Archive for the ‘surgery’ Tag

Another Birthday…   1 comment

bd-alice

Another birthday is here and I’ve now passed you age-wise. 😦  I had always taken such delight being able to say that I was the younger one.  Not any more 😦

Each year, the non-birthday-girl would be planning and plotting online, as well as real-life, surprises.  We had hand-made wrapping paper and all sorts of exotic and non-exotic gifts.  Right now, I’m wearing a cozy robe from a zillion years ago.

Way back in 1998, when I was learning web design, I posted a whole mini-site for that birthday.  Unfortunately, html code no longer allows for the music to play, but I had carefully thought out tunes for each day.  The page titles aren’t showing, either.

  • The main page title was “Happy Millennium Birthday, Alice!” and played a simple Happy Birthday  
  • The theme to Perry Mason aka “Peri MasonPause” on the “Flora”  page
  • the “Born” page had the theme to Alice’s Restaurant with no special title
  • the “Robert Redford” page had The Way We Were.  The title was “To Alice, from Bob (with lust)”
  • the “musician and his music” page was Bach’s Toccata and Fugue and the title was “Happy Bachday, Alice!”
  • the “flowers” page was The Rose with no special title

See that site here: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/birthday.htm

The last page of that site was particularly important.  I’d emailed all of Alice’s past guest speakers and other PS members and compiled this list of great wishes: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/guests.htm

We’d be up at 12:01 am, posting wishes, decorating message boards and doing the final touches for websites.

turbanIn 2003, I’d apparently posted a picture of Flora Dora (again!) and Alice responded:

MaryO, what can I say other than that it was a wonderful and beautiful surprise to see my guest announcement area turned into a beautiful, sparkling birthday greeting — and Flora Dora, Power Surge’s mascot and RR — but especially your beautiful wishes.

I responded:

After all these years, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new ideas for how to do an online surprise. There have been a variety of different things for different birthdays, but I have to keep you guessing   I hope that you don’t mind that I’m holding the announcement area hostage for a little longer.

I’m sure that many of the newer people don’t know who Flora Dora is, but she’s an essential part of Power Surge so she have to be included somehow – kinda like inviting your maiden aunt to Thanksgiving 🙂 Of course, RR is welcome – anytime! I’m so glad that I could make an online surprise for you again this year – maybe I should start planning for NEXT year already.

I hope we share many more birthdays together as the close friends we’ve become over the years.

On a more serious side, you’re very welcome for the “beautiful wishes”.  Sometimes, words fail me and I don’t do things justice, but you and Power Surge have changed my life in so many ways that go beyond “simple” menopause issues. When I first came to Power Surge on AOL, I was a confirmed lurker, reading only, never posting.

The first chat I tried to hide out until you asked me a question, encouraging me to talk. This was all so scary for me, communicating with others – online or off. I can say with confidence, that I’m no longer a lurker on the boards and in the chats like I was, and that was all your doing. Thanks so much for that!

Now I just have to work on my real life lurkership! The knowlege I got here in Power Surge, even when I was lurking, helped me so much with my menopause, my symptoms, my everyday life. Like most everyone else, I learned about the way to help my meno symptoms and I’m so thankful of that, that I could be feeling better.

When my husband was very sick, close to death, my first December in PS, I wouldn’t post, but I would come home from the hospital and read everything that other people were posting. It seemed so great to me, and it was such a comfort to me to know that everyone was out there. I recognized people’s names and enjoyed “listening” to the banter and chatter, and that gave me something other than the hospital and my own worries to think about. No matter what the time of day was, I could always read and see that things were ok with the world, and know that we were going to survive this. What a wonderful community Power Surge is!

Things have come along way since then. My husband made it, thanks to a skilled surgeon and a LOT of prayer. And I gradually changed, too. I’m obviously not afraid to post anymore, or go to chats, and I really have you to thank for that. Over the years there have been many changes, the boards have moved, been started again from scratch, updated, all kinds of things, as have the chats, but one thing remains clear and unchanged – and that Power Surge isn’t just another “website”. It is a true community for women in midlife, something we can gain daily strength from. (sorry about the preposition!)

And it’s all because of you, Dearest Alice Stamm. Thank you so much, and I hope it was a wonderful birthday – you deserve the very best!

Hugs and thanks from the bottom of my heart! Mary

From the message boards in 2004:

online-friend

From 2005:

We have decided to let you accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again.
If you want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks, that’s great.
If you want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them, they are calorie-free (today only!).
If you want to lie under a big Oak tree next summer and run a lemonade stand with your friends (and fellow Surgettes) on a hot summers day, we’ll give you a voucher.
That summer-time voucher is also good for walking on the beach and thinking of the sand between your toes and the prettiest seashell you can find. Or you can spend the afternoon climbing trees and riding your bike.
We are returning you to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, addition tables and simple nursery rhymes. But that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. When all you knew was to be happy because you didn’t know all the things that should make you worried and upset.
You’re going to go to school and have snack time, recess, gym and field trips.
You’ll be so happy, nothing will make you upset.
We’re going to let you think that the world is fair. That everyone in it is honest and good…that anything is possible.
For today, you’re going to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again, returned to the days when reading was fun.
No worries about time, bills, websites that crash, guest chats where the guest can’t get in, excess email, time….No more worry about computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, aches, pains, doctor visits or illness.
We’re going to help you believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, health, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.
You’re going to be 6 again, for today (and probably some of us will want to join you!). From all of us…

QUOTE (Dearest @ Nov 10 2005, 09:23 AM)

Thank you all for your warm and wonderful birthday wishes.

A very special thank you to my friend, MaryO, for the beautiful greeting, for including Power Surge’s mascot, Flora Dora at the top of the screen — and especially for allowing me to be six again even if only for a day 🙂

And I said:

You know, you can always apply for an extension of the day being 6. Click here to apply.

Glad you had a great birthday and much-needed vacation. If you want to extend either of those, please let me know and I’ll see if I can locate an extension for either of those.

Happy Post-Birthday!

In 2006, Alice said:

Thank you ALL for your wonderful birthday wishes and beautiful sentiments about how much Power Surge means to and has done for you. That makes all the years of work that’s gone into this “community” worthwhile (with, perhaps, the exception of dealing with HACKERSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!) 🙂

I don’t know some of you very well. Others I know well and have established lovely friendships with. You know who you are. Thank you, too, for your beautiful flowers, birthday cards, online greetings, etc.

And thank you, my dear friend, MaryO, for starting this topic and for being the sister I never had 🙂 I’m so glad I impulsively decided to give myself a birthday present last month and called saying, “C’mon, let’s go to see Streisand!!” That was the highlight of my/our year. To be sitting so close to her, and SO close to and watching people mingle like: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lauren Bacall, James Brolin, Katie Couric, Stephen Sondheim, Rosie O’Donnell, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Steven Spielberg, Regis and Joy Philbin, Sara Jessica Parker — and many, many others.

It was like the first time we met a few years ago and stopped into a restaurant only to find a few minutes later that Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Peter Bogdonovich, Carol Kane and others, whose names elude me at the moment, came in and sat at the table next to us. Knowing me, I had to go over and talk to them, especially Gena Rowlands, who’s still beautiful and elegant and was so gracious.

The past few years, starting with my emergency surgery and all the ensuing complications, my mom’s fall down the stairs and subsequent need for constant care, my dad passing away only four months later and my own ongoing and confusing health issues — too much stress.

The past few months have been better — we’ve both been through a LOT this year especially!

Special thanks to those of you who’ve generously given donations (some of you even more than once) to the site to help defray some of the expenses of running it.

