Saturday, February 16, 2013

Normal, Mild, Severe

It took me 12 weeks to get in to see my ob for my 6 week post-partum check-up.  I just sort of spaced on making the appointment and truth be told, didn't really think it was that big of a deal as I have been feeling fine since having the baby.  My biggest issue is tiredness but there's no cure for that at the doctor's office.  Last Friday I went in and as I've had at the start and end of each pregnancy, I had a pap test done.  The one at the beginning of my pregnancy came back normal, as have all the ones prior (so 20 years worth), so imagine my surprise when the nurse called on Monday to say that not only was the result abnormal, it was highly abnormal - high grade cervical dysplasia I believe is what she said.

Right after I had Shannon, my pap came back positive for HPV but a follow-up six months later showed it had cleared up on it's own and I had no cell changes.  Given that everything since has come back normal I was stunned by things not being just a little abnormal now but as my doctor would later say, severely abnormal, like a 9 on a scaled of 1 to 10.

Since the pap test is only a screening test and not truly diagnostic, I had to go in on Wednesday for a colposcopy.  A colposcopy is where they examine the cervix with a microscope.  A solution is put on the cervix which makes the bad spots show up more clearly and then a biopsy is performed.  Now, I've had a ton of weird and somewhat invasive procedures done along the road to having my children, and all have been fairly manageable with regards to physical pain so I was a little surprised by how much having the biopsy hurt.  I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that someone clipping off pieces of tissue would hurt but I was surprised none the less.  While doing the exam, my doctor said that the lesions didn't appear as bad as the pap results indicted but he could see two lesions and so I had a biopsy done of each.  He also scrapped some cells from the inside of my cervix just in case something was hiding in there where he couldn't see.  The little tissue pieces were then sent to the lap.

Yesterday, my doctor called with the results.  Was him calling me at work a good or bad sign?  Surely he wouldn't call to tell me I had cancer while he knew I was sitting at work.  And yet, surely he wouldn't get such bad news and then not call me right away either.  It's amazing how many thoughts can run through your head in just one or two phone rings.  As it turns out, the news wasn't all bad or all good.  The cells from inside my cervix are completely normal.  The cells from one of the lesions are mildly abnormal and the cells from the other are indeed, highly abnormal, and left untreated have a high potential to turn into cervical cancer.

My doctor recommended I have a LEEP procedure done which will remove the lesions.  After they are removed, they will be tested to be certain that there are clear margins and that there isn't some hidden invasive cancer.  Sound a tad scary?  It is.  Despite the odds of cancer being less than 1% there still is a chance and in every statistic there are those people who fall on the wrong side.  There are women who against all odds get pregnant after being told they never will and then there are women who despite seeing a healthy heartbeat and making it past the supposed magical 12 weeks still go on to lose their babies.  There are always winners and losers.  In this case, I want to be a winner.

I will have the LEEP performed in about two weeks and then lots of follow-up pap tests to make sure there are no more changes.  The hope is that as the cervix recovers from the LEEP the cells that are created will all be normal.  But, even if they all are, my cervix will obviously never quite be the same.  Having the LEEP procedure done will put me at a greater risk for cervical incompetence, miscarriage and premature labor in any future pregnancies. Back to playing the odds, logically I know that the odds of my getting pregnant again are low but hey, this time last year I was thinking the same thing and now I have Maren.  One just never knows and we do have our frosty to think about.  I'm letting my worry get ahead of itself by wondering what will happen if the frozen embryo transfer works only to have the pregnancy lost due to a weakened cervix but it's my nature to worry and to worry about things I shouldn't even worry about until I have a real reason to worry about them but hey, what fun would that be?

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