Wednesday, September 21, 2011

But I don't feel abnormal! (Women's Health Blog, warning TMI!!!)

     So, as women we all generally aren't too fond of our annual gynecological exam. This can be especially familiar if you've ever been told that your results were abnormal and they want to see you again for more poking, prodding, and to remove a portion of possibly abnormal cells for biopsy.
     Here is my story and I'm putting it out there for you because... there simply isn't enough information, first hand experience stories, and there is very little support for someone who has no idea what they are going through or are about to go through. I will try my hardest not to scare anyone; I know you're probably already  worried.

I went in during the second week of August for a routine annual exam. I first had an appointment for this in May and the office called and rescheduled me for June. The day before my June appointment they called and cancelled my second appointment. At this point I was getting upset and the only July appointments they had available were during my period! So FINALLY I got into the office in August. I saw someone new to me because the person whom I usually see was overbooked. Bing, bang, boom, and "everything looks good"; I was out of the office. "No news is good news" I was told.
Two weeks passed effortlessly and I got a call from my gynecologist's office. My pap was abnormal and I needed to return for a colposcopy. The colposcopy was scheduled one month after my annual exam. Let me tell you... having already been there, done that before I did NOT want to go. After all the first time I never figured out what the results were!!!
No I am not going to lie to you and tell you "It's like a pap smear". This can be painful it's most comparable to if you were to cut yourself with scissors... on your lady bits. The pain quickly passes but the memory will stay with you forever. So, if you need a repeat biopsy at some point in your life taken from your cervix... it's going to be more stressful. My first colposcopy + biopsy was done 3 years ago.
My August pap came back as ASCUS, CIN 1. This is where google helped me to understand what the office couldn't seem to explain to me.
A colposcopy itself does not hurt, it is like a pap smear. They look around put a concoction on your cervix to highlight any areas that my have dysplasia or lesions("lesions" sounds pretty bad I know). They use a special microscope to look for the cell changes and if they see something there, most likely they will do a biopsy to find out exactly what cells you have. Very rarely will a doctor do treatment at this time as it is important for you to be prepared for it. For example if you are going in for the colposcopy generally you would be able to do this alone. You will not have pain that will cause interference with driving but if you are a nervous wreck I would suggest that you have someone drive you!
A couple biopsies were taken from my cervix because more than one area was affected. For me the first biopsy that was taken didn't hurt, it was the second one that was painful, and then a swab was done inside the cervix to ensure no abnormal changes were taking place where they could not be seen. I was an emotional wreck. Wishing and hoping that my pap was wrong and that I was there for nothing. But it turned out that my dysplasia looked pretty bad and was located on two different parts of my cervix. If your doctor has the technology to put the image onto a computer screen you may be able to ask to see what is going on inside there. It's your body... you might as well know what is going on in there! I got to see my cervix and the affected areas. I even asked to see the specimens (that once belonged to me) they took that were being sent for biopsy. They only take a tiny little snip of the affected cells for the biopsy. Worst part is the goo they put in there that helps to limit bleeding. It really is disgusting! Wear a panty liner or pad until you know it's all done making it's way back out!
No tampons no sex for 1-2 weeks possibly longer depending on what your doctor tells you. Now.... you get to sit around and worry and wait and drive yourself absolutely INSANE!!! Sounds like a blast right?

My gynecologist recommended right at my biopsy that she wanted to do a LEEP to remove all of the abnormal cells and to just go ahead and take care of it and hopefully I can be done with it. Although if I am planning on having more children we would wait to do the LEEP until after that. I was also told AT the colpo' that a test would be run to find out what strain of the hpv virus was responsible for these abnormal cervical cells.
Which makes no sense to me because I tested positive for hpv (if your pap is abnormal they usually automatically run this test). So if the virus want's to persist, the cells with come back again!? Right? It's all about the immune system's defense against the HPV virus in my understanding. If your immune system is down.... hpv is more likely to try to "attack".
Some offices would have gotten my abnormal pap results and told me to come back in 6 months for another pap and if it is abnormal again they would move forward with the colposcopy.
So at this point my biopsy from the colposcopy revealed CIN 2 in both parts of my cervix. And my gynecologist is pushing for immediate action to be taken. They even tried scare tactics and were one step away from screaming at me over the phone. Then never ran the test that I was told would be done to find out what type of hpv I have. So... someone lied to me, as if going to the gynecologist wasn't enough of a turn off, they're really trying hard to run me off to another doctor.

There is so much that people do not know about HPV. Did you know... By age 50, 80% of women will have HPV. HPV can be spread through skin contact, which means, condoms will not protect against getting HPV or spreading it to your partner. The test for HPV in men is limited as in there is no test like the one that doctor's have for women follow the link for more men's health regarding HPV ( Men CAN be tested for HPV if they have genital warts, known to be caused from certain strains of the HPV virus, but by that time they already know that they have it. There is no cure and the vaccine only protects against a couple strains of HPV out of over one hundred different strains. If you think you're protected, you're not. Doctors generally only offer this vaccination to girls and young women even though males can get HPV and can be at increased risk of cancer. HPV can cause PENILE cancer, ANAL cancer, and OROPHARYNGEAL cancer (back of the throat) in addition to Cervical cancer and other vaginal cancers. HPV can remain dormant for months or years making it difficult to know when you originally came into contact with the virus as well as who you may have spread it to.

Here are some websites to gain further information(Please note that information from research varies from one source to the next and it is important to take all information into consideration because this virus is still undergoing research to better understand it. Also there is no cure only preventative measures.):

Back to how I'm feeling.... since I haven't quite touched base on that.
In one word... defeated.
My doctors want to do a LEEP procedure to remove all the abnormal cells/dysplasia. They keep telling me that my cervix will "grow back" but I have yet to find this information. And after already being lied to once I'm not feeling to sure about this whole situation. Scare tactics have been used against me when I've expressed emotional distress about the situation, making them come off as completely inconsiderate and rude.
I understand "procedure" and I understand that I have three children but my PLANS are not over and they are not even telling me any of the risks involved. Not once have they mentioned "incompetent cervix", infertility, or infection. They have told me "you will absolutely be able to have another baby". But don't care to listen when I explain that the cells are on a part of my cervix that was damaged during child birth.... meaning it will be different and it's not just on the surface.
Seriously.... what am I supposed to do when my gut is telling me they are wrong?
What am I supposed to do when they aren't telling me everything and are lying to me?
Had I been going to my old dr... they'd have done a watch and wait period of 6 months if another abnormal pap was then received a colposcopy would have been completed and then actions would be based off of those findings.
I'm sad, I'm torn, and I'm simply not satisfied with what I am being told.

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