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.
So sorry to hear you are going through this, Faith. But, so glad you are back blogging. It’s so valuable to share things like this, and I personally really value your outlook on it. So thanks, and take good care.
I usually don’t comment but feel like I should! I’ve had a similar situation and I don’t feel like you’re oversharing, this is something that a lot of women go through. I actually don’t have a single female friend that hasn’t had an abnormal pap at some point. I was told I needed a LEEP in January of 2011 (I’ve had abnormal paps since 2006 and a cone biospsy in 2007). My oldest daughter was 16 months old and since I had a cone biopsy before I had her my doctor told me I would not be able to have another child after having a LEEP because my cervix would be weak. My cells tested as “pre-cancerous”. My doctor gave me 4 months to get pregnant (if I didn’t I would need to have the LEEP) and in May of 2011 I found out I was pregnant and had my daughter in December. I have not had an abnormal pap since. No explantation from my doctor as to why. I say go with your alternative route for treatment and keep blogging about it because you may help someone else in the same situation!
So sorry you have to go through this (again)! Dealing with problems in your reproductive/private parts is doubly frustrating, since you hardly get any proper answers (I tend to say that if a dude would have problems like menstrual cramps, endometriosis, HPV, etc, we would since long have studies, answers, and working treatments). Take care!
I’m sorry you are going through this. I don’t think this is over sharing. Lots of women go through things and they are told they aren’t supposed to talk about them. I don’t really understand why! I hope you felt better after sharing this.
I went to the doctor today only for them to tell me to back in September for the follow up Pap smear. I’m scared and I feel like death is knocking on my door. I just can’t take it when the doctor says don’t worry about it. It’s the stage right before cancer so how can I not worry about it. I was told it would take as long as 10 year to turn into cancer, today I was told 5 years. I won’t research bc I’m just that scared. I’m gonna die from this, I just don’t even wanna be here anymore. I’m tired of being depressed and scared to a point I can’t function. I’ll never be able to have children and hate when ppl ask why I don’t. I never been with anyone but one person and this happens to me. I hate him for doing this to me and he will concur to put other women in this situation. My dad just recently passed away and my heart is broken. I feel numb and just wish something would happen to me so I don’t have to go through having cancer that will kill me.
I just read this comment, and if you’re still reading, I just wanted to let you know that you’re not alone and that both cervical dysplasia and feelings of depression and anxiety are things many, many women (and men! well, maybe not the cervical dysplasia part!) struggle with. Please talk to your doctor about your concerns. And please, please talk to a friend or family member or ideally a professional (therapist, psychologist, etc.) about what you’re going through and how you’re feeling. Getting support and help from others has been really beneficial for me, and I hope that it will be helpful for you as well. Hugs.
I’m so sorry your going through this all over. like you I have cried so much and have so much anxiety. It’s such a stressful time. I had to have a leep twice back to back since she didn’t get it all the first time as my dr was trying to be as conservative as possible but got all clear margins now. I’m so nervous for my follow up in 4 months. I hope we can all clear this soon. fingers crossed and prayers. so we can move past this. I am single now and it’s very hard since many of us still want children. x hugs
I feel like you too. I wish something will happen to me like not wake up one morning so I no longer have to deal with this if something else happens. It’s a nightmare and I’m mad at the man that gave it to me. I secretly pray god to take me. I can’t imagine giving this virus to someone but I want marriage and kids so badly.
I just constantly have this on my mind all day. I will never pass this on to anyone else. I’ll never be able to have kids or a relationship so I just hide from the world. Men will continue to spread this to women and never admit to their wrong doings. The sorry person I was involved with turned it around on me and said he doesn’t know who I been with. It was hurtful bc I was a virgin when I got involved with him and have never been with anyone else. He will not admit to it and I honestly hope that he has a slow painful death but ppl like that seems to always get away with the evil they do. He’s ruined my life and if I was brave enough I’d take my own. I don’t know how much more I can take, this will effect me the rest of my life. I’ll never be happy and can ever beat telling anyone that I have hpv. My father passed away knowing bc I shared with him bc he was my everything and now I feel like I have nobody to confide in. I hate my life
I hate myself so much!!! my life is totally ruined because of this. I’ll never be the same. I don’t sleep eat watch tv or live life anymore. I just want it all to end. Trish email me if you want to talk at firstname.lastname@example.org