My Fibroid History
I started with one submucosal fibroid in 2007. I had three hysteroscopic myomectomies, each about nine months apart, in 2007, 2008, and 2009, and a robotic laparoscopic myomectomy in March 2010. I am 32 and wishing to keep my fertility intact. My problem was that the fibroid continued to grow back at an unusually rapid rate and was usually back to its original size – around 7 cm – by eight weeks post op. Also, the doctors after every surgery except my first one have told me that they have never seen a fibroid like mine. The doctors are still not certain why the fibroids are continuing to grow so rapidly, but it seems to be something unique to my experience, rather than a general trend.
What I was told is that, surgically speaking at least, the hysteroscopic approach is the least invasive. You might think that I would say this procedure is a bad idea because it didn’t end up being an effective procedure for me, but I actually would recommend this procedure without hesitation if your doctor thinks he or she can be successful in removing the fibroid in this manner. I am 32 and have been a professional dancer in NYC for the last 12 years, and this procedure had an incredibly easy recuperation time. For my third surgery, I didn’t take any pain medications at all and was back in rehearsal the next day, even though I took about a week to dance fully in rehearsal. Having just undergone the robotic myomectomy, I would definitely recommend doing it hysteroscopically if possible. My doctor for the second and third surgery was Dr. Kenneth Levey, who I liked very much.
Robotic Laparoscopic Myomectomy
I had my first robotic myomectomy (my fourth surgery) in March 2010 to remove a submucosal fibroid. Certainly this procedure is less invasive and has a shorter recovery time than a traditional abdominal myomectomy, but I was unprepared for the recovery. Because of my experience with the hysteroscopic approaches, I had scheduled work for four days after the procedure. The doctor says that the recovery is two weeks, and he is right. It really does take two weeks to recover from the procedure. In the grand scheme of things, two weeks is a lot less time than the six weeks for traditional myomectomy, but I wouldn’t recommend rushing the recovery period as I did. I think I might have recovered more quickly if I hadn’t pushed it early on, but it took me two weeks to feel 90% and two weeks to feel 100 %.
The procedure was covered by my insurance the same as any other surgical procedure. The procedure is outpatient, so I was dismissed from the hospital the night of my surgery. I took my painkillers as prescribed – they recommended that I stay on top of the painkillers for the first two days. The pain was not bad except that I was not able to empty my bladder. The nurse is supposed to make sure you can empty your bladder before you leave recovery – make sure that you can – but I was sent home without having done this. I ended up back in the ER the next morning for a catheter, which I was sent home with for two days. The pressure in my bladder was the most painful part. Outside of that, I was incredibly sore and tender in my abdomen for about two weeks, and still had tenderness to the touch today at five weeks post-op. However, I stopped taking painkillers on the third day and switched over to ibuprofen. The doctor cleared me for exercise at two weeks, but I stuck to primarily walking at that point in time. I didn’t go back to dancing until four weeks post-op because there is so much pulling on the abdominal wall, and I just didn’t feel ready.
I am now four months post-op and just had another follow up with my doctor. Everything looks really good. There is a small fluid pocket in my uterus, .8 cm by .8 cm, that looks a little unusual to the doctor, but the doctor said this could still be from the healing taking place from the surgery. The doctor was very pleased with how everything looked, and so am I. Assuming the little pocket does not become problematic, I am fibroid free for the first time in four years! I have had normal periods and I consider my doctor to be a miracle worker. I could not be happier with the outcome.
The doctor thinks that perhaps the fibroid continued to grow back at such a rapid rate between my hysteroscopic surgeries because the entire fibroid was never removed during those surgeries, leaving the cells there that could cause quick regrowth. The robotic laparoscopic approach was great for me, and I am just thrilled to be symptom free!