I actually joked with a friend that it was almost like I never even had the surgery, because I recovered so quickly with little to no pain.
Michele Kozminski of Mattawan knew that her family history of breast cancer and for carrying the hereditary gene mutation, BRCA-2, put her at a higher risk for ovarian and breast cancer. After learning from a genetic counselor that she was a carrier of the hereditary gene, it was important for Michele to have something done right away.
“When I learned that I had the gene, I was nervous, but I also felt a sense of empowerment to take charge of my own health,” Michele said. “That is when I was referred to see Anna Hoekstra, MD, at the West Michigan Cancer Center.”
Because of Michele’s high risk of cancer, she and Dr. Hoekstra decided together to remove Michele’s uterus and both ovaries to help prevent future ovarian, fallopian tube, and uterine cancer. Michele also learned she was a candidate for a robotic surgery procedure called single-site hysterectomy.
Single-site hysterectomy is a new, less invasive procedure. It has all of the benefits of minimally invasive hysterectomy, such as: smaller incisions, shorter hospital stay, less postoperative pain, less blood loss, and quicker recovery. And, it has the added benefit of even less visible scarring, since the entire procedure is performed with just one single incision in the belly button. The natural contours of the belly button help hide the surgical incision offering a superior cosmetic result. Most patients stay at the hospital less than a day, making this surgical experience an outpatient procedure.
“I knew as soon as Dr. Hoekstra explained the single-site hysterectomy procedure that it would be the best option for me,” Michele recalled. “My sister had her remaining ovary removed with a more traditional surgical method. She had a very long recovery that was full of pain – not the route that I wanted to take.”
Three weeks after making the decision, Michele arrived at Bronson Methodist Hospital to have her hysterectomy.
“I was so impressed with the staff at Bronson from registration, into the pre-op and post-op area,” Michele said. “The staff was very professional, positive and made me feel very comfortable. I knew that if I had any concerns they would be addressed right away. Dr. Hoekstra came to visit me after the surgery to discuss how it went. She sat down next to my bed, took the time to explain everything from start to finish and answered any questions that I had. I was so glad to have her as my surgeon.”
When Michelle went home, she couldn’t believe how quickly she was recovering after having such a major surgery done.
“After two days, I didn’t need to use my pain medicine anymore. The best part for me, though, is that the surgical scar is so minimal,” Michele expressed.
Michele is now back to work and living her life without fear.
“I feel so much more at ease now that I have had this surgery done,” Michele said. “I always encourage my fellow women to be proactive in their own health and not to be afraid of the unknown. You may be concerned at the time, but it is so important for you to take care of your health—especially to protect yourself down the road in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle for the long term. I am so glad that I took this opportunity to better my health and future self.”