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Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy - couldn't be more pleased! - My Story Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy - couldn't be more pleased! - My Story

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Unread 02-22-2008, 04:39 PM
Laparoscopic Supracervical Hysterectomy - couldn't be more pleased! - My Story

I am 46 years old, in excellent health. 6 months ago, I woke up one morning and felt a protrusion sticking out of my abdomen. You could see it visually as well and my husband said "What the heck!" A visit to the gynecologist and a subsequent ultrasound showed a very large fibroid 8-10 cm. I started to have very uncomfortable feelings of pressure in my lower abdomen. As time went on, it was clear that something had to be done.

My gynecologist at the time offered me 3 options: total abdominal hysterectomy (TAH), abdominal myomectomy or uterine arterial embolization (UAE). I was totally resistant to the idea of abdominal surgery due to the pain and long recovery time. As I researched UAE, it became clear to me that it was not the best option for someone with a large, non-bleeding fibroid like mine.

At that point, I embarked on a search for alternatives. One of the most promising alternatives that I found was Magnetic Resonance Guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS), a non-invasive, virtually painless procedure that essentially melts your fibroid using high intensity ultrasound waves. Although approved by the FDA and lauded by various research hospitals such as the Mayo Clinic, the procedure is still too new to be covered by most health insurance plans. I was deemed an excellent candidate for MRgFUS and began a multi-month appeal process with my insurance carrier and employer, trying to get them to cover me. I failed in that effort, but I expect that MRgFUS will become a covered procedure in the next year or two, so please keep that in mind as you look at alternatives. It is the future.

During this time of searching for alternatives, I reached out to my gynecologist, soliciting his opinions on the various treatment options I encountered, including MRgFUS. Instead of being supportive and acting as a trusted advisor in my search, he sent me a certified letter, essentially “firing” me as his patient for not acting on his recommendations for abdominal surgery or UAE. I couldn't believe it! What an ego! In the end, though, it was the best thing that could have happened to me.

I was fortunate to find information on HysterSisters on laparoscopic supracervical hysterectomy (LSH). It seemed like a great alternative and I set out to find a surgeon who would take my case.

If you are initally told that your uterus or fibroid is too large for LSH, get a second or third opinion. My uterus was 13 cm at the time of my surgery, with a 10 cm fibroid inside. That is large, but my surgeons do that size and larger EVERY WEEK. The problem is, many gynecologists either don't know about the applicability of the procedure for large fibroids/uteruses, or since they aren't trained on the procedure themselves, they don't make the option known to their patients. It is a tragedy that doctors either don't know about or recommend LSH to their patients, because it is an amazing way to go.

Here is my experience with LSH:
I went into the outpatient facility of the hospital on 2/13/08 in the morning. I was home with my family that evening, eating a nice dinner and watching American Idol on TV. The most pain I had was a CO2 gas bubble that ended up in my shoulder the first night. (They fill your belly with CO2 during the procedure and can't get all of it out when they close you up.) I was on hydrocodone for discomfort at the incision sites every 4 hours for the first 2 days and nights. I drank plenty of green tea with Benefiber and on the 3rd day, I had a normal BM. On that day, I stopped taking pain meds of any kind. By Day 4, I was going out to lunch and walking on the beach looking for sea glass. By Day 7, I was back to my very physical activities of kickboxing and yoga. Unbelievable! My only restriction was (and still is) vaginal intercourse. I have to wait 3 more weeks (4 weeks from my surgery date) for that.

Regarding "swelly belly," by Day 2 after the surgery, I had gained 10 lbs of fluids. The fluids, along with the CO2 made my stomach huge, but each day after that my stomach reduced in size. Swelly belly was totally gone by Day 7.

I cannot praise this procedure enough. Please, please, please investigate LSH and don't take "no" for an answer if the first doctor says "no." It took 4 doctors until I found my wonderful surgeons. They feel very strongly that there are an awful lot of UNNECESSARY abdominal hysterectomies happening out there.

Good luck to you all!
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