This is not a post I wanted to write.
Firstly, because that fucking dysplasia is back.
Secondly, because I have received a little backlash about “oversharing” that makes me hesitant to go there again.
Thirdly, because believe it or not I am quite private and talking about my privates on the internet makes me pretty nervous.
Fourthly, because that fucking dysplasia is back and all I really want to do is pretend it’s not.
Fifthly, because I am choosing a very non-western, non-traditional treatment protocol at this point that I have decided upon based on my own research and soul-searching but one that would be totally eschewed by my lady-doctor (if I bothered to tell her).
There is one huge reason why I am writing this post though; I am not alone in this.
HPV and cervical dysplasia are so common in women, believe me, you know a woman dealing with this if you are not one yourself. I get private emails weekly, as well as comments on past posts, from women who are stressed, scared, and confused. I cry every time. It reminds me of my own scary, stressful, and confusing experiences and I feel broken-hearted for them to have to go through the same thing.
So I’m oversharing. Talking about it sucks. It also makes it less powerful, less scary. The emails and comments I receive reaffirm this. In my sharing I have created an important community forum for women to reach out to each other and seek answers and camaraderie around this issue.
Here’s my story
August 2009 First abnormal pap smear. I was living in Lima and went in for my annual while visiting back in the states. Cried for a while, did some research, crossed my fingers that like a large percentage of abnormal paps my next one would show that the dysplasia (abnormal cell growth) had reversed course.
May 2011 Still abnormal. Cried a lot, did a lot of research, scheduled a follow up “second opinion” with another doctor.
August 2011 The second opinion was that it was time I get a biopsy.
September 2011 I had the Colposcopy. A “Colpo” is a biopsy of the tissue to see how extensive the dysplasia is. The results were not good; cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) 3
October 2011 I had the LEEP procedure, you can read about that experience in this post.
February 2012 3 month follow up Pap was “normal”. SO relieved. I was experiencing a nagging pain/discomfort in my pelvic area and upper thigh which my doctor had absolutely no interest in hearing about and no suggestions as to what might be causing it.
2012-2013 Normal paps! I was told in that time that I probably have endometriosis and started dealing with that. There is some findings showing that trauma (LEEP procedures absolutely fall into the trauma category!!) to the cervix can cause endometriosis and while it is super common I never experienced a single symptom until exactly one year after the LEEP.
December 2013 Abnormal. I was crushed. Heart broken. I had finally had enough time since the LEEP and enough normal results to start to not think about it/get stressed out about it regularly.
March 2014 My second colpo. The results weren’t bad, just some mild dysplasia. The doctor called me with the results and said that the follow up protocol was to have another pap in a year and hope that it would just go away on it’s own. I felt pretty good about this, it was a huge relief to think that I wouldn’t have to deal with it for a year.
April 2015 It didn’t go away. Still abnormal. Again, my doctor called me with the results and in a very concerned and sympathetic tone she said that I needed to schedule with a surgeon and they would either want to do another LEEP or the more aggressive surgery.
After lots of crying, talking, and researching I have decided not to have another LEEP or similar procedure at this time. This is a very personal decision and I in NO WAY intend this as medical advice. To me, it is obvious that there is an underlying issue that is not allowing my body to fight this infection the way most bodies do and that I need to address those issues rather than creating more trauma and scar tissue in that area. At this time I am working with nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, and Traditional Chinese Herbal medicine to improve, balance, and correct any hormonal and immune issues.
As always, I welcome anyone who is going through a similar experience to share their story and ask questions.