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Possible good news for my surgery

Aug 11, 2012 - 5 comments

Friday afternoon, oddly enough just as I was feeling very down about my upcoming surgery (to remove a benign mass, actually a large uterine fibroid ~13 cm and some smaller ones as well), and the expected 6 week recovery time for the abdominal incision, I got a call from one of the surgical team members.

They want to attempt to do the surgery laparoscopically!  Originally I was told this would not be possible due to the size of the mass, but there was apparently a difference of opinions on the team and so the plan now is they will first attempt a laparoscopic removal and only need to make an abdominal incision if that fails.  Apparently, they think they can take it out piece by piece using the scope method, or that is what they want to try.  The surgeon who called said they think this may be possible based on some aspects of the tumor, how it's attached to other tissue, etc.

If they succeed, I could be back to work in 2 weeks instead of 6.  Not to mention that by avoiding the abdominal cut I will be at lower risk for infection and have less scarring, and the laparoscopic approach also means less negative implications on my fertility, which is important to me as I haven't had children yet but do want to keep that as an option.

I'm scheduled to go in for surgery on Wednesday and I won't know until I wake up which route was necessary.  Regardless of what they ultimately need to do, I'm excited that they looked at my case closely and considered this alternative.

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3185070 tn?1344700577
by GYNsymptoms, Aug 11, 2012
I had a 6 cm fibroid tumor removed using the da Vinci (robotic) procedure. They took the uterus (and tumor) out of my vagina.  Is this an option for you?  Really nice recovery, went back to work in 2 weeks and only took a couple Ibuprofens the whole recovery time! :O)

Avatar universal
by illinwithoutacause, Aug 11, 2012
hi wonko,

i had fibroid tumor removal done laparoscopically about 8.5 years ago.  mine weren't quite as large as your largest, but they were able to do it by slicing the biggest one into pieces.  i certainly hope this works for you.  the first few days were uncomfortable, but i managed to recover quickly.

i will be thinking of you, keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well no matter how they get those things out of there.

this makes me also wonder if the fibroids are part of the spectrum of tick-borne illness?

blessings to you~

428506 tn?1296557399
by wonko, Aug 12, 2012
Thanks for the comments.

I am approaching this surgery with a mixture of thoughts and emotions, a large part being that I'm curious as to if/how the fibroid factors into my other health concerns.

When I got the call on Friday I obviously had no time to prepare questions for the idea being presented, but I was told that I would have time to ask questions on Wednesday before surgery.  In particular I want to ask the person who will be attempting the laparoscopic removal if they have had success with a similar size and type of fibroid.

It is my understanding that if you must have a large fibroid, the type that I have (pedunculated) is the best kind to have in terms of ease of surgical removal.  And certainly the prospect of a less invasive procedure with shorter recovery time is alluring.  However it is my understanding that it is technically more difficult for the surgeon.  This will be done at a teaching hospital and the person who called was a self-identified surgical fellow, while the doctor with whom I met who felt it should be done by abdominal incision is a more senior and experienced surgeon.  I just want a little more detail on the level of preparation of the person who will be attempting the laparoscopic removal and the level of consensus of the surgical team.

This past week, I went into a major flare of my symptoms.  This was while I was still on antibiotics.  Starting Wed. I stopped all Lyme treatment.  (It was the plan to stop it before surgery, I just moved it up a bit.)  Of course it is always impossible to tell if a flare is a response to abx, or just the "bugs" waxing/waning, or something else.  I am disappointed to say that yesterday and today have been fairly awful symptom-wise, I really don't see any improvement in response to pausing treatment.  I just hope that the day of my surgery I don't feel the awful fatigue, inflammation, and mental "fuzziness" that I do today.  Going under anesthesia with all of these symptoms just makes the whole process more frightening to me.

I don't want to set myself up for disappointment, but no matter how the chose to "get those things out of there," I do hope that I will overall feel better with them out.  I've been treating Lyme and co-infections for almost 4 years, and while a lot is better I still feel so held back and weighed down by symptoms.  Some problems are totally resolved, like stabbing ear pain and much of my heat intolerance.  But the fatigue, if anything, is worse now than ever.  I hope that if the fibroid is even contributing to (if not responsible) for some of the malaise I experience that this surgery will offer some light at the end of the tunnel.

I am also hopeful that my fertility is not completely compromised.  The doctors did not think it will be, but I think it is understandable for me to worry a bit about that since I don't have children.  In fact, it was because we were looking into options to start a family that all of this came to light.  I've kept that part back from almost everyone in my personal life, because I didn't plan on telling anyone about that intent until/if after I was already pregnant.  So it was surreal to go into the appointment thinking we were going to discuss options for pregnancy and instead suddenly I need surgery!  

I'm a very type-A, controlling personality type of gal.  So all of the uncertainty and need to "wait and see" is perhaps even more agonizing due to my traits, and I'm very anxious about how the length of recovery will impact me professionally.  But I know this simply needs to be done and potentially will make pregnancy a lot safer and lower risk, and may even help with my overall quality of life.  The good things in life are worth some extra effort, so hopefully this will all pay off for me.

Avatar universal
by illinwithoutacause, Aug 12, 2012
hi again, wonko,

just a quick note.  my largest fibroid was also pedunculated.  i got pregnant with my daughter (now almost 7) about a year after my surgery.

i am sorry you are in the midst of a flare up right now and i hope it abates to some degree prior to your procedure.

i will be on the look out for your update(s).

take good care,

428506 tn?1296557399
by wonko, Aug 12, 2012
Thanks for the reassuring comment.  I'm actually glad to have work the next two days to distract myself from some of the worry and emotions.  I'm sure I'll post a follow up on how it goes.

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