Overcoming an Invisible Illness - Malori's Journey with Endometriosis: Part 2

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Malori’s story continued…

Check out Part I of Malori’s story here

My experience with laparoscopic surgery

Because of living in Germany, our NaPro journey has taken longer than it would have been otherwise.  My doctor is very aggressive when it comes to testing and likes to get everything done in one cycle if possible, and I like that approach.

I already had my bloodwork done but I got my follicle scan series and diagnostic laparoscopy performed in the same cycle. I flew from Germany to Texas in mid-February 2019 and had the ultrasounds first.  (Yes, I scheduled my flight based on my cycle!) All looked good on the ovulation front! Next was my surgery, scheduled for March 1.

Surgeries tend to take place early in the morning.  I was scheduled for 7:30am and had to arrive at the hospital two hours early to check in and get prepped.  My pre-operative nurse was so caring and very thorough in her explanations of what was going to happen.

My NaPro doctor had also done the same thing at my pre-op appointment, so I felt very informed.  He also prayed with me before the medical team took me to the operating room. I felt complete confidence in the professionals taking care of me - I just had no idea what the outcome of the procedure would be.

My surgery lasted a little over an hour.  My doctor performed the diagnostic laparoscopy, where they make two cuts in your abdomen: one in your belly button and one right above the pubic bone, so they can look inside the pelvic cavity.  If they find endometriosis, they make a third cut in order to remove it. So I have a third incision, in my right lower abdomen.

He also did a hysteroscopy, which is where they go through the cervix to look inside the uterus for abnormalities and to take a biopsy for bacterial cultures.  The inside of my uterus looked good and at the time of this writing, I’m still waiting to hear if I have a uterine infection. (That alone can cause infertility. If the result is positive, both my husband and I will be prescribed antibiotics.)

The third thing that was performed was a selective HSG, which is where they shoot dye into your Fallopian tubes to see if they are open.  If a blockage is found, they attempt to clear it with a wire-like device and then shoot dye again to make sure it’s completely clear.

The results of my surgery

Like I mentioned above, my biggest fear was that the surgery would be a “waste” because everything would be fine.  But I had to remind myself that my doctor wouldn’t do an operation if the chances of finding something wrong were very low.  At my pre-op appointment he also told me that irritable bowel symptoms oftentimes go hand-in-hand with endometriosis, and I have dealt with gut issues for years!  I also reminded myself that my sister was recently diagnosed with endo, and having a blood relative like a sister or mom greatly increases one’s chances of having the disease.

It turns out that all my nervousness and doubt was for naught (as it usually is, right?).  My doctor found endometriosis in three places in my pelvic cavity, including on my left ovary.  He excised the growths, which is a huge blessing!

Excision surgery has the best outcome, because it takes endo out from the root.  NaPro doctors only do excision and do not perform ablation, which comes with a high incidence of grow-back. With excision, there is an 80-85% success rate of endometriosis never growing back!

In addition to the endo, my left Fallopian tube is totally blocked and attenuated, which means it’s so narrowed that it cannot be cleared. It’s probably congenital, and not related to the endometriosis.  But I have a good right tube, and you only need one!

Joy and peace in a diagnosis

I have never felt this kind of joy and peace in our infertility journey as I have after coming out of surgery.  It finally felt like I had validation. I felt like my fertility mattered and that everything possible was done to improve it.  

Having endometriosis removed, even a mild case like mine, can greatly improve fertility and chances of conception. While there are many theories on how and why endo develops, we know for sure that it is an inflammatory condition.  Its presence can interfere with sperm and egg, ovulation, fertilization, and implantation. I am going forward with much hope knowing that it is gone. And despite knowing that I have one useless tube, I am now relying more on God’s power and timing in starting our family.  I no longer have that underlying anxiety of, Will I become pregnant?  I know that it’s possible and I have no reason to doubt my body!

Another thing that has brought much joy to me is receiving heartfelt messages from others saying that they are praying for us, sharing their success stories, empathizing with our infertility journey, and telling me that sharing my story is helping them.  

What a beautiful fruit of our journey, and I’m seeing that it is possible to have a fruitful marriage even without children! I would not have experienced the love and encouragement of the NaPro community had we not been walking this path.

While in the past I would have answered differently, I now can say that I wouldn’t change our journey, as difficult and heartbreaking as it’s been.  As Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday.” Our infertility journey has been our Good Friday at times, but I’m starting to see the sun rise on Easter morning.

Malori Mayor is married to CPT Mark Mayor of the U.S. Army, and is a registered nurse, blogger, German Shepherd mom, and new aunt.  She and Mark have been married for almost 5 years and so far have lived in 3 different states and 2 countries with the military. They have been dealing with infertility for 1 ½ years.  Malori has been enthusiastic about living a healthy lifestyle since 2012, and became a RN in 2018 so she could help others with their health. She is also passionate about helping other military wives who are moving overseas.  She is a huge fan of NFP/FABM and NaPro Technology in helping couples with their fertility, and will be forever grateful to her medical team at New Life Women’s Health & Infertility of North Texas! You can find Malori at her blog https://www.warriorlifewellness.com, on Instagram @warriorlifewellness, and on YouTube at http://bit.ly/maloriyoutube .