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Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Message Board


Cancer: Cervical & Ovarian Board Index


Hello Ladies:

I have one concern and a few responses, please bear with me.

This site is incredible. First, the reason I am here. I had my LEEP two days ago and am worried about starting my summer job. I am a river guide in the summer and am going to swift water school in two weeks. This means I will be combining vigorous activity with bathing in dirty river water. I have seen everything about returning to work, but then I read about no douching, no hot tubs, and no exercise. What to do?

Now, to describe my experience for some of you. I went in for a follow-up to my colpo (the second colpo was much easier than the first) and wasn't taking things too seriously because I had been through all of this before and have become somewhat numb. Anyways, I got a letter the day before my follow-up that said I needed to do Cryo or LLETZ. When I went in, we realized that there would be no good time, but right then to do either procedure since I am moving and changing jobs in two weeks. Fortunately, becuse we did it on the spot, I had one day of stress and that was it. It also meant no Zanax, no general anesthesia, no tylenol, nothing. The doctor and the nurse were stressed about doing it after a long day and I was just plain stressed. I'm sure my BP was high, but the nurse always gets a really high bp on me. So, without any real preparation, I was in it. The worst part was that they have to use a bigger speculum than for the colpo or a pap. I swear those edges are made of sandpaper! The vinegar really stung in the colpo, but not in the LEEP. Then, they gave me the shot and it was only mildly uncomfortable, which totally shocked the nurse. She has no idea how strong I have become because she is new. The effects of the shot were freaky, though, and they hadn't warned me. The numbing was great. I wasn't totally numb, but numb enough. But the epinephrine went straight to my heart and then to my legs and then spread out. My heart was racing - in addition to the already high bp - and my whole body was quivering. I was really worried that I wouldn't be still enough for him to finish. How he didn't miss and take my whole vagina or uterus is amazing. I barely bled on the table and the smell was disturbing mostly because I hadn't been warned. The loop was warm and uncomfortable, but the shot must have helped. I took my mom with me and I think us squeezing each other's hands hurt worse than anything else. The part that was a shock was how big the chunk of flesh was that they took. I saw the pics and diagrams, but I had no idea the cervix was even that big - the diagrams are not drawn to scale! My mom said it looked like a strawberry. I didn't drive home because of the trembling and because my vehicle is standard and I didn't want to bring any more blood or activity to the area than necessary. When I got home I couldn't even hold my juice because of the epinephrine. When it wore off, I was sore and took some ibuprofen. I am slightly sore today. It is an odd feeling. It's like the prodrum of a migraine. I can feel the pain deeep inside, but it's not sharp like a cramp. It's like a very mild cramp, but still disturbing. I am not bleeding right now which is a miracle since I have a fibroid and have been bleeding all the time and I am anemic. I am avoiding painkillers so that I don't feel too good and do too much.

So the procedure was OK. I will let you know about the recovery as it happens.

Now, to answer a few questions about abnormal growth and HPV. I am not a doc, but I have had to learna lot about STD's. I had an abnormal pap two years ago and the witchy midwife told me I had HPV because it is the only cause. I was freaked out. I had been with one guy who had only been with me - and I had been raped. So, how did I get it? I would guess from my rapist and it would make sense that a man with HPV would have trouble discussing these things and finding consensual partners. Well, I didn't have HPV - that time - but she treated me like some promiscuous small town girl. Ladies: I don't care how you got HPV. Your providers don't know and should not treat you with any less care than you deserve. Even if you have had high-risk sex, you deserve to be treated with respect! My current nurse has not read my chart and is giving me the same cold shoulder - like I am young and foolish and got myself in trouble.

FYI, I had to learn the hard way that HPV is the only known cause of cervical cancer, not the only cause. Other causes may be just like other cancers. If you are worried about HPV, your doc can do a digene during your next pap to see if you have HPV DNA that are high risk. I dont think testing for HPV is done during a regular STD screening. I think they usually wait until after an abnormal pap so you may have had it before. Also, know that this is not the same virus that causes warts. That is a different strain of HPV and I am guessing that some of us may have more than one strain of it floating around down there. Talk to your doc and do some research on HPV. Also know that the area that is protected from the condom is all that is protected and HPV lives in the skin. If your skin touches his, you can get it and you can pass it on to him the same way. It is probably harder to detect in males and less risky for them, but it can cause penile cancer which is rare, but must be plain awful. I am dealing with this issue again now because I was assaulted again last summer. My digene two years ago was negative and now it came back high risk. The same guy also gave me HSV. It has been tough to deal with, especially since I am single and a healthy sexual relationship is a long ways off. I don't know if I will find someone who is willing to get past these issues in getting to know me. And if I love them, too, I really don't want to infect them and condoms really only gurantee protection from things that travel in fluids (even then there's no guarantee).

