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Friday, August 6, 2010

My Dodgy Cervix (- it's nothing to die for!)

After three weeks of waiting I finally received the results of my colposcopy biopsy. In one way this put an end to one lot of fears, while simultaneously opening up a whole new can of worms. I had worked myself into a bit of lather that I had cervical cancer and that this was the reason I hadn't had my LLETZ treatment on the day of the colposcopy itself (as is routine here). I was sitting in wait, dreading the letter which would call for my immediate presence in the hospital to whip out my (very underused!) uterus.

On the day of the colposcopy, the lovely nurses allowed me to watch the procedure first hand on the screen (usually they turn the screen away). I had explained to them that I was very interested in medicine and they were only too happy to talk me through the procedure step-by-step. This really worked in my favour for when I later hit the 'OMG I'm going to die - hit google' phase, it meant that I knew exactly what I was looking at and looking for. I scoured through webpage after webpage, closely analysing the difference between CIN3 cells and cancer. Mine are smooth and the cancer cells looks like cauliflour...hmmm, my cervix isn't completely covered although there are two sizeable didn't show any similar to mine at all...most were in one patch only or covering the whole of my patches was thicker than the other, google had no answer again...and I had three months to wait for my next appointment - not fun! 

Finally I resolved myself to the fact that I would accept a hysterectomy without upset if it meant the 'cancer' hadn't spread. I spent many of the nights which followed grieving for my underused uterus, thinking of the siblings for my son which I now knew I would definitely never have. I had got so far in my acceptance of this state of affairs, that I decided that if I went in for surgery I wanted a full hysterectomy taking out my ovaries and the lot...sure what use would two shrivelled ovaries be if they had no womb to improve. 
It was hard to accept at that at thirty I was fit for the scrapheap, but I reckoned it was better than being dead. If I never had another man to love me, at least I would still have my most wonderful son, and with him at my side, I could face anything - as long as I was alive to do so! So out with the old, decrepit, banjaxed bits and onwards and upwards I thought.

And so it happened that after three weeks of waiting, alone in my thoughts (with google egging my fears on!) I received the results in the post. While a lot of women dread to read that they have CIN3, for me it came as a huge relief...I'm not dying (yet!). There is no huge urgency for me to run to the hospital and have my bits removed. Come November I'll go in for a routine LLETZ treatment and hopefully everything will be fine from there. If not, I'll go back again for another LLETZ treatment and that should do it. It'll be more fun this way too, at least I get to watch  them cut and cauterize my cervix as they do it.

It is strange though how those closest to me reacted to the news of my dodgy cervix. While I'm warning all my female friends to go and get their smears done YESTERDAY, I notice their scary lack of urgency in the matter (yes girlies you can die from this if you're stupid enough to!) others can't believe I'll have to wait until November for treatment and already have me dead and!!
This is a condition and a death which affects women in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties...young women don't have time to waste on the matter. It is NOT a condition which affects just older women, it affects young women and it's time for them to start copping on and getting their appointments sorted. As I keep saying to my friends (in an attempt to scare the bejaysus out of them!) if I hadn't gone for my smear I would without doubt be dead by 35...but thanks to modern medicine (and a spoonful of 'cop-on!') this fate can and will be avoided.
So what will the side effects be following the treatment? Google (my dearest ally and closest enemy!) tells me that if ever I am blessed with another pregnancy I may need a running stitch (purse string suture) to stop the cervix from opening. My cervix won't be as sturdy (due to the lack of width which will result) and I wouldn't go full term with the baby. But as I am well aware, going full term isn't the be-all-and-end-all of everything. I had my son at 35 weeks. But all in all, the after effects are a lot less worse than the end result of not having it.

So to all you ladies out there who think that smears are a bit embarrassing and that you have the time to wait until you're older, think again. The time to act is now, while you're young and while you have a chance to do something about it. If you get symptoms of cervical cancer, it's too late - way too late. The only way to cure it, is to get in there before it does.


  1. just seen yr blog re cancer etc... you're incredibly pragmatic - would I expect you to be otherwise - no!! I do hoDeirdre xxxxx

  2. Lol...well as I see it, this is a matter-of-fact issue and so should be dealt with as such. It's just such a pity that so many women die from cervical cancer when there is absolutely no need for it. A little embarrassment is no cause to die for.