I'm home now, into my 3d week of recovery from a vulvectomy due to something called VIN III w/HPV effect. When my saga started 2 months ago, I had no idea how little information there is about this sort of thing. I've spent God-knows how many hours on the web researching diseases of the vulva.
I had, what I thought was a hair bump that simply would not heal. When I asked my husband to look at it, he said I was starting to lose pigment along w/a lesion. A few weeks later, after getting no relief, he looked again & said it appeared to be getting larger.
My PCP thought I had lichen sclerosis but sent me to a GYN for a biopsy; 7 days later, I got a call while shopping to say that the biopsy wasn't clean and I needed to get in to see an oncologist who specialized in GYN cancers pronto. Three days later, she took a look at me and said, "I'm not convinced that you don't have cancer already but the only way to find out is surgery." THAT was a very sobering moment--my emotions kept veering from steely resolve to paralyzing fear!
I had surgery 2 weeks later. From her description, she made the procedure seem like a piece of cake...I honestly expected to be in and out of there in 2 hours! When I finally woke up, it was 6 1/2 hours later. Once she start cutting, she found a lot more diseased tissue which led us to believe that this "problem" started a lot sooner than 6-months ago which I thought. That part I don't understand because I have GYN exams like clockwork every year.
Even though I had to come home w/a catheter, the pain didn't really kick in until 2 days later--the sensation alternated between feeling as if my flesh was on fire and feeling like it had been thru a meat grinder. I took Percodan & anti-nausea meds every 4 hours like clockwork--we were sleep deprived & exhausted for several days--anyone who has an infant knows what I mean.
Thankfully we had sitz baths & disposable waterproof pads on-hand. The doc warned me that urinating was going to be painful, but using a spray bottle w/warm water and a warm, moist face-towel worked wonders. I slept on a waterproof pad with 1 bag of frozen vegetables (wrapped in a cotton diaper) under my public area & 1 on top. After every void, I let the area air-dry (I was stitched up both sides of my public area and half-way up my bottom) then my husband applied a mixture of lidocaine/Neosporin and sometimes A&D.
My stitches came out about 2 weeks later--agony! The upside is, the swelling has gone down; at its worst, it made walking very difficult and painful. I still can't stay on my feet for too long or else I'll start swelling and sitting on hard surfaces is a no-no.
Am not sure if this is likely to recur or if it makes me susceptible to other types of female cancers. That's probably my biggest fear. It took me 2 weeks to get up the courage to even look at the site. The doctor says I must have exams every 3 months for the next 2 years and then it'll go to every 6 months. My official diagnosis was something called carcinoma in situ.
For anyone who is going thru this or is scheduled to, you have my prayers and sympathy. It's a difficult thing to explain to others but for someone who is dealing with it...please know that you are not alone.