Feel Good Friday – Rock Band of Surgeons

by admin on October 4, 2013

Last February, I quietly had a total hysterectomy after a diagnosis of uterine cancer. Only Ticia, the forum’s secondary administrator, knew beforehand of the impending surgery. I was very fortunate in that the cancer was not an aggressive type and was superficial on the uterine wall and therefore I did not need further treatments like chemo or radiation. I was also fortunate to live in an region where some of the best doctors and hospitals can be found and my gynecology oncologist was no exception to that.  Meet my surgeon John Boggess who rocks. Literally…

In addition to having one of the premier doctors in the field of gynecological oncology who is also lead singer in a band of doctors called N.E.D. (No Evidence of Disease), my surgery was done via the state of the art Da Vinci surgery robot which is about as cool as it gets.

So, this week’s Feel Good Friday post is really a public service announcement encouraging women to have those screening tests for gynecological cancers and know the warning signs (such as abnormal, excessive bleeding). A friend of mine died several years ago from ovarian cancer because she did not realize that the heartburn she thought she had was really a warning sign of cancer. You’ll “feel good” for the rest of your life, instead of just one Friday, if you educate yourself about GYN cancers and become proactive in obtaining PAP smears and other diagnostic tests annually.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

NostalgicGal October 4, 2013 at 3:41 am

I had my zipperectomy in 1993 at the age of 31-third generation of my family that has the big H between the ages of 30 and 40, for many reasons. Mine, mostly tissue buildup and six months of bleeding at a stretch and an endometrial ablation failed in my case. You will find that the modern surgery means you’ll be on your feet a lot faster :) and you will be back up to speed in no time. Mine was in the era of laparoscopy, so no big incision, and I was driving 8 days post surgery… (mind you getting the seatbelt right was a challenge but it could be done)

Pap smears, ultrasounds and mammograms, there is nothing to fear. If you don’t have it done they can’t catch stuff early. I have had much worse done to me, I don’t call that unmentioned stuff ‘technotorture’ for nothing…women’s health screening is far from the bad end. Just go get it done. If anything seems amiss, go in! At all. No matter how minor. Family history, I’m high risk everything, so I started the mammograms and such fairly early. Yes you may lose a little dignity, but you’ll get that back fast (once you ditch the paper gown that is)…

Jeanne, I am glad it was ‘minor’ despite it being ‘the big C’ and that you’ll be with us for a long time to come! Get healed up sooner than later, we’re all rooting for you.

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admin October 4, 2013 at 6:58 am

Thank you but I am doing just fine and have been for months. The Da Vinci robot surgery really does make recovery blisteringly fast. Other than small scars on my belly, I really cannot tell I am missing all my internal girly parts.

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Mer October 4, 2013 at 4:40 am

I approve this. Also, sisters, aunts, mothers and grandmothers. Even thought this kind of problems are often of the nature you might not want to discuss with many, please inform your female family members. It might make a difference when the doctor asks “are there problems of similar nature in your family” and you know that your aunt and grandmother had rather than answering “not as far as I know”. It might tip the doctor to look for something they might not have looked otherwise.

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Mary October 4, 2013 at 6:08 am

Glad your cancer could be treated and it was caught early! Hope you continue to have good health!

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Jen October 4, 2013 at 8:22 am

Admin, thank you for sharing this and for encouraging others to get proper screening completed. I’m glad you’re doing quite well. :)

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ArtK October 4, 2013 at 9:02 am

Yikes! I’m really, really glad that everything worked out well for you.

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robin October 4, 2013 at 9:30 am

Sorry to hear you had to go through this but glad it worked out as well as it did. I had a hysterectomy at age 45, for uterine cancer. Laparoscopic surgery, so the recovery was fairly easy, but I had to go through chemo and radiation. That was in 2005. I am here today because I had good doctors who provided excellent care. Awareness and early detection as so important.

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DGS October 4, 2013 at 10:15 am

Glad to hear that your cancer was caught and treated early, and that you are feeling much better. Hopefully, you’ll be healthy and cancer-free for many happy years!

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Mae October 4, 2013 at 10:47 am

Dear Ms. Jeanne,
I am glad to hear your condition was caught early and you are doing well. I had a total hysterectomy in February of this year, after years of problems and an ablation that worked for 5 years, until my lining grew back. My procedure was done laparoscopically and I was back at work in 15 days.

I, too, was fortunate to have one of the best doctors and surgeons in my area perform my procedure. Gynecological tests/procedures are not always pleasant but they absolutely can save your life.

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Sunnyway October 4, 2013 at 11:34 am

Three years ago I also was diagnosed with endometrial cancer following a pap smear (and post-menopausal bleeding). Caught at “grade one”, it did not break through the uterine wall, and following a complete hysterectomy I did not need chemotherapy or radiation. I’m doing fine and know three other women who have had the same thing with equally good results. Last week my gynecologist told me that of all uterine cancers, this is the “best” one to have, easily diagnosed with a pap test, and low risk of recurrence. I just passed colonoscopy and mammogram screenings with flying colors, too. Viva early detection!