I’m grateful to be alive and very proud of Power Surge and all the women (and men) it’s helped over the years plus all the wonderful women who participate in it 🙂

Alice

And I responded:

To be sitting so close to her…
You mean me…or Barbra? LOL

It was so amazing how that trip worked out. It was the most spontaneous thing I had ever done.

My son was home from grad school for “fall break” formerly known as Columbus Day weekend. He was flying back on Wednesday, through JFK.

After Alice got the tickets for Barbra on Monday (amazing in itself), I was able to get on Michael’s flight to JFK – only one trip to the airport! The flight number was the same as Alice’s street address. Do I hear Twilight Zone music?

What a great birthday gift you got for yourself – thank you so much for sharing it with me 🙂

Happy post-birthday!

From 2007

The top header on the boards:

logo4

Followed by

birthday2007

And Alice said…

Firstly, {{{{{MaryO}}}}, my old and dear friend, thank you for starting this topic and for the beautifully creative graphic and sentiments you made for my birthday. I don’t have to tell you what your friendship has meant to me all these years (you already know). Hugs!

Thank you all for your good wishes. Someone wrote to me, “I hope you had a peaceful birthday.” That’s exactly what it was . . . peaceful.

Thank you also for your kind words about Power Surge. It’s been a labor of love for 14 years . . . about to start its 15th year Feb. 3rd, 2008. I have a pretty good idea how many women’s lives have been impacted by this “community.” In all these years, including the start-up years on America Online, I’ve probably posted in the area of 100,000 messages on the numerous PS message boards. I can’t post as much as I used to any longer for many reasons, but I’m always working in the background to maintain this site that’s become a tremendous source of information and haven of support for all the visitors who come to it every day.

What started out as a blank page in an HTML editor has grown to exactly what I’d planned. I’m very proud of every facet of Power Surge including this message board.

Finally, thank you to all those who have made donations to Power Surge. I have thanked each and every one of you individually. Your donations have been helpful in defraying some of the ever-increasing costs involved with running Power Surge.

Again, thank you.

Best,
Dearest

Then, 2008

dearest-alice-2008

alice-2008

And that’s enough for this year.  I have to save some out 🙂

~~~

So, it’s 17 years since I made that first silly website.  I’m still scrambling to get something to post by 12:01 am for your birthday.

I still can’t believe that you won’t be reading this later, calling me when UPS / amazon / FEDex arrives with gifts so we can open them “together”.

We’ve said it once, we’ve said it dozens of times.  Even when we’re apart we’re

foreverfriends

hbalice

alice-miss-you

Happy Birthday, Alice ~ November 9, 2015   Leave a comment

bd-alice

 

Another birthday is here and I’ve now passed you age-wise. 😦  I had always taken such delight being able to say that I was the younger one.  Not any more 😦

Each year, the non-birthday-girl would be planning and plotting online, as well as real-life, surprises.  We had hand-made wrapping paper and all sorts of exotic and non-exotic gifts.  Right now, I’m wearing a cozy robe from a zillion years ago.

Way back in 1998, when I was learning web design, I posted a whole mini-site for that birthday.  Unfortunately, html code no longer allows for the music to play, but I had carefully thought out tunes for each day.  The page titles aren’t showing, either.

  • The main page title was “Happy Millennium Birthday, Alice!” and played a simple Happy Birthday  
  • The theme to Perry Mason aka “Peri MasonPause” on the “Flora”  page
  • the “Born” page had the theme to Alice’s Restaurant with no special title
  • the “Robert Redford” page had The Way We Were.  The title was “To Alice, from Bob (with lust)”
  • the “musician and his music” page was Bach’s Toccata and Fugue and the title was “Happy Bachday, Alice!”
  • the “flowers” page was The Rose with no special title

See that site here: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/birthday.htm

The last page of that site was particularly important.  I’d emailed all of Alice’s past guest speakers and other PS members and compiled this list of great wishes: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/guests.htm

We’d be up at 12:01 am, posting wishes, decorating message boards and doing the final touches for websites.

turbanIn 2003, I’d apparently posted a picture of Flora Dora (again!) and Alice responded:

MaryO, what can I say other than that it was a wonderful and beautiful surprise to see my guest announcement area turned into a beautiful, sparkling birthday greeting — and Flora Dora, Power Surge’s mascot and RR — but especially your beautiful wishes.

I responded:

After all these years, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new ideas for how to do an online surprise. There have been a variety of different things for different birthdays, but I have to keep you guessing   I hope that you don’t mind that I’m holding the announcement area hostage for a little longer.

I’m sure that many of the newer people don’t know who Flora Dora is, but she’s an essential part of Power Surge so she have to be included somehow – kinda like inviting your maiden aunt to Thanksgiving 🙂 Of course, RR is welcome – anytime! I’m so glad that I could make an online surprise for you again this year – maybe I should start planning for NEXT year already.

I hope we share many more birthdays together as the close friends we’ve become over the years.

On a more serious side, you’re very welcome for the “beautiful wishes”.  Sometimes, words fail me and I don’t do things justice, but you and Power Surge have changed my life in so many ways that go beyond “simple” menopause issues. When I first came to Power Surge on AOL, I was a confirmed lurker, reading only, never posting.

The first chat I tried to hide out until you asked me a question, encouraging me to talk. This was all so scary for me, communicating with others – online or off. I can say with confidence, that I’m no longer a lurker on the boards and in the chats like I was, and that was all your doing. Thanks so much for that!

Now I just have to work on my real life lurkership! The knowlege I got here in Power Surge, even when I was lurking, helped me so much with my menopause, my symptoms, my everyday life. Like most everyone else, I learned about the way to help my meno symptoms and I’m so thankful of that, that I could be feeling better.

When my husband was very sick, close to death, my first December in PS, I wouldn’t post, but I would come home from the hospital and read everything that other people were posting. It seemed so great to me, and it was such a comfort to me to know that everyone was out there. I recognized people’s names and enjoyed “listening” to the banter and chatter, and that gave me something other than the hospital and my own worries to think about. No matter what the time of day was, I could always read and see that things were ok with the world, and know that we were going to survive this. What a wonderful community Power Surge is!

Things have come along way since then. My husband made it, thanks to a skilled surgeon and a LOT of prayer. And I gradually changed, too. I’m obviously not afraid to post anymore, or go to chats, and I really have you to thank for that. Over the years there have been many changes, the boards have moved, been started again from scratch, updated, all kinds of things, as have the chats, but one thing remains clear and unchanged – and that Power Surge isn’t just another “website”. It is a true community for women in midlife, something we can gain daily strength from. (sorry about the preposition!)

And it’s all because of you, Dearest Alice Stamm. Thank you so much, and I hope it was a wonderful birthday – you deserve the very best!

Hugs and thanks from the bottom of my heart! Mary

From the message boards in 2004:

online-friend

From 2005:

We have decided to let you accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again.
If you want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks, that’s great.
If you want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them, they are calorie-free (today only!).
If you want to lie under a big Oak tree next summer and run a lemonade stand with your friends (and fellow Surgettes) on a hot summers day, we’ll give you a voucher.
That summer-time voucher is also good for walking on the beach and thinking of the sand between your toes and the prettiest seashell you can find. Or you can spend the afternoon climbing trees and riding your bike.
We are returning you to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, addition tables and simple nursery rhymes. But that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. When all you knew was to be happy because you didn’t know all the things that should make you worried and upset.
You’re going to go to school and have snack time, recess, gym and field trips.
You’ll be so happy, nothing will make you upset.
We’re going to let you think that the world is fair. That everyone in it is honest and good…that anything is possible.
For today, you’re going to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again, returned to the days when reading was fun.
No worries about time, bills, websites that crash, guest chats where the guest can’t get in, excess email, time….No more worry about computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, aches, pains, doctor visits or illness.
We’re going to help you believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, health, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.
You’re going to be 6 again, for today (and probably some of us will want to join you!). From all of us…

QUOTE (Dearest @ Nov 10 2005, 09:23 AM)

Thank you all for your warm and wonderful birthday wishes.

A very special thank you to my friend, MaryO, for the beautiful greeting, for including Power Surge’s mascot, Flora Dora at the top of the screen — and especially for allowing me to be six again even if only for a day 🙂

And I said:

You know, you can always apply for an extension of the day being 6. Click here to apply.

Glad you had a great birthday and much-needed vacation. If you want to extend either of those, please let me know and I’ll see if I can locate an extension for either of those.

Happy Post-Birthday!

In 2006, Alice said:

Thank you ALL for your wonderful birthday wishes and beautiful sentiments about how much Power Surge means to and has done for you. That makes all the years of work that’s gone into this “community” worthwhile (with, perhaps, the exception of dealing with HACKERSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!) 🙂

I don’t know some of you very well. Others I know well and have established lovely friendships with. You know who you are. Thank you, too, for your beautiful flowers, birthday cards, online greetings, etc.

And thank you, my dear friend, MaryO, for starting this topic and for being the sister I never had 🙂 I’m so glad I impulsively decided to give myself a birthday present last month and called saying, “C’mon, let’s go to see Streisand!!” That was the highlight of my/our year. To be sitting so close to her, and SO close to and watching people mingle like: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lauren Bacall, James Brolin, Katie Couric, Stephen Sondheim, Rosie O’Donnell, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Steven Spielberg, Regis and Joy Philbin, Sara Jessica Parker — and many, many others.

It was like the first time we met a few years ago and stopped into a restaurant only to find a few minutes later that Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Peter Bogdonovich, Carol Kane and others, whose names elude me at the moment, came in and sat at the table next to us. Knowing me, I had to go over and talk to them, especially Gena Rowlands, who’s still beautiful and elegant and was so gracious.

The past few years, starting with my emergency surgery and all the ensuing complications, my mom’s fall down the stairs and subsequent need for constant care, my dad passing away only four months later and my own ongoing and confusing health issues — too much stress.

The past few months have been better — we’ve both been through a LOT this year especially!

Special thanks to those of you who’ve generously given donations (some of you even more than once) to the site to help defray some of the expenses of running it.

I’m grateful to be alive and very proud of Power Surge and all the women (and men) it’s helped over the years plus all the wonderful women who participate in it 🙂

Alice

And I responded:

To be sitting so close to her…
You mean me…or Barbra? LOL

It was so amazing how that trip worked out. It was the most spontaneous thing I had ever done.

My son was home from grad school for “fall break” formerly known as Columbus Day weekend. He was flying back on Wednesday, through JFK.

After Alice got the tickets for Barbra on Monday (amazing in itself), I was able to get on Michael’s flight to JFK – only one trip to the airport! The flight number was the same as Alice’s street address. Do I hear Twilight Zone music?

What a great birthday gift you got for yourself – thank you so much for sharing it with me 🙂

Happy post-birthday!

From 2007

The top header on the boards:

logo4

Followed by

birthday2007

And Alice said…

Firstly, {{{{{MaryO}}}}, my old and dear friend, thank you for starting this topic and for the beautifully creative graphic and sentiments you made for my birthday. I don’t have to tell you what your friendship has meant to me all these years (you already know). Hugs!

Thank you all for your good wishes. Someone wrote to me, “I hope you had a peaceful birthday.” That’s exactly what it was . . . peaceful.

Thank you also for your kind words about Power Surge. It’s been a labor of love for 14 years . . . about to start its 15th year Feb. 3rd, 2008. I have a pretty good idea how many women’s lives have been impacted by this “community.” In all these years, including the start-up years on America Online, I’ve probably posted in the area of 100,000 messages on the numerous PS message boards. I can’t post as much as I used to any longer for many reasons, but I’m always working in the background to maintain this site that’s become a tremendous source of information and haven of support for all the visitors who come to it every day.

What started out as a blank page in an HTML editor has grown to exactly what I’d planned. I’m very proud of every facet of Power Surge including this message board.

Finally, thank you to all those who have made donations to Power Surge. I have thanked each and every one of you individually. Your donations have been helpful in defraying some of the ever-increasing costs involved with running Power Surge.

Again, thank you.

Best,
Dearest

Then, 2008

dearest-alice-2008

alice-2008

And that’s enough for this year.  I have to save some out 🙂

