I wrote this post about my colposcopy and biopsy experience back in November and all of this has been hanging over me like a dark cloud for months. Due to having a ruptured ectopic and surgery in December I had to push my treatment back. Tomorrow I am having Lletz treatment for abnormal cervical cells. If you are due a smear test please go for your smear ladies!
What seems like a lifetime ago now when it was in reality only a few weeks I went for my smear test. I’ve always found them uncomfortable but this one was more painful than normal and it made me bleed almost instantly. For some reason I was worried about my results and so when I got a letter less than two weeks later I knew it wasn’t going to be good news. An abnormal result with high grade (moderate) dyskaryosis and of course I immediately went and Googled. Yes I know it is the worst thing I could have done. But I actually feel better if I understand the terms, if I try to understand what it happening.
I waited and waited for my colposcopy appointment to come and it didn’t so in desperation I rang the hospital after work on the Friday. Luckily I did ring as the appointment was for the Monday, the letter had never reached me. Friends offered to come with me but I knew I wouldn’t be in a chatty mood, I wanted to face it on my own. When I arrived at the hospital I was pretty surprised to find I had to wait in the waiting room with all the happy excited parents waiting for scans. I was sitting there pretty scared by this point trying to avoid anyone’s gaze, the only person there on my own.
I get called through by a lovely nurse and meet the specialist who I am relieved is also a woman. At this point she asks me if I’m ok and I fight back the tears. I don’t know why I’m trying not to cry, I think fear and adrenaline make me want to run away and bury my head or sob. They explain what will happen and I’m directed to a small bathroom to change into a gown, naked from the waist down.
I awkwardly re enter the room and make my way to the clinical bed with stirrups. Once in position the nurse tries to talk to me about my children and the last thing I want to do is talk. I just want to pretend this isn’t happening but I idly chat away whilst they apply the vinegar (which is cold and slightly stings) to see any abnormal cells. She asks if I would like to see what they are looking at and so I look at the screen and I can see the white abnormal cells showing up.
The nurse explains that she will take some biopsies and I’m flinching before she even does it. The hole punching sound fills the room as she takes 3 uncomfortable samples to be sent off. Applying silver nitrate to stop the bleeding instantly makes me cramp and then it’s done. I’m left to gingerly get off the bed and go to the bathroom again to get re dressed. I’m told to take one of the maternity style pads as I can expect some bleeding.
I shut the door and silently burst into tears. After composing myself I speak to the specialist again who explains that I will get my results within a month and then we will go from there.
Crampy and feeling a bit sorry for myself I decide to get a coffee in the hospital cafe before driving home. I had forgotten to take pain killers in the morning rush and ironically the hospital shop doesn’t sell any. The cramps last for about a day and a pain like I’ve been punched on my cervix which I suppose I had, lasts for a couple of days. The intermittent bleeding and weird black stuff that comes away from the silver nitrate lasts for around a week. All this time I’m waiting, that butt clenching moment that you get walking through the door and checking the post for any letters.
It finally arrives less than two weeks after the biopsies, I’ve read this is not always a good sign and so my heart is in my throat as I open the letter. I have confirmed CIN3 which is severe changes in cells. All of the cells removed in the biopsies were abnormal going through the whole depth of the surface layer of the cervix. I rang and spoke to the team and they explained its stage 0 cervical cancer (NOT Cancer) sometimes called cervical carcinoma in situ, like a cancerous mole that hasn’t yet spread to surrounding tissue. These cells cannot be left and I will need treatment to get rid of them and to further check the changes. This will be happening soon and then the wait will begin again to hear if all the cells removed are still pre-cancerous.
If you are reading my colposcopy and biopsy experience and due or overdue a smear please, please go. It’s looking like my cell changes have been caught just in time, fingers crossed!