A pain-free existence has been a longtime coming for Christina Tank.
Shortly after the emergency cesarean section delivery of her first child,
Kellie, in 1996, Christina began experiencing extremely painful cramps
and uncharacteristically heavy flowing periods during her menstrual cycle.
She didn't know it at the time, but Christina had developed endometriosis
- a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside
the uterus. It can cause debilitating pain and menstrual problems.
Christina discovered over the years, living extraordinary is difficult
when you're doubled over in abdominal pain, experiencing painful bowel
movements, unable to enjoy sexual intimacy without pain and worried about
periods so heavy they affected your ability to work, go out in public
or enjoy activities with your children.
"It's a horrible way to exist," said Christina, a 39-year-old
administrative assistant for the City of Porterville’s Community
After living and struggling with the condition for 15 years, Christina
was officially diagnosed with endometriosis in 2011. Her doctor at the
time performed a laparoscopic procedure that removed built up scar tissue.
The procedure allowed Christina to have her third child, R.J., but it
did not end to her pain or heavy flow issues. Trying to manage the symptoms
medically by going on birth control also failed to work.
Christina believed having a surgical hysterectomy would be the only way
to gain permanent relief. It took a couple of years before her insurance
agreed to cover the procedure, but once it did, Christina knew exactly
where to go to find a doctor and a hospital committed to a culture that
delivers a personal, professional and compassionate health care experience
for every patient, every time.
That was a just a 40-minute drive from her Porterville home to Dr. Andrea
Boone, an obstetrician-gynecologist at Visalia Women's Specialty Medical
Group, Inc. Dr. Boone is just one of the many physicians providing care
at the award-winning Kaweah Delta Medical Center. It has earned multiple
national awards for quality outcomes.
"It was worth the drive for me to come to a doctor that I knew was
good," said Christina said of Dr. Boone, who delivered her second
child, Christopher, in 2003.
Dr. Boone, who has been practicing in Visalia since 1996, performed a laparoscopic
assisted vaginal hysterectomy on Christina at Kaweah Delta in January
2017. The surgery, which used three small incisions to remove her uterus
through her vagina, helped Christina regain control of her life.
"I don’t have to be afraid of pain anymore," Christina
said. "I don’t have to be afraid that being a woman is going
to lay me down and turn me into a painful mess."
A hysterectomy is the final treatment option when other potential remedies,
such as medication or ablation, do not solve the problem, Dr. Boone said.
"(Christina) won't have periods anymore," Dr. Boone said.
"She won't have terrible pain. And she will glide into menopause
naturally with her own hormones. She was having terrible problems. She's
been so happy to be pain free."
Christina said she was provided with quality and compassionate care by
Dr. Boone, and she was pleased with the caring and attentiveness of the
staff at Kaweah Delta.
"Dr. Boone is fantastic," Christina said. "She gave me multiple
options and discussed each one with me, the pros and cons, and then helped
me make my decision on what I thought was best. She's really good
about that. I never felt rushed in the office with her. I never felt like
she needed to go on to the next patient. She was there for me."
Before the surgery, which had her in and out of Kaweah Delta in less than
24 hours, Christina often spent her time outside of work curled up in
bed with a heating pad on her stomach trying to ease her pain. Now, she's
able to enjoy time with her husband, Joe, and her children, free of pain.
"It's a relief," Christina said. "It's weird not
having to track my periods, but also really nice to not have to dread
the heavy flows and pain. I have no problems anymore."