My name is Lauren, and I am from Canada's smallest province, Prince Edward
Island. I am now 22 and healthy, but that wasn't always the case. By the grace of God, I
found Dr. Yeung, and it is thanks to him I am writing my testimony today. Although my
story is a little different, I hope it resonates with you and helps you feel validated,
hopeful, and less alone.
My first period began when I was 12 years old, yet nothing abnormal stood out
until I was about 14. It was then that the days leading up to my menstrual cycle were
filled with extreme nausea and bloating, turning into a 7-9 day long period with cramps
that would leave me doubled over in excruciating pain. While my periods were worse
than some of my friends', I was told this bedridden pain and the debilitating PMS
symptoms were normal. My doctor prescribed me Naproxen as a painkiller, and I went
along with this "female normality" mindset until I was about 15 and began experiencing
a bizarre set of symptoms....
The first time this cluster of symptoms came around, "it" (as my family and I used
to call it) only lasted a few days. Since it was short-lived, we didn't think much of it at
first, perhaps a strange virus. The symptoms included the following: Extreme fatigue
and weakness to the point I could barely walk up a flight of stairs, hold my arms over my
head, or get out of bed. Bloating so severe I couldn't wear any of my regular clothing, a
pale/graying face and lips, and "brain fog." This brain fog feeling made me unable to
think clearly, communicate effectively, or concentrate on studying school material. I was
also nauseous and suffered from constipation, painful bowel movements, and an aching
pain that radiated through my pelvic region, upper thighs, and lower back. Furthermore,
I experienced a constant throbbing dull ache over my lower right abdomen.
During my period, there were many times where I could not insert tampons,
almost as if my body was rejecting them. Occasionally I would also experience
out-of-body sensations or a dream-like reality, and at night I would have dreams so
vivid, I would have to ask others if these events happened or not. All in all, it felt like my
personality had been sucked out, turning me into a zombie-like form of myself. I
remember looking in the mirror and not even recognizing the person staring back at me.
It was absolutely terrifying.
Six months after this first episode, "it" returned, lasting a whole week. A few
months later, I had another episode lasting two weeks long. It was challenging to make
sense of the symptoms as they were not coinciding with a specific phase of my
menstrual cycle or with what I ate. Furthermore, there seemed to be no rhyme or reason
to the good days versus the bad, and nothing was appearing abnormal in my
In October of my grade 11 year, "it" came and did not leave. Here began two
years of doctor visits, trips to the emergency room, and the realization that this was not
a simple fix. I first tried to explain my symptoms to my pediatrician, who told me in under
five minutes that I wasn't taking care of myself; I was "a typical teenager who was
spending too much time on my phone and not getting enough sleep" or perhaps I was
just too stressed out. These words will stick with me forever. I wasn't stressed, I did well
in school, took extracurricular dance and music lessons, ate well, and had no problem
sleeping. I was hurt and angry for not being heard and being completely misunderstood.
It was as if my character was being questioned, like what I was experiencing was typical
or worse; it was all in my head. Little did I know this was only the beginning of my fight.
After countless doctor (medical and naturopathic) appointments, emergency
room visits and tests, my diagnostic list was growing: chronic constipation, acid reflux,
gallbladder, food allergies, and IBS. I was getting frustrated as the symptoms were not
improving, no matter my dietary changes. Then we began to wonder, were these
symptoms gastrointestinal or more gynecological? Finally, after begging doctors to go
down this road, an ultrasound was ordered, revealing a 5cm ovarian cyst on my right
ovary, precisely where the dull ache was stemming from! At first, I was elated; the cause
had been found! My mom heard of an excellent local acupuncturist who treated ovarian
cysts, so I immediately booked an appointment. About 24 hours after the treatment, I
felt an intense pain over my right ovary for about 10 minutes and then the dull ache was
gone. Even the rest of my symptoms had subsided, and I was feeling the best I had in
My follow-up ultrasound revealed the cyst had indeed burst/shrunk, but
unfortunately, my relief did not last long, and the bizarre symptoms returned. However,
with this revelation of ovarian cysts and the temporary relief, my doctors now believed
this was a gynecological issue, and I was put on birth control as an attempt to mask the
symptoms. I also continued with acupuncture appointments for my recurrent ovarian
cysts and flare-ups, as this treatment proved extremely helpful for my symptoms.
