Dr. Magtibay recalls a memorable experience with a cervical cancer patient.
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Dr. Magtibay's Favorite Cervical Cancer Patient Story I remember one patient in particular that came to see me early on in my career at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. She was a young, single mother who had a single income, her own income, and really struggled for everything that she had. She had young children, being out of work would have been a major financial hardship for her and she had actually looked around and saw different doctors about how to manage her cervical cancer. She needed a radical hysterectomy performed and traditionally, and still in many instances, those are done by open procedures, meaning a large incision where they would do a radical hysterectomy and remove the lymph nodes. Her biggest concern was that she could not financially be out of work that long. When you do the laparotomy or the big incision surgery, frequently those patients are laid up for six weeks. You know, they are out of bed and moving, but they just do not have the stamina. They are tired. They are still in pain. They need pain medications and just could not function normally for almost that entire six-week period of time. She came to our program because she needed something minimally invasive. Something that can get her back to work so that she didn’t, and wouldn’t lose her job and that she could maintain her income. And at that time, it just happened to coincide that we were transitioning to robotic surgery using the Da Vinci System and I hadn’t done a huge number of these robotically, but I had done them laparoscopically and they can be very technically challenging procedures to do with straight-stick laparoscopy. And she really wanted a robotic procedure and wanted to get out of the hospital the next day, and wanted to get back to work the next week or less. And after talking to her and explaining to her, you know that her experience was somewhat limited at that particular time, she still wanted to go through with the procedure. And amazingly, she went home that very same day or within 12 hours after leaving the operating room, so it wasn’t necessarily the same day but within a 24-hour time period, and she was back to work in three or four days after that. And she was extremely grateful that we didn’t have to debilitate her for that long period of time and didn’t have disrupted her income. It was incredibly satisfying from my standpoint to know that we had that technology, and at Mayo Clinic we are able to offer that technology to patients to really help in their quality of life and maintain their lifestyle. Since then, we have greatly expanded our robotics program to where we are easily one of the busiest robotic practices in the Southwest. We have patients coming from all over the country, but particularly in the Phoenix metro area, Scottsdale, Phoenix, Glendale, but also from Las Vegas, Southern California, Albuquerque, and they specifically seek us out because of our ability to perform these procedures by a minimally invasive robotic approach.