Irene: A Quick Return to Routine
An Unexpected Diagnosis
While devoting herself to her career, Irene was diagnosed with Stage I cervical cancer. She was in shock. "I hadn't had any symptoms," she said. "My pap test showed some abnormal cells, but I wasn't expecting cancer."
Initially overwhelmed with emotions and questions about her condition, Irene looked for a treatment option in the Mid-Atlantic region, specifically one that included robotic surgery.
"I liked that robotic surgery offered a quicker recovery time, less pain and less scarring," she said. Irene believed this method of treatment seemed ideal for her lifestyle.
She made appointments with a few gynecologic surgeons she found through personal research, but she was very frustrated. "One physician told me that minimally invasive surgery was not an option for me." She also found that when she called other physician offices, "the soonest I could get an appointment was in three weeks."
A Sense of Relief
When Irene called The Gynecologic Oncology Center at Mercy to see Dr. Dwight Im, he made room in his schedule to see her that same day. "I felt a sense of relief after I left his office. It was the first time I felt better since my diagnosis," said Irene.
Irene was a candidate for robotic surgery, according to Dr. Im, who is a recognized authority on gynecologic robotic procedures.
Three weeks after her first appointment, she underwent robotic surgery to remove the cervical cancer. Her diagnosis also required a total hysterectomy, which Dr. Im also performed robotically. Irene went home the day after her surgery and was back at work in just two weeks. This is a procedure in which Dr. Im teaches other physicians how to perform the techniques, using the exacting technology of the robot.
Back to Her Routine
As a career woman, the shortened recovery time was a tremendous advantage to Irene and she was happy to return to her daily routine. "I couldn't believe the incisions looked as good as they did."
Since her ordeal with cancer, Irene has a new outlook.
"I've completely changed my perspective on life. I've changed my diet and lifestyle and am trying to achieve a better work-life balance," she said.
"Every patient who comes into my office has a story to tell," shares Dr. Im. "They have fears, expectations and overall, a desire to put cancer behind them so they can get on with their lives," Dr. Im adds. "It's my job to help them do that as best as I am able."
Irene's Treatment Team