Melinda Kulczar of Henderson

Melinda Kulczar of Henderson said that for years she had experienced occasional and unpredictable episodes of sickness after eating. “I never knew when an attack was going to hit,” she said. “I could drink water and it would make me sick.” When an attack did hit, it often brought nausea along with pain across her back and stomach. But the episodes would end and the pain would stop, so she didn’t seek medical help, and the cause remained a mystery.

first-person-kulczarBut in early 2014 Melinda had an attack that didn’t stop, and it sent her to the emergency room in Henderson. She had a blood test and an ultrasound that revealed large gallstones were causing her distress. The treatment would be surgical removal of her gallbladder.

Her doctor referred her to David Young, MD, East Texas’ most experienced surgeon at performing gallbladder removal using the da Vinci Single-Site Surgical System. He told her she was a good candidate for this procedure, in which the gallbladder is removed laparoscopically through a single incision in the umbilical area, leaving a scar so small it is usually concealed by the folds of the bellybutton. The da Vinci system uses robotic technology that allows for more precise movements of instruments, taking surgery beyond the limits of the human hand.

Melinda was glad to hear that her recovery time, barring any complications, would be only three weeks. She made arrangements at work, had the surgery in February, and everything went according to plan. “My first experience with ETMC: It was a really good one,” she said. “All the staff are really, really nice.”

She was told to avoid lifting anything heavy for a few weeks, and initially her surgical site was tender at the waistband. “The worst of it was having to choose different types of pants to wear.” But soon she was healing. “I went back to work light duty at three weeks and haven’t had any trouble at all.”

Months after the surgery and fully recovered, Melinda said, “There’s barely any scar there at all now.”

She needs to watch what she eats, but she doesn’t have to worry about unpleasant surprises. “Even at work, if I ate lunch, I never knew if I was going to be sick within an hour of eating my lunch. Plus it made my husband feel better because he didn’t have to worry about me. He hated seeing me sick all the time.”

She said she would advise anyone experiencing the kind of distress she had to go to ETMC and have the procedure. “I would recommend ETMC to anybody and tell them to just go for it.”

Click here to view Melinda’s video.


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