Two weeks ago I got a call no one ever wants to get after their annual womanly exam, my pap test came back abnormal. I had spots of mild dysplasia around my cervix and would need to return for a colposcopy to further diagnose the cells. I’m mentioning this here because, after all the wonderful feedback I received on my pap test post, I wanted to share about this experience as well.
This wasn’t my first abnormal pap test. I had one in college and it honestly scared the crap out of me. I jumped to worst case scenarios (as all 20 year olds would do) and automatically assumed something bad was going to happen. At the time I kept everything to myself. Not long after the abnormal diagnosis, I had a colposcopy to confirm everything was okay and was eventually able to go on to normal pap tests for the years that followed… until now.
Back then I was scared and alone, having never met someone that went through a similar experience. As I grew older, I quickly learned that abnormal pap tests weren’t terribly that abnormal of an occurrence. A few friends of mine have had similar abnormal results as well over the years. They were like I was in college, scared and not sure what to expect. For some reason I think telling them I’d had an abnormal pap too (and everything worked out in the end) helped them relax and stop jumping to worst case scenarios like I had.
However, even after going through this experience previously, I still found myself a little nervous about the abnormal results. I think losing a friend so recently to cervical cancer made everything feel more real. But this is why the pap tests are so important in the first place, to catch those abnormal cells early, monitor them, and make sure they don’t become anything serious. I reminded myself of those facts and calmed my nerves.
I returned to my gynecologist this afternoon for my colposcopy, which is a magnified exam of the cervix to detect abnormal cells so biopsies can be taken. It’s a procedure to confirm my mild dysplasia was just mild and not moderate or higher. If it’s mild they’ll monitor the cells with the belief they’ll clear up on their own. If the results come back moderate or above, I’ll have to return for a LEEP procedure to cut out abnormal tissue.
The colposcopy was uncomfortable, but not scary. I love my gynecologist, Dr. Kathy. She walked me through the procedure before we started, then kept me in the loop of everything as it was happening. There was some pretty bad cramping in the beginning that made me very uncomfortable, but it eventually faded. I was happy there were no sharp pains, just the cramping.
From what I could tell the procedure was a success in gathering the cells to be biopsied. I was able to leave the doctor’s office less than an hour after I arrived and by then all the cramping was gone – I felt great.
Now I have to wait two weeks for the results. Dr. Kathy seemed very optimistic that the results would come back mild and blamed the abnormal flare up on recent stress (like planning a wedding). I’m crossing my fingers she’s right. If that’s the case I’ll just return in 6 months for another pap test. No biggie.
Have you ever had an abnormal pap test? Were you nervous?