~~~

So, it’s 17 years since I made that first silly website.  I’m still scrambling to get something to post by 12:01 am for your birthday.

I still can’t believe that you won’t be reading this later, calling me when UPS / amazon / FEDex arrives with gifts so we can open them “together”.

We’ve said it once, we’ve said it dozens of times.  Even when we’re apart we’re

foreverfriends

hbalice

 

alice-miss-you

Happy Birthday, Alice ~ November 9, 2014   1 comment

bd-alice

Another birthday is here and I’ve caught up on you age-wise. 😦

Each year, the non-birthday-girl would be planning and plotting online, as well as real-life, surprises.  We had hand-made wrapping paper and all sorts of exotic and non-exotic gifts.  Right now, I’m wearing a cozy robe from a zillion years ago.

Way back in 1998, when I was learning web design, I posted a whole mini-site for that birthday.  Unfortunately, html code no longer allows for the music to play, but I had carefully thought out tunes for each day.  The page titles aren’t showing, either.

  • The main page title was “Happy Millennium Birthday, Alice!” and played a simple Happy Birthday  
  • The theme to Perry Mason aka “Peri MasonPause” on the “Flora”  page
  • the “Born” page had the theme to Alice’s Restaurant with no special title
  • the “Robert Redford” page had The Way We Were.  The title was “To Alice, from Bob (with lust)”
  • the “musician and his music” page was Bach’s Toccata and Fugue and the title was “Happy Bachday, Alice!”
  • the “flowers” page was The Rose with no special title

See that site here: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/birthday.htm

The last page of that site was particularly important.  I’d emailed all of Alice’s past guest speakers and other PS members and compiled this list of great wishes: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/guests.htm

We’d be up at 12:01 am, posting wishes, decorating message boards and doing the final touches for websites.

turbanIn 2003, I’d apparently posted a picture of Flora Dora (again!) and Alice responded:

MaryO, what can I say other than that it was a wonderful and beautiful surprise to see my guest announcement area turned into a beautiful, sparkling birthday greeting — and Flora Dora, Power Surge’s mascot and RR — but especially your beautiful wishes.

I responded:

After all these years, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new ideas for how to do an online surprise. There have been a variety of different things for different birthdays, but I have to keep you guessing   I hope that you don’t mind that I’m holding the announcement area hostage for a little longer.

I’m sure that many of the newer people don’t know who Flora Dora is, but she’s an essential part of Power Surge so she have to be included somehow – kinda like inviting your maiden aunt to Thanksgiving 🙂 Of course, RR is welcome – anytime! I’m so glad that I could make an online surprise for you again this year – maybe I should start planning for NEXT year already.

I hope we share many more birthdays together as the close friends we’ve become over the years.

On a more serious side, you’re very welcome for the “beautiful wishes”.  Sometimes, words fail me and I don’t do things justice, but you and Power Surge have changed my life in so many ways that go beyond “simple” menopause issues. When I first came to Power Surge on AOL, I was a confirmed lurker, reading only, never posting.

The first chat I tried to hide out until you asked me a question, encouraging me to talk. This was all so scary for me, communicating with others – online or off. I can say with confidence, that I’m no longer a lurker on the boards and in the chats like I was, and that was all your doing. Thanks so much for that!

