Perhaps, some of you noted that this blog has not been frequently updated. Happened that in the past year I was having some health issues that Thanks God, are finally resolved. Next is the story:
In March 2010 I was diagnosed with severe anemia (Hemoglobin 5.6). Investigating the causes of the anemia (which at that point only give me dermatologic symptoms), it was discovered that I had a uterine fibroid. My gynecologist recommended making surgery the next week to remove it and to avoid that my blood levels fall so dramatically. I refused the surgery, my anemia was responding to the iron treatment, and at that time, the fibroid was not giving me any important symptoms. Additionally, I knew from family’s experiences that fibroids are not a life threatening condition and that they stop bothering you after menopause. I did agree to receive an injection to reduce the influence of hormones and help stop the growing of the fibroid. The objective of that injection was to send me to a kind of menopause stage, It was too much for me, I was so upset with the side effects of that injection ( Zoladex) that I never come back to see that Dr.
While dealing with the side effects of the previous injection, I keep looking for alternatives to treat the fibroid. I read several books and found several pages in the internet, the best and more complete was www.fibroidsecondopinion.com by the well recognized Dr. William Parker in Santa Monica, California. I decided to follow the recommendation of his page, starting with Watchful Waiting. Additionally, I tried natural medication to deal with the symptoms, including natural hormones and vitamins supplements. Some of these alternatives helped with symptoms for a little while, but as the fibroid was growing, my symptoms were getting worse and the iron treatment was not being effective to keep my hemoglobin in normal levels. My health was quickly deteriorating; the fibroid was degenerating and starting to produce episodes of severe pain that send me to emergency room a couple of times. In May 2011, I realize that at that point, surgery was a reasonable option.
My husband was very supportive to provide for whatever alternative I decided. Since I live so far away from Santa Monica, I was afraid to make the long trip; it comforted me to know that woman travel from the all parts of the World to be treated by Dr Parker.
I visited a dr, considered the best surgeon in the best local hospital here in Al Khobar. The only alternative offered to me locally was an Abdominal Myomectomy (remove the fibroid thru an abdominal incision similar to c-section) with risk of Hysterectomy; I was told by the local surgeon that my fibroid was very big, it measured 11cm. The local Dr. ordered a MRI confirming the position and size of the fibroid.
After I made the MRI, I email Dr. Parker for the first time and ask for a telephone consultation. I was surprised for his prompt reply, the very next day. I send him by Fedex the CD containing the MRI, a few days later we have a telephone consultation where he explained to me the best alternatives for my case while watching the same MRI images in my computer. He answers all my questions. He told me that based in my condition; it was possible to make a laparoscopic myomectomy, a surgery that will allow me to leave the hospital the same day and to have a fast recovery. My only concern was that in a laparoscopic myomectomy required in general anesthesia, which scare me. It was possible to make an abdominal myomecyomy using epidural anesthesia, that will give me the same results respect to the fibroid, but the recovery is longer, the risk are more due to a large incision.
On July 8th I arrived to Los Angeles after 32 hours trip from my house in Saudi Arabia. That same afternoon I had my preoperational appointed; the surgery was scheduled to the next Wednesday 13th. Santa Monica is a nice city about 30 minute from LAX airport. I arrived early to my appointment; the staff was already waiting for me. I meet Dr Parker, he talk to me as if he knew me from a long time, he made the examination and then we talk in his office. I did not have many questions about the surgery, his website is very complete. I did have question about anesthesia and how I will feel after surgery and when my symptoms will improve. He told me that even so I decided for abdominal myomectomy, I will be under sedation so I will not be aware of what is going on, he told me that he will be talking with me about the vacation and I will not even remember the surgery. I thought that if that was the case, if was never know that I was being put to sleep, it was ok with me go under general anesthesia and received the benefits of the laparoscopic surgery. We agree, even so he told me that any change of opinion was ok, and I can call him the next Monday if I decided to change, I like that he was so understanding. His nurse give me instructions to visit the hospital the next Monday for blood test, also she give me instruction for pre and post operatory care and the order for medication (the pain killers) to have it ready for after the surgery.
The next Monday, I went to Saint John Health Center in Santa Monica Boulevard. In the lab, they took a blood sample and they put me a plastic bracelet with my information. I was requested to do not remove it. I also was instructed to do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the surgery.
The Wednesday 13th, I arrived to the hospital at 7:00 am. In the Pre-operation office, they were already waiting for me (The Dr. staff arrange everything with the hospital). They give to my husband a number to be checking my progress in the monitors in the cafeteria. Saint John’s is a modern and nice hospital.
