Have you ever wondered what was the point of having a Pap Smear done every year. Well I am here to tell you. Because it is something everyone woman needs to make sure they are doing on a yearly basis. Pap Smears are preformed to help prevent and catch Cervical Cancer in the early stages. Cervical cancer is not something to take lightly. I want to share with everyone my personal ordeal with dealing with Cervical Cancer. This is a medical condition that I don't think women are taking serious enough. Especially those women that are in there late teens/early 20's.
Up until last year I never thought twice about why I was having pap smears done. I mainly thought it was to catch sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, Herpes, etc. Well in Sept. of 2006 I got a real eye opener. I went in for a scheduled pap (that was two years over due) and let me tell you the results were nothing pleasant. My doctor called me and informed me that my pap had come back severely abnormal (Not good) and that I needed to come back in. I go back in and the doctor tells me that I have what is called the "HPV" virus. This is one of the main causes of cervical cancer. He goes on to tell me that not only do I have the "HPV" virus but that it is not curable. Once you have the "HPV" virus you will always have it. Of course my first question was how did I get the "HPV" virus. Well low and behold it is a sexually transmitted disease. He then tells me he wants to do a colposcopy (which is were they take this machine that looks like a set of binoculars and gets a real up-close view of the cervix, they then spray a solution on your cervix that turns all the abnormal cells a different color so that they can take biopsies to send off to a lab) to see if the abnormal cells are in fact precancerous.
After having the colposcopy done it took about a week to get my results back. You could probably guess what the results were. Yes, in fact they were precancerous. So again the doctor wanted me to come back in to discuss what he wanted to do next. After talking with my doctor. He had decided that the next best step was to have a LEEP procedure done. A LEEP procedure is were the take a laser and shave of the front of your cervix. Then they freeze the cervix so if any cells are left behind on the surface the freezing kills them. Normally done in the hospital on an outpatient basis. So in October of 2006 I had my LEEP procedure done in hopes that they would get it all and I would be able to go back to yearly paps. WRONG! The part they shaved off was sent off to a lab to be looked at to make sure they had got it all. It came back showing that they may not have got it all. From the lab report it was showing the precancerous cells going a tiny bit deeper than they had expected. But they were hoping that if they did miss any that the freezing got them. The doctor than recommended that I come back in 3 months for a follow up pap. But he also informed me that ever in the future that my paps come back abnormal again with precancerous cells then I will have to have a hysterectomy. Let me point out at this point I am only 28 years old. Way to young to be having to go through the changes of life.
So in January of 2007 I went back to the doctor for my first follow up pap. Again it took about a week to get the results back. But this time things looked promising. The doctor called me and said that the pap did come back abnormal but it was not precancerous. He also said that this is normal for the first pap after having a LEEP procedure done. So again he wanted me to come back in another 3 months for one more follow up pap. He said that if this next one came back good then I could go to having paps done every 6 months verse 3 months.
In April of 2007 I went back in hoping to have my last pap for at least 6 months. WRONG AGAIN! This time the results came back abnormal again but now showing signs of precancerous again. So my doctor recommended that I go see a specialist that specializes in gyn cancers to get a second opinion. He also wanted me to start thinking of my options if the specialist comes back with the same results. My options being 1) a cone biopsy done: where the take half of my cervix away. But this still leaves me with a slight chance of it coming back again because I have the "HPV" virus. 2) hysterectomy and no chance of it coming back. So after talking to my husband, friends, and family members I had decided that if it came down to having to have surgery. That I was going to just have the hysterectomy done and be done with it.
I went to see the specialist on May 15th. Upon meeting with the specialist. He said that he had talked to my doctor and decided he wanted to start over from scratch. Which meant he wanted to do another colposcopy. From doing the colposcopy he said he only saw a very tiny spot that could be precancerous and that if it was, doing the biopsy would get it all. So he has sent that off to be tested and I should have the results this week. He also said he wants to see me back again in 4 months for another colposcopy. So here I sit waiting and worrying yet again.
So there you have it. In the past 9 months I have had 4 paps, 2 colposcopies, and 1 LEEP procedure done. That is a total of 7 procedures. So I want to stress to every woman that reads this. Get your paps done regularly. It does make a difference. Also get tested for the HPV virus because if you are one of the lucky ones that does not have it. There is a shot now that you can get and you won't ever have to worry about getting the HPV virus. If you have daughters they can give the shot to girls as young as 9 years old. But if you are like me and have already got the HPV virus then the shot is useless. Had I not missed my paps for two years a lot of this could have been avoided. Because let me tell you from first hand experience. It's not fun. I'm stressed, I don't remember when was the last time I actually got a good nights sleep, I am frustrated, and I am mentally/physically drained. I want it to be over, but I am now just in a waiting game.
Again, I can not stress this enough. Get checked for the HPV virus, get the shot if you don't have the HPV virus, and get your pap smears done on a regular basis. You don't want to have to go through what I am going through.