Updated: Jul 31, 2019
My fibroid and myomectomy journey continued.
As mentioned in part 1, I received a transvaginal ultrasound and sonohysterogram imaging to look at the inside of my uterus. The imaging showed that I have a retroverted, or backward tilting, uterus and multiple fibroids. One fibroid in particular was of special interest as agreed upon by both Dr. Dundee (UVMC) and Dr. Harth (UChicago). This fibroid was around 4cm coming off the front wall of my uterus. I know 4cm may not sound so big, but the imaging also showed that my uterus was only 6cm in diameter. Both doctors agreed that I stepped in at the right time before the fibroid had grown bigger, eventually growing through my uterine cavity. From these results and due to my current symptoms and me wanting children in the future, Dr. Harth recommended I receive a myomectomy surgery to remove the fibroid.
MYOMECTOMY SURGICAL OPTIONS
There are different myomectomy surgical options depending on the size and location of the symptom-causing fibroids. An abdominal myomectomy involves either a vertical or horizontal cut along the abdomen. These are typically for larger fibroids and/or larger uteruses. In laparoscopic or robotic myomectomies, several small abdominal incisions are made to remove the fibroids. With the laparoscopic approach, a small incision is made in or near the belly button and then a scope is placed in the abdomen and the surgeon can remove the fibroid using tools via the scope. With the robotic approach, the surgeon can control the removal of the fibroid via instruments from a separate console. In hysteroscopic myomectomies, fibroid removal is done via the cervix and vagina. This approach, which is best for smaller fibroids, involves the use of sterile saline solution to expand the uterus and then the surgeon can use instruments to shave the fibroid into pieces for removal.
MY SURGERIES AND RECOVERY
Dr. Harth recommended the hysteroscopic approach for me and I was thrilled to hear this as I knew this approach is typically a same-day surgery with little down time. Dr. Harth warned me that I may need multiple surgeries if all of the fibroid could not be taken out at one time. And unfortunately, that's exactly what happened. During my first surgery, my uterus could not handle the expansion from the saline solution and caused more bleeding than intended. Dr. Harth was able to get a few pieces of the fibroid, but had to stop the surgery due to my complication. When I woke up from the anesthesia, I could feel the pressure and felt quite sore. It took at least 2 weeks until I felt more like myself and at my follow up Dr. Harth explained in more detail what happened and recommended a 2nd surgical attempt. I told her I would consider it, but wanted time to heal from this surgery as I had just started to feel better. My next period after the surgery was lighter, but came in 2 cycles. It started for a couple days, disappeared, and then re-started for a few more days. Honestly, it was the best period I ever had (if that's even a thing) although it came twice! I decided to go ahead with the 2nd surgery after seeing my improved symptoms. I'm glad I did because the next period was heavier, but again, no where near like before my surgery, but still not quite "normal." I had my 2nd surgery within 2 months of the first, and today-3 weeks out, I can say that I'm feeling really good. There were no complications during the 2nd surgery and I noticed the difference right away as I had minimal to no pain. I was a little swollen, but that went away each day. My birthday was 3 days after my surgery (picture from my birthday above) and dare I say I felt great! I wasn't cleared to do any strenuous activities yet, but I was not in pain! I've only had one period since the last surgery, but it wasn't much.
Right now, it's too soon to say how successful the surgery was, but I am confident and continue to do more activities that I love each day. Since receiving clearance from Dr. Harth, I've returned to running (started slower with less distance and slowly building up from there) and Pilates. Before returning to these activities, I worked on re-activating my core to prevent injury. Want to know more about the core and see what exercises I did prior to returning to running and Pilates? Check out the video below.
Again, ladies, if you're having any unusual pain or discomfort down there, don't hesitate to get yourself checked out. If you're in need of post myomectomy care, advice, or a Women's Health referral, contact us or book an appointment.