For a few months, oral contraceptives (OCTs) and acupuncture helped make the
symptoms manageable. I was getting along ok, but soon "it" was back in full force. For
the following year, I sought out second opinions from other gynecologists and was put
on different OCTs to try to diminish the symptoms. It seemed a pill would work for a few
months, and then my body would stop responding to it. During this time, no investigation
was done, and no explanation was given as to why these symptoms persisted. No one
had any answers for me.
In January of grade 12, right in the middle of my final exams, I had a severe bout
of my usual symptoms that turned into an emergency appendectomy. My family and I
got our hopes up again, and we were so optimistic this was the cause of my symptoms
all along; a chronically inflamed appendix!! After all, the problem area seemed to be my
lower right abdomen. One month later, the symptoms reappeared. I was devastated.
Something was severely wrong with me, but no one could find out what. We were back
to square one, and I was terrified.
My symptoms were getting worse. I was missing so much school, and I was
trying to teach myself in order to keep up. I was missing my dance and music classes,
and of course, any social life was nonexistent. The symptoms often overpowered me,
leaving me unable to do much other than lay in bed. I lost most of my friends, as no one
understood. My quality of life was so poor, and I remember some days when I would be
so discouraged that I felt there was no hope. I was also terrified of what was happening
to my body, whether I would face fertility issues or if irreversible damage was occurring.
I can picture myself yet, with no life in my body, slowly trying to carry on. I'd be using a
heating pack to help the cramps, wearing baggy clothes to fit over my bloated abdomen,
and carrying a bottle of ginger ale for nausea. In fact, I used my heating pack so often
that I broke the microwave and still have scars on my abdomen from burning myself.
There were even days I would look at my reflection, see the sick person looking back at
me, and find myself rocking back and forth on the bathroom floor in a puddle of tears.
The upcoming fall, I was set to begin university in my hometown. The idea of
going away for college was not even on my radar due to my health. As my symptoms
continued to worsen, my mother continued to advocate for me and wrote up a case
study of my medical history and symptoms in desperation. She sent this to my aunt's
sister-in-law, an OBGYN in the United States, hoping she would circulate it among her
colleagues and that it would resonate with someone. Almost immediately, she emailed
us back asking if I had been screened for endometriosis. We began reading and trying
to learn everything we could about endometriosis, including watching YouTube videos of
people's endo stories. Immediately, the symptoms and stories began to resonate like
alarm bells. We had asked whether this may be a possibility in the past, but we were
always dismissed by doctors when mentioning it. After educating ourselves about the
condition, we brought it up again. Still, we were told that a diagnosis required surgery,
and even with an endo diagnosis, there was no cure or effective treatment here.
I understand better now that being denied a diagnostic operation was partly due
to my young age and possible risks. However, the most upsetting part was that my
symptoms were still being dismissed and belittled. My quality of life was feeling
neglected, and that hurt the most. The other unfortunate piece to my story was that
even if I was diagnosed with endometriosis, the primary treatment in my location was
still birth control pills or surgical ablation.
Although no one was willing to investigate for endometriosis, I was still
prescribed a medication called 'Visanne' to help with symptoms of endometriosis. Again,
it did not help, and in fact, I was getting worse. My first semester of college was not
going well. I had to be driven every day as I was not safe to drive myself, and I was
getting weaker each day. The brain fog made studying a challenge, and I constantly
needed my heating pad for the pain. The good days were rare now, and I simply could
not function. Both my physical and mental health was suffering. I was supposed to be
living the life of a college freshman, but instead, I needed my mom to blowdry my hair
because I was too weak to do so. My life was on hold, and while this was hard to
accept, I kept hoping for a miracle.