Now I just have to work on my real life lurkership! The knowlege I got here in Power Surge, even when I was lurking, helped me so much with my menopause, my symptoms, my everyday life. Like most everyone else, I learned about the way to help my meno symptoms and I’m so thankful of that, that I could be feeling better.

When my husband was very sick, close to death, my first December in PS, I wouldn’t post, but I would come home from the hospital and read everything that other people were posting. It seemed so great to me, and it was such a comfort to me to know that everyone was out there. I recognized people’s names and enjoyed “listening” to the banter and chatter, and that gave me something other than the hospital and my own worries to think about. No matter what the time of day was, I could always read and see that things were ok with the world, and know that we were going to survive this. What a wonderful community Power Surge is!

Things have come along way since then. My husband made it, thanks to a skilled surgeon and a LOT of prayer. And I gradually changed, too. I’m obviously not afraid to post anymore, or go to chats, and I really have you to thank for that. Over the years there have been many changes, the boards have moved, been started again from scratch, updated, all kinds of things, as have the chats, but one thing remains clear and unchanged – and that Power Surge isn’t just another “website”. It is a true community for women in midlife, something we can gain daily strength from. (sorry about the preposition!)

And it’s all because of you, Dearest Alice Stamm. Thank you so much, and I hope it was a wonderful birthday – you deserve the very best!

Hugs and thanks from the bottom of my heart! Mary

From the message boards in 2004:

online-friend

From 2005:

We have decided to let you accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again.
If you want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks, that’s great.
If you want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them, they are calorie-free (today only!).
If you want to lie under a big Oak tree next summer and run a lemonade stand with your friends (and fellow Surgettes) on a hot summers day, we’ll give you a voucher.
That summer-time voucher is also good for walking on the beach and thinking of the sand between your toes and the prettiest seashell you can find. Or you can spend the afternoon climbing trees and riding your bike.
We are returning you to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, addition tables and simple nursery rhymes. But that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. When all you knew was to be happy because you didn’t know all the things that should make you worried and upset.
You’re going to go to school and have snack time, recess, gym and field trips.
You’ll be so happy, nothing will make you upset.
We’re going to let you think that the world is fair. That everyone in it is honest and good…that anything is possible.
For today, you’re going to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again, returned to the days when reading was fun.
No worries about time, bills, websites that crash, guest chats where the guest can’t get in, excess email, time….No more worry about computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, aches, pains, doctor visits or illness.
We’re going to help you believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, health, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.
You’re going to be 6 again, for today (and probably some of us will want to join you!). From all of us…

QUOTE (Dearest @ Nov 10 2005, 09:23 AM)

Thank you all for your warm and wonderful birthday wishes.

A very special thank you to my friend, MaryO, for the beautiful greeting, for including Power Surge’s mascot, Flora Dora at the top of the screen — and especially for allowing me to be six again even if only for a day 🙂

And I said:

You know, you can always apply for an extension of the day being 6. Click here to apply.

Glad you had a great birthday and much-needed vacation. If you want to extend either of those, please let me know and I’ll see if I can locate an extension for either of those.

Happy Post-Birthday!

In 2006, Alice said:

Thank you ALL for your wonderful birthday wishes and beautiful sentiments about how much Power Surge means to and has done for you. That makes all the years of work that’s gone into this “community” worthwhile (with, perhaps, the exception of dealing with HACKERSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!) 🙂

I don’t know some of you very well. Others I know well and have established lovely friendships with. You know who you are. Thank you, too, for your beautiful flowers, birthday cards, online greetings, etc.

And thank you, my dear friend, MaryO, for starting this topic and for being the sister I never had 🙂 I’m so glad I impulsively decided to give myself a birthday present last month and called saying, “C’mon, let’s go to see Streisand!!” That was the highlight of my/our year. To be sitting so close to her, and SO close to and watching people mingle like: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lauren Bacall, James Brolin, Katie Couric, Stephen Sondheim, Rosie O’Donnell, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Steven Spielberg, Regis and Joy Philbin, Sara Jessica Parker — and many, many others.

It was like the first time we met a few years ago and stopped into a restaurant only to find a few minutes later that Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Peter Bogdonovich, Carol Kane and others, whose names elude me at the moment, came in and sat at the table next to us. Knowing me, I had to go over and talk to them, especially Gena Rowlands, who’s still beautiful and elegant and was so gracious.

The past few years, starting with my emergency surgery and all the ensuing complications, my mom’s fall down the stairs and subsequent need for constant care, my dad passing away only four months later and my own ongoing and confusing health issues — too much stress.

The past few months have been better — we’ve both been through a LOT this year especially!

Special thanks to those of you who’ve generously given donations (some of you even more than once) to the site to help defray some of the expenses of running it.

I’m grateful to be alive and very proud of Power Surge and all the women (and men) it’s helped over the years plus all the wonderful women who participate in it 🙂

Alice

And I responded:

To be sitting so close to her…
You mean me…or Barbra? LOL

It was so amazing how that trip worked out. It was the most spontaneous thing I had ever done.

My son was home from grad school for “fall break” formerly known as Columbus Day weekend. He was flying back on Wednesday, through JFK.

After Alice got the tickets for Barbra on Monday (amazing in itself), I was able to get on Michael’s flight to JFK – only one trip to the airport! The flight number was the same as Alice’s street address. Do I hear Twilight Zone music?

What a great birthday gift you got for yourself – thank you so much for sharing it with me 🙂

Happy post-birthday!

From 2007

The top header on the boards:

logo4

Followed by

birthday2007

And Alice said…

Firstly, {{{{{MaryO}}}}, my old and dear friend, thank you for starting this topic and for the beautifully creative graphic and sentiments you made for my birthday. I don’t have to tell you what your friendship has meant to me all these years (you already know). Hugs!

Thank you all for your good wishes. Someone wrote to me, “I hope you had a peaceful birthday.” That’s exactly what it was . . . peaceful.

Thank you also for your kind words about Power Surge. It’s been a labor of love for 14 years . . . about to start its 15th year Feb. 3rd, 2008. I have a pretty good idea how many women’s lives have been impacted by this “community.” In all these years, including the start-up years on America Online, I’ve probably posted in the area of 100,000 messages on the numerous PS message boards. I can’t post as much as I used to any longer for many reasons, but I’m always working in the background to maintain this site that’s become a tremendous source of information and haven of support for all the visitors who come to it every day.

What started out as a blank page in an HTML editor has grown to exactly what I’d planned. I’m very proud of every facet of Power Surge including this message board.

Finally, thank you to all those who have made donations to Power Surge. I have thanked each and every one of you individually. Your donations have been helpful in defraying some of the ever-increasing costs involved with running Power Surge.

Again, thank you.

