Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Today was my post-op appointment, so here is a quick summary of what my doctor shared with me. Some of it's review from what he told Robby, and some of it's new. Although he did have pictures to show me, I didn't push to have copies made because, to be honest, even I didn't really know what I was looking at. It was just a big gross pink mess.
  • There was Stage 3 endometriosis around my ovaries, and my right ovary had a large endometrioma, which is a fluid-filled cyst. He explained again that my ovaries were immobile because they were stuck to my abdominal wall.
  • Because the endometrioma on my right ovary was so large, the ovary looked pretty beat up after the cyst was removed. He said they had to remove the whole cyst, including its lining, so there is always a risk that a few eggs are taken with it. (Sad, right?) If they didn't completely get the cyst out, though, it would return in a month or two. Because removing of the cyst causes bleeding, he had to cauterize the outside of the ovary, so it looked black and misshapen. However, the amazing thing is that the ovary will heal itself between 2 and 4 weeks, so there's a good chance at this moment it's looking fine.
  • There was a little bit of endometriosis on my bladder wall which would be at a stage 1. It was interesting to see the difference between the two: my ovaries were covered with endometriosis, but my bladder had only tiny dark dots here and there.
  • My uterus was healthy, and both of my fallopian tubes were clear, as well. They did the same HSG test that I had done in 2009, which at that time had come back with the results that one tube was clear but one seemed slightly blocked. This was good news to hear that both looked great.
  • Some other interesting things: progesterone can control the spread of endometriosis, so that is why a pregnancy will at least stall the endo from coming back. This could also explain why birth control is used as a controller for endometriosis and often helps make severe menstrual cramps milder. The monthly period itself is a contributor to the problems of endometriosis since not all of the blood leaves the body. Another weird thing: apparently, the "make-up" of blood that a woman with endometriosis has during her period is different than another woman. Crazy, huh?
  • I also asked him if the treatments could have made the endometriosis worse, and he said, theoretically, that would be the case. The endometriosis thrives on estrogen, and the treatments increase the levels of estrogen a person has. However, he wasn't too concerned about this since the treatments are done rarely and for only a short period of time. I do wonder, though, if that visit to the ER two summers ago was the beginning of that cyst. Just speculation, of course...
So that's the explanation of what he found. Of course, we were concerned with one main question: How will this affect our ability to conceive??
  • Because the endometriosis was as advanced it was, it will return. It could return in six months or a year, but there is no doubt that it will come back. Another laparoscopy really isn't an option because multiple laparoscopies will have negative effects on my ovaries and the quality and production of eggs.
  • He has found that with women like me, there is about a 40% chance (or 1 in 3) that they get pregnant without treatments within the year.
  • He would recommend that we consider a few cycles of treatments and IUIs because women with endometriosis typically have lower quality eggs. The clomid and ovidrel I have taken help produce more follicles (so more chances that my left ovary will produce an egg, which would be the better option) and higher quality eggs and ovulation. The only downside with the treatments and IUI is the cost and a slightly increased chance of multiples.
Overall, the appointment was positive. Of course, it was a bit disheartening to hear that the endometriosis will come back, and that there's no way to really "cure" it. And I don't like this whole "race against the clock" thing, but I guess all women have some clock they're having to think about. Nevertheless, it seems my chances of having a baby have just sky-rocketed! Our main prayer concern right now is if and when to do the treatments. My doctor wants to make sure I have one normal cycle, but after my period comes next month, we can begin an IUI cycle or can choose to wait. Neither of us has any idea of what we want to do right now. The one plus is that our new insurance does have a small amount covered towards infertility, so there may be a chance one or two IUI cycles could be covered.

It feels great to have the surgery done and to have met with the doctor and talked about Robby's and my immediate future. What an exciting beginning to 2011!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Recovery Update

I can't believe it has already been four days since my surgery. Physically, I am recovering well. The first three days I stayed on the pain medication prescribed to me. Not only did this remove my pain, but it also made me pretty out of it most of the day, which (I'll be honest) was kind of nice. (Maybe that's why the days have gone by so quickly??) Today is my first day just using tylenol, and although I don't feel quite as good as I did, I'm still relatively comfortable. I experienced shoulder pain the first couple of days, a side effect of the gas they put in my abdomen to help them see better, but that has subsided. I'm struggling through the annoying aftermath of anesthesia, the dreaded constipation (sorry if that's TMI), but besides that, I can't be happier with my body's response to both the anesthesia and pain killer. Neither of them made me nauseous, which is fortunate indeed! The biggest thing I faced today was fatigue. Just moving from one room to the next is exhausting. I also am running a low fever, which I don't think I need to be concerned about, since I was advised to call if a fever reached 101 degrees.

I've had a lot of help, and this has truly been amazing. Robby has been super-husband and spends his day preparing meals, cleaning, monitoring my meds, and overall keeping me as comfortable as possible. My mom has been over almost every night with meals, my dad and sister have stopped by, and my cousin Kara came by with a pot of soup, as well. Everyone has been so good to check on me and offer help. I feel blessed by all of my support.

For the most part, I think I had accurate expectations of the surgery and recovery. What I wasn't prepared for and what is most surprising to me is how emotional I am. I cried a lot today and became frustrated with things that wouldn't normally bother me. I am just feeling down, and I wasn't expecting that at all. It brought me some comfort, then, when I found this helpful article on, "Laparoscopy: Before and After Tips." This little article, by the way, is the best thing I've found concerning laparoscopy. It really does cover every major thing related to the surgery and gives good tips for recovery.

I'm very pleased with my recovery, but I am ready and anxious to get back to normal as soon as possible. Thanks everyone, for your continued concern and prayers!

