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Old 05-13-2011, 07:20 PM
partlycloudy partlycloudy is offline
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Wow... I had a robotic-assisted laparoscopic myomectomy on Monday, and I feel fantastic! (girly TMI)

There you have it. After a month of waiting around for this procedure, which I was a little anxious about, I had a 10cm uterine fibroid (submural, so they say) removed from the top of my uterus, and am feeling damn near fully recovered! I know, I know.. I still have to be careful. I still look like I've been stabbed in the stomach 5 times (to be honest, it's pretty gnarly looking). But DANG! I took the whole week off and I am bored now! The boyfriend is already acting normal, showing really no sympathy (darn, that didn't last long ). I did the dishes last night. I went to the movies today (Water for Elephants - not recommended). I can't really justify lying in bed anymore, but I can't really DO anything either. Hmmm...

A little bit about me: I am 30 yrs old and in good physical condition, never been pregnant or had kids. I had an appendectomy when I was 25 (laparoscopic, with 3 belly incisions, but without the assistance of a robot), and it was definitely a more difficult recovery. I think my speedy recovery is due in part to my good physical condition, but mainly to do with the robotic surgery, which I highly recommend.

Basically this big honking fibroid came out of nowhere at a time when I was experiencing barely any symptomology. When I peed, I kinda felt something move a little bit. Weird, but I mostly thought it was just my imagination. During my annual visit, my doc ordered a sonogram, and that's when they found this thing. The options were presented - have an open myomectomy (similar to a c-section), a laparoscopic myomectomy (regular laparoscopy with small incisions), or a robotic laparoscopic myomectomy (more precise version of the laparoscopic procedure). The benefits of the robotic procedure were explained - quicker recovery, less scarring (internal and external) - it sounded purrrdy "okay."

There weren't too many docs in the area who could do the robotic myomectomy, and only one hospital in the area that has the new "state-of-the-art" Da Vinci robot. I met with one of the docs who could perform the robotic procedure - she was young (probably my age), which made me nervous at first, but she was extremely personable and explained everything in great detail. Answered all my questions and then some, with details I hadn't even though about. She was well-trained with the Da Vinci robot. After talking to some of the nurses in the hospital who have dealt with patients like me, it seems a lot of the other older docs are still performing procedures the standard way and haven't had much or any training with the robot. My normal gyn doc still only does open myomectomy.

A brief rundown of how things have gone so far:
Monday afternoon - surgery at 1:30pm, done and awake but woozy at 6:30pm. Yeah, it took awhile. Pain was being well-managed with.. ahem.. morphine. I walked myself to the bathroom for the first time at probably 9:30pm. Things were weird, but okay. I was dizzy, felt nauseous when walking back to bed, but that went away when I laid down. Bloody pee, which continued on for the next 1 1/2 days. Night went pretty good.

Tuesday afternoon - Felt pretty darn good. I ate all of my breakfast, with gusto (they even gave me coffee!). I'd peed about 5x by now, carefully. Things were getting back to normal. They took me off the IV and the morphine, and started me on pills. Nothing changed pain-wise. I was doing great and my doc discharged me after lunch, which I also consumed voraciously. Oh, and before she discharged me, she showed me pics of my fibroid, which was just.. ugh, HUGE! (to me, anyway - it looked so much bigger than it felt)

Weds afternoon - I was back up and running. Well, hobbling. I laid around most of the day, because I could. I took a good shower. Started thinking about laying off the pills because, well, they were obviously "stopping me up." Walking around fairly normally by the end of the day.

Thurs afternoon - an incredibly boring day. I laid off the painkillers last night, so even that's no fun. I laid in bed out of a feeling of obligation, and a lack of anything else to do. Walking around has become preeetty normal, so I did some dishes. Started to feel a little nauseous then, so I sat around and read some books and watched more tv. Hardest days, not really being able to do much, but not feeling sick enough to sit around all day.

Fri afternoon - I'm really in no pain at all. My stabbing spots are sore to the touch, that's it. I finally took a poo this morning. To celebrate, i went to the movies. I'm considering taking painkillers again just for a little thrill, but I haven't resorted to that yet. So here I am, posting about my experience.