Best,
Dearest

Then, 2008

dearest-alice-2008

alice-2008

And that’s enough for this year.  I have to save some out 🙂

~~~

So, it’s 15 years since I made that first silly website.  I’m still scrambling to get something to post by 12:01 am for your birthday.

I still can’t believe that you won’t be reading this later, calling me when UPS / amazon / FEDex arrives with gifts so we can open them “together”.

We’ve said it once, we’ve said it dozens of times.  Even when we’re apart we’re

foreverfriends

hbalice

Happy Birthday, Alice ~ November 9, 2013   Leave a comment

bd-alice

Another birthday is here and I’m catching up on you age-wise. 😦

Each year, the non-birthday-girl would be planning and plotting online, as well as real-life, surprises.  We had hand-made wrapping paper and all sorts of exotic and non-exotic gifts.  Right now, I’m wearing a cozy robe from a zillion years ago.

Way back in 1998, when I was learning web design, I posted a whole mini-site for that birthday.  Unfortunately, html code no longer allows for the music to play, but I had carefully thought out tunes for each day.  The page titles aren’t showing, either.

  • The main page title was “Happy Millenium Birthday, Alice!” and played a simple Happy Birthday  
  • The theme to Perry Mason aka “Peri MasonPause” on the “Flora”  page
  • the “Born” page had the theme to Alice’s Restaurant with no special title
  • the “Robert Redford” page had The Way We Were.  The title was “To Alice, from Bob (with lust)”
  • the “musician and his music” page was Bach’s Toccata and Fugue and the title was “Happy Bachday, Alice!”
  • the “flowers” page was The Rose with no special title

See that site here: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/birthday.htm

The last page of that site was particularly important.  I’d emailed all of Alice’s past guest speakers and other PS members and compiled this list of great wishes: http://www.oconnormusic.org/aliceBD/guests.htm

We’d be up at 12:01 am, posting wishes, decorating message boards and doing the final touches for websites.

turbanIn 2003, I’d apparently posted a picture of Flora Dora (again!) and Alice responded:

MaryO, what can I say other than that it was a wonderful and beautiful surprise to see my guest announcement area turned into a beautiful, sparkling birthday greeting — and Flora Dora, Power Surge’s mascot and RR — but especially your beautiful wishes.

I responded:

After all these years, it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new ideas for how to do an online surprise. There have been a variety of different things for different birthdays, but I have to keep you guessing   I hope that you don’t mind that I’m holding the announcement area hostage for a little longer.

I’m sure that many of the newer people don’t know who Flora Dora is, but she’s an essential part of Power Surge so she have to be included somehow – kinda like inviting your maiden aunt to Thanksgiving 🙂 Of course, RR is welcome – anytime! I’m so glad that I could make an online surprise for you again this year – maybe I should start planning for NEXT year already.

I hope we share many more birthdays together as the close friends we’ve become over the years.

On a more serious side, you’re very welcome for the “beautiful wishes”.  Sometimes, words fail me and I don’t do things justice, but you and Power Surge have changed my life in so many ways that go beyond “simple” menopause issues. When I first came to Power Surge on AOL, I was a confirmed lurker, reading only, never posting.

The first chat I tried to hide out until you asked me a question, encouraging me to talk. This was all so scary for me, communicating with others – online or off. I can say with confidence, that I’m no longer a lurker on the boards and in the chats like I was, and that was all your doing. Thanks so much for that!

Now I just have to work on my real life lurkership! The knowlege I got here in Power Surge, even when I was lurking, helped me so much with my menopause, my symptoms, my everyday life. Like most everyone else, I learned about the way to help my meno symptoms and I’m so thankful of that, that I could be feeling better.

When my husband was very sick, close to death, my first December in PS, I wouldn’t post, but I would come home from the hospital and read everything that other people were posting. It seemed so great to me, and it was such a comfort to me to know that everyone was out there. I recognized people’s names and enjoyed “listening” to the banter and chatter, and that gave me something other than the hospital and my own worries to think about. No matter what the time of day was, I could always read and see that things were ok with the world, and know that we were going to survive this. What a wonderful community Power Surge is!

Things have come along way since then. My husband made it, thanks to a skilled surgeon and a LOT of prayer. And I gradually changed, too. I’m obviously not afraid to post anymore, or go to chats, and I really have you to thank for that. Over the years there have been many changes, the boards have moved, been started again from scratch, updated, all kinds of things, as have the chats, but one thing remains clear and unchanged – and that Power Surge isn’t just another “website”. It is a true community for women in midlife, something we can gain daily strength from. (sorry about the preposition!)

And it’s all because of you, Dearest Alice Stamm. Thank you so much, and I hope it was a wonderful birthday – you deserve the very best!

Hugs and thanks from the bottom of my heart! Mary

From the message boards in 2004:

online-friend

From 2005:

We have decided to let you accept the responsibilities of a 6 year old again.
If you want to sail sticks across a fresh mud puddle and make ripples with rocks, that’s great.
If you want to think M&Ms are better than money, because you can eat them, they are calorie-free (today only!).
If you want to lie under a big Oak tree next summer and run a lemonade stand with your friends (and fellow Surgettes) on a hot summers day, we’ll give you a voucher.
That summer-time voucher is also good for walking on the beach and thinking of the sand between your toes and the prettiest seashell you can find. Or you can spend the afternoon climbing trees and riding your bike.
We are returning you to a time when life was simple. When all you knew were colors, addition tables and simple nursery rhymes. But that didn’t bother you, because you didn’t know what you didn’t know and you didn’t care. When all you knew was to be happy because you didn’t know all the things that should make you worried and upset.
You’re going to go to school and have snack time, recess, gym and field trips.
You’ll be so happy, nothing will make you upset.
We’re going to let you think that the world is fair. That everyone in it is honest and good…that anything is possible.
For today, you’re going to be oblivious to the complexity of life and be overly excited by little things once again, returned to the days when reading was fun.
No worries about time, bills, websites that crash, guest chats where the guest can’t get in, excess email, time….No more worry about computer crashes, mountains of paperwork, depressing news, aches, pains, doctor visits or illness.
We’re going to help you believe in the power of smiles, hugs, a kind word, truth, justice, peace, health, dreams, the imagination, mankind and making angels in the snow.
You’re going to be 6 again, for today (and probably some of us will want to join you!). From all of us…

QUOTE (Dearest @ Nov 10 2005, 09:23 AM)

Thank you all for your warm and wonderful birthday wishes.

A very special thank you to my friend, MaryO, for the beautiful greeting, for including Power Surge’s mascot, Flora Dora at the top of the screen — and especially for allowing me to be six again even if only for a day 🙂

And I said:

You know, you can always apply for an extension of the day being 6. Click here to apply.

Glad you had a great birthday and much-needed vacation. If you want to extend either of those, please let me know and I’ll see if I can locate an extension for either of those.

Happy Post-Birthday!

In 2006, Alice said:

Thank you ALL for your wonderful birthday wishes and beautiful sentiments about how much Power Surge means to and has done for you. That makes all the years of work that’s gone into this “community” worthwhile (with, perhaps, the exception of dealing with HACKERSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!) 🙂

I don’t know some of you very well. Others I know well and have established lovely friendships with. You know who you are. Thank you, too, for your beautiful flowers, birthday cards, online greetings, etc.

And thank you, my dear friend, MaryO, for starting this topic and for being the sister I never had 🙂 I’m so glad I impulsively decided to give myself a birthday present last month and called saying, “C’mon, let’s go to see Streisand!!” That was the highlight of my/our year. To be sitting so close to her, and SO close to and watching people mingle like: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Lauren Bacall, James Brolin, Katie Couric, Stephen Sondheim, Rosie O’Donnell, Sting, Hugh Jackman, Steven Spielberg, Regis and Joy Philbin, Sara Jessica Parker — and many, many others.

It was like the first time we met a few years ago and stopped into a restaurant only to find a few minutes later that Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazzara, Peter Bogdonovich, Carol Kane and others, whose names elude me at the moment, came in and sat at the table next to us. Knowing me, I had to go over and talk to them, especially Gena Rowlands, who’s still beautiful and elegant and was so gracious.

The past few years, starting with my emergency surgery and all the ensuing complications, my mom’s fall down the stairs and subsequent need for constant care, my dad passing away only four months later and my own ongoing and confusing health issues — too much stress.

The past few months have been better — we’ve both been through a LOT this year especially!

Special thanks to those of you who’ve generously given donations (some of you even more than once) to the site to help defray some of the expenses of running it.

I’m grateful to be alive and very proud of Power Surge and all the women (and men) it’s helped over the years plus all the wonderful women who participate in it 🙂

Alice

And I responded:

To be sitting so close to her…
You mean me…or Barbra? LOL

It was so amazing how that trip worked out. It was the most spontaneous thing I had ever done.

My son was home from grad school for “fall break” formerly known as Columbus Day weekend. He was flying back on Wednesday, through JFK.

After Alice got the tickets for Barbra on Monday (amazing in itself), I was able to get on Michael’s flight to JFK – only one trip to the airport! The flight number was the same as Alice’s street address. Do I hear Twilight Zone music?

What a great birthday gift you got for yourself – thank you so much for sharing it with me 🙂

Happy post-birthday!

From 2007

The top header on the boards:

logo4

Followed by

birthday2007

And Alice said…

Firstly, {{{{{MaryO}}}}, my old and dear friend, thank you for starting this topic and for the beautifully creative graphic and sentiments you made for my birthday. I don’t have to tell you what your friendship has meant to me all these years (you already know). Hugs!

Thank you all for your good wishes. Someone wrote to me, “I hope you had a peaceful birthday.” That’s exactly what it was . . . peaceful.

Thank you also for your kind words about Power Surge. It’s been a labor of love for 14 years . . . about to start its 15th year Feb. 3rd, 2008. I have a pretty good idea how many women’s lives have been impacted by this “community.” In all these years, including the start-up years on America Online, I’ve probably posted in the area of 100,000 messages on the numerous PS message boards. I can’t post as much as I used to any longer for many reasons, but I’m always working in the background to maintain this site that’s become a tremendous source of information and haven of support for all the visitors who come to it every day.

What started out as a blank page in an HTML editor has grown to exactly what I’d planned. I’m very proud of every facet of Power Surge including this message board.

Finally, thank you to all those who have made donations to Power Surge. I have thanked each and every one of you individually. Your donations have been helpful in defraying some of the ever-increasing costs involved with running Power Surge.

Again, thank you.

Best,
Dearest

Then, 2008

dearest-alice-2008

alice-2008

And that’s enough for this year.  I have to save some out 🙂

