Sandy Hubbell: Minimally Invasive Colorectal Surgery
Sandy Hubbell, 71, enjoys an active lifestyle in the Brooklyn, Michigan area. She runs, lifts weights, bikes, and follows a healthy diet focusing on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.
Last August, however, she suspected a problem. “I was doing everything right, including having regular colon cancer screens, starting when I turned 50. But when I noticed rectal bleeding, I knew something wasn’t right.”
Sandy was tempted to ignore her symptoms and even thought about waiting until her next colonoscopy to get checked out, but opted to call her primary care provider. “He jumped on it that day, even though it was close to a holiday weekend.”
A colonoscopy, along with other diagnostic tests, confirmed Sandy had stage I colon cancer.
“I felt blindsided because I had no family history of colon cancer,” she said.
Sandy was referred to Allegiance Health general surgeon Shawn Obi, MD.
“My husband Bill went with me to that first appointment and right from the start we could both tell what a genuinely kind and caring person Dr. Obi was. I knew he was in my corner. He didn’t talk over us. He explained everything really well.”
Based on the early stage of Sandy’s cancer, Dr. Obi recommended da Vinci robotic surgery because it is less invasive than traditional open surgery and typically results in a shorter recovery time.
In early September, Dr. Obi used the da Vinci robot to perform a delicate procedure to remove the cancer and reconstruct Sandy’s bowel. “Everything went so well. I didn’t even have pain afterward.”
"Dr. Obi is one of my super heroes. He was so reassuring. He came in to see me every morning while I was in the hospital and that meant so much." Sandy Hubbell, robotic surgery patient & colon cancer survivor
Sandy added, “Dr. Obi is one of my super heroes. He was so reassuring. He came in to see me every morning while I was in the hospital and that meant so much.”
During her hospital stay, Sandy was impressed by the entire Allegiance team. “I can’t say enough positive things about everyone from admitting to the nurses and aids. And the medical residents who stopped by made me feel special too. I couldn’t have asked for nicer people or better treatment during a time when I felt vulnerable. They took a lot of the scary out of a scary situation.”
As for anyone who may be tempted to ignore their symptoms or postpone a colon cancer screen, Sandy said, “Catching my cancer at stage I made all the difference. I want everyone to know it’s important to listen to your body and to talk to your doctor about having a colonoscopy. It’s worth it.”