Basically, I'm posting this in case any fellow dopers are doing any research on this procedure and curious about the results. From my own research, it looks like a few dopers have posted about their procedures in the past. I had to share because I felt it important to post my results. And, I'm excited and a little bit bored. Things could definitely be worse!

Although apparently I'm still supposed to abstain from intercourse for 4-6 weeks.. Urggghhhh
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  #2  
Old 05-13-2011, 07:29 PM
lorene lorene is offline
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That's excellent.
We have a DaVinci robot where I work and I hear amazing things about it.
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Old 05-13-2011, 07:31 PM
koeeoaddi koeeoaddi is offline
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Dang. I had the old fashioned kind and it took me 6 weeks to recover, 8 to feel completely normal again.
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Old 05-13-2011, 09:42 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Grats, but someone should have warned you to do a stool softener and a ton of fiber - I pooed the next morning [*carefully*]

Hm, I went in at 6 am, was under the robotic knife at 7, out and in recovery at about 11, and up to my room at noon, catherized. Ate and drank lunch at about 1, catheter came out 10 pm, peed on my own about 45 minutes later, they did the ultrasound to check I cleared my bladder, slept overnight, peed, pooed and got checked by the doc, and driven gently home to finish recovery.

Watch out for itchy stomach, the healing process itches. I used cocoa butter and used it on everything except the wound sites for a week, then the doc cleared me to lotion the heck out of myself.

Even now, over a year and a half later, my stomach skin will get itchy around the wound sites and a good slathering of cocoa butter will solve the problem.

And no laughing or coughing hard for at least a couple weeks ..... trust me =)

[and watch out, not sure if your doc scoped out your intestines like mine did, but I have a couple spots with adhesions that bother me if I get constipated]
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:13 AM
partlycloudy partlycloudy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
Grats, but someone should have warned you to do a stool softener and a ton of fiber - I pooed the next morning [*carefully*]
I started on the stool softener after I left the hospital, but yeah, it would've been nice if they'd started me on that before I left. Industrial-strength stool softener would've been nice.

Quote:
Watch out for itchy stomach, the healing process itches. I used cocoa butter and used it on everything except the wound sites for a week, then the doc cleared me to lotion the heck out of myself.

Even now, over a year and a half later, my stomach skin will get itchy around the wound sites and a good slathering of cocoa butter will solve the problem.
Noted, thanks for the tip. Ick, not looking forward to the itchies. That hasn't started yet, but I do have some Palmer's Cocoa at the ready for when I get the okay from the doc. Post-op appointment is Tuesday.

Quote:
And no laughing or coughing hard for at least a couple weeks ..... trust me =)
Word. I can sort-of chuckle now, but I'm resisting the coughing and laughing heartily. When I started feeling nauseous the other day, I realized, "oh, I have to lay down and get over this, because puking would be extraordinarily painful!"

Quote:
[and watch out, not sure if your doc scoped out your intestines like mine did, but I have a couple spots with adhesions that bother me if I get constipated]
They put adhesion barriers around the internal incision site, so hopefully that will do the trick (this guy has a picture of them on down the page). But those aren't a guarantee, just a helping hand. Fingers crossed.
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  #6  
Old 05-14-2011, 09:50 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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laparoscopic surgery has been the most gentle for me, I'm usually up and around the very day and out the next.

Sending out a wish for a speedy recovery!
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Old 05-14-2011, 10:10 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Good luck =) keep us up on how things go =)
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  #8  
Old 05-20-2011, 05:18 PM
partlycloudy partlycloudy is offline
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Everything's going great, and life feels pretty normal now except that I'm not supposed to do certain things like intense cardio and lifting heavy things (and the sex thing). Even the laughing and coughing isn't painful anymore! I had my post-op appointment on Weds and got the a-okay. I have a 6-week post-op appointment scheduled at the end of June.

The incision sites are starting to scab over and get a little itchy and bothersome. I'm going to resist resist resist the temptation to pick at the scabs (gross, I know, but c'mon, I'm only human!).

