Sisterhood Sharing Sessions | Life Lessons Learned: Women’s Health-Always Get A Second Opinion

What I’ve Learned

I’ve learned when it comes to your health and Doctor recommended procedures, “Always get a second opinion”.

~Tisha Stokely, Kentucky | Sisterhood Share Club Contributor/Contributing Member

The Start Of ‘My Cycle’

I started my menstrual cycle at the age of 12 like most young girls do, however, they were very painful and irregular. My OB/GYN at the time decided to put me on birth control pills to help regulate my periods and it did help but not with the pain. After the birth of my second child, they became worse.

My original OBGYN had retired so I had to seek another doctor. He insisted that I got the Endometria Ablation. That’s where they burn the lining of the uterus to slow or stop your menstrual cycle. It helped for about six months and when I started my period again the pain was so excruciating that I could not stand up. At my next visit, we discussed my having a hysterectomy because he believed that I have fibroid tumors. I did not know what I was getting myself into.

Female Patient
Women’s Health-Patient Consultation with Staff

My Life Changed Forever

I had just graduated from college and became a master cosmetologist and I was ready to conquer the world. That day would never come. On October 31, 2011, I had my hysterectomy and my life changed forever.

Women's Health | Robotic Surgery
Women’s Health: Robotic Surgery | da Vinci Surgical System

My doctor used the robotic instrument called the da Vinci Surgical System to perform the hysterectomy and three months later I was back in the hospital with an abscess. I had to be irrigated. I was in the hospital for seven days with tubes coming out of my stomach as well as my female parts. I thought that I was going to die.

After I was released from the hospital I continue to have infection after infection and I was on anabiotic’s for months. I was no longer comfortable being around people because I could smell the medication coming out of my pores. My mother told me that it was not safe for me to be on anabiotic’s for that long and I needed to seek advice from another doctor, so I did. This doctor put me on the same antibiotics that I had already been taken. To top it off he was on call for the Doctor who did the hysterectomy. I knew I had to go out of state to find a doctor to help me.

Something Wasn’t Right

On my first visit, my new Physician removed stitches from my vagina in her office. She said that she had never seen a stitch job like that ever in her life. I started to feel better instantly but I knew that I was not completely back to my old self. I was still having infections just not continuously. I could still feel that something wasn’t right so I started seeing a neurologist and he diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. That will be my next life lesson. The year was 2016 and I was still not feeling well. I spoke to my OB/GYN and she decided to do exploratory surgery on December 27, 2016. Her mission was to go in and see if there was any scar tissue from the hysterectomy that could be causing me so much pain. When I woke up from surgery she came into the room and told me that she had to remove more stitches that had been there for four years. This information deeply saddened me because for years I have been trying to explain to all of my doctors that I don’t feel well and none of them would listen to me.

Black Female Patient

A Second Opinion

It was time for me to have my yearly colonoscopy and I had explained to my gastroenterologist that something was wrong down there and I have felt it ever since I had my hysterectomy. Shortly after the procedure I was awakened by his nurse and was told that I may have to have another surgery because they found that I had Rectocele, which is the weakening of the wall between the vagina and the rectum. It mostly occurs during childbirth, however, I never had a vaginal birth with my children so it was unexplainable to me how it got there. It has been one thing after another for the past nine years, and I could not get one attorney to take my case.

So my life lesson is to do the following before committing to a Doctor recommended procedure: 

  • Always get a second opinion when possible
  • Confirm potential complications of the procedure and ask for a pamphlet regarding  what you can expect post-surgery
  • Confirm if the procedure will be performed as a robotic-assisted surgery
  • Research patient complaints regarding the robotic-assisted surgical system that will be used for the procedure and review any concerns with your Doctor and potential alternatives

Post Author

~Tisha Stokely, Kentucky | Sisterhood Share Club Contributor/Contributing Member: Submission Date-October 22, 2020

Excerpt Regarding Instrument Used In Procedure Shared By Contributor

da Vinci Surgical System Complications

Complications of Minimally Invasive Surgery (including with use of the da Vinci system)

  • Longer operation and anesthesia times
  • Device malfunction or failure (leading to serious injury or requiring an alternate surgical approach)
  • Increase in complications can result from switching to another surgical approach
  • Bleeding (sometimes in large amounts requiring transfusion)
  • Bleeding (sometimes in large amounts requiring transfusion)
  • Conversion to open or hand-assisted surgery (sometimes requiring an additional, larger incision)
  • Inadvertent injury to surrounding organs (including cuts, tears, punctures or burns)
  • Temporary pain/nerve injury
  • Gas/air trapped beneath the skin
  • Breathing problems
  • Shoulder pain
  • Gas pain
  • Infection
  • Internal scarring
  • Reactions to anesthesia or other medications

Some of these complications can be severe, require additional surgical procedures to correct, or can even result in death.

Physicians and hospitals are required to report all suspected medical device-related injuries or deaths to the FDA as well as the manufacturer; the manufacturer is then required to report to the FDA when a malfunctioning device is believed to have the potential to pose harm to the public, or when it is known that a device may have caused harm or may have been a contributing factor to an injury or death already reported.

Studies Related To Women’s Health And Physician Bias

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  3. Thank you for sharing your life lesson learned from your experience. So sorry you had to go through this. As with every woman, you deserve the respect to be heard, and given the utmost care by your Physician. Studies now show, Physician Gender Bias exist. I know your story will resonate, and encourage more women to give themselves permission to question Health authority, and seek a second opinion for any Doctor recommended procedures as they deem appropriate.

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