that has a great message board for BRACA 1 & 2 women as well as those who suspect they might be a carrier. The name of the site is F.O.R.C.E. (Facing Our Risk for Cancer Empowered). I decided, after referring her, to visit this site as I have not done so in a while.

I read a post by a women named "Ingrid" who just had a BSO/TAH performed by a gyn/onc with the Da Vinci robot. I decided to share what I read in her message as many of us here may have the opportunity to use this surgical procedure,

Ingrid was with a very skilled, competent surgeon. They used the Da Vinci method that had been approved for gyn surgery sometime in 2005; obviously a fairly new choice for this procedure. During the course of her operation, the surgeon cut her ureter. Her surgery turned into a 7 hour procedure with a helllish recovery. (At this time, she believes that she will heal completely!)

She shared some important take-aways. She went into this thinking that this was only a new and improved method of surgery in the hands of a skilled surgeon with an easier recovery time. What she learned from her doc post surgery was that he was at a disadvantage because he was not able to rely on his tactile senses and that that he was not very experienced with the Da Vinci and there is a learning curve. Both the doctor and patient knew that cutting the ureter is a risk during this surgery, but the risk was probably increased because of circumstances.

This women posted this message to encourage all who are presented with this "new and improved" surgery to be careful. She encourages everyone to ask the doctor "How many times have you done this procedure" and "What is your rate of complication?" This is just a gentle reminder that with new procedures, no matter how experienced your physician or what your relationship with them is; PLEASE REMEMBER to stop and investigate.

I hope some of you will find this useful!

Have a great day!

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Unread 03-21-2006, 12:37 PM
Da Vinci ???

Often the patient (me / we) is afraid of offending "the good doctor" so s/he doesn't ask many questions about experience, etc. or complain if necessary. I'm learning. I had what I considered was a substandard general check-up from a doctor who was new to me. (I believe she even tried to impress me with her ability to SEE [not feel] a lump. There was no lump to even feel. It had shown up on a film. She didn't know that I already knew about it. Ha!) Doctor visits are not covered by my insurance. I complained. The fee for that visit was written off by the clinic.

Mary D.
Unread 03-21-2006, 03:56 PM
Da Vinci ???

On a different note, thanks for posting the FORCE site. I have gone for genetic testing, and will be getting the resultss at the end of April, so I will be checking out this site.

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Unread 03-21-2006, 06:45 PM
Da Vinci ???

I had my LSH done with a Da Vinci robot...

I ended up with 12 day "mini" periods and chronic cramping, even though I was cored and cauterized. I had my cervix removed after 6 months of this. When the good doc went in to remove my cervix and zap the endo the first doc had left behind, he found an implant of endo sitting right on my cervical stump.

The doc who did the LSH had a video of it in his hands when he came to see me in recovery. He said it was the best one ever! I only lost 5 cc of blood! He didn't even stay long enough to answer my questions because he was off to show the video.

He told me before surgery that "they" had done about 13 of these procedures with the robot.

A few months ago my DH had a temp job at the surgery desk where I had the LSH. Based on what the nurses said, I was probably his VERY FIRST ONE! He had *observed* the head of the practice do about 13 of them.

He pushed me pretty hard to do an LSH. I wanted to get rid of my cervix, because just a year earlier I'd had severe dysplasia and carcinoma in situ. I figured that this was my chance to never have to worry about cervical cancer again. If he'd done an LAVH he wouldn't have had the opportunity to use the robot. When my DH told the nurses that he'd pushed me to keep my cervix they were shocked. Apparently they are "more selective" now. I *am* glad to hear that.

Beachball, thanks for bringing this topic up. I learned the hard way, by not be assertive enough. I hope that others can learn from these stories! Remember, it's *your* body they are cutting into, and you are also the one footing the bill. You don't have to let doctors "practice" their skills on you...

Unread 03-21-2006, 10:16 PM
Da Vinci ???

Thank you for the info. It is hard to make decisions for ourselves and loved ones regarding the medical community sometimes.
Unread 03-22-2006, 07:11 AM
Da Vinci ???

Thanks for bringing this up. I wear glasses, and I have thought about having laser surgery on my eyes for years, knowing that I have as much time as I need to feel comfortable with the treatment, seek out testimonials and to check out the doctor.

However, when I discovered I had cancer, I didn't have that same luxury. I felt like the sooner the cancer was removed, the better. Yes, I asked questions about the treatment and the doctor, but my questions were not very well informed because I didn't feel like I had the time to research very much; heck, I didn't even know how or where to research during the weeks between the diagnosis and surgery. If I had known then what I know now about the kind of cancer I had and the possible treatments, my questions (and possibly my treatment) would have been different.

I guess what I'm saying is that conditions are not ideal for cancer patients to be their best advocates, especially when cancer is a new experience for them.
Unread 03-22-2006, 08:06 AM
Da Vinci ???

Ann and the others sum up the process very well.

We can research all we want beforehand; encounter a LOT of complicated words; and really not know what we're doing until we've acclimated ourselves to the daunting terms and new technology.
Even then, I don't think we really become "fully knowledgable consumers."

Different doctors have different approaches to treatment. Success of treatment doesn't come with a "100% money-back guarantee" -- something that we have become accustomed to receiving as consumers.

To complicate matters, I think it is human nature to "hear" or "interpret" what we want to hear so when a doctor says he or she has done a lot of such and such, we are easily pacified. We are vulnerable to sales pitches in the best of circumstances and even more so when our lives are on the line. At least, I was.

And on the flip side of the coin, someone has to be the first...second ...tenth...hundredth person for the surgeon/technician to "practice" on and to hone his/her skills for the thousandth person having the procedure/treatment.

If there were one treatment that worked for everyone, there would be no more cancer. It would be successfully eradicated everytime.

My hat is off to the patients in clinical trials and to the medical community who pioneer new paths of treatment.

My heart goes out to patients for whom the treatment didn't work as well as they anticipated.

The bottom line, for me, is faith in a Higher Being. I believe things will work out for the best for me. There is a master plan; but, it isn't mine. I'm not in control no matter how much I'd like to be.

It is up to us to do the best we can with what we know at the time.

I try not to second guess my decisions. The "woulda-coulda-shouldas" don't help me heal. I'm grateful to be alive for whatever time the Master Planner has in mind for me. And, when my time comes to move on, I believe I will move onto an awesome out-of-this-world-place.

Best regards,

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