Reality hit hard one day, and we knew we had reached the end of our resources
here, and my mom had had enough. She again reached out to my aunt's sister-in-law
(the OBGYN who had suspected endo) and asked her what she would do if she were in
our situation. Without hesitation, she recommended going to St.Louis, Missouri to see
Dr. Yeung, an OBGYN who specializes in endometriosis.
My mom wasted no time and contacted Dr. Yeung to find out how a Canadian
could get an appointment for a consultation and possible surgery. Dr. Yeung's team was
amazing from the first phone call explaining everything we needed to know and do.
They worked around my school schedule and accommodated our travel schedule. We
felt confident we were doing the right thing even though it was a massive leap of faith.
Of course, I was nervous at first, though. This was a big step to take, but I had been
misdiagnosed and misled so many times, and I had reached the end of my possible
resources. My quality of life was worth this leap of faith.
In December, two years and two months after the symptoms came and persisted,
I met with Dr. Yeung for a consultation. This was when my prayers were answered. The
first thing I remember about Dr. Yeung is how he took the time to listen to me and
validate what I was experiencing. I had spent years having my story dismissed, not
being believed by health care professionals, and told there was nothing wrong with me.
Finally, here was someone who was willing to help me.
On the day of the surgery, my mom and I were terrified. What if he doesn't find
anything? Or what if he does, and there is extensive damage that will affect my fertility
someday? Dr. Yeung assured us he would do everything in his power and to treat me as
if I was his own. He even took the time to pray with us before taking me to the OR. My
first memory is waking up in the recovery room and asking the nurse, "Did he find
something? Was there something there?" to which she replied, "Yes, sweetheart, he did!
He found it and fixed it!" I let the tears stream down my face thanking her over and over.
As explained to us after surgery, he had removed inflamed tissue and biopsied it for
endometriosis and dealt with a deep retraction pocket around my right ovary. We
wouldn't know for sure if there was any endometriosis until the biopsy results returned,
but he felt my symptoms could also be from the deep retraction pocket (DRP). Shortly
after returning to Canada, Dr. Yeung was happy to report that the biopsies were
negative, and if I was symptom-free, it was most certainly from the DRP. He also
explained this is sometimes referred to as Allen Masters Syndrome (a sister condition to
I just celebrated my four-year anniversary of being symptom-free, all thanks to
Dr. Yeung and his amazing team! I have completed my undergraduate degree in
Science with a double major in Biology and Psychology, and I now know my passion. I
hope to pursue a career in medicine and work in women's health, assisting others in
similar situations. In the meantime, I am working on advocacy projects back in my
province and trying to bring more awareness to these conditions and women's health
inequalities. While I am thrilled to help others now, it did take a while to get to this point.
For years, I couldn't tell my story without getting upset or having a panic attack. While
my physical body had healed, my mind had not. I was worried my symptoms would
come back, and things my brain had associated with being sick became triggers. I was
avoiding people, events, activities, etc. Dr. Yeung had healed me physically, but
mentally I needed help.
At first, I thought I could deal with the trauma of this experience on my own, but I
hit a tipping point that made me realize I needed professional help. When I saw a
specialist for a heart/lung issue that surfaced with my Allen Masters Syndrome, I was
again dismissed, not properly listened to, and did not feel validated. I was made to think
there was nothing wrong with me, and I was just wasting the doctor's time. These
triggers hit, and I left the room in time to make it to the nearest bathroom, where I
stayed sobbing and panicking for over an hour until I could compose myself to drive
home. I then accepted the fact that there was mental trauma I needed to work through
from this medical experience.