~~~

So, it’s 15 years since I made that first silly website.  I’m still scrambling to get something to post by 12:01 am for your birthday.

I still can’t believe that you won’t be reading this later, calling me when UPS / amazon / FEDex arrives with gifts so we can open them “together”.

We’ve said it once, we’ve said it dozens of times.  Even when we’re apart we’re

foreverfriends

hbalice

Fibroids: Treating Fibroids Without Surgery, Uterine Artery Embolization   Leave a comment

About Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are the most common pelvic tumors in women, occurring in approximately 30% of women over the age of 35. Although fibroids are benign (non-cancerous), they may produce a wide variety of symptoms including excessive bleeding leading to iron deficiency anemia, pain and pressure sensations, and even obstruction of the bowel or urinary tract. Women with fibroids often complain of painful intercourse, and the presence of fibroids may result in pregnancy loss. Each year, approximately 200,000 hysterectomies are performed in the United States for uterine fibroids. Despite this large number of operations, the vast majority of women with symptomatic fibroids are “silent sufferers.”

Until recently, the only effective treatments for fibroids were hormonal therapy and surgery. Because fibroids grow in response to the female hormone estrogen, anti-estrogen hormones such as progesterone can shrink fibroids and may result in dramatic improvement in symptoms. However, these hormones have many untoward side effects including menopausal symptoms and osteoporosis (softening of the bone). Consequently, hormonal therapy can only be used for a short time and, unfortunately, once it is discontinued, symptoms usually return. Therefore, hormonal therapy is most useful in shrinking fibroids prior to surgery.

There are two general types of surgery available for fibroids, hysterectomy and myomectomy. Hysterectomy is the complete removal of the uterus with or without removal of the ovaries. In some cases hysterectomy can be performed through the vagina, avoiding an incision through the abdominal wall. However, with large fibroids, an abdominal hysterectomy (that is, a hysterectomy through an abdominal wall incision) is often necessary. Abdominal hysterectomy is a major surgical procedure requiring general anesthesia, approximately 6 days of hospitalization, and at least 6 weeks of recuperation. Obviously, pregnancy is no longer possible following a hysterectomy.

Myomectomy is an alternative surgical procedure for the treatment of fibroids. The object of myomectomy is to remove only the fibroid while leaving the uterus intact and preserving reproductive potential. Depending on the location and size of the fibroid, myomectomy may require an abdominal incision or may be done through a laparoscope (a telescope-like instrument inserted through an abdominal wall puncture) or a hysteroscope (a telescope-like instrument inserted through the vagina). With larger fibroids, attempted myomectomy frequently results in hysterectomy due to uncontrollable bleeding in these highly vascular tumors. Even when successful, myomectomy offers only temporary improvement in about one-third of patients because smaller untreated fibroids continue to grow.

Frequently Asked Questions About Fibroids

Q: After menopause, how does estrogen/progesterone therapy affect the growth of uterine fibroids?

A: In a menopausal woman who chooses not to take hormonal replacement therapy, existing fibroids usually shrink because the body is producing less estrogen. New fibroids are unlikely.

Q: How common are fibroids?

A: Up to 40% of women past the age of 40 have fibroids and about 75% of women will never be aware of their existence unless they cause a problem.
Q: Do fibroids move to another part of your body?

A: Fibroids typically grow attached directly to the inside or outside wall of the uterus.
Q: I recently had very excessive vaginal bleeding from fibroids, which required a myomectomy and blood transfusions. Could this happen again?

A: In some cases, fibroids can return, even after a myomectomy. It is important that you have annual examinations with your physician (or sooner, if symptoms return). Bleeding can again cause anemia and should not go unchecked.
Q: I am 46 and have a uterine fibroid tumor that has been shown to be 6 inches in size as measured by a hysteroscopy and ultrasonography. My OB/GYN has recommended a hysterectomy. I do not intend to have children. Should I consider myomectomy or uterine artery embolization alternatives?

A: Your physician may be recommending a hysterectomy due to your history, the size, location, and/or your specific anatomy, etc. S/he may feel this is the best recommendation for your situation. As you are also aware, there can be other options and it would be to your benefit and mental ease to discuss this with your doctor or health care practitioner. If you feel that you want to pursue discussing the other options more thoroughly, you can always seek a second opinion. Second opinions reinforce or offer alternatives, depending on your specific situation.

 

Q: I have fibroids. My OB/GYN has suggested a treatment of Lupron. Do you have any information?

A: Lupron is a synthetic form of a natural hormone (LH-RH). LH-RH stimulates the production of testosterone in men and estrogens in women. However, when the synthetic LH-RH is given, it actually stops natural production of hormones. As a result, in women who are premenopausal, menstruation will stop. Essentially, it induces temporary menopause. That is the reason why it works for endometriosis and fibroids. That also explains why it works for advanced prostatic cancer-by stopping the hormone production, the tumor growth also stops.

Q: I have fibroids. My doctor put me on a low estrogen pill to regulate me. I’m still having irregular periods, feeling bloated, and bowel problems.

A: Fibroids can cause irregular bleeding, pain, and a swollen abdomen (bloated). The size and type of fibroid(s) can also be varied, as the hormone fluctuations in your body take place. Your physician probably prescribed the low estrogen to help regulate your hormone balances We recommend that you return to your physician and discuss your continued symptoms and further evaluate if your symptoms are related to the same fibroid(s) or any other underlying causes. Further testing may be warranted.

Q: Does natural progesterone have any effect on fibroids?

A: Natural progesterone may be used when a woman’s primary symptom is bleeding. This helps to prevent the endometrial lining of the uterus from building up too much. This may be an option when women are unable to modify their diets or when their symptoms aren’t alleviated by dietary changes (low-fat, high-fiber, even vegetarian). A low-fat, high complex carbohydrate diet may halt the growth of fibroids and in some cases, result in their disappearance.

