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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board


Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index


Hi there,

I just came back from having the colposcopy and cervical biopsy done and I wanted to share my experience with others.

I was extremely apprehensive going in. So much so that I asked my general practitioner to prescribe me some valium to take beforehand.

Today I asked both my mother and my boyfriend to attend with me to give some comfort. I took 2 valium and really felt I could have used more for nerves.

I got into the examination room and started weeping due to more nerves. My doctor came in, who was extremely professional and energetic, and proceeded to inform me of everything I would encounter during the procedure. There was also a nursing assistant present who was very friendly.

The doctor said her standard was to insert the speculum, visually examine the cervix to ascertain if there were visible lesions or infected places on the cervix, then she would swab the area with vinegar and use special blue light to highlight further areas on the cervix that were infected with the HPV virus. (I have the high risk version, and my pap came back as LGSIL present) She would then take two biopsies (more if needed, two was her standard) based on what she had discovered with the vinegar and visual inspection. She said the cervix does not recognize stabbing pain, but pressure pain, so I would feel a pinch or a cramp when she took the samples.

I was still very nervous at this point, despite my dr and her assistant's wonderful bedside manner and informative speech. So I lay down and my mother stood behind me holding my shoulder.

The doctor inserted the speculum, which rather than the disposable plastic kind used for my regular pap, was a larger metal version. Honestly, I was dreading this, but once the speculum was properly inserted, it was much much more comfortable than the smaller plastic version. While generally uncomfortable, I did not find it to hurt.

On the prep table was a myriad of other scary looking instruments that I made a pointed effort to not look at or examine until the procedure was over. I encourage anyone else to do the same.

After the speculum was in and maneuvered around, the doctor located my cervix. I have learned I am fortunate with my genetics, as my cervix is normally placed and is of average size. It was easy to find.

She visually inspected my cervix and said it did not look unsual and she did not see many problem areas. She then inserted the vinegar solution and swabbed my cervix. I personally did not like this feeling, but it didn't sting for me. It was just uncomfortable as something was rubbing my cervix which did not want to be touched.

After that, she wore her blue glasses and she and the assistant conversed on the best places to take the biopsies. They used a clock reference to describe where the infected places were, 2 oclock, midnight, etc.

After they decided I got really nervous, but the doctor told me that the more I was relaxed, the less it would hurt and it was in my hands now to do my part and untense my legs. I tried my best and the doctor and the assistant started asking me how thanksgiving was. I felt a little poke, honestly I couldn't even call it a pinch, and she said there's one! The assistant commented that it was a good one also. I hadn't hardly felt a thing. It was much less uncomfortable than getting the spectrum in and my organs moved about so they could open it up.

She moved on to the second area and again they started chatting about something and I felt another little poke. Again, it didn't hurt at all and I didn't feel any sort of cramping whatsoever. The assistant again said it was a good sample and the doctor said we didn't have to take any more.

She said then that we were moving on to the part that most people dislike the most, which is scraping the inside of my cervix to determine if the HPV had spread to the inside of my uterus.

To do this, they would have to do two rounds of fairly aggressive scraping in the entrance of the cervix, in the corridor to my uterus. I said ok and tried to relax. She started scraping, which was a much different feeling going INTO the cervix than just playing around with the outside of it as before. But, while it was definitely uncomfortable and I couldn't wait for her to be done, it did not hurt.

Before the procedure I had asked nervously if they had local antiseptic to spray on the cervix to numb it before the work was done, but they said no. My doctor explained it well, in that it takes quite a while for the numbing spray to take effect and in that time, the biopsies could be done and over with and also, that of all her patients that had asked for numbing spray, when she had completed the procedure without the antiseptic and asked after the fact if they would have wanted it, they all said no. After I was done she asked me the same thing, and I agreed. I went in to the procedure vehemently wanting the numbing spray and anything else I could get to make it less painful, but in my situation this was not a painful procedure and I don't think it would have helped at all either.

After the samples were taken, I was bleeding quite a bit, so the doctor used very large cotton swabs to apply the coffee ground mixture that everyone has described to stop the bleeding. It did not hurt or sting and I only felt someone touching my cervix again. she had previously taken the speculum out but due to the bleeding, she had to put it back in and apply the topical medicine. It wasn't a silver solution like some else mentioned, but rather a iron mixture? I didn't completely catch the name. But no stinging.

Then, the doctor gave me a thick pad to wear in my panties and told me to lie a bit because manipulation of the cervix can cause wooziness in some patients.

And that was it. I have gone to the bathroom twice since being home, and am not really bleeding much at all at this point, some of the coffee mixture has started to come out on the pad. There was quite a bit of blood on the table when I jumped down, but not enough to scare me.

On the drive home with my mother and boyfriend I experienced some light cramping, very light, and my vagina is a little sore from being stretched open, and I feel a little weak, but I could have gone to work and felt comfortable right after.

All in all, I was terrified of this procedure, I almost cry when I get my blood drawn and I'm notorious for psyching myself out before medical procedures due to a traumatic dental operation I had once, but this was not bad at all. The instruments are very scary and being open and exposed on the table waiting to be pinched is very scary, but it is more psychological than what is happening physically, which wasn't that bad at all. I wouldn't want to have one every day, but it wasn't bad.

The doctor said that it would be 2-4 weeks to get the lab results and that if the cells came back at the same level as the cells in my pap, then we would not have to do any sort of new procedure to remove the abnormal cells, we would just wait and watch to let my body rid itself of the cells on its own. She said sometimes the medical communities tendency is to hurry up and cryofreeze the cells or laser them, but most of the time it is not necessary, unless you have been diagnosed with very serious abnormal cells. There is a good chance the low grade abnormal cells will go away on their own and if you get them burned off early, most of the time it becomes an unnecessary procedure. After the wonderful care I received from her and her staff, I am a full believer in what she says.

So the whole thing was not bad. I would like to throw in the disclaimer that I do not often get menstrual cramps, and if i do they are light and mostly painless, and that pap's are never a big deal for me. I never knew that they hurt for some people until I started reading up on this operation. So I'm assuming that my cervix area isn't as sensitive as some. This may be a painful procedure for those with sensitive areas. The doctor told me that if you have painful menstrual cramps and pap's are very bad for you, it is an indicator this procedure will not be pleasant for you. It would probably be a good idea to take both a relaxant and a pain reliever pill before you go. I was instructed to take a couple of advil when I got home. The doctor did also say that if the patient was too nervous, she would have to abort the procedure and they would have to discuss other options.

For home care, I was instructed to take advil as required, there would be some bleeding for a few days, and the coffee ground material would discharge out naturally. I was to not have sex for two weeks, no hot tubs or baths for two weeks, essentially complete pelvic rest for two weeks. I intend to follow her instructions to the letter to avoid complications and/or infection. I know some choose to jump the gun on sex, but I do not want to risk it and have to go through something painful and uncomfortable to fix the new problem. The doctor said the way you can tell if you have contracted an infection is if your vaginal discharge becomes greenish and smells horrible. It is then time to contact your doctor ASAP so it doesn't spread to other areas of your woman parts which are extra sensitive to infection. Do not try and cure it yourself at home.

I agree with everyone else that we are luck to live in countries where this kind of preventative medicine is available, many are not so lucky! Hope this review helped.

Melissa





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