Ovarian Surgery Reduces Pain and Anxiety

Video Transcript

My name is Melanie Lunn. I am from Brookings, South Dakota and I am a pharmacist and small business owner.

What brought you to see Dr. Bennis?

My main symptom that I was experiencing was menstrual pain. The pain started about one and a half months prior to seeing Dr. Bennis. Really the only treatment I did up to the appointment was over-the-counter pain relief medication.

How were you diagnosed?

I did have an ultrasound that was requested from Dr. Bennis. And in that ultrasound, they did find some abnormalities. They did find a polyp that she needed to further biopsy as well as some fibroids. And then we moved forward with choosing to do the hysterectomy.

Why did you choose Brookings for surgery?

I didn't hesitate to have my surgery here in Brookings. A lot of people feel bigger is better. We have a great healthcare team right here in Brookings and I was very confident knowing that Dr. Bennis could do the procedure. And if the procedure was offered here, I was gonna stay here. It was very helpful to have it close to home. My family was here, so my husband could take care of the kids and still be here with me, but be close to help with the kids as well.

How was your experience with Dr. Bennis?

The most important thing for me going to a doctor is to be heard, and I've had past experiences where I was not heard as a patient. I presented to Dr. Bennis my concerns at my appointment, and she instantly listened to me as a patient, and she gave me options to do further testing to get to the bottom of why I was experiencing the pain that I was having.

Why did you choose da Vinci robotic laparoscopic surgery?

Laparoscopic surgery is actually the preferred method from Dr. Bennis. I chose it because it is less invasive and the recovery time is a lot quicker. So once we decided that that would be the best option, she sat down and discussed the procedure, why she chose to do a laparoscopic procedure on myself, and she answered all of my questions for me thoroughly.

Why did you decide to keep your ovaries?

Dr. Bennis and I did discuss keeping the ovaries, and we felt that was the best thing to do. They were fine. There was no abnormalities on the ovaries. So we just did the hysterectomy. She did remove the cervix and the fallopian tubes. But my ovaries are intact so I do not have to worry about going right into menopause.

How was the day of surgery?

So the morning of the surgery, I checked in early at the hospital. I was greeted at the reception desk and taken back to a surgical holding room. I met my pre-op nurse and a nurse that was with me all day long. She instantly prepared me for surgery. And during that time, I had anesthesiology, Dr. Bennis, the OR nurse all come and talk to me about what their role was in the procedure, and if I had any questions or concerns. I was taken back to the OR and quickly put to sleep.

How did the staff keep you informed?

The staff did a good job of communicating with me. I think communication is key when you are going into something that you're not sure how you're going to respond to. And it was constant communication from the beginning, from the time I walked into the hospital till the time I left, and just that caring empathy from every staff member.

How was your hospital stay following surgery?

So post-op, I do remember waking up and the first thing that the nurse asked me was if I was in pain. They wanted to make sure my pain was under control. I then went back to the room where I recovered most of the day, and then I did choose to stay overnight, and they took me to the hospital room.

The inpatient care, the team was amazing. They were concerned about me and my recovery. They were always there to take care of me if I needed them. Just a lot of empathy and small-town conversation. That's the beauty of a small hospital is you usually can connect with somebody, or know someone around the area that knows someone else. So you just get that hometown feel here.

How was your pain managed following surgery?

So post surgery, you do need opioids. I mean, you're in quite a bit of pain. They did give us other options that are non-opioid choices, and I did choose those. The downfall with that is that I thought I could just survive off that because I am one that doesn't want that strong medication, and I got a little behind on my pain. So it is important to feel that those first couple days after surgery, it's okay, to take those medications and then just gradually wean yourself off as you can.

How is your recovery?

My recovery's gone well. Now I did follow the doctor's instructions, and that's hard, especially for women who are busy. The main thing is that you do rest those six weeks and that you don't overdo things. Your body will wanna keep going and you just got to tell yourself to slow down and give yourself time to recover.

What differences have you noticed following surgery?

I would say the number one difference I've noticed is the change in my mental health. Just the anticipation of knowing that I could be in pain my next menstrual cycle, it put a lot of anxiety and stress in me. And the ultimate goal through the surgery was to alleviate the pain, and we did that. So I don't have that stress of knowing if I'm gonna be able to go about my day to day activities during that menstrual cycle.

Yeah, and like I said it's the anticipation of not knowing when that pain is gonna strike and how it's gonna debilitate me for the day is huge. So yeah, my anxiety is gone.

What advice do you give women struggling with pain?

Ultimately what I can tell women and people, in general, is to listen to your body, you know if something is wrong, and to be a voice for yourself. And if it comes down to that a hysterectomy is recommended by your provider, to not be afraid to get it. It is a major surgery, but the methods that they use to do the procedure, the recovery period is much easier.

Why would you recommend Brookings Health System?

If you're seeking gynecological care, I just want people to know that the doctors here at Brookings Health System are top-notch and that they are a great team.

Are you one of Brookings Health System's grateful patients who would like to give back to us? Learn more about how you can give back at brookingshealth.org/MyThanks.