Fifty-Seven Fibroid Tumors Later

This is not a misprint or a “typo” in the title. I was diagnosed with fibroid tumors in 2000 and was advised that they were ''not serious and we'll just keep an eye on them." Six years later in what should have been a routine two and a half hour surgery lasted almost five and one half hours.

Every since my late teens, my menstrual pains have been almost unbearable. I had heavy bleeding, severe cramps and began to experience discomfort in my lower stomach. My OB/GYN suggested that birth control would be the best route to take in order to manage the bleeding and cramps somewhat. Upon my next visit (a year later) that discomfort in my lower stomach turned out to be fibroid tumors. It was during this routine checkup that I was advised that the fibroids were "not serious and we'll keep an eye on them."

In 2003 I moved to southwest Florida and the discomfort in my lower stomach grew worse. A family member recommended that I see Dr. Blaise Kovaz.

After a routine checkup and some ultrasounds, it was concluded that my fibroids were growing at a rapid rate. Turns out that the prescription birth control may have caused the swelling and growth of the fibroids.

Dr. Kovaz said the ultrasounds showed about ten fibroids, some as large as a baseball. The only real option was surgery, especially if I had any desire of bearing children. From there he suggested I see a specialist, Dr. Craig Sweet, a specialist in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery.

Dr. Sweet examined my situation, and could only recommend surgery because of the size of the fibroids. The option of not having surgery meant no chance of having children, problems later on down the road and a possible hysterectomy at a later age. Being upset and a bit nervous with the thought of surgery, I went back to Dr. Kovaz and asked him for a second opinion. He recommended Dr. Jacob Glock.

Dr. Glock reaffirmed what Dr. Sweet suggested. He did explain that I could undergo a series of shots over a period of six months to help shrink the fibroids, but it would still an operational procedure to get them out.

After discussing the pros and cons with my boyfriend and family, I made the decision to bypass the shots, and just get the surgery. I wanted nothing more than to have this over and done with.

For the next two months prior to my surgery date, I began reading books, searching the Internet and talking with other women who had fibroid surgery. It was a long two months, but a bit comforting to learn and correspond with many women who have been through this procedure.

APRIL 11, 2006 – SURGERY
My boyfriend took time off work and drove me to Health Park, a highly recommended hospital in Fort Myers. At my request, both Dr. Sweet and Dr. Kovaz were to be in the operating room.

After filling out some more forms, and having my vital signs checked again, I was walked into the prep room where they began my IV and the anesthesiologist gave me something to relax myself. From there I was wheeled into the operating room. The last thing I can recall was that the room was ice cold and I was staring at the light and then I was out.

I had asked Dr. Sweet prior to my surgery what was the most fibroids you ever removed from someone. He said 36. Five and one half hours later that record was broken as he removed 57 fibroids from me. They ranged is size from a softball down to popcorn.

As the surgery went on well past the predicted two and half hours, my boyfriend was sent home. The following day Dr. Sweet met with my boyfriend and told him the news that the dozen or so fibroids were actually 57, therefore the longer surgery and longer recovery now necessary.

I slept little during the night, as the nurses kept taking all my vitals and the anesthesia wore off. When I awoke the next day I was in tremendous pain. As soon as a nurse came in the room I asked her, "Do I still have my uterus?" She checked my chart and with a polite smile replied, "Yes, you still have your uterus."

My mother flew down from Connecticut, and for the next few days she and my boyfriend were at my side in the hospital. Dr. Sweet encouraged me to get up and start walking a bit, warning that it will be painful, but necessary. He was right on both accounts. He also told me that he did not even remove all of the fibroids as there was too many and they were not prepared for such a lengthy surgery.

My diet went from liquid, to soft food, to hard food in the matter of a week and I lost 20 pounds. After coming down off all the painkillers and medications, I got sick a few times and twice ran a high fever. But once my fever broke and settled I was finally allowed to go home.

For the next six weeks I slowly gained my strength back, and built up a regular appetite. The obvious decision I made was not to go back on the pill, but to use an alternative birth control method. Needless to say my menstrual cycle is not as heavy and a lot less painful, minus a serious cramp only now and then. Also, if the fibroids should start to grow, at least this time I know enough not to "keep an eye on them," but to take preventive measures and get rid of them using a non-surgical procedure.

Dr. Sweet’s Comments:
This patient is memorable for a number of reasons. The first was that the uterus was really quite large. The top of the uterus actually reached the belly button, what we commonly call 20 weeks gestational age (i.e., the size of a singleton pregnancy at 20 weeks gestational age). Since L.P. had not had children yet, she wanted conservative treatment. While I try not to discuss surgery on the first visit (I would think it would scare most patients), there were really very few options available. Hysterectomy or myomectomy and keep the uterus.

The surgery was a true marathon, one of my longest. I had to use just about every trick I could to remove them quickly. The blood loss was amazingly low (500 cc) we never entered the cavity or seemed to damage the insertion of the tubes into the uterus. I recall removing almost all of them. With a quick calculation, I spent about six minutes per fibroid which is generally as quick as I can go. I finally had to let Dr. Kovaz go so he could see patients as none of us were expecting a five+ hour case.

I am concerned that it is quite likely that some new fibroids will form soon. I haven’t seen her back for a while and I hope she is well. This is also a surgical record (57 fibroids) I would prefer to never to break again!


updated 1/10/10

© 2011 Specialists In Reproductive Medicine & Surgery, P.A. |

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.