So I wanted to share my long story with you all as its something I found had very little information about especially here in South Africa.
I had my little boy Liam in November last year, born naturally and as usual you have your six week check up which includes the aweful pap smear that comes along with it.
Ive always been pretty good with going for my check up, however I can recall my last pap smear only being in 2012 after having my daughter - I know I didnt go in 2013 as my medical aid funds were exhausted, I might have gone in 2014 but with my dad passing away, that year was pretty much a blur and in 2015 I was pregnant again. So lets say I had my last check up in 2012 which is three years ago.
I had my pap smear on the 14 December 2015 and well since I hadnt heard anything, no news is always good news so I took it that my results were perfect like all the previous ones. Until I got the phonecall everyone prays they dont get on the 18 January 2016. Good day Mrs Mayer the doctor would like to see you regarding your results - she said its nothing serious but she would like to see you to chat to you. My heart just sunk, my body froze, I quickly got onto the computer to google - why would you get a callback after pap smear.
A lot of what came up was pretty positive - "low grade abnormal cells, nothing to worry about its very common, pap smears every 6 months" was the answer that came up the most so I read a little bit more on the medical pages all about abnormal cells the different grading's and concluded it must just be low grade cells, ill be fine!
I stepped into the doctors office pretty positive about it, she was explaining everything to me and was positive too and then she opened up my file and her words - so I was surprised to see that your cells came up as severe abnormal cells - WHAT!!!
I had it all going through my mind CANCER CANCER CANCER, she very quickly said it doesnt mean its Cancer but if we dont do a Cone Biopsy I wont be able to see the extent of the abnormal cells. I remember her explaining the procedure and her telling me its corrective or something to that effect - meaning if we get it all cut out we have nothing more to worry about.
I went home and did exactly what I shouldnt have done - I googled cone biopsy!
There is so much information medically, yet so little on peoples experiences and pretty much every experience sounded terrible.
I worked myself up and prepared for all of it, Severe abdominal pain - like really bad period cramps, lots of bleeding for up to two weeks, no exercising, no swimming, no sex, no tampons for up to 4 weeks, feeling extremely emotional and then of course the wait for the results up to 6 weeks!
Having a pap smear result come up as abnormal wasnt actually that common in my group of friends - every person I asked which was at least over 20 women hadnt had it (how is that common). I had people telling me I should go for a second opinion about the cone biopsy, I just didnt want to wait I wanted this out before it becomes Cancer (and if it is cancerous already to get it sorted out now) and so on the 3 February 2016 I went in for my procedure.
I came out and had my gynae tell me that she cut out what she could - there were no obvious lesions (which is good) but that I bled really badly for this type of procedure. I had the surgery at 1.30pm and was home that evening at 6.30pm - I slept the rest of the evening. Its been a week and im still waiting for my results which I will be getting sometime this week but I wanted to share that the side effects have been nothing like what is all over the internet.
I have had no bleeding - the first two days was a light pinkish discharge and that the cramps were milder than my normal period cramps. My gynae has advised me I can use tampons and swim after a week to 10 days after the surgery (I am going on a well deserved holiday this saturday so needed to know) I have been emotionally positive about it all and just know ill be okay. Most importantly I have realised the importance of this very aweful check up that we have to endure yearly - The Pap Smear.
The checklist of who is at risk is a pretty long one of which I only ticked off two - and something as common as smoking wasnt one of them. I dont have a family history of cancer either so I really was not the perfect candidate for such a result to come from normal to severe in three years.
So ladies as I sit and wait patiently for my results to come back as no Cancer I urge you all to not put that pap smear check up aside. Get it done so you dont have to go through what I went through pretty much on my own with no one whose been through it all to chat to!
I am so sorry to hear you are going through this! I can only imagine the panic you are feeling. I agree with you that we sometimes get so busy with life that we postpone the yearly pap smear.
I am really glad the procedure went well and that your recovery was minimal. Dr. Google can really sometimes paint the worst of the worst cases as if it will be true for everyone. Being positive is the best shot one can have. Thank you for that reminder - I need to hear it!
I really feel for you as you say that you are going through this alone. I know the feeling of having to deal alone with a medical condition and none of your family and friends have any idea what you are going through. It really is a terrible feeling to have no-one who understands.
My prayer for you are that it will be good news. Please keep us updated. Take care of yourself!! xx
Ps: Thank you for sharing your story, I am sure it will have a positive effect.
Sorry I havent responded to your posts it was really awesome to have someone respond and kind of in the same boat - I know I have read about your prolapse and thanks to you I have been very concerned and weary of my body!
The result came back and it was negative for cancer however the cells were deep. I will be going again in August and if it shows up again I will be having to undergo a Hysterectomy (at the age of 33 ) If it is then so be it I will do it, I thankfully have been blessed with two children a boy and a girl, until then keeping positive