When a nurse at Boston Children's Hospital told me I should drink lots of fluids to help along my recovery from surgery, I winced at her mention of the very thing that had brought on many episodes of excruciating pain over the last five months. Taking a drink of water when I was thirsty or drinking something just because I felt like it had become a luxury to me.
Now that Dr. Craig Peters had performed a laparoscopic robotic pyeloplasty on my UPJ (ureteropelvic junction) obstruction, I was no longer going to have to worry about that. I was cured.
Overwhelming diagnosis and decisions
Two weeks after beginning college in a small town far from home, I was diagnosed with a congenital problem, a UPJ obstruction. The urologist explained my options for correcting the obstruction, including the conventional pyeloplasty that would be followed by months of recovery. My freshman year would have to end just after it had begun, so I could focus on getting well.
After a certain point, my parents and I couldn't take in any more of what these doctors were telling us. I had never had any symptoms before now, so I was shocked and scared by all this information. We were overwhelmed by the difficult medical decisions we were going to have to make.
Laparoscopic robotic surgery
Then the doctors said something about Boston and our minds cleared. Boston Children's Hospital was one of the few places in the country where a pediatric robotic laparoscopic pyeloplasty was available. I could go back home to have this new procedure, as this technique maximized precision and my recovery would take days, rather than months.
A revolutionary procedure that seems like science fiction in most places is an everyday occurrence in the Department of Urology at Boston Children's Hospital. Though Dr. Craig Peters was regularly performing this robotic surgery, he was always easy to reach and was anything but a robot!
An extraordinary staff
Clearly, this department's very specialized services are in high demand -- probably throughout the world -- yet each assistant, coordinator, nurse and physician we encountered treated me and my parents with patience and in a personalized manner.
Often, Dr. Peters would call us in the evening to answer a question, probably after a long day of surgery. He and his staff were particularly responsive to our panicked request for an earlier surgery date than the one we originally scheduled, as my episodes of pain were increasing in intensity and frequency. Without ever letting on about how difficult it was to do, they performed miracles behind the scenes and moved my surgery up a month, while at the same time juggling the needs of other families.
Incredible results and quick recovery
Sometimes I think about how it would have been different if I hadn't been able to come to Children's for treatment, or if this had happened to me just a few years ago when the robotic procedure wasn't available.
Though I had allotted a week-and-a-half leave from school for the surgery and recovery time, I ended up going back to school early because my recovery was so fast. Yet, before I knew about the robotic procedure at Children's, I thought I would have to drop out of the whole semester.
I have the deepest admiration for Dr. Peters and his team for their courage in learning this procedure and for performing it with such skill. Their confidence and calm attitudes eased all of my worries.
The Department of Urology at Children's is a treasure, staffed by an internationally renowned team of experts, who are dedicated and caring people. They have enabled me to reintroduce into my life the ordinary act of gulping down a drink of water. I thank the Department of Urology at Boston Children's Hospital and Dr. Craig Peters for the extraordinary gift they have given me.