Ten years ago, Yvonne’s gynecologist diagnosed her with fibroids and recommended a hysterectomy. The following is a transcript of Yvonne’s testimonial at the April 27 Fibroid Relief At Last Houston event. Fibroid Relief Advisory Board Member and event panelist Dr. Denise Nebgen engaged Yvonne in conversation about her personal experience with uterine fibroids and subsequent treatment with focused ultrasound.
I had known about hysterectomies because my sister who’s 12 years older than me had gone through that. After her surgery, I took care of her kids and helped. And I knew the recovery. I knew that you were in a hospital. I knew that that was not for me. That was not an option that I was willing to go through.
As the years passed, I went through things like anemia. Because the bleeding was so heavy, frequent bloating, back pressure. A bunch of issues with fibroids. And here in the last two years, I had a lot of frequent trips to the bathroom.
I went to my primary care doctor and said “What other options do I have?” He introduced me to Dr. Nebgen. She talked to me about this new procedure and asked if I was interested. And my first thought was, “Wow! If I can do something and provide myself some relief without a hospital stay, without being cut, I’m interested. Where do I sign?”
And so she had a lady come and talk to me and tell me about the study. And then I went for an MRI. And about a week later, it was actually on Valentine’s Day, I found out that I was a candidate for the study. It was the best Valentine’s gift I’d ever had.
OK. Well, I don’t know what most of you came here to hear about. But the people who are out there in the audience that have the same idea that she has, which is I was born with my uterus and I want to keep it, or for whatever reason you just can’t have surgery, don’t want to have surgery, don’t want to take off of work, don’t want to this, that, or the other, this makes a great candidate. But this isn’t a procedure for everyone. There are certain fibroids that don’t work. If you have a huge uterus the size of a six or eight-month pregnancy, full of fibroids, practically almost nothing will work except a hysterectomy. But if things are within reason and you haven’t put it off for too long, a doctor can tell you which one of these things would probably be best for you.
So let me ask Yvonne, on that note, to tell you how it was the day of the procedure. As we’ve mentioned, you literally come in, have this done, and go home and back to work the next day. So tell us how it was for you. What did you feel? How hard? How painful? How scary? How good, bad or indifferent?
My impression of an MRI was I’m going to be in this closed environment. And I know personally that I’m claustrophobic. And so when I did the diagnostic MRI and knew that I could tolerate lying down on my stomach and doing an MRI, I knew this could work. That morning I arrived at 7:00 and took a pregnancy test to make sure I was not pregnant.
Then I went into a little screened area where they started to prep me. I had an IV put in. I had a catheter put in. That wasn’t fun. But it wasn’t painful or anything. After that we went to the MRI room. It was a little awkward in positioning, so I tried to line up just perfectly. They had a blood pressure monitor on my leg. I had a pump in one hand and a stop-the-equipment button in the other hand. One pump would call nurses if I needed them. And they were always willing to assist throughout. Throughout the procedure, there are little pulses of sensation that are sent up into the area to kill off the fibroid. And this little bitty button, as I found out, was me directly stopping it at any point that I didn’t like it. And there are little bitty short — I would say about 15-second — little pulses. They sort of rise in intensity and then drop.
This lasted for a few hours. And actually one time I pushed the little button and said “hold.” But it’s not anything that was terrible pain or anything like that. I’ve had menstrual cramps that are 1,000 times worse than I experienced when I did this.
And afterwards they take the equipment out of your hands and you move to another table. I was watched for about an hour. Then my ride came and picked me up, and I went home. I could have gone to work the next day, except we were closed. I had this sense of “I’ve done something. I am making a change. I’m going to have relief.”
All right. Final question. And this can be quick. Would you recommend this to anyone else?
Oh yes. Everybody.