I sought help from a PTSD/Trauma psychologist, and after six months of doing
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy, I am no longer
negatively affected by the trauma of this journey. I learned I needed to validate not only
the physical damage done but also the emotional trauma this inflicted. I had been
dismissed and belittled for years, living in constant fear of what was happening to my
body. The uncertainty of my well-being leading up to meeting Dr. Yeung had just
continued to build up, layer upon layer. I learned I needed to help myself before I could
help others, and now here I am, writing my story, hoping to empower others in similar
For those reading and possibly relating to this story, don't give up. Know that
what you are experiencing is real and not in your head. Continue to advocate for
yourself both physically and mentally. Not a day goes by that I am not grateful for what
Dr. Yeung and his team have done for me. I truly believe I would never have been
helped if God had not led me to Dr. Yeung. He saved my life, and I will forever be
grateful for him, his team, and my incredible psychologist who has allowed this story to
I used to believe that periods were always painful and that's just the way life was. I didn't know anything different and relied heavily on Ibuprofen to get me through periods at home and at work. Often, it wasn't enough to even take the edge off the pain. I eventually started also experiencing severe pain attacks in the middle of my menstrual cycle. At its worst, the pain caused me to throw up. At this point, my husband and I were wanting to start a family but were not having success conceiving. An ultrasound revealed that cysts on my ovaries were bursting and apparently causing the attacks.
My OBGYN performed my first laparoscopic surgery where he discovered severe stage 4 endometriosis. During surgery, he addressed the endo the best way he knew how, prescribed Clomid, and we continued to try to conceive without success. He referred us to a fertility specialist who added progesterone to my medications and said our best next option was to try IUI if we wanted to get pregnant. After reviewing another ultrasound, the fertility specialist said that the endo appeared to be returning aggressively and that I would need the same surgery again with the addition of my left ovary being removed! Both doctors said I would also need Lupron to address the mess that the endo was making inside of me.
I felt uneasy about the possible consequences of losing one of my ovaries, especially while trying to conceive. Research about the potential side effects of Lupron left me nervous as well. Scared and frustrated, I started browsing endometriosis discussion boards online, hoping to learn from other women with the disease. One poster wrote about a special kind of surgery that was very effective at actually removing the endometriosis. She explained that most doctors don't offer it and she mentioned Dr. Yeung as being one of the few who did. When I saw that his practice was in my city, it seemed that God was pointing me in a new direction.
My husband and I met with Dr. Yeung to learn more about optimal laser excision surgery and how it could help me. I decided to move forward with the treatment. Dr. Yeung's skillful work actually removed the endometriosis from my body and I was able to keep both ovaries!
He guided us through fertility treatment options that we felt comfortable with, helping us find the right combination of treatments to optimize our chances of conceiving with no Lupron required. It was a journey that took some time, patience and lots of prayer but Dr. Yeung stuck with us as we figured things out together. I was able to become pregnant twice and we now have two wonderful children. My pain attacks haven't returned and my period pain is barely noticeable with no pain medication needed.
My husband and I agree that the benefits of seeing Dr. Yeung went far beyond our expectations and we are exceedingly grateful for how his work changed our lives. I recommend Dr. Yeung to anyone who is suffering from endometriosis and wanting the best care and treatment available from someone who is truly caring and compassionate.
For 8ish years I was told by countless gynecologists that my non-existent periods and excruciating “period pain” were part of being a woman and that I had nothing wrong with me. Unfortunately, I just took that as an answer and did not advocate enough for myself. It was not until June 2017 that I started experiencing severe endometriosis symptoms including pain with exercising, pain, and spotting with sex, severe back pain/kidney pain and much more. In September 2017, I met with a family practice gynecologist in Mississippi (where I lived at the time), the ninth doctor in 8 years. After explaining my symptoms and running countless tests, he stated that he thought I might have endometriosis. At that point, I had never even heard of endometriosis but when he suggested surgery, to be sure it was indeed endometriosis, and that he could get it out, I jumped right in.
Little to my knowledge at the time that was the worst decision I could have made. A week after surgery (a failed ablation) I was put on Lupron. After the 3 months of being on Lupron, I was at my wits end. All my pain was back and on top of that, I had horrible menopausal symptoms. I was crying multiple times a day, fatigued, super emotional, the hot flashes were terrible and I just did not feel like myself. I decided to seek a second opinion in Boston, at the Boston Center from Endometriosis. Again, instead of getting to the root of my pain, I was given Synarel- the nasal version of Lupron.
