When I had that ruptured cerebral aneurysm six years ago, I got lucky because the neurosurgeon who would normally have gotten my case was on his honeymoon. So another guy, the radiologic neurosurgeon got to ply his trade on me. That meant a number of things: My head wasn't shaved and my skull wasn't sawed open to fix the aneurysm. Instead, the doctor pushed a wire with a titanium slinky at the end of it into my upper thigh (well, okay, it's my groin, but that sounds so, I don't know, dirty or something), went into my femoral artery and snaked the whole business up into my brain, where the slinky was deposited to fix the aneurysm. I had no scars. My glorious hair was intact. And my recovery did not include the rigamarole of brain surgery.
I thought of this the other day when Mom Central sent me some information about minimally invasive gynecological surgery. Did you know that according to US News & World Report 85% of all hysterectomies are still being performed with the old slice 'em open and clean' em all out abdominal surgery instead of the well-proven laparoscopic procedure that leaves the ovaries and cervix still there? That was the case with my friend Wendy last year. She had a history of heavy periods and major PMS. The doctor convinced her the cureall was to have everything removed. She did and she was in the hospital for almost a week and off work for a month or so.
I wish I'd known then about AAGL, an association of laparoscopic surgeons, who have a web site that offers a lot of information about less invasive procedures for gynecologic procedures, so that I could have sent Wendy there to at least find out what her surgical options were. Her doctor, being a cutter, gave her no choice. As my doctor, being a cutter, would have given me none with fixing my aneurysm. How do I know that? He told me so.
Doctors do what they're trained to do; it's up to us not to take their word for it.