Sharon Feeney of Greenfield had a total hysterectomy in October 2009, and she's still thrilled at how petite the scars are. "It's not like I would show my scars to people," she says. "But I'm extremely glad that there is so little to show."
Sharon had minimally invasive surgery, rather than a traditional hysterectomy, at Cooley Dickinson Hospital's Kittredge Surgery Center, and she remains gratified by the resulting miniscule blemishes. They remind her of the surprisingly quick recovery that allowed her to get back on her bicycle two weeks after the procedure was performed by Gynecologist Tucker Kueny, MD.
Sharon thinks it is important that other women know that the price for good health no longer comes with the once-characteristic scar across the entire abdomen - or a long, belabored recovery.
"It was really a hugely life-changing experience," says Sharon, 50. "It's not what it used to be. People need to understand that hysterectomies no longer deserve the [bad] reputation they used to have."
Dr. Kueny and his colleague at WomanCare, Gynecologist Raeph Laughingwell, MD, are able to provide women with the most advanced treatment for common gynecologic surgeries, such as hysterectomy and fibroid treatment. These procedures, performed using the da Vinci S Surgical System, provide all the benefits Sharon describes a much shorter hospital stay and a quicker return to normal activities.
Sharon had been plagued for many years by gynecological complications that required significant lifestyle changes. "I had been very uncomfortable in the year prior to the surgery, and had problems on and off before that," she says.
In deciding whether or not to have a hysterectomy, Sharon did research in the fall of 2009. She read articles on the Internet, spoke to friends and met with three different surgeons, Dr. Kueny among them.
"He was amazing," Sharon says. "Dr. Kueny was by far the most patient as he helped me answer all the questions I had. When he explained the minimally invasive surgical procedure, that just sold me totally," she adds.
The first benefit to the minimally invasive procedure was the control and precision Dr. Kueny had while performing the surgery, which was more complicated than anticipated. The other benefits began during her recovery on Cooley Dickinson's North 3 medical/surgical unit.
She says she took a shower in the middle of the night and went home the next morning. "I was able to walk around the block on Day Two after surgery, and by my second week, I realized that I hadn't felt that good in 10 years. I felt like I had to remind myself that I had major, major surgery," Sharon says.
At her two-week check-in with Dr. Kueny, Sharon was given permission to resume almost all of her normal activities except for such things as heavy lifting. At six weeks, she was able to return to all activities.
Sharon was extremely impressed with the WomanCare staff and with Dr. Kueny in particular. "He was able to give me the information I needed without getting technical and over my head," she says. "He was able to find that comfort zone with me, so that I'd feel very informed but not overwhelmed with information that I really didn't want to know."
If you or someone you love requires gynecologic surgery, ask about the da Vinci S at Cooley Dickinson's Kittredge Surgery Center. Speak with your surgeon and find out more at www.cooley-dickinson.org.
Cooley Dickinson Hospital • 30 Locust St. (Route 9), Northampton, Mass. • (413) 582-2000
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