CIGC patient Rashetta from Washington DC first found out she had fibroids in college. A cyst on her ovary ruptured and she had to go to the hospital. On a follow-up ultrasound, Rashetta found out that she also had fibroids.
About 70-80% of women will get fibroids by age 50. Fibroids affect African American women 2 to 3 times more frequently than white and Hispanic women. Also, African American women are more likely to develop problems with fibroids at an earlier age, with the fibroids growing faster, becoming larger, and causing more bleeding and anemia than in women of other races.
THE WATCH AND WAIT METHOD FOR LARGE FIBROIDS DOESN’T WORK
“For years I saw the same doctor, waiting and watching my fibroids grow, and for a while, the pain wasn’t altering my daily activities. But then, the pain got progressively worse. I found myself in bed, crying in pain.”
Many doctors advise their patients to delay surgery if fibroids aren’t bothering them. The problem with fibroids, especially large fibroids is that they will continue to grow and frequently cause serious damage to the uterus. For women who wish to maintain fertility, avoiding to remove the fibroid when it is first discovered can lead to far worse symptoms down the line.
MINIMALLY INVASIVE MYOMECTOMY FOR LARGE FIBROIDS
“I was hesitant to change, because my doctor knew my history, but I figured it couldn’t have hurt to have a conversation with him,” said Rashetta. “Even from my first consultation, the feeling that you get when you first meet someone and feel comfortable, that’s how I felt. When I first met him and he walked me through the procedure, he was so thorough. He drew out what was going on with my fibroids, and I realized in talking to him that I shouldn’t have done the watch and wait approach.”
The LAAM technique developed by minimally invasive GYN surgeons of The Center for Innovative GYN Care uses only 2 small incisions to safely remove fibroids of any size. LAAM is an important development, as it allows the surgeons to feel all of the fibroids. Patients return to themselves post surgery within 2 weeks.
“I planned to be off for 2 weeks, and I can work from home, so while I stayed home for 3 weeks, I was back working after 2. That was a far cry from the 2-3 months the other doctor told me. The first couple of days after a myomectomy are painful. And I needed someone to be at home with me for that.”
RAISING AWARENESS OF FIBROIDS & MINIMALLY INVASIVE FIBROID REMOVAL
Rashetta’s journey has brought The White Dress Project in Washington DC and she now heads the DC chapter, raising awareness of fibroids and minimally invasive fibroid surgery.
“I really feel like I was meant to work with this organization. It’s an issue that not a lot of people want to talk about and there isn’t a lot of awareness. I have a friend that is just now scheduling the surgery. She knows that I’m involved with The White Dress project, and I’m going to sit down with her and give her as much support as I can. But, if any woman has questions (about fibroids or minimally invasive surgery) don’t be afraid to ask Dr. MacKoul.”
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