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Options Success Story: Myomectomy, 5 weeks later Options Success Story: Myomectomy, 5 weeks later

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  #1  
Unread 10-19-2011, 07:57 PM
Options Success Story: Myomectomy, 5 weeks later

In July of this year, I went to my doctor about intermittent mild pain in my right side--wouldn't have bothered, except I was about to spend the summer abroad and thought, "Hm, what if it's appendicitis?" Figured just to be on the safe side, I should check with the US doctors about whether any organs needed to come out.

Well, it wasn't an organ, exactly. Turned out I had a fibroid tumor that made my uterus show up on ultrasounds as a huge blob, about the size of a six-month pregnancy. It had been creeping up on me for years, and I'd just dismissed all the symptoms. Tired all the time? Well, I was getting older. Feeling bloated? Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have eaten that. Stomach pooching out? Too much ice cream, not enough gym. I even subconsciously cut down my fluid intake because I got sick of needing to pee all the time.

Queen of Denial that I am, I took Mr. Giant Fibroid on a whirlwind one-month tour of Guatemala before settling in to take a look at my options. I'm 35, and wanted to avoid a hysterectomy if possible, but it was clear that the darn thing needed to go, and surgery was the only option for something that big. Luckily, I live in a major urban area with really good facilities and a lot of very skilled doctors: I got referred by my OB-GYN to a surgeon who does lots of myomectomies. Also luckily, Mr. Giant Fibroid was fairly well-behaved as far as these things go--I got an MRI, and it showed that it was hanging outside my uterus in a pretty "grabbable" position.

I had my surgery on September 13th: the week before, I was a nervous wreck, but everything ended out being much, much easier than the worrying beforehand had been. The operation took almost 4 hours, and I lost a fair bit of blood, but it was wildly successful. The fibroid was the size of a basketball! Initially, it was reported as weighing 6.2 pounds: the pathology report a week later put it closer to 5. Either way, it was a monster, considering that a normal uterus weighs somewhere around 3...ounces.

My surgeon specializes in non-invasive procedures: what she ended out doing was a "diagnostic laparoscopy with mini-laparotomy". Basically, halfway between a DaVinci and an open abdominal procedure: I have a 2-inch scar that radiates a little above and a little below my navel. I stayed two nights in the hospital, puttered around exclusively at home for about five more days, and then progressively got stronger and more able over my four-week initial recovery period.

I'm now five weeks out: still not able to wear pants with a non-elastic waistband, but otherwise more or less human again. I went back to work last week, and find myself right now with less pain and more energy than I had before my surgery.

A myomectomy isn't always the be-all, end-all solution. I've reconciled myself to the reality that fibroids might grow again--not "back", but again--and that I might find myself back in the same situation. For me, though, going through this was a necessary and beneficial step: it's given me relief from my symptoms, and more time to make another choice if I have to down the line.

I'm sure as heck not grateful for fibroids, but I'm grateful that I found this site and the wonderfully supportive community around it. And I'm re-entering the world, post-op, with a new appreciation for my body and my health. I wish everyone well on their own personal journeys!
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  #2  
Unread 10-20-2011, 08:07 AM
Re: Options Success Story: Myomectomy, 5 weeks later

Awesome story!

My hysteroscopy in 2002 really made a huge difference in my life as well, but as you mentioned, they came again and eventually caused the same symptoms that sent me in to surgery the first time. (I always say back, but your're correct - I think I'll adopt your phraseology).

Now, at 47 and with 2 abnormal pap results, I decided it's time for the hysterectomy.

As your story demonstrates, hysterectomy is not the only option and I'm glad you found the solution that is right for you.
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