Two years ago I received my second “abnormal” pap result. I was told that I probably had cervical dysplasia, or abnormal cell growth on my cervix, and it was recommended that I have a biopsy to confirm and check the extent of growth.
I’ve written about this several times over the last year and a half, starting with this post, and while the initial stress of dealing with this and the physical discomfort from the LEEP has subsided unfortunately it is still something I am aware of most days. And I’m far from alone. I regularly get comments on these archived posts from women who are in pain and under a lot of stress and confusion. It was a difficult decision for me to be open about it in the first place because it felt personal and emotional but I am so glad that I did. Sharing my experience has actually helped ease some stress and that seems to be true for the many readers who have commented on how much they appreciate being able to connect with others in a similar situation.
In October I wrote this follow up post. I didn’t mention it in that post but around that time I started having really painful periods and the nagging pain in the right side of my pelvis that started after the LEEP was increasing.
After the LEEP I developed pain in the lower right side of my pelvis and down my right thigh. The doctor who performed the procedure was not really concerned or interested by this and told me “I don’t know, never heard of such a thing”. After dealing with it for several months Tate, who is a chiropractor, suggested that he could work on my psoas muscle. After a series of (kinda painful!) ‘releases’ I got some relief! That was February 2012.
I have a theory. It is only a theory. I think that when I had the LEEP the anesthesia did a little nerve damage to something on the right side of my pelvis and that I did something weird to my psoas during the procedure. When the doctor was going in with the electric loop to burn microscopic cells off my reproductive organs he warned me “not to move AT ALL” or he might burn off more tissue than intended. You better believe that my entire body was clenched and locked up, paralyzed with fear.
When I discovered that psoas release could help with the pain I felt more than just physical relief. Couple that with two clear follow ups and I was starting to feel like I could leave the whole experience as a memory, a blip on a pretty clean bill of health. Then the painful periods started and an almost constant ache in the general vicinity of my right ovary.
I knew that I wasn’t going to be satisfied with the doctor I’d been seeing, so on a friends recommendation I went to see a Certified Nurse Midwife. She spent a lot of time getting my history and talking with me then performed a pap. When she looked at my cervix she was able to see that it had had a LEEP and in her opinion it was a good, clean one and had healed well.
She also told me that I probably have endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a very common issue for women to experience and one that can range from no symptoms to very painful ones and serious complications. UGH.
Basically, the uterine cells grow rampant, like potentially in distant parts of your body but most commonly around other reproductive organs. Unlike the uterine lining that sheds each month, these cells have no where to go and no way to dispel from the body. The result can be pain in the pelvis, thighs, and low back, all of which I’ve been experiencing.
My understanding that the only real way to diagnose or confirm endometriosis is through laproscopic surgery, which is rarely necessary. Otherwise a doctor makes the presumption based on symptoms. The most widely accepted way to deal with any resulting pain is prescription birth control pills.
No thank you.
This is a very personal opinion and choice but for me birth control pills are not my first line of defense. I was on them for 10 years, 8 of which I had very horrible insomnia and a lower sex drive. I’m not saying that the pill caused insomnia but I do feel certain that a hormonal imbalance played into it. A hormonal imbalance that I am apparently still dealing with because that is a main contributing factor to endometriosis.
The good news from that visit was that my pap was normal! No more dysplasia!
I am going to write about how I’ve decided to deal with and treat endometriosis but this post is getting way too long, look for it later on this week.
Please share your personal story or any experience you have with cervical dysplasia, cervical cancer, or endometriosis! You can do this anonymously if you like but I do encourage you to talk about it and share if it’s something you’ve dealt with.