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|Uterine Fibroid Embolization|
|Female Reconstructive Surgery|
So you have uterine fibroids and the first treatment option that comes spilling out of your doctor's mouth is hysterectomy. You either sit there in shock--you had no idea that this is what the doctor would say--or, you believe your physician wholeheartedly and begin a discussion regarding the timeframe to schedule the surgery. In either case, consider the following:
This is no time to be like the kid in school who sits at the front of the class leaning forward in his chair using both hands to raise one arm as desperately high as possible begging for the teacher's attention!!!
"ooh, ooh, doctor pick me pick me! put me on your surgical schedule!"
This is the time to be like Missy Cool in the back of the room. Notoriously slouching in her chair, occasionally filing her nails and picking at the cuticles with a totally bored inability to get overexcited about much of anything.
"Missy Cool. I think it's time we talked about that hysterectomy now."
"Yeah? Says who?"
Yeah. That's what the response should be. Let me repeat it.
"Yeah? Says who?"
Then, proceed to make that doctor work hard for that diagnosis and recommendation for hysterectomy.
Insist upon a detailed explanation of uterine fibroids and don't stop pushing for information until you thoroughly understand what kind of fibroids you have, where they are located, how big they are and how many there are growing in/on your uterus. Once you have this information, only then can you truly move on towards discussing your treatment choices.
And I'm not talking about a two-minute dog and pony show presenting maybe only one other possible choice (besides hysterectomy). You know what a dog and pony show is, right? It's where the doctor shows you a pretty graphic, points to pictures of female parts, but doesn't really give you enough details for you to truly comprehend the information just presented. The graphics are usually flip charts or handouts with little to no textual content on them. Maybe you get to touch or view the flip charts or handouts--maybe you don't. Maybe the physician allows questions--maybe he/she cuts you off, politely and authoritatively off course. But, it sounds good. The pictures might even look good.
Think: Advertising. Was the time the doctor just spent discussing your options shorter or longer than a 60-second commercial?
Dog and pony shows almost always end with the doctor completely discounting all other options and recommending to proceed with only the hysterectomy option. You might even get a comic book or videotape handed to you to take home and review like I did. (Pay close attention to who funded the printing of those materials! There are many, many, people who have a financially vested interest in your decision regarding hysterectomy. . .)
Don't just sit there and gloss over it all. Look that doctor square in the eyes and ask the question
"So doc. Tell me what will happen if I choose to Ignore It?"
I can't stress this enough. Get off that freight train bound for immediate hysterectomy territory and at least try to get a satisfactory answer to the question above before you do anything else.
Okay. So you asked. And, here's the response you received:
"Well, there's always the possibility that the fibroids could become cancerous."
Ding ding ding ding ding. Did a warning bell just go off in your head? It should have. The chances are slim to none that your fibroids are cancerous (go to the links in the table below if you want to read more on this). Is it possible? Yes. Have any of your symptoms forbode cancer? Has the doctor run any tests that have made him/her believe that cancer is a real possibility? Or, was this simply one of the first things the doctor thought to tell you in an attempt to convince you to have a hysterectomy? As I said. . .Ding ding ding ding ding.
Okay. Let's put our logical thinking caps on. For every answer your doctor gives you, ask these questions:
Weigh each answer carefully. Know what the answer means, specifically, to you. Each person must weigh the risks of Ignore It against their own specific circumstances of physical condition, age, and beliefs and attitudes regarding their uterus and long-term health situation. Maybe you are in need of a hysterectomy. But, then again, maybe you aren't.
Ask yourself all of these questions and more. Then, if you find that you simply can't Ignore It, review all of your options very carefully. Learn as much as you can about your condition and work closely with a physician you truly trust. It's still possible that you have options other than hysterectomy. Find out. Ask the questions.
If you do choose to Ignore It, please stop and consider that perhaps something in your body is not quite right. Something is amiss. Your hormones are definitely sending you a signal. Maybe you should at least attempt to read the message and discuss what it may mean with your physician. Maybe it means nothing and there is no reason to do anything. Maybe it does mean something. . .and you can try to find out just what that something is. I don't know. The real problem is that medical science doesn't really know yet either. But, they're working on it.
Shame on the physician(s) who use(s) their medical degree and position of power and authority to scare women into succumbing to unnecessary procedures. And, even more shame on the medical practitioners who allow such behavior to flourish in the medical community. And don't give me that look like you just don't have a clue what I'm writing about! I know better. I've been in that chair with more gynecologists than I can count on 2 hands. At least half of them used the cancer scare tactic described above. Endless quantities of shame to each of you. And know that this is my nice version of admonition. My actual thoughts are much worse. . .you'll find those in My Journal.
What You'll Find
|A Focus on Fibroids: What Do I Need to Know? Excellent discussion of uterine fibroids and treatment options. Print out the "Questions For My Doctor" and take them with you to your next appointment!|
||A Gynecologist's Second Opinion Online||Edited excerpts from the book: A Gynecologist's Second Opinion by William H. Parker, M.D.|
|Dr. Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman||Hysterectomy: A Second Opinion|
Judy Foreman, Globe Staff
|3/23/98 Treatment options are growing for women with bleeding disorders.|
|OBGYN.net||Fibroids: Short overview detailing what fibroids are, some related health issues, and current treatment options.|
|American Institute of Preventive Medicine||General overview on fibroids.|
|Physicians and medical students of The Federal University Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).||Obstetrics & Gynecology for the Medical Student: Leiomyomas|
|Bridgette York, Fibroid News, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3XX||What
are fibroids?: "THE UNEXPLAINED" EXPLAINED.
UK Support Site for women looking for info on Fibroids.
|Dr. D. Ashley Hill, Associate Director Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Florida Hospital Family Practice Residency||Fibroids: Uterine fibroids are one of the most common medical conditions affecting women.|
||The Fibroid Embolization Center of the NY United Hospital Medical Center||FIBROID FACTS - I . . . understanding how fibroids develop|
||Dr. Stanley West||Author of The Hysterectomy Hoax presents brief explanation for fibroids.|
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This page last updated Friday, August 10, 2007