The band-aid approaches started making me very angry and I felt even angrier that I was taking multiple meds to counteract the Synarel and its side effects. I did as much research on endometriosis as I could. In May 2018, I stumbled across Nancy’s Nook on Facebook. After reading file after file, I decided that I personally felt I still had endometriosis ravaging inside my body and that something needed to be done about it.
I knew I was moving to Missouri in November 2018, so I sought out Dr. Patrick Yeung after seeing him on the Nook list and reading all the comments from other patients. In June 2018, I called to schedule a consult with Dr. Yeung, but I also mentioned to the scheduler that I had already had one surgery, a failed ablation and that I felt I would be in at least the 90th percentile for needing a second surgery. The scheduler agreed and I was able to get a consult scheduled in November and booked a potential surgery for December
Upon first meeting Dr. Yeung, one can tell how truly invested he is in treating patients with suspected or confirmed endometriosis. My husband and I sat through a long and detailed consultation with him going over everything from the first surgery, my lifestyle changes (including diet), and the current symptoms I was having. It was decided at the end of the consultation that another surgery was completely necessary.
On surgery day, the nurses and surgical team were so kind and understanding of my anxiety and nausea and made my experience much more pleasant prior to surgery. Flash forward 3 hours, while I was in the recovery room, Dr. Yeung spoke to my husband and parents, where they recorded him going over before and after images of the disease and excision (which I got to bring home and restudy them). I have come to find out after watching the recording; my body was infiltrated with endometriosis.
Waking up from surgery, I was in a lot of pain, but the nurses were able to manage that very well and I was soon in rest and recovery with my family and husband.
3 months post op, the pain was gone. I could not believe how much different and better I felt after this surgery than the first surgery. Surgery #1 (in Mississippi with a general OB), I could hardly move for a week after surgery, barely walking around and in a ton of pain. Surgery #2 (with Dr. Yeung), day 2, I was up walking around and truly feeling better, I could not believe the difference (it is scary not knowing what the first doctor did to make me feel so much pain). I have clear tubes, unadheared organs, and a cleaned-out uterus. I no longer have daily back pain, pain with urination and pain/bleeding with sex and exercise.
At one year post op from my excision surgery with Dr. Patrick Yeung. I had never felt better. I still had no pain, ever, no cramping pre or during my period and I had completely normal periods (which I did not have before). Post-surgery I did not need pelvic floor therapy and I did not go on any form of birth control. Knowing my husband and I wanted to start a family and under Dr. Yeung’s guidance and recommendation, I began natural family planning with the Creighton Model System. This system allowed me to track my fertility and every aspect of my cycle. It has also allowed me to become more in tune with my body than I ever had been.
After a couple months of tracking, it was clear something was not right and after some blood tests, we found out that I had a low ovarian reserve (AMH) and not ovulating.
Dr. Yeung and I (along with my husband) made a plan and went through the process of trying to treat my infertility. I started taking some medication and on the first cycle of Letrozole and METformin became pregnant with twins. Unfortunately, I was again moving and could not stay in St. Louis and see the doctors there. However, upon moving and finding a new obgyn, I was able to continue to stay in touch with Dr. Yeung through my MyChart and keep him up to date on my pregnancy. We even discussed what my OB could do during a C-section to reduce the chances of further spread of endometriosis.
Today, I have 10-month-old twin girls who are as vivacious as ever. I am still pain free, I have monthly cycles that are regular and virtually pain free and I enjoy being able to live my life to the fullest.
I don’t know what you’re dealing with…but if you’re anything like me, you’re probably scared and in pain. You feel like you’re going crazy, and maybe you just want to give up. You probably feel so alone and like no one truly understands, like it’s all in your head. You may even feel that if this is life, it just isn’t worth living. Based on what you’re going through, it’s an entirely logical response to feel these things. You’ve probably been examined by several doctors and they’ve all told you that you’re fine and that there’s nothing wrong with you and that you’re “perfectly healthy”…reaffirming to you that it’s just all in your head.
