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Linda's da Vinci Story
(Linda and Dr. Bennett in May with a demo da Vinci Surgical System)
Life was good. In 2004 my husband and I retired and were having a great time walking and hiking, canoeing and fishing, biking and traveling. (We even worked some of the time!)
Then, in early 2007, I had some incontinence after sitting for a period of time. I made a doctor's appointment and was treated for urinary tract infection. One day I had an appointment to give another urine sample. When I cleaned the area beforehand, I was shocked to learn that my anatomy had changed in that area, and it wasn't for the best! The examination revealed a prolapse. I went to a local gynecologist and discovered that I had a rectal prolapse as well as one of the bladder. The five weeks I had to wait for surgery were fine unless I had to be on my feet for too long, then I would be quite sore.
After surgery, I sat on an external stitch and the stitch healed incorrectly. Twelve weeks later, the stitch was fixed. Things did feel better, but it didn't last long. I began being sore again. I still had a somewhat heavy feeling in the pelvic area and in December 2007 another prolapse occurred (At that time, it was diagnosed as a bladder prolapse but was eventually re-diagnosed as a vaginal prolapse). The surgeon wanted to operate again, and I wasn't ready. I tried pelvic floor exercises that made me sorer and finally decided to wait until after our summer travels were over before I did anything more. I was on my feet less in our travel trailer, and I needed some relaxation.
I returned home in the fall and decided to get a second opinion from Dr. Nowak, another gynecologist in the area. He was not sure if pelvic floor exercises would help the prolapse stay in place, but he was sure that if I needed surgery again I would be in better shape after trying them. The treatments he gave me helped tighten the pelvic floor without my being continually sore; however, they didn't take care of the prolapse. Upon examining me again he found that a vaginal prolapse was pushing the bladder down, but my bladder was okay. I needed surgery so it would stay in place. Dr. Nowak could have done it in Traverse City the "traditional" way. Because it was my second pelvic surgery and I'd experienced so much pain already, he felt that it would be much easier for me to have da Vinci Surgery, and there not currently a local hospital with the technology.
He made arrangements with Dr. Bennett, and I went to his office in Grand Rapids for a consultation. What a breath of fresh air it was to hear about this minimally invasive technique! I left feeling much more confident about having surgery again. I was also able to see my type of surgery online performed by a doctor from Duke University and was particularly impressed with the explanations and care given to insure that the surgery would last. At my final checkup, Dr. Bennett was very confident about the surgery's success. I am very confident too as I now feel my anatomy is back where it should be!
Life is good again. I thank God that I can experience a better quality of life. I am enjoying being more active and appreciate the efforts of Dr. Nowak, Dr. Bennett and their staffs as well as DaVinci Surgery. How lucky I am to be living in an age of such innovative medical and technological advances!
WHY LINDA CHOSE DA VINCI SURGERY
THE BIGGEST CONCERNS I HAD ABOUT TREATMENT:
I‘d already experienced a vaginal hysterectomy with bladder and rectal prolapse repair and sat on an ice-gel pack on and off for 12 weeks while healing. Nine months afterward another prolapse - a vaginal one this time and I was sore again. I tried pelvic floor exercises, but they didn't work. Needless to say, I had more than enough pain and was concerned about how much pain I would have to endure again after another surgery, and would the surgery be a success???
WHY I CHOSE DA VINCI SURGERY
When Dr. William Nowak, my gynecologist in Traverse City, told me about DaVinci surgery and Dr. Michael Bennett, a urogynecologist in Grand Rapids who performed it, I went for a consultation. Most of my fears were allayed by his explanations about the surgery and what to expect during my recovery. I liked the idea of several smaller incisions that would heal faster than one larg
PAIN AND/OR DISCOMFORT LEVEL AFTER SURGERY
e one and be less painful and uncomfortable while healing.
When I woke up from surgery, I had two long ice bags on my stomach. They took care of the pain, and I spent the night dozing comfortably between times when I had to call for more ice. The first painkiller I took was a naproxen sodium tablet sometime the next morning. I was released from the hospital that afternoon and recuperated for a couple more days at the hospitality house connected to the hospital (after being released, I took only 5 prescription painkillers over the next few days). I took naps and read a "frivolous" paperback. I even had my eyes open at midnight to welcome in the new year.
RECOVERY TIME AFTER SURGERY
When I returned home, I prepared simple meals. My husband helped me do necessary jobs that I couldn't manage alone due to having to bend over or lift something that was too heavy. I took walks up and down the driveway and drove about 10 days after surgery. I was surprised at how quickly my strength returned - especially at my age and after dealing with my situation for two years.
ABOUT MY SURGEON
Dr. Bennett was extremely thorough in explaining what I needed to know. He discussed my options, what the surgery would accomplish, what discomfort I would experience after surgery, and what I could and couldn't do while recuperating. He was very professional and caring.
To read more patient stories, visit: www.davincistories.com.