[I apologize ahead of time for misused medical terms. I'm trying to go off memory from what I've learned over the past few years.]
I've waited awhile to write about this because it wasn't something that I really thought about. When we first got to Aviano, I had a pap smear and it came back abnormal. I was referred to the Women's Clinic for a follow up and they determined that I had mild cervical dysplasia. There's really nothing that can be done but watch and wait. I've been going in for pap smears and colposcopies (biopsy of the abnormal tissue) every six months. In the last year, it has progressed from low grade to medium grade bordering on severe. I had the choice to wait and see or get a LEEP (Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure) done to remove some of my cervix in hopes of getting rid of all the abnormal cells.
Because of the rare, but possible, risk of preterm labor or (even less rare) infertility risks Will and I decided to wait and see. At my last check-in my pap smear came back normal. I thought that my body had naturally corrected itself and I was in the clear! My doctor did another pap smear, colposcopy, and HPV test. My pap smear came back normal again and my HPV test was negative. Unfortunately, the pathology results showed that I still have medium grade dysplasia. It's been over two years since my diagnosis so my doctor wanted to go ahead with the LEEP.
Like I said, I haven't really thought much about my condition because my doctor reassured me that it was no big deal despite the ominous PRE-CANCER label. Even at this point, it's not super serious...it's just that it hasn't resolved itself so we're going to try to remove it. I'm hoping and praying that the LEEP will be the end of it. The bad cells will be removed and that will be that. They'll test the removed tissue and it'll be several weeks before I hear back on the results.
Think positive thoughts for me!
The main reason I wanted to share this on the blog is because of the comments I read on some message boards. Ladies were freaking out and not enough people were reassuring them. I'll admit, I was pretty nervous before today. I had the procedure done this morning and it was not a big deal at all. The numbing shot was the worst part. They used lidocaine and epinephrine. My doctor warned me before we got started that the epinephrine was going to make my heart race and cause some shakiness. That freaked me out more than the procedure. I'm glad I was warned because it's a seriously freaky feeling. But other than that, it was smooth sailing. It also helps that I have an amazing doctor who has a great sense of humor and makes sure to talk me through everything both beforehand and while he's doing it.
If you have any questions or need someone to talk to, feel free to email me (email@example.com). It doesn't have to be a scary diagnosis...but it can be if you let yourself think about it too much.