Next up: looking at scar treatment cream/gel. I think I'm going to try something like Maderma. My docs office can give me something called Dermatix Ultra. Just thought I'd try to minimize the appearance of these things as much as possible, since hey, I'm still kinda young-ish, and I already have 3 scars from the lap appendectomy. If anyone has any feedback on the scar creams, I'd most appreciate it. Otherwise I'll be doing some research on my own and searching the forums here!
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Old 05-20-2011, 05:51 PM
Kolga Kolga is offline
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I am bookmarking this thread, as there is a very good chance I will have to undergo a similar procedure in the very near future (waiting for sonogram results).

However, I've been told that they WILL take the uterus and not just the fibroid, since, and I quote "we generally try to only remove the fibroid for women who want to eventually get pregnant."

Now, as I am 45 and have no intentions of having children, obviously that doesn't apply to me. But for some reason I am...reluctant...to have them remove the uterus. I am aware that with the ovaries intact, I'll suffer few changes in hormone levels, but there's still something about having a hysterectomy at 45 that bugs the crap out of me.

Sorry for the hijack. Your post (and everybody else's) gave me lots of good info that I can ask my doctor about when I meet with him.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:04 PM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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YMMV but my scars are almost invisible, I do not cicatrize just turn a bit red, which is now about faded. I did use cocoa butter to stop the itchies, that perhaps helped. [but I didn't use it on the throat scar where they cut out a couple parathyroids, but that didnt make the bulky scar either. If you don't know about it, it doesn't look like I had anything done.]

Some people swear by the goo inside a vitamin 3 gelcap.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:29 PM
romansperson romansperson is offline
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I am glad I saw this thread - I am due to have a robotic hysterectomy this coming Tuesday for the same reason - big honkin' fibroid. I am 49 so no point in trying to keep the uterus. The doctor who will be doing it is the same age as yours - and that is part of the reason I chose him - this is the type of surgery they teach now so he has already done plenty of them and is comfortable with it.

I have never had surgery before so I am already anxious enough about it - I feel fortunate to be able have this method as a choice.
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Old 05-20-2011, 08:51 PM
partlycloudy partlycloudy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolga View Post
I am bookmarking this thread, as there is a very good chance I will have to undergo a similar procedure in the very near future (waiting for sonogram results).

However, I've been told that they WILL take the uterus and not just the fibroid, since, and I quote "we generally try to only remove the fibroid for women who want to eventually get pregnant."

Now, as I am 45 and have no intentions of having children, obviously that doesn't apply to me. But for some reason I am...reluctant...to have them remove the uterus. I am aware that with the ovaries intact, I'll suffer few changes in hormone levels, but there's still something about having a hysterectomy at 45 that bugs the crap out of me.

Sorry for the hijack. Your post (and everybody else's) gave me lots of good info that I can ask my doctor about when I meet with him.
Eek, that would be a little freaky to be told they'd need to remove the whole dern thing. It may be that they're "safeguarding" against future fibroid development, since it seems ladies who have had fibroids before often get them again (yay). However.. My doc did tell me that post-menopause, fibroids are less likely to come back, so that may be something to check on. I'm certainly not trying to replace the info you've gotten from your doc, but if they do find a fibroid, you may want to delve a little deeper into that one and see if there are other options. Based solely on the research I've done (and having little to no medical background whatsoever, aside from having a boyfriend who's a nursing student. Plus I'm a medical technology major in school now for my 2nd degree, but haven't gotten into anything human-body-wise as yet), it seems there are a lot of factors involved in deciding which type of procedure you could have, including but I'm sure not limited to: fibroid size, location and how embedded or not embedded it is in the uterus.

My fibroid, may she rest in peace, was 10cm and embedded to the muscle at the top of my uterus. My surgeon-lady projected the most complicated aspect of my surgery would be that the robot would likely come quite close to my fallopian tubes. I did explain to my docs beforehand that I'm not all kid-crazy, and I really just wanted this thing out, and if it meant that my fallopian tubes were "compromised" or that during surgery, they ended up having to take the whole uterus out, as humbling of a thought that that was, that it wasn't crushing any big familial dreams or anything, and I would probably still turn out a pretty "stable" person afterwards. The overall impression I got from my surgeon, although she didn't explicitly say so, was that she would do as much as possible to keep the original structure intact, and keep things how they are, despite my probably-not-wanting-to-ever-have-kids. She. Was. Great. If I ever have another fibroid (big knock on wood here), I'm going to have this lady remove it.

