11 February 2011

Post-op update 2.5 wks: The nitty gritty of what my surgeon found

Even though my second week in recovery has had its ups and downs with a minor setback due to a reaction to antibiotics I had to take, I'm doing very well. And since I received my copy of the surgery report, I have gained perspective in how well I'm really doing considering what Dr. Cook found and what procedures were performed in my abdomen.

Here's what Dr. Cook noted in his "findings" in my surgical report:
  • Stage IV endometriosis
  • extensive omental and bowel adhesions
  • adhesions extending from the umbilicus down into the pelvis
  • a band of adhesions also in this area
  • the bowel densely adherent over the bladder and both pelvic sidewalls
  • a complete obliteration of the pelvic cavity
  • upper abdominal organs were normal
  • appendix was normal
I won't publish the entire procedure here in detail, but here are the highlights:
  • Interior of the bladder was examined via a scope inserted through the ureter and found to be normal
  • Three incisions were made for the laproscope--one in the belly button, one of the left side of the lower abdomen and one of the right side
  • Bowel adhesions were dissected off the bladder
  • Descending colon was dissected off the left abdominal side wall
  • Sigmoid colon was dissected off the left pelvic brim
  • "Slowly, but surely" (an exact quote from the report) the planes were developed in spite of complete obliteration of the pelvis ["obliteration" means "to make undecipherable or imperceptible by obscuring"]
  • Bowel was dissected off the cervix and both pelvic sidewalls
  • All peritoneum and fibrosis was resected
  • Ureters were dissected out of the entire pelvic sidewalls
  • All fibrosis was resected out of both perirectal spaces as well as the rectovaginal septum
  • Superficial endometriosis and fibrosis was resected off the rectal serosa
  • Bladder was dissected off the cervix
  • Cervix was removed
  • Suturing and close-up happened

I know the above illustration is small but it's the largest I could find on the web that showed everything.

The Pathology Report

The pathology report was attached to my surgical report. A total of 6 specimens were taken and submitted to pathology from the different areas that were operated on during the procedure. Of the six specimens, three came back showing that I had active endometriosis on my right and left pelvic sidewalls as well as on the rectovaginal tissue.

My Insights and Thoughts
  • Holy cow! No wonder I felt like I did!
  • A hysterectomy doesn't cure endometriosis! My case proves that even after a hysterectomy, endometriosis can still thrive and grow without reproductive organs being present. If you're told otherwise, seek a second opinion!!!!
  • Just like a cancer survivor, I don't think I can ever have complete peace of mind that the disease is completely gone. But I can start marking my time from this point forward and enjoying the freedom I've been afforded thanks to Dr. Andrew Cook's surgical expertise.
  • I definitely need to take the entire 6 weeks of suggested recovery time and let my body rest so it can heal. Although I am always tempted to jump the gun in this department, this time I'm going to exercise every ounce of self-restraint and take it slow.
  • And, finally, I am very hopeful that now that my omentum, descending colon, sigmoid colon and bladder are freed from being stuck to things they shouldn't have been stuck to my body will find a proper balance and I can begin to lose weight and find true wellness for the first time in a very long time.
I owe so much to my extremely talented and compassionate surgeon, Dr. Andrew Cook. He has a great blog where he chronicles his road to becoming who he is today. If you have the time, I highly recommend reading his story. It's great reading! Links are below:

Freezing Nails
Amazing Mentor
The Benevolent Dictator
Award Winning Scientist
A Computer at My Fingertips Reaches Around the World
Core Lessons
Vital Health Institute


Broadhead said...

Wow that's hardcore! So if you would have known that your hysterectomy wouldn't have cured/gotten rid of you endometriosis would you still have done it? Or was it even an option for you?

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

I didn't know I had endometriosis until my surgery in 2005 when I was opened up to remove large ovarian cysts. I had felt impressed beforehand to tell my doc to perform a hysterectomy--didn't know why but I just did. It turned out my uterus, tubes and ovaries were collapsed, fused to each other and then fused to my colon in two places. A hysterectomy was the only option.

The main problem was my former doc didn't completely understand endo. She was just a standard OB/GYN used to delivering babies without the surgical skills necessary for my case. Additionally, she was under-educated about endo. So she, in turn, misinformed me about endo, the extent of what she'd left inside me, and my treatment going forward.

At my 6 wk post-op I was patted on the back, told if I didn't take HRT and if I lost weight I'd be okay with little chance of recurrence. Then she wished me a happy life because she never planned on seeing me again. I didn't have reproductive organs anymore so why would she?

What should she have done? Referred me immediately to an endo specialist and then done a "brain dump" with that specialist of everything she had seen when she had me open on the table so that specialist could have given me the proper information and treatment options.

Brent I. said...

You rock. Let me vacuum for awhile, please!

-- Hubby

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Wow. I'm so glad you're doing better! What a blessing to have found Dr. Cook.

Tristi Pinkston said...

This is just wow. I'm so glad you were able to get the help you needed with a good doctor. I'm sorry that you've had to go through such painful procedures, but it wounds like you're getting what it will take so you can heal. Sending hugs your way!!

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