Q: What’s the difference between a cyst and a fibroid?

A: A fibroid is a solid tumor containing mostly smooth muscle bound together by fibrous tissue commonly found within and around the uterus. A cyst is a fluid-filled pouch located on or in an ovary. Both are usually benign.
Q: Is a golf-ball sized fibroid considered large or small?

A: It could depend on the location of the fibroid and whether it is causing symptoms. Fibroids can be either much smaller or much larger.
Q: How are large fibroids surgically removed?

A: How fibroids are removed varies, depending on size, location and preference of the surgeon. The recovery period varies, depending on some of above variables.
Q: How reasonable is it to resist having a hysterectomy due to large fibroids?

A: Because fibroids tend to shrink after menopause, it depends on how close you are to menopause and also how severe your symptoms are. Also there is a relatively new technique that cuts off the blood supply to fibroids and causes them to shrink.
Q: If I wait until menopause, what are the chances my fibroids will shrink?

A: Even if fibroids do not shrink (and they often do) after menopause, at least they should stop growing.
Q: What is the most common symptom of fibroids?

A: Often the first indication is an increase of the amount of menstrual flow, including blood clots. Discomfort or pain may also accompany fibroids.
Q: How fast do fibroids grow?

A: Fibroids usually grow very slowly, however they grow more rapidly during pregnancy, or when taking oral contraceptives.

 

Uterine Artery Embolization

Embolization (embolotherapy) is a procedure used to block blood vessels from the inside. Embolotherapy is performed by Interventional Radiologists, physicians who specialize in the treatment of a variety of diseases using catheters (tiny tubes) and medical imaging techniques. For nearly thirty years, embolotherapy has been used as a means of stopping uncontrollable bleeding from the uterus due to cancer, blood vessel malformations, trauma, and complications of pregnancy. In the early 1990’s, investigators in France began using embolotherapy of the uterine arteries to prevent excessive bleeding in women about to undergo myomectomy for uterine fibroids. A surprising and wholly unexpected result of these uterine artery embolization procedures was that many of the patients had such significant improvement in their symptoms that surgery was postponed. Over the course of months it became clear that the improvement noted in these women was not only significant, it was durable. Consequently, a pilot study was begun to evaluate the long-term results of uterine artery embolization for the primary treatment of fibroids.

In the initial pilot study, 85% of women undergoing uterine artery embolization experienced significant improvement or complete resolution of symptoms. In 75% of cases the size of the uterus decreased by 20-80% within 3 months, and these results remained stable with an average follow-up of more than 18 months (11 to 38 months). In a second study from UCLA, 77% of patients reported “significant improvement” or “complete resolution” of their dominant fibroid symptom at 2 to 9 months follow-up. In this group, 2-month follow-up revealed an average 40% (22-61%) reduction in uterine volume with the dominant (largest) fibroid decreased by an average of 58% in 55% of the patients studied. In one-third of the patients the fibroids were no longer visible by ultrasound.

On the basis of these studies, uterine artery embolization programs for the non-surgical treatment of fibroids have been established at several academic medical centers in the United States. The experience gained at these centers will optimize treatment protocols and provide in-depth answers to questions regarding the durability of symptomatic relief and preservation of reproductive function.

The Uterine Artery Embolization Procedure

The uterine artery embolization procedure is performed by an Interventional Radiologist in the radiology department of the hospital. Although patients are awake for the procedure, they are sedated and often have no recollection of events during the embolization. The procedure itself consists of introduction of a tiny tube (catheter) into an artery in either the left arm or the groin under a local anesthetic. Except for the injection of the local anesthetic, there is little or no discomfort associated with the catheter insertion. Once in the artery the catheter is manipulated into the uterine arteries and angiography is performed. Patients may experience a mild sensation of warmth during the angiogram. When the catheter is positioned well within the uterine artery, tiny pellets of a material called PVA are injected. (Note: the chemical name for PVA is polyvinyl alcohol, but it is neither vinyl as in flooring nor alcohol as in alcoholic beverages. It is merely an organic [i.e., carbon-based] synthetic compound with properties that make it a useful embolic agent.) The PVA is carried by the flow of blood into the uterus and all of the fibroids present. The particles eventually impact in the very small arteries and produce blockage. Deprived of their blood supply, the abnormal cells in the fibroids die and are slowly removed by the body. Meanwhile, the body restores circulation to the normal tissue by both the in-growth of new arteries and the removal of a portion of the PVA from some of the existing vessels.

Immediately following the embolization procedure the catheter is removed and pressure is applied to the entry site for about 15 minutes to stop any bleeding. Almost all patients experience crampy abdominal pain following the procedure. Consequently, we provide patients with on-demand pain medicine through a device called a PCA (patient controlled analgesia) pump. Many studies have demonstrated that patients experience far less pain, yet actually use far less pain medication when this device is used. Patients are admitted to the hospital overnight and can usually be discharged home the morning following the procedure. Most patients can return to work within a few days. At the current time, we ask patients to return for an ultrasound examination two weeks and two to three months after the procedure to assess results. The patient will also be asked to complete a short mail-in questionnaire one year after embolization. Additional follow-up may be requested in the future

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Uterine Artery Embolization

Q: What are the risks associated with uterine artery embolization?

A: The potential risks of the procedure include bleeding from the catheter entry site, infection, adverse reactions to medications or contrast media, blood vessel injury, inadvertent embolization of other tissues. The risk of a significant complication is less than 0.5%.

Q: Does uterine artery embolization result in significant clinical improvement?

A: In all studies to date, embolization has resulted in significant improvement or resolution of symptoms in more than 75% of patients treated. With improvements in technique, it is anticipated that perhaps 90% of women treated will have substantial improvement in symptoms.
Q: What impact does uterine artery embolization have on reproductive function?

A: Most studies published thus far have focused on women who did not desire pregnancy. However, pregnancies have occurred and been carried to term following uterine artery embolization for fibroids. Small studies of women who underwent uterine artery embolization to control bleeding complications of labor and delivery have shown the return of normal menses within a few months in all cases and all women desiring subsequent pregnancy conceived and were successful in carrying to term. Since the presence of fibroids already has a negative impact on pregnancy, determining the impact specific to embolization will be difficult and will require a very large number of patients.

Q: Does uterine artery embolization preclude other potential treatments? 

A: In the setting of uterine fibroids, this procedure began as a preoperative measure to control bleeding during myomectomy. Preoperative embolization is commonly used in a variety of settings because it makes surgery easier and safer. Since the only other definitive treatment for fibroids is surgical at this time, the only impact embolization would have on such treatment is complementary.
Q: Is uterine artery embolization cost-effective compared with conventional therapy? 

A: The overall procedure cost is significantly less than abdominal hysterectomy and moderately less than hysteroscopic and laparoscopic myomectomy. When one takes into account the potential economic losses during a 6-week recovery from abdominal hysterectomy, the cost differential becomes astronomical.

Q: Are results obtained with uterine artery embolization durable? 

A: Published reports have shown stable results with follow-up of more than 3 years in a few cases. For women approaching menopause, the results may well be permanent since estrogen production is declining and estrogen is required for fibroid growth. There is insufficient data at this time to predict the long-term durability in younger patients because estrogen secretion will continue for many years and, theoretically, may stimulate the formation of new fibroids. It may be several years before sufficient data is compiled to assess long-term results in younger patients. On the other hand, if fibroids do recur after several years, it should be possible to treat them with repeat embolization.

Q: Where can I find more information about uterine artery embolization?

