We have been trying to have our first baby for the last 4.5 years, and after 6 IUIs, 5 IVFs, 2 FETs we had 3 early losses and an ectopic to show for it. We have been through hell and back, and yet the word “endo” was never on my horizon. We were told that our fertility issues were linked to my abnormal immune activation (I have Crohn’s and Hashimoto’s), as my immune system destroys the embryos as if they were some cancer or virus. I changed fertility clinics, and went through 3 Reproductive Immunologists. After a very extensive testing, the last RI suggested that based on my HLA markers, I was predisposed to a wide range of autoimmune disorders, including endometriosis. I was told that I needed a lap to rule out or treat ”silent” endo, before moving on to our next IVF, as endo might negatively impact egg quality (which is already a problem at 38).
I haven’t had any endo symptoms, and I dismissed any painful periods figuring they were normal, and there is nothing that a couple of Tylenols would not fix. Whenever I had abdominal cramping, I would write it off to Crohn’s, something I was used to as I have been suffering from Crohn’s for 20+ years. In my effort to improve our chances to have a baby, even though I was not symptomatic for endo, I decided to do a lap, and I wanted it as soon as possible so we could continue our fertility journey.
I was referred to a couple of specialists who perform endo laps, and after learning more about my options, I decided to go with the best, Dr.Seckin. I knew that even if I didn’t have endo, it would not be an easy procedure because of Crohn’s (adhesions, fistulas, inflammation). My initial consult with Dr. Seckin went great, he took down my history and sent me for an MRI, to better understand what he would be facing once he gets inside. Once my MRI report became available, Dr.Seckin advised not to rush in, and sent me for a consult to a colorectal surgeon who assists Dr.Seckin in some complex cases. I met with the other surgeon and we discussed a possibility of doing a bowel resection or strictureplasty while I was under anesthesia for the lap.
Since this was already late October, there were not that many options when both surgeons had availability, between the upcoming holidays and previously scheduled procedures. The office staff, Kim and Lucy, were super helpful and accommodating, and helped me get all necessary approvals and paperwork for the surgery. Finally, a day for the surgery was picked for early December, and we made our arrangements with that date in mind. When my surgery was in danger of being cancelled due to some logistical issue like OR availability, both doctors made it work by moving my surgery a day earlier, which was not a OR day for either of them, but they made it work for me, for which I am grateful immensely.
Surgery went great, mild endo was excised from ovaries and outside uterus, an intrauterine polyp was removed, and some special suspension stitches were temporarily put in (I joked that I had my own art installation inside, with floating ovaries). I had to stay overnight in the hospital for observation, and went home the following afternoon. My bowel issues were not addressed as the endo excision itself took almost 3 hours, and the surgeons decided not to do any additional surgery to avoid possible complications, I would have to have the GI work done at another time.
At my follow up appointment with Dr.Seckin 2 weeks later, we discussed the findings (he excised and sent to pathology 10 tissue samples, and most of them were confirmed as endo), and he told me that it was a tough case with all the Crohn’s adhesions in the way. I ended up having 5 incisions - the conventional belly button entrance was not usable as my fused bowels got in the way and it was impossible to separate them, but all incisions are healing nicely.
I am very happy with the easy recovery, and I cannot wait to re-test my inflammation levels post-lap and see the outcome of my next IVF. More to come J
Thanks so much again, Dr.Seckin, for your attention, care, skill, specially trained scanner eyes and high-precision hands!