As for your immune system, stress is going to deplete it. At this appointment, my doc explained that HPV lives in the cervix and not in the spinal cord like other viruses. The blood flow to the outside of the cervix is minimal which is why it will take some time for your immune system to fight it, but most women's bodies take control of the virus within a year. Staying healthy can not hurt!

My doc gives me those statistics all the time and minimizes things for me. Please take heart and remember that we are not statistics. The first time I went through this, I took things very seriously, did research, learned, and got scared. It ended up just being an abnormal pap and the stress was for nothing - statistics were on my side that time. This time, I believed him when he told me that most women get over dysplasia, that most abnormal paps resolve themselves, etc. Then, I had the high risk digene, had to do the colpo, now the LEEP. I chose the LEEP to be able to get lab results and know what we are dealing with because I was too non-chalant this time and need to be more vigilant. I look forward to lab work that says that he cut it all out no matter how severe it was!

It is nice to have a place to share my thoughts with others like me. Thanks for reading. I welcome your responses and will be more brief in the future. This forum really helps empower and heal us.

Nik
Hello Everyone.
I am so glad we have this site to communicate our thoughts and fears! To Idn and iggie3...I'm so glad that the procedure part is over with and that you aren't having any major complications! Unfortunatley, the waiting part is just as hard as all the worrying and "nail-biting" you went through before. Everything is going to be fine! Iggie3...yes, I have researched this and can only tell you that I understand it to be like ymguerrero said - 95% of the time the dysplasia is caused by HPV and the other 5% of the time the cause is "unknown." I take this to mean the cause is just like any other form of non-genetic cancer...or cancer caused by external factors like smoking, pollution, etc.. Sometimes the cells loose or get a mutation in the gene that fight off cancer, called tumor suppresor genes. Usually our cells are programmed to "sense" their neighboring cells so when they are toucheing another cell they don't divide or undergo mitosis. Soemtimes a mutation occurs there so the cells continues to divide putting pressure on neighboring cells, sometimes causing them to die or mutate. These mutations are usually caused by external factors like viruses but spontaneous mutations occur daily! Our body's immune system is supposed to detect those irregular cells and digest them to prevent cancer but sometimes an error occurs there too. There are so many ways that precancerous/cancerous cells can start and in so many places, so our cervix is no exception...especially since it IS somewhat exposed to the outside and undergoes so much trauma when we have sex or whatever else we allow "up there!"
I don't know if I've even begun to answer your question. And this is only how I understand it to be. For anyone concerned with the issue, ask your doctor to test for HPV at your next pap smear. HPV testing requires a vaginal swab since it lives in those cells so "ask and ye shall receive!" 5% of the population that has dysplasia does not harbor the HP virus..I haven't gotten tested either, I somehow forget, if you can believe that,evertime I see my doc!

Sorry for the EXTREMELY long message! I want to say so much. It seems the biggest fears right now are - what if my results have positive margins and what if it keeps coming back over and over again. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be said to these, everyone has to go through the waiting and nothing can be done to help prevent these (except the obvious ..stay healthy,..) I just got my first follow-up pap and should get my results on Mon. (tomorrow). I'm on pins and needles, I dread to hear that it came back. But I can't worry...one day at a time, one month at a time, one year at a time.

I wanted to let everyone know that there is an HPV hotline that I came across before I found this website...they are extremely nice, anonymous and can answer any scientific quetions you may have. 2-6 pm eastern time, not toll free but worth the call if you first write out all your questions. 919-361-4848. The HPV National Line

Everybody will be in my prayers. And please let me know how your results come out Idn and iggie3. Please keep us updated ymguerrero..I'm so glad you have your boyfreind. As long as you have somebody to be there for you. I can't advise you to tell your parents when i haven't even told mine (I'm 24). ANd I will let you know tomorrow of my results.






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