July 12, 2005
I am not a cancer survivor but I could^ve been. I am 25 years old, have a 2.5 year old son and husband of 7 years. On May 12, 2005 I had my annual gynecological exam with my OB/GYN. He did the normal pap smear, renewed my birth control prescription and I was on my way. On the evening of Monday May 23, 2005 I received a call my doc^s nurse informing me that my pap test showed abnormal cells. She explained it did not mean I have cancer and the results could be from having the sexually transmitted disease, human papilloma virus (HPV). She told me I would have to schedule a colposcopy. She said at this appointment, I would get a very good idea of what my doctor thinks. I received a copy of my pap test results on 5/25/05 and saw "low grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL-mild dysplasia)" on the lab report. After researching LSIL and mild dysplasia, I found this is not a serious condition and may actually correct itself with no intervention necessary. I felt such relief to hear that. On Thursday June 16, 2005 I had the colposcopy. He took two tissue biopsies and performed an endocervical cutterage (ECC)-in which cells of the endocervical canal are scraped to see if the dysplasia extends into the endocervical canal. After the procedure, he told me his gut feeling is that this is severe dysplasia. He drew a picture of my cervix and shaded the abnormal areas he identified-it was basically my entire exposed cervix. He went over the loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) and cone biopsy that may have to be done if the biopsy results indicated what he suspected. These would both diagnose a potentially more serious condition and treat the dysplasia. Because he would be on vacation the entire next week, I would not get the biopsy results until Monday June 27, 2005, the day before a scheduled laparoscopy (unrelated). I would then have the LEEP and cone biopsy while under general anesthesia for the laparoscopy. On Monday June 27, 2005 I called my doctor^s office to get the biopsy results. The biopsies showed: extensive squamous metaplasia, mild acute cervicitis, moderate dysplasia, and acute inflammatory cells. I was told the LEEP would need to be performed the following day. I did not get real clarification on the biopsy results because of such little turn around from the results to the procedure. I was scheduled for a post-op follow up on Tuesday July 12, 2005. I would get the LEEP results at that time. I went for my follow up appointment on July 12, 2005. The margins from the LEEP were clear meaning all of the dysplasia was removed. YEAH! SOOOOO RELIEVED! The tissue removed was not cancerous--moderate dysplasia like the biopsy showed!!! YEAH!!!! Not A LOT of tissue was removed but more than the paper thin slice--(something) cm. Shouldn^t interfere with a future pregnancy. He took a look at my cervix because I was still bleeding after 2 weeks and said I was healing nicely. I guess there was a scab on my cervix but that is normal. Gross. I go back in 6 months (1/12/05) for my follow up pap smear. When I have 2 normal pap smears in a row, I will go back to a yearly check up. Since I still have HPV, I^m not completely free and clear of this coming back in the future so I will ALWAYS have to be right on top of my pap smears. I have never in my life been so convinced on the importance of regular pap smears. I have gotten them yearly for the last 5 years and still had extensive moderate dysplasia. Who knows what would have happened had I not gotten one. I am convinced this truly saved my life.