Harriett: Active again after cancer treatment and colon repair

Harriett Sparkman was in her 60’s before she ever faced a serious health issue. Being diagnosed with lymphoma was a traumatic experience, but she got through it with her strong faith, support from friends and family, and the staff at the Williams Cancer Center at Baptist Health.

After seven rounds of chemotherapy, Harriett’s lymphoma was in remission, but she was left with a perforation between her colon and spleen.

“Dr. Polley explained that he could safely repair my colon with minimally-invasive robotic surgery,” said Harriett.

“We are finding more and more applications for robotic surgery,” said Gordon Polley, MD, a general surgeon at Baptist Health. “Patients experience less pain and scarring and their recovery times are much quicker compared to traditional surgery.”

What may seem routine for an experienced surgeon trained in robotics can seem daunting to a patient. “I was scared, but Dr. Polley assured me this was the best approach,” remarked Harriett.

“The surgery required a small instrument that could be manipulated in a tight space,” Dr. Polley explained. The da Vinci® Surgical System provides that flexibility with a magnified, three-dimensional view of the area being operated on.

Dr. Polley was successful in resecting Harriett’s colon without complications. With just five tiny incisions, each less than an inch long.

“I went to the hospital on Wednesday and came home Friday. There was very little pain and I was back to normal activities just a week after the surgery.”

With Harriet’s cancer in remission and her colon repaired, she’s back to doing the things she loves, like helping out at church and riding her bike along Jacksonville’s Baldwin Trail. “I am so grateful Dr. Polley was able to do this procedure robotically. I feel very blessed.”

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