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Ellen October 4, 2013 at 11:38 am

I’m very grateful to all the powers that be and your skilled doctors. My doctor, who did my hyster, is a wonderful concert pianist. Such amazing people with such amazing talents! Bless them all.

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MichelleP October 4, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Thank you so much for posting this and raising awareness. As a nurse I encourage everyone, especially women, to get preventive and diagnostic care. God bless you admin for sharing this, and prayers for your health.

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NostalgicGal October 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm

@Mae, you are lucky. My ablation grew back within 3 months. And yes they knew what they were doing.

I had issues, and nothing was helping, pain meds only help so much, and I couldn’t keep ahead of the blood loss and anemia; (oh, they tried hormone therapy and six weeks of that gave me three years of heart trouble…) had an exploratory and they found nothing ‘serious’… second year we tried the Ablation as I was doing six months ‘on’ and 3-4 days without then back onto six months at a stretch… and within 3 months I was at pre surgery bleed levels… and third year I had the hysto… I lost over fifteen points of blood pressure from subthreshold pain, and the OB/GYN surgeon I had said that by my records I should have had things out at age 22… I don’t miss the parts, the grief, and still have a smear because I have just enough girlparts to indulge in certain activities… ;) and an annual mammogram because of the other stuff in the family, had first one at 35.

I can also say despite some missing parts, I’m very much me. Being alive and feeling good outweighs any parts I had to lose along the way.

Glad that a lot of the other posters have kicked (***) on this stuff. Go in, have the tests, it is so much worth it instead of the alternative….

[yes guys have things they need to have checked too... next month is "Movember" and is to raise awareness for men's issues and health too...]

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crebj October 4, 2013 at 7:42 pm

I’m happy you’re doing well.

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hakayama October 4, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Congratulations and best wishes to those strong and lucky ladies that licked those awful problems.
I do say “lucky”, because to such a high degree it is LUCK that puts us in the path of KNOWLEDGEABLE and CARING practitioners.
@Admin: if your friend with the chronic “heartburn” did not know its full implications, then it is her physician that should have known it. Just as years of back pain of a friend of mine, should have been a strong signal to HER family doctor…
It is unfortunate that “things” don’t come with labels. For over a year, two other friends of mine had been treated for gastritis. Malignancies were finally discovered at incurable stages…
It is also most unfortunate that we really sometimes need to “second guess” the pros. Another friend, a mother was told that the uneven hips of her prepubescent daughter were “just one of those things”, she did not just let it go. Luckily, the scoliosis was caught early enough and was properly addressed.
Technology is great, but KNOWLEDGE and CARING are the real key to good medicine.
I wish us all the best.

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Maimou October 5, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Thank you for sharing this important story. As an oncology nurse with over 25 years experience, I want to encourage all to do your routine screenings, and when a problem persists for more than a few weeks, get it checked. And yes, we need to second guess our doctors. There’s a saying in medicine, “when you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras.” Well, I can tell you I’ve seen enough zebras in my career to constitute a stampede. Be persistent. Follow up. Get the testing done. Ask questions. You could save your own life.

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Angel October 6, 2013 at 11:57 am

Thank you for sharing–it’s important for everyone to be proactive when it comes to their health. Glad to hear you are doing well.

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SuSu October 7, 2013 at 12:46 am

I’m so glad you had such a wonderful outcome! I am an ovarian cancer survivor – not many of us around – and it was caught via (1) my awareness of what’s going on in my body…especially after having years of GYN problems and (2) my wonderful doctor who paid attention to me. He was shocked at the size of the tumors (yes, in the plural!) that had occurred in such a short time. I had a radical hysterectomy via the traditional method because he also needed to do an exploratory of my colon and other internal organs. I was and remain a very lucky girl! I always tell my story to young women (if the timing is appropriate). And if your doctor doesn’t pay attention to you – FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR! Do not worry about his feelings – worry about yourself!

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Mae October 7, 2013 at 12:43 pm

@Nostalgic Gal- I am so sorry to hear that you suffered so long!

When I started having my problems, I went to the ob/gyn that delivered my children. They did I can’t even remember how many tests and put me on 3 kinds of birth control pills to help. After 6 months of that, I switched to my current doctor and thank god is all I can say! I felt like the original doctor did not really care about me and I felt like he was going to let me bleed to death.

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Marbles October 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

I’m so glad you were able to return to health. May you have many happy years to celebrate. :)

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Belly October 12, 2013 at 1:15 am

Hi,

I’m a bit late to this, but I wanted to add my two cents!

I’m a sonographer, and see all types of ladies at all ages and stages of breast and/or gynae disease. I tell you, no one wants the ‘magic wand’ but seriously girls, just do it. It is by far the best way of detecting ovarian nasties, although there are many scientists working on devising a better blood test.

One of my favourite quotes is from a patient, “If you have in your head in the sand, you leave your arse dangerously exposed”. Not to mention it presents a bigger target =D

Glad you’re well and with us Ms Jeanne, and thanks for sharing your story, especially as it has a happy ending.

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Rachel October 28, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Looks like we’re neighbors! I live in Durham :D

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Joy February 3, 2014 at 11:06 pm

He was also my surgeon several years ago. Class Act!

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