My experience with adhesions and Dr. Redan

From: Suzanne (
Wed Jan 27 20:25:32 2010

My story actually begins just over two years ago. I had a total abdominal hysterectomy in July of 2007 due to a large ovarian cyst that was possibly cancerous. Thankfully, it was benign, but the surgeon perforated my intestine and didn't realize it at the time. When I wasn't recovering normally, was weak, and had pain up my side and around my back, the nurses and my family who were with me around the clock asked my surgeon to do some tests to determine what was wrong. He dismissed their concerns, stating that I was suffering from a "post-op ileus". Five days after the hysterectomy, it was obvious to everyone that I was in distress and was extremely sick. The surgeon finally did a CT scan and found I had a perforation. Emergency exploratory surgery followed, resulting in a bowel resection. I had peritonitis and was, in the surgeon's words, "gravely ill". I ended up with a fistula so the staples were ripped out and a wound vac was applied for a few weeks. When the wound vac was removed, the wound was left to heal open (end result five months later when it finally healed was an 8 by 3 inch scar up my abdomen). Eleven days after the second surgery I was still weak and sick, my body was swelling (I am on the thin side so this was quite obvious) and on oxygen. My surgeon was talking about discharging me at the end of the week and this was Wednesday! At two in the morning during that night, while in the care of a very astute nurse whom I credit with saving my life, I was rushed to the ICU in respiratory failure. They told my husband they didn't know if I had brain damage and they were not sure if I'd had a heart attack, but that my lungs had collapsed and they had called the Chaplain...and I was on a ventilator. My husband was in disbelief, obviously, and my children thought they were going to lose their mother. Had this surgeon monitored my albumin levels, he would have found them to be so low that my body was not able to process all of the fluids I was receiving intraveneously, and this situation could have easily been averted. I was in the hospital for three weeks, went home for a week, was still short of breath and running fevers, and was readmitted only to have a chest tube placed to drain more fluid from around my lungs for another week. All in all I've had over twenty three CT scans and forty chest x-rays. With each CT scan being about the equivalent of five hundred chest x-rays, I live in fear that one of these days I could be diagnosed with some form of cancer. It took me a full year to recover and gain back the twenty pounds I lost as I was TPN (no food by mouth) for five weeks and had a difficult time getting my appetite back. Those are just the highlights of my hospitalization; there were many other things that went wrong.

In the past eighteen months I've been hospitalized three times (at a different hospital) with bowel obstructions due to adhesions from my abdominal surgeries. They have always resolved with decompression treatment in the hospital, but I was told by the surgeons that eventually I will likely have one that will not respond to treatment and will require emergency surgery. They also told me that every time I have a bowel obstruction, the chances of having another one increase, and may take longer to resolve. One of these surgeons actually told me that he has a patient who is hospitalized with bowel obstructions almost monthly. These men are highly respected surgeons in my community. Why could they not do something for their patients who are struggling with issues due to adhesions? They told me they would not perform surgery on me because it would only create more adhesions, so my future was looking grim.what a vicious cycle. I believed I had no recourse, but I couldn't imagine living this way the rest of my life. It was always stressful on my family (I have four children) to have to leave suddenly and be hospitalized for an unknown length of time. The psychological issues were difficult for me as well, with a huge scar constantly reminding me of my traumatic ordeal and the physical discomfort of my distended abdomen and my insides pushing up on my ribcage every time I sat down or leaned over. The prospect of living the rest of my life like this was depressing, to say the least. Also scary for me was the fact that I might end up requiring emergency surgery to repair a bowel obstruction. Who would perform this surgery, a surgeon on call? I had been through too much to allow just any surgeon to operate on me.

This past summer during an appointment with my gynecologist, he mentioned the CAPPS program and although he didn't know the specifics of the program nor Dr. Redan, he knew a woman who had a successful experience a few years ago, and he suggested I look into it. I immediately went home and researched Florida Hospital at Celebration, Dr. Redan, and the CAPPS program. I couldn't believe I was actually considering having surgery again as I had lost so much faith in the medical community. I wondered how this surgeon could help me when no other surgeon I spoke with would consider me for surgery. I had a consultation with Dr. Redan in September of 2009 and immediately felt hopeful about my future. I found Dr. Redan to be not only compassionate and kind, but empathetic regarding the trauma I endured and the psychological issues that went along with it. After examining my abdomen, he stated that he felt he could help me, but that I was not a candidate for laparoscopic surgery due to the damage to my abdominal wall and the large scar. This was disappointing to me as I was fearful of open surgery after my previous experience, but already I felt that Dr. Redan was the surgeon who would restore my faith. He explained the surgical procedure that he would perform if I chose to go ahead with the surgery, and answered every one of my questions, making me feel as if he had all the time in the world to spend with me. When I left, he told me to call him with any further questions and encouraged my husband to call as well as he could not accompany me to the appointment. Leaving Dr. Redan's office, I felt wonderfully optimistic.finally! Dr. Redan had a plan for me, and his plan included a plastic surgeon to reconstruct my abdominal wall, repair the incisional hernia, and remove forever the horrific scar that prevents me from forgetting the trauma I endured.

The following week I had an appointment with Dr. John Louis, the plastic surgeon who would work with Dr. Redan. They had discussed my case during the week, and Dr. Louis shared his plan for my care with me. Once again, I knew I was in good hands, and this meeting convinced me that making the decision to have this surgery was the right one for me. Like Dr. Redan, Dr. Louis is kind and compassionate, and spent a great deal of time answering all of my questions. I left his office with a date for my surgery!

On December 10, 2009, Dr. Redan removed my gallbladder due to gallstones and also because it was affected by the peritonitis. He also removed my appendix and the adhesions. Dr. Louis did a fantastic job reconstructing my abdominal wall.and I can't say enough about not having to look at the dreadful scar anymore! I am optimistic that the days of being in and out of the hospital are over for me, thanks to these two amazing surgeons. I am now almost seven weeks post-op, and I am extremely grateful to both Dr. Redan and Dr. Louis. Thanks to their teamwork, the surgery went very well and I am feeling good both physically and psychologically. I was impressed with the care I received by the staff over the course of the five days I was hospitalized, and with the follow up care I have received from both surgeons. The office staff of both Dr. Louis and Dr. Redan is helpful and considerate, and whenever I had questions or concerns prior to or following my surgery, Dr. Redan always returned my phone calls the same day. Dr. Louis assured me that if I was unhappy with anything during my hospital stay, to call his office and he would make things right. I have never met more personable surgeons than Dr. Louis and Dr. Redan.

I strongly encourage anyone who is suffering from adhesions or ARD to seek the help of Dr. Redan and his colleagues at the CAPPS program in Celebration, Florida. Dr. Redan's knowledge, competence, concern, and compassion have changed my life and given me back the peace of mind and the quality of life that had been missing for too long.

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