Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cellular Wars

For those of you wondering why endometriosis causes infertility (we're right there with you), here's my best attempt at re-explaining what our doctor told us.

***NOTE:  Endometriosis does different things to different people.  This is my personal experience with it.***

In a pelvic region far, far away. . . the dark forces of endometriosis began an invasion (Endometriosis is tissue from the uterine lining growing outside the uterus.  The uterine lining being the stuff that grows each month during your cycle to prepare the womb for implantation).  

(In my case, I had a good bit of endometriosis growing inside my ovaries causing cysts in both ovaries; as well as some growing on the outside of my ovaries slowly adhering them to the back of my abdominal wall).  

But, there was a small band of rebels trying to fight the dark forces (My body registers the endometriosis as foreign cells which triggers my immune system to fight ALL foreign cells in my pelvic region.  Unfortunately, my immune system doesn't know the difference between Dave's swimmers and the endometriosis cells).

The fighting was fierce, and Darth Endo managed to isolate the rebel's princess (When an egg is released each month into this 'war zone' my immune system creates a protective barrier around the egg.  Making it virtually impossible for any surviving swimmers to fertilize my egg.  Here's where surgery, laparoscopy, becomes necessary).  

Just when all was thought lost, the good side of the force partners with the rebels (In June, my doctor removed all the cysts in my ovaries and any endometriosis he saw in my abdomen.  The goal in removing the endometriosis was to neutralize the area and encourage my immune system to relax, i.e. quit attacking Dave's swimmers and over-protecting my eggs).

(One way of monitoring the success of the surgery is through a blood test to measure CA125 levels; this is typically used to monitor ovarian cancer but has been shown to help with endometriosis as well.  
  • A normal CA125 range is between 0 - 35.  
  • In May, before the surgery my CA125 level was 127.69.  
  • In June, after the surgery, my levels were at 71.66.)  

The rebels have temporarily won against the dark side; though there is still unrest in the galaxy (Somewhere in November-ish we use IVF to let my eggs and Dave's swimmers rendezvous in a romantic, peaceful setting, aka the petri dish, in hopes of becoming embryos.  Then we put them back inside me and hope my body allows them to implant and grow into a healthy--and of course beautiful, baby or babies).

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