Twenty-five-year-old Danielle Rubildo of Whitestone, Queens, spent four years searching for an answer to her severe abdominal pain, nausea, and other debilitating symptoms that prevented her from going to class throughout college, or even to work. In and out of emergency rooms on a regular basis, Rubildo was desperate to find relief from the severe endometriosis.
Thanks to a recent encounter with Farr R. Nezhat, MD, director of the Division of Minimally Invasive Gynecologic Surgery at NYU Winthrop Hospital, Rubildo has finally bid farewell to her years of suffering.
“I feel like I can now lead a normal life, after all these years, without the constant headache, anxiety, or fear of not being able to do something because I am in pain,” said Rubildo. “And I have Dr. Nezhat to thank for it.”
Over the years, Rubildo recalls seeing seven doctors for treatment of her severe endometriosis, a disorder that occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows in other parts of the body, leading to pain, infertility, and other issues. Most of the painful symptoms typically occur during menstruation. While the cause of the condition remains unclear, there is also no known cure. Drugs and hormones are often prescribed to help treat milder cases, and in severe cases, surgery is usually the only option.
Prior to going on vacation in May of 2012, Rubildo became very sick. Her regular doctor was on vacation, and the doctor she saw instead strongly encouraged her to go to NYU Winthrop and see Dr. Nezhat, whom he described as the “complete expert” on endometriosis. Dr. Nezhat is renowned for his expertise in the laparoscopic and robotic-assisted treatment of severe pelvic endometriosis. He is also nationally and internationally known for his research, teaching and clinical contributions to the field of gynecological oncology and pelvic surgery.
Following their initial meeting, Dr. Nezhat performed a minimally invasive diagnostic procedure on Rubildo in which he laparoscopically removed small samples of scar tissue that were suspected of causing her pain. He confirmed that she had stage four endometriosis, the most severe form of the condition. To treat it, Dr. Nezhat would soon perform a series of minimally invasive surgeries, geared at preserving her organ function while providing relief from the pain.
“Ms. Rubildo’s endometriosis was so severe that we did not want to remove all of it at one time. We wanted to preserve the function of her ovaries,” recalled Dr. Nezhat.
Following her first laparoscopic surgery in July 2012, Rubildo was administered Lupron Depot, a drug commonly used to treat endometriosis and reduce endometrial growths. In January 2013, Dr. Nazhat performed a second surgery on Rubildo, this time robotically.
“Robotic surgery is a great option for severe cases such as Rubildo’s because it enables us to perform the procedure in an extraordinarily precise manner that involves smaller incisions and unparalleled three-dimensional high definition visualization of the surgical site,” said Dr. Nezhat. “The benefits to the patient include a shorter hospital stay, less pain and a quicker return to normal activities.”
Today, Rubildo has never felt better. She is thankful that the procedure performed by Dr. Nezhat has not only relieved her pain, but gives her the hope that she can someday have children. “Each day that passes I feel more grateful that this issue is behind me,” she said.
“I cannot adequately express my gratitude to Dr. Nezhat. Thanks to him, I can still dream of the day when I become a mom,” said Karinee Delorbe, 26, of Elmhurst, Queens. Delorbe had a similar experience to Rubildo in that she spent years searching for relief from her severe endometriosis, until she was finally diagnosed and shortly thereafter referred to NYU Winthrop and Dr. Nezhat.
“He has been like an angel sent from God,” said Delorbe, who, thanks to Dr. Nezhat’s intervention, and IVF treatments, now has a two-year-old son and is currently expecting her second child. “When you find a place that can help you, it becomes life-changing.”
“Endometriosis can be a debilitating disease,” said Anthony M. Vintzileos, MD, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Winthrop. “At NYU Winthrop Hospital, we have developed a comprehensive endometriosis program under the exceptional leadership of Dr. Nezhat, who is a world-renowned expert in the surgical treatment of this condition. NYU Winthrop and the residents of Long Island are lucky to have him play such an important part of a program that undoubtedly changes lives and improves the wellbeing of those suffering from this disease.”