Post-op blues, from "Laparoscopy: Before and After Tips"
Most of us experience a period of emotional ups and downs following surgery. For some, the blues remain for several weeks. It's not unusual to cry easily or become anxious, agitated, frightened, or suspicious. Some of us have also experienced nightmares following surgery. All of this will pass in time and you will begin to feel in control again. Be gentle and patient with yourself during your physical and emotional recovery

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Results and Recovery

Yesterday morning was my laparoscopy, so I thought I'd quickly update everyone on how it went. I actually didn't get a chance to talk to the doctor, but he spoke with Robby who took great notes and passed the info on to me.

The doctor found that I did have endometriosis, Stage 3 out of 4. The endometriosis had caused my ovaries to be immobilized, making them stuck to my abdominal wall. The doctor also removed a large cyst on my right ovary. They did check my fallopian tubes and saw that they were both clear, and now, thanks to the surgery, everything looks much better! The doctor said that no doubt this was causing my infertility. Unfortunately, because the endometriosis was Stage 3, it will come back. So that means we need to have our baby soon!

My experience at the hospital was very good. We were quickly admitted, and even though the surgery itself ran a little behind schedule, I was impressed with the nurses and doctors. I have to say the whole experience of being wheeled into an operating room was a bit nerve-racking, especially as I wasn't expecting that many people in there, but before I knew it, I was off in twilight-land. The strangest part was waking up because my body was shaking uncontrollably and the pain in my abdomen was strong. It didn't take long for them to give me something to help, though.

As far as my recovery at home, it has been good. I do have pain, but I can take pain medication every four hours, so it's keeping me fairly comfortable. I can't really walk or move too much since it hurts my abdomen, but my wonderful husband is taking care of me. My mom and Carly also spent a few hours with me last night and will be back again.

I so appreciated all of the texts, calls, e-mails, and (of course) prayers. It was amazing to know that so many people were thinking of us and praying for us. Thank you so much!

I think it's still settling in that this has really happened, and that this has made it possible for us to get pregnant. I can't quite believe it, but I love the hope I feel inside of me again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Off to the hospital!

My fever is gone, and I'm feeling good. The strange thing is I have lost my voice, but I think that's just due to all the illness I've had the past couple of weeks. So, we'll be leaving here shortly, and when you hear back from me, hopefully it will be with good news of a successful surgery and miraculous recovery :)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Still fighting it!

I woke up this morning feeling very rested, but was quickly discouraged when I took my temperature and saw that I still had a low fever. The good news is as the day has gone on, it has dropped to almost my normal temperature, and I have stopped coughing finally. I have high hopes about it all!

Please keep praying that I will be well and that the whole recovery will go smoothly.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Pre-op News

Today I had my pre-op appointment in Clovis to prepare for my procedure on Wednesday. The appointment went well with one little complication. Yesterday afternoon I came down with a case of chills, aches, fever, and sore throat. (I know, right? Less than a week after recovering from whatever I had before this.) I feel a lot better today, but there is a chance that the surgery will be postponed if they feel my immune system is too weak for the recovery. I will hopefully know tomorrow since they took a blood test today. More waiting...

As for the appointment, it was nice getting some answers and a little more idea of what to expect...even though I heard, "Everyone is different - it's hard to tell" a number of times today. Basically, I'll check in at 10:30 and be prepped for surgery, which is to take place at 12:30. The surgery itself can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours depending on the severity of what they find. After that, there is a 2 hour recovery time, which could be lengthened up to 4 hours as needed. That depends on how well I recover from the anesthesia. Once again, "everyone is different" with their reaction to anesthesia; I'm hoping it won't make me too sick. As for how I'll feel afterward: what I continue to hear is I'll most likely feel really sore in my abdomen, and once again, the amount of pain I have just can't be predicted yet. Everyone has said to plan on doing nothing at least the first two days and then see how things go after that. My friend who has had this procedure done said the first five days were rough, and then the next week or so after that still included some soreness.

I have a post-op appointment scheduled for two weeks from Wednesday. At that point, they'll see how well I have recovered and we'll get to talk more in depth about what this means for us fertility-wise. I'm hoping also to get to speak to the doctor a bit on Wednesday.

As you pray for me, pray first of all that I am completely well for the surgery. I can't imagine having to cancel this and go through all the prep again. And of course, pray for the procedure on Wednesday and the results! It's amazing to think how close I might be to getting pregnant!

WedMD has a lot of information about the procedure itself, so if you're wondering what exactly will take place, check out this site.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


A week from today, I will be having my laparoscopy. Because of this, and because of the fact that for the last week I have been out of commission, I feel like the next six days are days of catch-up and preparation for me. It's not easy for me to do nothing for days at a time, so I need to be ready in case this thing has me laid up again.

My preparation doesn't only include cleaning and organizing and choosing movies I want to watch. I've also been mentally preparing myself, as much as I can. I'm scared about this, not only about physically having to be put under and have a surgery (that alone is terrifying!), but also about the outcome. I'm scared to hear what the doctor says, to see images of what I look like. I'm scared of what might be there, and even more so, what might not be there. There is a chance--though it is unlikely--that everything will look good and normal. I've had doctors tell me multiple times that "things look good"...and then I have another month of disappointment. What if this is another one of those situations?

And then there is the recovery. Not just the week that I might be sore, but the months that are to come, months of waiting and wondering and hoping. Just thinking about the possible disappointment makes me want to cry.

So, I'm not asking too much, am I? Six days to become completely physically, mentally, and emotionally prepared for all of that?

You see now why I need to focus on filing and organizing our office this week...that's something I can handle.