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El Camino Hospital and Me

Tammy’s Story: Hysterectomy

As the wife of a U.S. Marine, Tammy has had to move around quite a bit. In 2010, she relocated to Moffett Field military housing with her husband and two kids, and shortly after, her husband was deployed to Bahrain in the Persian Gulf. Having a husband so far away is tough for any mom, but for Tammy, life became more difficult when the bleeding began.

One day her period started — and it just didn't stop. For 90 days, she bled and bled. She'd go through several boxes of pads and tampons each week, with no end in sight. She started bringing extra clothes to work, so she could change outfits when needed.

Tammy went to see her doctor, who referred her to OB/GYN Kirby Tran, MD, El Camino Hospital.

"Dr. Tran was awesome," says Tammy, who was comforted by the amount of time Dr. Tran took to talk with her about her condition. Tammy learned she had endometriosis, a condition where tissue that normally lies inside the uterus grows in places outside the uterus. Tammy's endometriosis was causing her to bleed longer than a normal period.

Dr. Tran gave Tammy her options, ranging from medication to surgery. Tammy chose to have a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), since she wasn't planning to have any more children.

"Many years ago, my mom had a hysterectomy, and it left a large scar," recalls Tammy. "So I was happy to hear that Dr. Tran would use a minimally invasive technique that only required a few tiny incisions."

But, Tammy soon realized that she would need some support at home with her 13-year-old daughter. With her husband overseas and no family or close friends in the area, Tammy couldn't afford to spend a night at the hospital and take time to recover without someone to help with her child. (Her older child was off at college.)

So, Dr. Tran made some calls on Tammy's behalf. He convinced the Red Cross to fly her husband back to care for Tammy.

Tammy had her surgery in June 2011, and everything went well. Tammy says she didn't need any pain medication when she went home the day after the operation and soon was back to her normal routine. After 10 days at home, her husband returned to Bahrain.

Tammy says she is so grateful to Dr. Tran for taking care of her during her ordeal, and she is especially thankful for her above-and-beyond efforts to bring her husband back home when she needed him most.