In pre-operation, three friendly nurses, helping me to change my clothing, they put me some panty hose to improve circulation, purple socks with bears prints, and a kind of snuggy which they feel with warm air, a nurse put in the IV. I was feeling very nice treated and very comfortable, but I must admit, I was very afraid. Todd was allowed to come for few minutes, Octavio stays outside with my mother in law (children are not allowed in that area). Then came Dr. Parker, he was dressed as the surgeon in the movies, he was smiling and very confident as always. The anesthesiologist, a nice looking young lady, also came. Dr. Parker told her that I was afraid of the anesthesia. I ask her to never let me know that she was going to put me to sleep; she told me “I don’t have to, I will give you something that you will like it to receive each day”. She was smiling and looked very sure about what she was doing. She started to ask me a list of general question about my health conditions. Dr. Parker come back and told me that after surgery he will go and tell Todd about the results, smiling he hugged me, he kiss me in the chick and told me that everything will be fine. Immediately, I open my eyes and found myself with a mask to breath over my face, I knew it was over. I thanked God. I saw a nurse next to me, I asked her if all was over, she confirmed, I asked her if the surgery went ok, she told me, that everything was as planned, I saw a clock in the wall, It was 11:00 am. Yes, an anesthesia is as fast as close and opens the eyes, amazing!
The nurse offered me apple juice, cranberry juice or water. I ask for cranberry juice, she bring me some and also crackers, my favorites. I requested to see my husband. I did not want to move, I was feeling pretty comfortable with my warm snuggy. I thought that I will look bloating as a big balloon (I knew that laparoscopic surgery require to fill the abdominal cavity with gas in order to make the surgery) but I look rather normal, I touched my stomach, the fibroid ( the size of a large grapefruit) was gone. It took me like one hour to fully awake. Around 12:00 noon, Todd come, I was happy to see him. Everything was fine, he told me that the Dr. Parker showed him some amazing pictures of the surgery and confirmed that the surgery went good as expected. The nurse helped me to see my abdomen, it look pretty normal, just four small pieces of tape about one inch each covering the incisions, also I count like 12 dots around all the area, I thought they were marks of injections, later, during a post-operation visit, Dr. Parker would tell me that they were actually marks of the clamps they used to hold the skin before start the surgery. They disappeared few days later.
I keep drinking cranberry juice; I knew that they will let me go home as soon I was able to go to the bathroom. I tried to eat the crackers, it was a funny sensation, I was not able to swallow it, the nurse told me that throat was dry, the juice fixed it. Around 2:00 pm I asked to go to the bathroom, the nurse help me to stand up. I had a red liquid discharge from the belly bottom, that scare me, I thought that perhaps the incision was open, but happened to be a normal discharge, actually it was a discharge of the liquid used during the surgery. I was able to walk by myself, I did feel groggy, and the nurse helps me to walk. I did not experience pain, the nurse promptly give me a painkiller as soon I express the least discomfort. The nurse told me that Dr. Parker also helped her with her endometriosis problem, that he is the best gynecologist she knew that that he wrote a book call A Gynecologist’s Second Opinion.
At 3:00 pm, I arrived to the apartment we were rented in Montana Ave, few streets from the Hospital. I was able to walk and go up the stairs, but my husband help me to go out the car. I started to feel tired and very dizzy from the painkillers; I went direct to the bed. I was happy my mother in law was able to come from Washington and stay with us, in this manner; I was able to focus in rest and recovery knowing that Todd and Octavio were in good hands.
The next morning I awake feeling very good, just a little tired. I checked my email, I even email Dr. Parker to tell him how great I was filling and how blessed I was to found him and order his book online. I had no diet restriction, but I was not very hungry. Dr. Parker call my in the morning, he told me that do not over due even so I feel great. I followed his recommendation and rest most of that day. I discover that laughing was painful, but even so I keep watching a comedy channel. I keep receiving calls from his office to check in my progress the next days.
The Friday morning we moved to an apartment near the beach in Venice. I was able to walk in the shopping mall. The Saturday, I was feeling a little uncomfortable for the gases. My husband found in internet that drinking hot tea with lemon helps with the symptoms of gases after a laparoscopic surgery, I drink some, and the next day I feel much better. The Monday, I was complete fine. That afternoon, I visit Dr. Parker; he removed the tapes that cover the incisions to reveal four small incisions, two like 0.5 cm, and one to the right like 1cm long, the fourth in the belly bottom that does not show at all. They are so small and insignificant that does not deserve further comments. Dr, Parker told me that any bumpy feeling will disappear in a few months. He gave me a set of nice pictures showing the process of the surgery, also I ask him to sign my copy of his book, I save it as a treasure.
After that day, all is getting better and better, I was able to enjoy the shopping malls, I went to the beach, again I am able to use colorful clothing (not just black pants!). I am losing weight; which is an extra bonus… I am so happy I found Dr. Parker and was able to visit him for the surgery.
Here is a picture of me exactly one week after the surgery. That afternoon I visited Dr. Parker for the last time,. He told me that I was having an exceptional recovery, I agree.
I come back home two days later, the Saturday 23th, exactly 10 days after the surgery. I am happy all is over, Dr. Parker told me that it will take three months to complete heal and see the full results of the surgery but I am already feel complete recover. All the symptoms of the fibroid complete disappeared. If I knew, one year ago, how I am filling today, I would made the surgery as soon my fibroid was discovered and save all that suffering. I will not doubt to travel to Santa Monica if I have a new health condition. It is such a blessing to have Dr. William Parker.