I know firsthand what it’s like to feel those things. Almost every day. For 14 years. But I don’t feel them anymore. My hope for you as I share my story is that you would be able to relate, that you would see yourself in my story, and that you would see that you’re not crazy, that there are answers for what you’re going through, and that you would begin to hope for the healing that is available. You aren’t alone. Thousands of women are in similar situations and think they’re going crazy and that no one will ever believe them. But it’s not true…there are resources out there for you, and I’m here to tell you that they work. I’m living proof! You can get help, today.
My symptoms first started around a year after I had my first cycle, at around 15 years old. Severe abdominal pressure would give way to crippling abdominal pain any time I would do even gentle exercise. At times, I couldn’t even function because the pain was so bad. This brought lightheadedness as well and I would almost black out until the worst of the pain passed. One time, I remember doubling over in pain on the side of the road hoping to wave someone down so I could get help because I couldn’t even walk back home. I became fearful to go for jogs for fear I would be stranded. Cardio exercise in general seemed to cause pain and jarring; but I often would do my best to push through, thinking it was normal. As the years wore on, no matter how hard I pushed, I was always limited in exercise by the pain, lightheadedness and nausea that would inevitably come. As someone who thrives on exercise, it was maddening. My body wouldn’t let me do what I wanted to stay in shape. This abdominal pain grew more severe and became an almost daily experience the longer I went untreated.
The brain fog came on gradually as well. Mental clarity and focus seemed next to impossible. Then the headaches came. They worsened until they became occasional migraines…which slowly increased until I was having one almost every day and was forced to curl up in a fetal position, take as much medication as I could, block out all light and noise, and just wait for the pain and nausea to pass.
The fatigue, however, was one of the worst symptoms. It slowly developed to the point where I couldn't even function in the evenings. I struggled to stay engaged with anything throughout the day, just wanting to lay down everywhere. I lost any energy that I once had. I had played sports competitively and worked out regularly…but even simple tasks became massively difficult as the years went by— showering, getting dressed, sitting up to eat and brushing my teeth. But I wasn’t sleeping well either; so strange because I was always tired and falling asleep but waking up feeling extremely drained and exhausted. The lack of sleep snowballed into getting sick regularly as my immune system was in such terrible condition. Sickness that would take others a couple of days to beat would take me a week or more. My record was catching 7 bugs/viruses/colds in 2 months back to back! But because all the doctors said I was fine…well, I thought was simply lazy and not washing my hands enough.
Throughout the years I have had several occasions that now I know were probably ovarian cysts bursting. We would rush to the ER, get every test imaginable, and they would say everything was fine and send us home. I would be bedridden, in excruciating pain, for 2-3 days until it passed. This happened several times and we eventually stopped going to the ER because we knew they would just tell us that nothing was wrong.
When the symptoms first started, my gynecologist and PCP immediately wanted me to start on birth control and never considered endometriosis as a possible diagnosis. They would immediately push that suggestion aside and even recommended anti-anxiety and antidepression medication. I saw a pulmonologist, a cardiologist, multiple gynecologists, rheumatologists, gastroenterologists, etc…over a dozen doctors…and no one could help. I had every test run that you could think of. The symptoms would continue even though my bloodwork always came back “normal.” I came to the conclusion that everybody must deal with this too and that I needed to just push past it. Along with many of these symptoms, I looked around at others and saw how easy and enjoyable life seemed to be for them. This caused me to turn more inwards and become severely depressed, to the point where I just didn’t care anymore. Eventually, life didn’t seem worth it, and I just didn’t want to be around if this was what life would be. Desire for anything ceased and I just stopped wanting to live.
I’m a strong believer in the Lord and have desired to take His name to all the nations for the past 15 years; to be a tribal missionary out in the remotest jungles. I didn’t understand why I felt this deep burden so strongly only to be stuck in bed. I seemed to be put on the back burner or “benched.” But that’s fine, because I knew I would go to heaven when I died. I could be with my Savior and have a new, healthy body.