As I think I mentioned above, my regular gyn doc only knew how to do the open myomectomy (the c-section kind, where they make a big bikini-line incision and take the thing out in one big chunk). She mentioned the laparoscopic surgery, but was still swaying me in the "open myo" direction. I perked up when she mentioned the lap option though, having had pretty good success with the lap appendectomy. It wasn't til that point that she said she may know of a couple docs who could do the robotic myomectomy. I am so glad that she did mention this, and I'm so glad this was an option for me (it may not be an option for everyone of course). The main purpose of this paragraph is just to relay to you my experience when speaking with the doc about my options - it could be that your doc just doesn't know about all the options (the robot is new-ish, and not everywhere yet), or is just most familiar with a certain type of procedure.

I hope that your sonogram results are negative and that your uterus is in tip-top shape, but if it does turn out that you have a fibroid, this guy has a heap of info on his website, including videos of the procedures, and fun pictures of some of the fibroids he's removed.

Anyway, if you don't mind my asking, were you experiencing symptoms that led you to have a sonogram? I've heard that heavy painful periods are the most common symptom, but I didn't really notice any change with mine. We'll see if things are better when this month rolls around, but I have no expectations.

And again, I hope all is well and healthy with you! But if you've got the feebles (this is what my SO and I called it, since "fibroid" sounds so icky), then just know it ain't the end of the world. This has been more interesting for me than it was a pain in the ass.

Last edited by partlycloudy; 05-20-2011 at 08:53 PM.. Reason: That was a real rant there, hey!
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:09 PM
bouv bouv is offline
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The DaVinci robot is just damn cool. The company that makes it (Intuitive Surgical,) did a demo of them at one of the hospitals I work at. They had a unit out in the lobby area that anyone could come up and "try their hand" at. It was a lot of fun to use...and if I may brag a little bit, I was damn good at it.
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Old 05-20-2011, 09:40 PM
Ají de Gallina Ají de Gallina is offline
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It's so cool it almost makes you want to have surgery.
Of course, it's way to know cooler that you're doing fine.
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Old 05-21-2011, 03:07 AM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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You're welcome.
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Old 05-21-2011, 05:13 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Operation game played with a davinci
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Old 05-21-2011, 07:44 AM
Whiteknight Whiteknight is offline
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You're welcome. I worked on some Da Vinci in grad school.
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Old 05-21-2011, 01:10 PM
Kolga Kolga is offline
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Hi, LoganDear, thanks for responding. I am sorry to take away from your awesome post about your recovery!

My mother did have to have a hysterectomy (just the uterus) for fibroids years ago - they found one the size of a grapefruit. Given that history, I'm not surprised about my current situation. I've had ovarian cysts in the past (one of which ruptured and put me in the hospital for three days last November), and on the same sonogram that located the cysts, they located a small fibroid. I'm assuming it's grown.

I am having spotting in between periods, which was concerning, even though it wasn't a lot, because I've been quite regular for years. A endometrial biopsy has ruled out uterine cancer, and a blood test has ruled out ovarian cancer, so the assumption is "big ass fibroid." My periods have ALWAYS been really really heavy and painful, and that hasn't changed significantly.

Like someone else here (I can't remember who) posted, I felt...things...move around when I urinated or defecated. And about a month ago, when I lay down on the massage table, I felt like I was lying on a fold of sheet, but the sheet was smooth. I felt my abdomen and could feel a large hard mass. I'd also been having really hard, period-like cramps during the spotting.

So, after all that TMI and too many details, that's my story.

If it is as suspected, a fibroid, I am DEFINITELY not going to take the first decision as a given, and will look into all the possible options. Thank you SO much for the information you've provided, which gives me a place to start asking questions.

I'm truly not that freaked out over it, having seen my mom go through it and still have a normal fantastic life. I just, for some reason, would like my internal organ configuration to remain as original as possible for as long as possible.
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