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  • Colposcopy and beyond- any advice for me?

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    Old 12-04-2003, 08:28 AM   #1
    GRL's Avatar
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    Post Colposcopy and beyond- any advice for me?

    I am one of those unfortunate people who was living in an area of the county where screening only takes place once every five years. I have now moved down south (4 mths ago)and I was desperate to have a smear test. I could tell something was wrong, I get so tired all the time, and I have had a barrage of life events happen all within the space of a few months. I am the prime candidate to get cancer.

    So I had my smear which comes back as abnormal but my GP just says come back for another in 3 months. This didn't sound right so I went back on Tuesday and asked to see the report, which says something different, like "severe", i.e. don't mess around. I didn't get the letter from the hospital because they sent it to the wrong address. I have been today, 2 days later, for my colposcopy, where they said it looked normal, although even the layman could see all the white spots speckled all over the screen. She did a biopsy or two, lasered me all over etc and my cervix now looks totally different shades of brown. Nothing wrong? I don't think so.

    I now have to wait for my results. Obviously cancer is a possibility, but what else produces abnormal cells - does anyone know? And what further treatments are likely if the cone biopsy shows more abnormalities?

    The one thing I really don't want is a hysterectomy. I am just buying a Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Franchise and am due to start my training in January with a view to being launched in April. I am so looking forward to my new career. I have never had the slightest gynae problem despite 4 now grown-up children.

    I live on my own and shall have no income if this doesn't happen, and right now I feel very lonely. Next week, I have to go up north for my divorce hearing, as my husband refuses to give me what I am legally entitled to. This 'husband' left his 1st wife (who died just after their divorce from breat cancer) for a girlfriend, who died during his divorce from leukaemia. Now it seems to be my turn at least to be stressed out, with symptoms, if not cancer - ladies, just make sure you don't get to know this man!

    I would love to hear from anyone who offer me any support and answer the questions above. It seems that many of you are much younger than me, and I shouldn't be feeling so sorry for myself. (I am 50, getting younger all the time). I am glad I have found this website as you all seem to be so kind to each other. I look forward to hearing from you.

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    Old 12-04-2003, 09:49 AM   #2
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    Re: Colposcopy and beyond- any advice for me?

    Hi GRL,
    I am new to these boards as well, but I have been reading them for the past month or so. I just went through three colposcopies after having two abnormal pap smears. I can tell you about my experience with this, and also the others on this board are very helpful! It's kind of a long story, but I think it may help. I had an abnormal pap smear last December, which was read as ASCUS. That just means you have abnormal cells but they don't know what they are from. I had a coloposcopy because I tested positive for a strain of HPV (human papaloma virus), which is known to cause cancer. At the first colposcopy they said it was "normal" and said that I should just go back for a follow up in 6 months. However, they said my cervix was "diffcult to image" because I had what is called a cervical ectropion. This is when cells that are normally on the inside of your cervix are on the outside. The difficulty with this is that when they use the acetic acid to look for the abnormal areas on your cervix, abnormal areas will appear white, but so will the area of this ectropion. Sometimes it is hard for them to tell what they are looking at in this case. The brown stuff you are probably referring to is iodine that they use as another way of imaging the abnormal areas of your cervix. The normal areas turn brown when iodine is painted on. In my case, this ectropion was difficult for them to stain, and it turned very pale shades of brown. Point being, they said as far as they could tell, this was "normal". To me, this sounds like it is similar to what happened to you. Anyway, I went for a follow up pap smear 4 months later which came back as High Grade SIL (or severe dysplasia). This means that they found a higher percentage of abnormal cells. I was terrified that I had cancer, as almost everyone seems to be after getting this type of result. I went for another colposcopy and they did find an area with actual abnormal cells this time. They said that severe dysplasia has a 35% chance of returning to normal on its own, but that it is usually treated just in case. It commonly takes up to ten years before becoming cancer, but they generally treat it right away. In the mean time I did a ton of research trying to find out about this. I found out that keeping your immune system healthy is important so I started taking vitamins and stopped taking birth control pills (They have listed long term use of BCPs as a risk factor for precancerous conditions of the cervix). I had to wait another 4 months to get treatment because I moved in the middle of all this.

    I ended up with another colposcopy and I finally got a LEEP procedure done, where they cut away the abnormal part with an electrical loop. End of story, after almost a year, it is over with and I got the lab report back last week saying they removed all of the abnormal part and that it had reverted to mild/moderate dysplasia from severe. Now I just have to have pap smears every for months for awhile.

    In response to your question about the biopsy, did they do a cone biopsy or a punch biopsy? I though a cone biopsy was something you had to be in the hospital and knocked out for. If they just did a regular biopsy and it shows abnormalities, they might suggest you have it treated or see if it gets better on its own, depending if it is mild, moderate, or severe.

    The reason I wanted to post this long story is because I have learned so much from this experience! I learned that it helps to do research on your own and ask the doctors lots of questions. If they can't/won't answer them, and it is possible, find another doctor! I also learned that stress can cause your immune system to go down the tubes, which allows this virus to cause abnormal cells (As mentioned in other posts on this board, a huge percentage of the population has the virus. Many people do not know about it because their bodies fight it off and they don't develop abnormal cells). I have been religiously taking my vitamins and trying not to let stress in my life get the best of me. I also learned the difficulties of having a cervix that was not as easily characterized.

    I know you will find lots of helpful information on these boards!


    Old 12-04-2003, 12:51 PM   #3
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    Re: Colposcopy and beyond- any advice for me?

    Thank you for your help. it's good to hear that other people understand how we feel when we suddenly out of the blue have to face these problems. Other people's stories are also much more complicated than mine, and I have to be patient.

    I do have cervical cells that have migrated to the exterior to the cervix so that might account for (some of) the white speckles. Having opened the doctors letter I gather she then did a loop diathermy. A very large area was covered by this. As far as the biopsies are concerned I have no idea what kind was done, as she just cuts bits out (quite big bits).

    I have been so aware of the chronic stress I have been under for almost a year now, and my husband has caused me all sorts of stress that set me shaking although we live 240 miles apart. I have a very good diet and exercise a lot. I have felt this has been really important in dealing with the stress and I can relate to what you are saying.

    You have given me some comfort, and I shall just have to wait. I can't believe that they would simply cut out such a large area if they were not afraid that there were abnormal cells, but either way I am in the right hands and it is being dealt with. I will let you know when I get the results. Thank you again.

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