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Telling Your Story

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A high risk pregnancy. A determined Doctor. One amazing story.

Due to series of unfortunate circumstances with their previous doctors, The Sternquists – who are from Dubuque, ended up seeking the assistance of our high risk specialist and Director of The Women’s Center at Southwest Health, Dr. Kim Christopher Mackey.  That move would forever change their lives as a rare complication after the delivery of their second child turned an otherwise exciting day near fatal. Thanks to the knowledge and experience of Dr. Mackey and the OB staff, Amanda and Joshua were able to keep their family together. See their amazing story:

Exploratory Surgery Ends Pain for Local Mother of Two

MercedesAs a mother of two active little girls, stay-at-home mom Mercedes Canon’s days are busy, and she rarely has time for herself. Her priorities are evident in the tiny footprint tattoos she has of her daughters, Livianna, almost 2, and Vayiah, 8 months, and it’s not uncommon for Mercedes to set her own needs aside as she puts her daughters first. But when Mercedes’ developed pelvic pain that continued to worsen after delivering Vayiah, Mercedes knew she had to see a doctor.

“I knew something was wrong because the pain wasn’t going away after I had my second daughter,” Mercedes said. “I was really hurting.”

Mercedes called to make an appointment to see Dr. Kim Christopher Mackey, an OB/GYN at Southwest Health, and was relieved when she when was able to see him in town within days. During a pelvic exam, Dr. Mackey located the potential culprit of Mercedes’ pain. “When he was doing my exam, he found a bump, about the size of a jelly bean, and when he touched it, I just about jumped off the table because it was so painful,” Mercedes said.

Dr. Mackey ordered an ultrasound of the area to learn more. Because the ultrasound was inconclusive, Dr. Mackey suggested Mercedes undergo exploratory surgery, during which he could further examine the bump. Mercedes was hopeful this approach would be productive, although the wide range of potential outcomes made her nervous.

“When Dr. Mackey first said he felt the bump, but didn’t know what it was, there were a hundred things running through my mind of what it could be,” Mercedes said. “He said that during the surgery, if he could remove the bump, he would.”

Dr. Mackey was able to schedule Mercedes’ surgery within days and explained the surgery to her in great detail, which helped her to feel less anxious about the procedure. “He’s an awesome doctor. While he was telling me about the surgery, he sat down next to me and answered all of the questions I had. He made sure I understood everything and felt comfortable before he did the surgery.”

Mercedes Canon 2Thankfully, the procedure was successful, as Dr. Mackey located and removed the bump, which was determined to be endometriosis, an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside the uterus. This condition can be effectively treated by laparoscopy, the minimally invasive surgical technique that Dr. Mackey performed on Mercedes.

“I was so relieved that it was just endometriosis,” Mercedes said. “And after my recovery, the pain I had felt was gone and has not come back.”

Because Dr. Mackey performed the exploratory surgery with minimally invasive techniques, he made very small incisions in Mercedes’ abdominal area. These tiny incisions heal quicker than larger incisions and require less recovery time with a lower risk of infection.

All of this was good news to Mercedes, who has little time to rest while caring for her daughters. About one week after her surgery, Mercedes was back to doing most things in her life, and already noticed a big decrease in her pelvic pain. The fact that Mercedes had the surgery done in Platteville, where she lived, also made the process much easier and more convenient.

“With two kids, finding a babysitter and driving somewhere else, like Madison, is just not easy,” Mercedes said.

Mercedes is so pleased with the excellent care she received from Dr. Mackey, and she is “absolutely” planning to continue to see him for routine exams. She offers the following advice to women who may be struggling with pelvic pain, “If it hurts, go get it checked out. I put it off because I thought it would heal, but it didn’t and it wouldn’t have. And now the pain is gone. Thanks to Dr. Mackey.”

Minimally Invasive Surgery

Making its Mark by Barely Making a Mark at All

story2“I just knew something wasn’t right, but I kept putting it off.” As a wife and mother of two kids, Sandy Adams has a full plate. Avid campers, both Sandy and her husband lead active lifestyles, work full-time jobs and keep up with hustling the kids around to multiple after-school activities. For months, Sandy had been experiencing minor pain in her abdominal area and the nagging feeling that something just wasn’t right. As Sandy says, “After procrastinating a little too long, I knew I needed to get in for a quick check, just to see if something was wrong.”

“I didn’t expect it to be anything major; it was definitely a surprise.”

Referred to Dr. Kim Christopher Mackey, an OB/GYN at Southwest, by Nancy Swailes, APNP, Sandy’s examination immediately indicated something was wrong. At that moment, the doctor’s office sent Sandy to receive multiple blood tests. The tests showed that Sandy was anemic and had to be admitted to the hospital for a blood transfusion.

“I was so anemic that the staff was surprised that I was still able to move,” Sandy said.

After further examination, Dr. Mackey diagnosed Sandy with an enlarged uterus, a diagnosis that can cause irregular bleeding, heavy cramping, and, as in Sandy’s case, anemia. Once Sandy’s blood count was under control, she and Dr. Mackey reviewed her options.

“He explained all my options, and through our discussions it became clear that minimally invasive surgery to remove my uterus was the best option for me.”

Sandy was able to schedule the surgery before the holidays, giving her plenty of time to heal and get back to her normal routine before the hustle rolled in. Additionally, she and her husband had a vacation scheduled, and her goal was to be 100 percent for the trip.

The day of the surgery came and went, and Sandy’s procedure lasted approximately two hours. Sandy spent the night in the hospital and was simply touched by all the attention given to her during her pre- and postoperative care. The next day, she woke up a little sore, but in minimal pain.

“They gave me prescription pain killers, but I only needed to take one,” she says. “After that, I was fine.”

Now, Sandy is back to keeping up with the kids and is looking forward to better weather so she and her family can get back to camping.

“The decision to have this surgery was a great decision,” Sandy adds. “There were only three small incisions, leaving barely any scars.”

“One thing I will always remember is that before I went into surgery, Dr. Mackey said to me, ‘I’m going to take care of you.’ And he really did.”

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