But everyday God gave me strength to choose to breathe, to live a little longer. Getting on an antidepressant helped the suicidal thoughts to disappear, but the chronic nature of depression continued to have a hold on me. In the end, it was hard to tell whether the fatigue was the debilitating factor or whether I had just lost all motivation and desire to go on. I spent most of that year in bed or reclining - my eyes distant and empty and my heart heavy and saddened beyond expression.
This all changed when I met Dr. Yeung. He validated my years of suffering and walked me through my treatment options. After a long excision surgery (I had extensive stage IV Endo and needed a bowel resection as well), physical therapy and diet and lifestyle changes, everything I described above is no longer a part of my life. All those symptoms are gone. My life is completely different. I have energy for the day and my excitement for life has returned. I am 100% pain-free. I got my life back…no, actually I have a new life, because I’ve never enjoyed a life like this as an adult.
It’s such a new thing for me to not feel any abdominal pain! In fact, the only symptom that makes me aware of my cycle is the bleeding…minimal to no cramping and really no pain! I am just as active on my cycle as any other time of the month. I literally didn’t believe this was possible.
My strength is increasing every day. I jog every day with no pain and it has been an exciting journey to see my body fighting with me instead of against me. I am able to fend off illness with my stronger immune system and I don’t feel the horrible reality of my body limiting me like I did for so long. I can now make it through the day without feeling exhausted all the time. I am sleeping better and I have the desire and ability to move through my day, getting stuff done…simple tasks are no longer draining. I no longer have to choose whether I will shower or wash the dishes because of my extremely limited energy. In fact, I have to choose which things are best to do because I don’t have enough time in the day to get done all that I want to accomplish! And we are back on track to head overseas as tribal missionaries in the near future.
The most amazing part of this journey is the miracle of getting pregnant with our sweet little boy! My body has healed so much that I was able to create a new life! He was ten pounds and born almost two years to the day of my big surgery to remove all the endo. What was most startling to me was that laboring naturally with no medication with a ten pound baby was less painful than having endo for all those years!
If my story has struck a chord with you, let me encourage you to do a few things. I want to see you healthy and whole and experiencing the same kind of life that I now am experiencing every day. I don’t want you to live in the same fog and maddening frustration that I lived in for so long. If any of my symptoms resonated with you, there is a way out. Personally, I wouldn’t want to trust anyone outside of Dr. Yeung with my life. But to my understanding, there are other gynecologists out there who are similarly experienced. Make sure you go to a gynecologist who specializes in endometriosis treatment via excision surgery.
Don’t give up. You’re not making up your symptoms. You’re not asking for attention. Don’t settle. You know your body better than anybody else. Don’t even think about the costs of medical care. This is your life we’re talking about! Be willing to travel to meet the doctor you choose…this is not time to be tough and just push through and settle for the cheapest option. Yes, my surgery was expensive. But we figured it out. And I have my life back. It was worth it! Really express how you’re feeling to the doctor, how your condition has affected your life. Be honest. Don’t give into the temptation that you won’t ever be able to get better. Keep fighting and keep pursuing the medical care that you deserve. Healing is possible. A pain-free life might be just around the corner for you. Don’t give up. It’s more than worth it.
It can be so scary and defeating living with endometriosis. There is so much pain, grief, loneliness, and shame as you battle it day in and day out. You can feel so lost at times as there are more questions than answers as you try to figure out your next steps and which way you should go.
Like most women, my journey with endo began long before I knew what it was or what to do about it. Looking back, it first began in high school. Painful periods resulted in me being put on birth control as a way to manage the pain. Though it seemed to help a bit, the painful periods continued and over time the pain became worse. Over the next several years, I resigned myself to the idea that periods were just supposed to be extremely painful and that everyone went through them like I did.
In 2008 at the age of 24, I married my husband. We both knew we wanted children and were so excited at the idea of becoming parents. In 2010, we began trying for a baby. I assumed it would happen right away for us and had so much hope as we began to plan for our little one. After a year of trying with no success, I went to my gynecologist, and after 2 office visits and a series of blood tests, she diagnosed me as “infertile” and told me that IVF was likely the best option for me. I felt so overwhelmed, saddened, and defeated as I left her office and cried to my husband in the parking lot. I went into a hole for the next year, avoiding any doctors and leaning on God as we continued to try for a baby.
