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Raising a Glass to Successful Pelvic Surgery

After growing hay for four decades on their family farm in rural Washington, Marie and her husband retired. At least, that’s how they describe it. With one of their sons taking over those duties, the couple began operating an award-winning small vineyard and winery on part of their land. 

When Marie learned she had a slight pelvic organ prolapse, a lack of symptoms for several years made it easy to live with the condition as she continued her busy lifestyle. But then Marie, 69, experienced a protrusion that was impossible to ignore. Surgery with Overlake Clinics Pelvic Health allowed her to return to the work she loves.

The cervix, uterus, vagina, small bowel, rectum and bladder comprise the pelvic organs. A hammock-like structure of muscles called the pelvic floor hold them in place. But if those muscles are stretched or damaged, the organs can descend and even start to protrude, a condition known as pelvic organ prolapse.

Marie initially sought treatment elsewhere, but that surgery to correct her prolapse was not successful. Online research led her to Overlake Clinics Pelvic Health. She met with one of Overlake’s board-certified urogynecologists, Julie LaCombe, MD, who discussed a variety of surgical and non-surgical options for her to consider. She ultimately decided to pursue a minimally-invasive robotic-assisted surgery. 

“I was very happy with how she explained it to me,” Marie said. “I felt very comfortable.” 

Marie was pleased with how accommodating Dr. LaCombe and her team were. 

“I told her I wanted to get the procedure done right away, before my husband’s hip replacement surgery, and the team made it happen,” said Marie. 

A team member was even able to make needed schedule adjustments 24 hours before her procedure, when snow turned Marie’s two-and-half-hour journey over a mountain pass to Overlake into an all-day trek.

Following her six-week recovery, Marie returned to labelling wine bottles, stocking them on shelves, and welcoming and talking with customers about winemaking and farming. 

“It turns out operating a vineyard and winery is more work than raising 300 acres of hay,” she said with a smile. 

With a successful surgery behind her, Marie believes women must learn more about pelvic organ prolapse. Although one-third of American females are living with the condition, “there isn’t a lot of education about it, and it’s something people don’t really want to talk about,” Marie said. “But many women are involved in physical activity of different kinds, and this problem doesn’t need to stop them.”

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