Wednesday, March 10

A daVinci Moment

So! Yesterday I met with my new gynecologist. Please notice, I have dropped the OB & just kept the GYN part of my "female parts" health care provider.

When I moved to WA, some of the hardest people to leave behind were my doctors. They, of course came after family & friends...but family & friends can come visit; most doctors will not make housecalls from SoCal to the Pacific Northwest! I find this odd, but...whatever...

I LOVED my OBGYN in SoCal~this is no exaggeration: he was an awesome doctor. (For those of you whose mind went straight to the gutter when I said I loved my male OBGYN, pick it up outta there & try to stay focused!)

However, I thought I had a ready made replacement, with my sister's OBGYN. Au contraire mon frere. While she was great for my sis, she & I are not a match. However, someone in her office recommended my new doctor & I liked him instantly. Unlike many women, I do not mind having a male "female doctor." In fact, in my nearly 40 years of life and 20+ years of gynecological care, I can honestly say that I've only had 2 really great OBGYNs and each of them was male. Any female doctor I've had (however briefly) in this field, have all pretty much sucked, been insensitive or just down right mean.

And now I think I've found the 3rd great doc for my list. He listened to me; he looked at my health as a whole (not just focusing on his field of expertise); he respected what my neurologist advised; and--did I mention??--he listened to me.

So after a review of my complete medical history (he said I am only the 3rd patient in his 30 years of practice that has vitamin B12 deficiency caused by some unknown factor [not alcoholism, for which it is more common]), he agrees with my neurologist and me and in his own professional findings.

I'm getting a hysterctomy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Wahooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And I mean a full, radical, take it all out, hysterectomy: uterus, ovaries, tubes, cervix all gone!

Of course, this isn't just some spur of the moment idea & he did talk to me about the grief & loss many women associate with this procedure: the idea that you can never have the option of pregnancy again. However, I have gone through this many times in the past couple years with my counselor, after finding out that getting pregnant would not be good for my brain & could, in fact, kill me~to quote my neurologist. These feelings of grief & loss have been explored at length and these feelings came up once again with my nephew's death~another form of loss.

However, I am at peace with the idea that the dream I've had since I was about 15: to carry a child within me, to give birth to life, will not be. And neither can I adopt. My physcial state simply will not allow me to care for a child as they ought to be from infancy to adulthood. That's why being an aunt has taken on an even greater significance. And it's a role I adore!

So, that out of the way, we are looking at having the surgery (possibly) as early as March 22nd. This, sadly, depends on my new insurance: I could no longer afford to carry my COBRA coverage & since I now qualify for medicare (ugh!) I switched to a medicare PPO. So we may have to go to battle first, but he thinks that I'll have been cleaned out (so to speak) by the end of April at the latest!

Because of my medical history, my new doc...let's call him Doctor Freedom, prefers to not do the old-fashioned, open surgery, as this has a longer recovery time & more pain, which of course will trigger my fibromyalgia & neuropathy pain. So instead, Dr Freedom wants to do a less invasive form of surgery...and not just a laproscopic surgery but a new fangled daVinci Robotic Assisted Surgery.

What does this entail??? I'm not totally sure as I haven't had time to watch the DVD he gave me on the procedure. My mom pictures him sitting at home in an easy chair using a gaming console to remotely direct a robot to slice into me.

I did take the time to find pictures of this thing on Google & am beginning to think my mom's idea may be close to the real thing!
No! This is not my real doctor. Bummer, huh?!

Guessing this is Leo...

Anyone else freaked out by that massive needle thing the nurse is holding????

Hello, gaming console!!!

And there I am lying peacefully unaware that my doctor is no where near me but, rather, has his head stuck in a gaming console!

Right~so should I be worried? I don't know; probably not....I mean, it's the cutting edge in surgeries...pun totally intended!

Yeah, so, wish me luck!! I'll keep you posted from here.....

For those geeks who want to know more about the daVinci surgical process, keep reading. Otherwise, ta!

The daVinci robotic system being used in gynecologic surgery gynecologists to perform advanced laparoscopic surgeries using a surgeon's console connected to three robotic arms.

The daVinci system, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for gynecologic surgery in 2005, is one of the newest technologies available for the treatment of gynecologic cancer and other conditions.

The robotic system is used to assist with a variety of complex, minimally-invasive laparoscopic operations for benign and malignant female pelvic conditions, such as cancer of the uterus and cervix. "Robotic surgery is especially useful in the performance of hysterectomies, removal of fibroids while preserving the uterus, correction of vaginal prolapse, and for the treatment of gynecologic cancers," says Javier Magrina, M.D., Mayo Clinic gynecologist and surgeon in Arizona.

The daVinci system offers all the benefits of laparoscopic surgery along with increased precision and effectiveness. Patients undergoing laproscopic procedures typically experience less pain, have fewer instances of infection and recover more quickly than those undergoing open surgery.

"Robotic surgery is an upgraded form of minimally invasive surgery and is associated with major patient benefits. The robotic operation is more precise than conventional surgery and it allows a patient to return to normal activities much more quickly. We have also noted a reduced use of pain medications after robotic surgery, indicating less tissue trauma," says Magrina.

Many difficult laparoscopic procedures, such as laparoscopic suturing, are made easier by the robot through the use of the 3-D visualization and increased instrument maneuverability.

How the robotic system works
The robotic system consists of two interactive mechanical arms, a camera arm, a three-dimensional (3D) image processing system and a remote control unit. The unit is located in the same operating room as the patient.
As the surgeon manipulates the remote control unit, the motions of the surgeon are translated to the robotic arms. Each robotic arm consists of multiple appendages connected by joints. The "hand" of the robot holds interchangeable surgical instruments that can be moved in a manner similar to a human wrist. At all times, a second surgeon is positioned at the operating table to assist with exchanging the instruments on the robotic arms.
Benefits of Robotic-Assisted General Surgery
For most patients, advantages may include:

• shorter hospital stays

• less blood loss

• less scarring

• less post-operative pain

• fewer complications

• faster recovery & return to normal activities


  1. Well congrats! I know this is something u wanted. Its great to find a doc that listens and does their job! That's awesome!

  2. This is totally for the best. I REALLY hope this takes away A LOT of your pain and suffering. Please please please keep me updated as the plans progress. I bet you're in the best hands, or machine? around. lol. Technology is crazy. Crazy good though. Can't wait to hear the news that you're "good as new". xoxo


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