Having surgery in Germany was a unique experience for me!!

From: Helen Dynda (olddad66@runestone.net)
Thu Feb 1 02:32:27 2001

I am now 12 weeks post-op following my surgery. But before I say any more, I think it is important that I first share some information about my particular adhesion problem; because NOT all of us are affected by adhesions in the same way!!!

My adhesions resulted from a laparotomy, which I had in 1970. Five days after my surgery, I felt the return of pain! And it took 27 years before my chronic pain was actually diagnosed as being caused by adhesions from that 1970 surgery!!! Throughout all of those years, I continued to search for a better reason for the cause of my pain than the "it's all in your head" kind of diagnosis that I had been labeled with by so many doctors.

Finally, in 1996, I joined the Endometriosis Association ( EA ); because that was the only way I could purchase their educational materials. I purchased practically everything that was available; and, as a result, I finally found a clue!! I learned that a diagnostic laparoscopy is the ONLY way that endometriosis can be diagnosed!!! There is NO other diagnostic test for endometriosis!!

Through the EA I was given the names of two endometriosis specialists in the state of Minnesota. To make this long story short: I finally found a Gynecologist, who suggested a diagnostic laparoscopy; and as a result of this procedure, I was finally diagnosed as having "massive adhesions attaching my omentum to my abdominal wall -- the entire length of my laparotomy incision and four inches across!!!" The resulting adhesions had attached my omentum to my abdominal wall...as if these two surfaces had literally been bonded together !!!

The location and extent of the omentum/abdominal wall adhesions presented a difficult surgical situation for the surgeon. Did I have any intestinal adhesions? If I did, there was only place in my right lower quadrant that occasionally gave me excruciating pain, when I had to move my bowels; but I did not experience any problems with bowel obstructions, constipation, and all of the other intestinal adhesion symptoms I've read about on the Message Board. So this was the extent of my adhesion problem.

Dr. Matthias Korell performed my adhesiolysis procedure on November 7, 2000 at the Klinikum Duisburg at Duisburg, Germany. Since my ovaries were non-functioning, I requested that Dr. Korell remove my ovaries at the same time. Prior to my surgery I had given Dr. Korell permission to apply Intergel adhesion barrier at the conclusion of my surgery -- to help keep my omentum separated from my abdominal wall; but he didn't...and I really am not sure why. I realize now that I should have discussed this with him the day before my surgery. Dr. Korell probably had a very good reason for not using Intergel. I have learned that some people react to Intergel by developing inflammation.

Dr. Korell performed a second-look laparoscopy on November 14th -- 7 days after my adhesiolysis. As a result of my second-look, Dr. Korell said that NONE of my adhesions had reformed -- that I was 100% adhesion-free. That was great news for me!!

I am now 12 weeks post-op; and I would like to be able to say that I am pain-free or that I'm feeling less pain every day -- but I'm not. Instead, I'm experiencing MORE pain than I had before my surgery -- a constant "burning" pain, which radiates throughout my entire lower pelvis and out towards both hips. I continue to take the very same medications as I had taken before my surgery: Amitriptyline 100mgs ... Tegretol 200 mgs ... Monopril 10mgs ( for high blood pressure) ... and thyroid medication.

I am beginning to wonder if seven days after the first surgery isn't too soon to do a second-look ... at least for me. I wonder about this because when I had my diagnostic laparoscopy in August 1997, I didn't feel the return of pain until on the 10th day. I don't understand how I could be "100% adhesion-free" following my November 14th second-look -- and still be experiencing pain!!

Before I decided to go to Germany to have surgery, I knew there would be NO guarantees as to the results of an adhesiolysis procedure. When I chose to have Dr. Matthias Korell as my surgeon, I knew that I had chosen one of the best laparoscopic adhesion specialists in the world. I also had learned as much as I could about adhesion-related disorder ( ARD ); and I was ready to have this surgery -- with the hope that I might be able to become pain-free. But, unfortunately, that didn't happen!

I do not blame Dr. Korell for the failure of my adhesiolysis procedure; because I know that each person's body reacts differently to surgery. My adhesions were located in an area that is very difficult to keep separated. Maybe, perchance, I'm being a little premature by saying my surgery was not a success. Time will tell, I'm sure.

Right now, I am uncertain if I will give surgery another try. If I decide to pursue another adhesiolysis, I would definitely return to Germany. The total cost of having surgery in Germany is much more reasonable than having surgery in the USA -- even though my husband and I had to pay for everything ourselves!! Medicare does not pay for out-of-country medical care!!

My trip to Germany for surgery was a unique experience!! If I had never taken this chance to go to Duisburg, Germany to have surgery, I would never have had the experience of taking a flight to Europe ... of taking a taxi in Germany ... of learning how to use German Deutsche Marks for making purchases ... of shopping in a German grocery store ... of visiting a Muhlheim Craft Fair ... of taking a bus tour of historical Cologne, Germany ... of traveling to Belgium by train ... of being the victim of a pickpocket ... of having to make a police report at the police station at Ghent, Belgium ... of touring a castle at Ghent ... of enjoying a guided tour of the historical places in Bruges, Belgium.

I would never have met the wonderful people I met: Dr. Korell and his secretary, Carmen, and others at the Klinikum Duisburg ... and the many friends I met for the very first time: Beverly Doucette from Wisconsin ... Paul Lewis from Florida ... Mary Pomroy from Canada ... Masa and Anne Hayashi from California ... Robin Massengill from New Mexico ... Laura Newman from Maryland ... Jim and Lynne Brown from Northern Ireland ... Jon, Sylvie and Sarah Verheyden from Belgium ... and Marc Remijn from the Netherlands. I now have a face for the email address of each of these special friends!!

I also had the privilege of meeting Elke Chadwick and being invited to her flat. Elke is a very special person, who certainly qualifies as an ambassador of goodwill for the city of Duisburg, Germany!! Elke went out of her way to extend her hand of friendship to all of us, who had surgery at the Klinikum Duisburg. It was a real privilege to meet her as well as many other people ( sorry, I can't remember their names! ) associated with the Klinikum Duisburg -- as well as a some people we met at the Nurse's Residence, where we lived from November 3rd to November 21st. I can truly say that I felt at home in Germany; because the German people went out of their way to help us feel welcome in their country!!

I have been totally honest about the results of my surgery; but this was MY surgery! So please don't judge the the possible results of a surgery for yourself by the results of MY surgery. It is common knowledge that our bodies do NOT respond in the same way!! What causes a reaction in one person's body, causes NO problems in another person's body.

There aren't any surgeons in the world who can guarantee that their patients will be adhesion-free following surgery!! But your best chance for a successful adhesiolysis procedure is with one of the following surgeons: Dr. Harry Reich, Dr. Jay Redan, and Dr. Matthias Korell. These laparoscopic surgeons are very skilled and very experienced in performing adhesiolysis procedures -- and they are recognized as being the best adhesion specialists in the world as a result of the success they have been having.

I had my surgery performed by one of the best; but, unfortunately, I was not one of the lucky ones. At least I tried; and that is all a person can do at a time when surgeons cannot guarantee the results of surgery for adhesions.

In Friendship,

Helen Dynda ( Minnesota )

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