Our Patients Say it Best

Your friends and neighbors from throughout southwest Michigan and beyond share their experiences at Spectrum Health Lakeland. Do you have a story to share? Click on the "What's Your Story" button and complete the form. 

Nothing to Laugh At - Carol Hageman


May, 2019

Physicians: Michael Schuhknecht, DO

Carol Hageman was always told that hernias come in pairs. But when 30 years passed after her first hernia surgery, shortly after giving birth to her third child, she thought she was in the clear. However, one day the familiar symptoms returned. Carol began to feel pain whenever she coughed or laughed. Instinctively she knew it was another hernia or bulge of tissue through a weak area in the abdominal wall.

Hernias don't go away on their own. Only surgery can repair the problem. With this in mind, Carol made an appointment with general surgeon, Michael Schuhknecht, DO, who came highly recommended from a family friend.

“Dr. Schuhknecht was preparing to leave on a mission trip to Africa but I knew I wanted him to be the one to perform my surgery – I trusted him,” said Carol. “Thankfully he was able to squeeze me in the day before he left.”

Carol’s original hernia surgery was performed laparoscopically. However, this time around, due to advances in technology, Carol had the option to undergo robotic surgery using the da Vinci® Xi™ Surgical System.

“Dr. Schuhknect explained all my options to me and when he suggested robotic surgery I knew he had my best interests in mind – I wasn’t nervous at all,” said Carol. “In fact, since the surgery was done using the da Vinci I only had three small incisions and was able to return home the same day. The recovery was very quick – I felt better within two days.”

Not only was Carol impressed with Dr. Schuhknecht, she valued the relationships she formed with her entire surgical team.

“You could see they loved working with each other,” said Carol. “Everyone was so professional, patient, and kind. They always made sure to ask if I had any questions. The surgery center at Lakeland Hospital Niles was also so bright and clean – I felt very comfortable throughout the whole process.”

Dr. Schuhknecht left on his mission trip the following day but Carol was still in good hands. A few days after her initial surgery she met with general surgeon, Jonathan Egle, MD, for a follow up appointment.

“Everything was healing so well – I didn’t even have to take any painkillers,” said Carol.

Carol was able to return to work cleaning houses four days after surgery. She was given only slight limitations to not lift anything over 20 pounds for the next two weeks. She’s also enjoying spending time with her grandchildren and swimming regularly at the YMCA of Southwest Michigan.


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