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Gayl Crawford – Hysterectomy and Ovary Removal Success Story

'My mom saved my life'

Gayl Crawford – Hysterectomy and Ovary Removal Success Story Gayl Crawford opted to have minimally invasive
surgery to reduce her cancer risk & be around
for her family, including her husband Scott and
10-year-old daughter, Adele.

Back in August 2009, Gayl Crawford was in a waiting room at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center, where her 65-year-old mother, Sue Hayes, was having a simple outpatient surgery for an umbilical hernia repair. At least, that was the plan.

Midprocedure, however, the surgeon discovered stage III ovarian cancer and immediately called in Paul Daum, MD, independently practicing OB-GYN on the hospital's medical staff, to perform a total abdominal hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of both fallopian tubes and ovaries).

The months that followed were full of doctor visits and chemotherapy appointments for Hayes, and her daughter was there every step of the way. Then in January 2010, Hayes made a final request that took her daughter by surprise.

"She said, 'There could be a possibility that cancer is a genetic problem that runs in the family, and I want you to be tested,'" Mrs. Crawford recalls. "I said, 'Okay.' Mom then said, 'And if this test comes back positive, I want you to have a voluntary hysterectomy.' I hung up the phone and thought, 'I can't do that!'"

But when both mom and daughter tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, which increases a woman's risk for breast and ovarian cancers significantly, the then-43-year-old wife, mother, and grandmother reconsidered.

Reducing the risk of cancer

Gayl Crawford – Hysterectomy "Ovarian cancer is the deadliest of gynecologic cancers because symptoms are so vague and nonspecific that it's not noticed till cancer is too advanced, usually stage III," Dr. Daum says. By removing the ovaries before age 40 or after childbearing is finished, the risk for ovarian cancer drops by 96 percent and for breast cancer by 68 percent.

The following month, Mrs. Crawford chose to have a hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, performed by Dr. Daum. Because the procedure was done laparoscopically, she experienced minimal scarring and soreness and recovered quickly.

"It was so important to my mom to know I was safe, and the surgery was really easy," she says. "I went in, came out, and went home, and I was up and around in a couple of days."

Grateful to Dr. Daum and the team at Methodist Mansfield for the care she received, Mrs. Crawford told her husband, Scott, "If anything ever happens to me and I need to be in the hospital, this is where I want you to bring me, because they are truly amazing."

Counting blessings

Mrs. Crawford's mother lost her battle with cancer in December 2010, but the matriarch's loved ones remember her with immense gratitude.

"My mom saved my life," Mrs. Crawford says. "That's the whole point of my story. Thanks to her, I will be around a long time for my family."

Mr. Crawford says he's inspired by his wife's courageous choices.

"I have a lot of respect for my wife," he says. "When you have someone close to you choose a preventive procedure like Gayl did, it puts a perspective on your own health. If she can do that for me, then I can take steps to prevent cancer so I can be there for her."