We understand that the best encouragement and hope sometimes comes from first-hand accounts of other patients suffering from uterine fibroids.
I’d had heavy menstrual periods for years, and further testing (MRI, ultrasound, alternative care) showed they were caused by fibroids, but I was busy and kept putting off treatment. Then one day I was walking home and felt so weak I had to lie down: All those heavy periods had left me severely anemic. I couldn’t put off treatment any longer.
I came to OHSU and saw Dr. Joanna Hatfield. She was fabulous: a rare combination of personable, extremely competent and well-educated. Just a gem. Dr. Hatfield didn’t try to talk me into a hysterectomy like so many other providers did. Instead, she laid out all my options, including myomectomy to remove the fibroids. I didn’t think it was feasible, but she assured me it was. We scheduled the procedure for three months later; I needed time to bring my blood count to a normal level.
After we met, Dr. Hatfield called me and said she met with the other doctors at the OHSU Center for Women’s Health and reviewed my imaging studies; they all agreed I would be a candidate for a minimally invasive myomectomy, using the daVinci Surgical Robot. Surgery with the robot would make my recovery time shorter and still allow all the fibroids to be removed. The downside would be the possibility of converting to an open surgery or even a hysterectomy if there were complications. Since I had already had done so much homework and prepared myself for those scenarios, I was ready to go with the robot.
The surgery took longer than initially expected, because it was an incredibly involved procedure. I had large and small fibroids; some were hiding behind others. The doctors would remove one, and then find a cluster underneath. I was in the hospital two days. At home, I couldn’t roll over in bed, but could walk around my house and get around all right. Soon I was able to sit up—and quickly progressed from there. In addition to the robotic myomectomy, I also had a Mirena IUD put in, and the results of everything have been amazing—I’m not even spotting.
I had my surgery in December 2012. I couldn’t have predicted how good I feel today. I’m back to doing everything I did beforehand—in fact, I can do much more now. In the spring, I went on two work trips, totaling five weeks, to England and Scotland. I couldn’t have put myself in that situation previously. My energy is back: I feel like a new person.
OHSU was really on top of the very best that they or anyone could deliver. The whole package was A+. I feel fortunate to have had this opportunity, and would implore anyone looking into this type of fibroid treatment to talk to the people at the OHSU Center for Women’s Health. I’m so glad I did.