Over the next year, my endometriosis pain became so severe that I was forced to finally face it. Severe abdominal pain, dizziness, cold sweats, sharp stabbing pains with movement, bloating, and constant pressure were becoming too much to take. For months I played the “wait and see” game- wearing stretchy pants, loose shirts, stooping over when I walked, holding my breath in fear with the pain of going to the bathroom, reclining my seat while driving, and sitting back down when the stabbing pain would come from standing up too quickly. I did this for months, until I could no longer take it. A trip to my doctor led to an ovarian ultrasound revealing two large endometriomas, one in each ovary. I was referred to a local gynecologist who was said to be knowledgeable in treating endometriosis, and after a 10 minute consult, I was scheduled for surgery with him.
The surgery was unsuccessful as the doctor tried to drain the endometriomas and cut out what he could see. He admitted only after that the endo was more complex than he was prepared for, and that my ovaries, uterus, and rectum were still connected to each other. After surgery, the pain was just as severe as before, and within 3 months, an ultrasound revealed endometriomas in each ovary yet again. At this time, we had been trying for a baby for 3 years, and only had enough answers to know that endometriosis was present, but was likely too severe and complex to be treated. I felt so depressed, defeated, and broken.
And then by the grace of God, we met Dr. Yeung.
Dr. Yeung did an ultrasound, thorough consultation, answered all of our questions, and prepared a team of surgeons and a game plan for my surgery. He was so knowledgeable, diligent, and kind, ensuring that all factors were considered and all questions answered. In October 2013, I had my surgery with Dr. Yeung. The surgery revealed Stage IV endometriosis, and using a specialized laser method for optimal excision, he removed the endometriomas, all visible signs of endometriosis, and was able to safely detach my ovaries, uterus, and rectum from one another while doing so. He additionally applied GoreTex (a material that prevents adhesions) to my ovaries while they healed from the surgery. The surgery was a great success, and for the first time in years I had hope. I no longer felt broken, and my body felt like mine again, healthy and whole.
Dr. Yeung introduced us to an approach to restorative fertility - also called NaProTechnology(R) - and a system of fertility awareness with the Creighton Method FertilityCare System(R). We were set up with a NaPro nurse who taught us how to use the system and chart cycles, and Dr. Yeung met with us in continued follow up to review charts with the goal of getting to the root of the infertility. He uncovered the problems causing the infertility and helped us (through hCG injections, medication, and timing) to achieve optimal fertility.
In April 2015, after 5 years of trying, and 18 months after my surgery with Dr. Yeung, we found out that we were pregnant with our son. Dr. Yeung continued to assist us by reviewing NaPro charts and consulting with us over the next few years, and with his help and God’s goodness, in July 2017 we became pregnant with our daughter (after only 6 months of trying). We were amazed to be parents to these two miracles. Then in February 2019 we found out we were pregnant again. This time, without the months of waiting and trying (what a surprise blessing he was)! If someone would have told me 7 years ago, before that surgery and first meeting with Dr. Yeung, that I would be the mother of three, pain free, with no evident signs of endometriosis, I’m not sure that I would have believed them. But I thank God every day that he led me on the journey that He did.
I am beyond thankful that we met Dr. Yeung - as he walked beside us on this journey, helped give us the gift of children, and has brought me to a place where endo no longer defines me.
Choosing Dr. Yeung as my endo specialist and surgeon, choosing to chart my fertility and a restorative fertility approach without IVF, and trusting in God were the best decisions we could have ever made. No matter where you are on your endo journey, never lose hope. Your story is not finished, you are not broken, and the best is yet to come.
I (Dr. Patrick Yeung) will be joining Veritas Fertility & Surgery starting January 1, 2022 to offer patients more comprehensive, effective, and streamlined medical and surgical treatment for fertility, without IVF.
In surgery, I will continue to offer the best of optimal excision and adhesion prevention in the treatment of all stages of endometriosis, from minimal (teenagers) to advanced.