A: You should first discuss this procedure with your primary care physician or gynecologist. Unfortunately, many physicians are unaware of this alternative treatment for fibroids despite the fact that this procedure has now been used to treat well over a thousand patients in the United States. For specific information on this procedure you should contact an Interventional Radiologist in your locale. For Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and adjacent areas of neighboring states you may find a local Interventional Radiologist in the MIRS Physician Listings. Additional information and Interventional Radiologists in other locales can be found at the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology (SCVIR) site on the World Wide Web.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)   1 comment

What is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

PCOS is a health problem that can affect a womanís menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. Women with PCOS have these characteristics:

  • high levels of male hormones, also called androgens
  • an irregular or no menstrual cycle
  • may or may not have many small cysts in their ovaries. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs.

PCOS is the most common hormonal reproductive problem in women of childbearing age.

How many women have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

An estimated five to 10 percent of women of childbearing age have PCOS.

What causes Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

No one knows the exact cause of PCOS. Women with PCOS frequently have a mother or sister with PCOS. But there is not yet enough evidence to say there is a genetic link to this disorder. Many women with PCOS have a weight problem. So researchers are looking at the relationship between PCOS and the body’s ability to make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the change of sugar, starches, and other food into energy for the body’s use or for storage. Since some women with PCOS make too much insulin, it’s possible that the ovaries react by making too many male hormones, called androgens. This can lead to acne, excessive hair growth, weight gain, and ovulation problems.

Why do women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) have trouble with their menstrual cycle?

The ovaries are two small organs, one on each side of a woman’s uterus. A woman’s ovaries have follicles, which are tiny sacs filled with liquid that hold the eggs. These sacs are also called cysts. Each month about 20 eggs start to mature, but usually only one becomes dominant. As the one egg grows, the follicle accumulates fluid in it. When that egg matures, the follicle breaks open to release the egg so it can travel through the fallopian tube for fertilization. When the single egg leaves the follicle, ovulation takes place.

In women with PCOS, the ovary doesn’t make all of the hormones it needs for any of the eggs to fully mature. They may start to grow and accumulate fluid. But no one egg becomes large enough. Instead, some may remain as cysts. Since no egg matures or is released, ovulation does not occur and the hormone progesterone is not made. Without progesterone, a womanís menstrual cycle is irregular or absent. Also, the cysts produce male hormones, which continue to prevent ovulation.

What are the symptoms of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

These are some of the symptoms of PCOS:

  • infrequent menstrual periods, no menstrual periods, and/or irregular bleeding
  • infertility or inability to get pregnant because of not ovulating
  • increased growth of hair on the face, chest, stomach, back, thumbs, or toes
  • acne, oily skin, or dandruff
  • pelvic pain
  • weight gain or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around the waist
  • type 2 diabetes
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • male-pattern baldness or thinning hair
  • patches of thickened and dark brown or black skin on the neck, arms, breasts, or thighs
  • skin tags, or tiny excess flaps of skin in the armpits or neck area
  • sleep apnea – excessive snoring and breathing stops at times while asleep

What tests are used to diagnose Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)?

There is no single test to diagnose PCOS. Your doctor will take a medical history, perform a physical examópossibly including an ultrasound, check your hormone levels, and measure glucose, or sugar levels, in the blood. If you are producing too many male hormones, the doctor will make sure itís from PCOS. At the physical exam the doctor will want to evaluate the areas of increased hair growth, so try to allow the natural hair growth for a few days before the visit. During a pelvic exam, the ovaries may be enlarged or swollen by the increased number of small cysts. This can be seen more easily by vaginal ultrasound, or screening, to examine the ovaries for cysts and the endometrium. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. The uterine lining may become thicker if there has not been a regular period.

 

How is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) treated?

Because there is no cure for PCOS, it needs to be managed to prevent problems. Treatments are based on the symptoms each patient is having and whether she wants to conceive or needs contraception. Below are descriptions of treatments used for PCOS.

Birth control pills. For women who donít want to become pregnant, birth control pills can regulate menstrual cycles, reduce male hormone levels, and help to clear acne. However, the birth control pill does not cure PCOS. The menstrual cycle will become abnormal again if the pill is stopped. Women may also think about taking a pill that only has progesterone, like Provera, to regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent endometrial problems. But progesterone alone does not help reduce acne and hair growth.

Diabetes Medications. The medicine, Metformin, also called Glucophage, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes, also helps with PCOS symptoms. Metformin affects the way insulin regulates glucose and decreases the testosterone production. Abnormal hair growth will slow down and ovulation may return after a few months of use. These medications will not cause a person to become diabetic.

Fertility Medications. The main fertility problem for women with PCOS is the lack of ovulation. Even so, her husbandís sperm count should be checked and her tubes checked to make sure they are open before fertility medications are used. Clomiphene (pills) and Gonadotropins (shots) can be used to stimulate the ovary to ovulate. PCOS patients are at increased risk for multiple births when using these medications. In vitro Fertilization (IVF) is sometimes recommended to control the chance of having triplets or more. Metformin can be taken with fertility medications and helps to make PCOS women ovulate on lower doses of medication.

Medicine for increased hair growth or extra male hormones. If a woman is not trying to get pregnant there are some other medicines that may reduce hair growth. Spironolactone is a blood pressure medicine that has been shown to decrease the male hormoneís effect on hair. Propecia, a medicine taken by men for hair loss, is another medication that blocks this effect. Both of these medicines can affect the development of a male fetus and should not be taken if pregnancy is possible. Other non-medical treatments such as electrolysis or laser hair removal are effective at getting rid of hair. A woman with PCOS can also take hormonal treatment to keep new hair from growing.

Surgery. Although it is not recommended as the first course of treatment, surgery called ovarian drilling is available to induce ovulation. The doctor makes a very small incision above or below the navel, and inserts a small instrument that acts like a telescope into the abdomen. This is called laparoscopy. The doctor then punctures the ovary with a small needle carrying an electric current to destroy a small portion of the ovary. This procedure carries a risk of developing scar tissue on the ovary. This surgery can lower male hormone levels and help with ovulation. But these effects may only last a few months. This treatment doesn’t help with increased hair growth and loss of scalp hair.

A healthy weight. Maintaining a healthy weight is another way women can help manage PCOS. Since obesity is common with PCOS, a healthy diet and physical activity help maintain a healthy weight, which will help the body lower glucose levels, use insulin more efficiently, and may help restore a normal period. Even loss of 10% of her body weight can help make a woman’s cycle more regular.

How does Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) affect a woman while pregnant?

There appears to be a higher rate of miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, and premature delivery in women with PCOS. Researchers are studying how the medicine, metformin, prevents or reduces the chances of having these problems while pregnant, in addition to looking at how the drug lowers male hormone levels and limits weight gain in women who are obese when they get pregnant.

No one yet knows if metformin is safe for pregnant women. Because the drug crosses the placenta, doctors are concerned that the baby could be affected by the drug. Research is ongoing.

Does Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) put women at risk for other conditions?

Women with PCOS can be at an increased risk for developing several other conditions. Irregular menstrual periods and the absence of ovulation cause women to produce the hormone estrogen, but not the hormone progesterone. Without progesterone, which causes the endometrium to shed each month as a menstrual period, the endometrium becomes thick, which can cause heavy bleeding or irregular bleeding. Eventually, this can lead to endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. Women with PCOS are also at higher risk for diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and heart disease. Getting the symptoms under control at an earlier age may help to reduce this risk.

Does Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) change at menopause?

Researchers are looking at how male hormone levels change as women with PCOS grow older. They think that as women reach menopause, ovarian function changes and the menstrual cycle may become more normal. But even with falling male hormone levels, excessive hair growth continues, and male pattern baldness or thinning hair gets worse after menopause.