Pre-op was a week ago today. I saw my doctor and a nurse I’d never met. The nurse drew my blood so the hospital lab could, in the doctor’s words, “get to know me.” When she drew the blood, she also gave me a plastic wristband. It’s red with a clear rectangular window for a custom label.
Said label is customized with my name and birthday, my doctor’s name, a bar code, and the date and time of my surgery. She told me once she fastened it, I was not to take it off until I arrived at the hospital.
She looked at me and paused to let it sink in. So you’ll have to keep this on over a week.
I blinked, taking this into consideration. You’re welcome to come back and draw blood in a few days if that’s too long. I wasn’t excited about it, but I thought it a waste of time to return. I can take showers with it? I confirmed. For a week?
It’ll be fine. Just leave it on.
So she drew the blood and fastened the bracelet around my wrist. She even gave me flesh-colored gauze to hide it if I wanted (a pretty close match to my actual flesh!). And for the most part I forgot about it. It didn’t irritate me as I thought it might. I am not self-conscious about it. I more or less forgot about it.
And just like that, a week came and went.
Tomorrow, when I check in for surgery, we’ll swap it with a new one.
The technique involves insertion of a tiny instrument with a rapidly rotating blade, the morcellator, that breaks up the fibroid so that it can be sucked out through the small opening of a laparoscope.
The grotesque image that comes to mind is that of a food processor. I won’t elaborate, but the technique is designed to allow large tissue to be extracted through small incisions. This is ostensibly less invasive and allows for faster healing.
As recent reports have shown, however, power morcellation can also cause serious and sometimes life-threatening complications. … This problem is all the more serious if the fibroid that was morcellated happens to have contained a hidden cancer.
Today the FDA released guidance which doesn’t halt, but does discourage the technique. From their press release:
Based on an analysis of currently available data, the FDA has determined that approximately 1 in 350 women who are undergoing hysterectomy or myomectomy for fibroids have an unsuspected type of uterine cancer called uterine sarcoma. If laparoscopic power morcellation is performed in these women, there is a risk that the procedure will spread the cancerous tissue within the abdomen and pelvis, significantly worsening the patient’s likelihood of long-term survival.