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March 01, 2021  
FIBROIDS1 NEWS: Feature Story

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  • Take the Red Elevator - A Myomectomy Story

    Take the Red Elevator - A Myomectomy Story - Part Two

    May 23, 2005

    By: Jean Johnson for Fibroids1

    Part One | Part Two | Part Three |Part Four

    Come along on the real life journey of Argelis Calderon as she undergoes a myomectomy to treat her fibroids. From a nervous beginning in the operating room to a successful recovery, take a glimpse into one woman’s fibroid removal success story.

    (Editor’s note: Any treatment undertaken to combat a medical problem has varied results for different individuals. The experiences portrayed here are those of Argelis Calderon and would be different from the experiences of other myomectomy patients. A conversation with your doctor is the best way to determine the appropriate course of treatment for you.)

    The next thing Argelis Calderon knew, she was in the recovery room. The notion that her husband had grabbed a sandwich and drank cappuccino while he waited with “all the other worried looking people” was lost to her. So was the cheerful surgeon’s post-op debriefing with her husband that ran akin to: “Things went very well… removed a large fibroid and didn’t find any other small ones starting… will probably be some fever and some anemia because of blood loss… probably be in recovery for about an hour.”
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    Two and a half hours later, the patient still had not arrived in her room, and a nervous husband paced the floor. Indeed, Calderon had plenty of time to take in what sights she could in the recovery room.

    “I heard them talking that I’d lost a lot of fluid. They were checking the catheter, but I was so drowsy it was hard to stay awake,” said Calderon. “So mostly I nodded off except when the nurse asked me how I was feeling.”

    Calderon added that even half comatose she heard noises. Nurses telling patients that they were in the recovery room and how their surgery was over now. In the end, though, Calderon found herself retreating to dreamless half-sleep while the fluids in her body stabilized enough for the recovery team to OK her transfer to the regular floor.

    At 5 that evening – three hours after the surgeon debriefed Calderon’s husband and five hours after the couple rode the red elevator up to pre-op department – she arrived in her room.

    “I was still very dehydrated and felt like I couldn’t breathe. It’s this dry air up here in Oregon. Not like what I was raised with in Panama,” said Calderon. “But I got a wet cloth for my face and my husband brought the humidifier from home. That really helped.”

    Between the moist air, bouquets of flowers from well-wishers, and light blue pajamas in moon and stars print, the post-op patient made the best of her two nights and two days in the hospital.

    “They only gave me clear broth the first day and a half. Dinner, breakfast and lunch – clear broth and Jell-O that I don’t like so I didn’t eat it.”

    The Calderons are part of Portland’s natural foods community and normally gravitate toward whole grains, vegetables from the neighborhood farmer’s market, raspberries, grapes, pears and apples from their own vines and trees.

    Still, Calderon put down a turkey dinner complete with gravy, pumpkin pudding and a white roll when her first meal made its appearance.
    Despite the so-so food, Calderon was very pleased about one outcome of the surgery. Indeed, it was why she decided have the procedure in the first place.

    “I learned that uterine fibroids run in my family, but my doctor told me fibroids tend to go away once women reach menopause,” said Calderon. “So basically the only reason people need to do anything about them is if they are causing pain or other problems related to their size.”

    “Since the fibroid I had was growing fast, I had started feeling pain after doing yoga and also during my period I’d experience cramps. Also and perhaps the most annoying, was frequency of urination. I felt like I had to use the rest room all the time, and then when I’d go, there’d just be this little bit. It was a hassle.”

    “So I was glad to discover that after the surgery, the urgency to use the rest room all the time was gone. I noticed it right away. My bladder emptied more easily than before. So that made me feel good that I had the operation – even though the recovery was quite a bit more than I expected.”

    Continued in Part Three

    Last updated: 23-May-05


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