Kristen Mt. Joy was living in Fort Hood and experiencing non-stop bleeding from periods.
Her obgyn found fibroids and suggested surgery, preparing Kristen for the possibility of losing her uterus in the process.The young single woman was shocked, and said she shed a lot of tears that day. “I didn’t want to have the option of having kids taken away from me.”
An online search informed Kristen of her options, and she decided that, rather than a hysterectomy, she wanted to find a skilled reproductive endocrinologist who could perform a fertility-sparing myomectomy to leave the uterus intact.
“Dr. Lisa Hansard and her staff made me feel so comfortable.”
Kristen’s insurance company helped her find Texas Fertility Center (TFC). The staff member who answered the call that day reassured her after learning about Kristen’s fibroids and plans to have children one day.
Fibroids do not always need to be surgically removed when a woman is trying to get pregnant; it depends on the size and location. As a reproductive surgeon, Dr. Hansard needed to get a closer look and scheduled a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for Kristen.
“One thing that was not clear before fibroid surgery was that I had severe endometriosis even though I did not have any symptoms,” says Kristen. “That turned it into a five-hour surgery, but the important thing was that Dr. Hansard saved my uterus, removed the fibroids and cleaned up the endometriosis.”
At her post-op appointment, Dr. Hansard explained that she suspected that Kristen may need IVF one day, and said: “When you are ready to have a child, we hope you will come to us.”
Recovery and pregnancy after fibroid surgery
Fibroid surgery inspired Kristen to be more fitness-oriented once she was back on her feet. As an archeologist, she spends a lot of time outdoors. She remembers that after six weeks she felt better. “The amount of change was incredible,” she says. “My periods were less heavy and I had so much more energy.”
Driving from Fort Hood to Austin, about an hour’s drive, for monitoring while she was on Lupron was not too taxing, says Kristen. “The staff and Dr. Hansard made the travel as easy on me as possible. They scheduled everything down to a tee. They would call and check on me and wanted me back up to speed; it helped with the psychological element … knowing that they care.”
She moved to Austin in 2005; met and married her husband, Greg, three years later. When the two decided to start a family, the IVF process was as positive an experience as the fibroid surgery, she says. “The nurses were so involved and ready to respond. Plus, Greg felt very comfortable and well informed.”
When the Mt. Joys got the pregnancy results, she remembers the staff as her biggest cheerleaders. “They obviously want for you what you want for yourself.”
Greg and Kristen heard the great news that she was pregnant. Two frozen embryos provided the opportunity to add a sibling to their family within the year. Today, the Mt. Joys have two adorable children — Pepper and Gus.
Trust your instincts, says Kristen
Kristen went from being told by one provider, “I don’t know if I can do anything and may take out your uterus,” to another who preserved fertility with myomectomy.
“It behooves every woman to be proactive about reproductive health — whether or not you think you want children. Trust your instincts. Maybe there is treatment to alleviate your pain and discomfort, and a choice that allows for a future with children.”
Contact our Austin fertility center for a consultation with Dr. Lisa Hansard. Fibroid surgery and endometriosis treatment can pave the way to a family.