Let’s get the results, such as they are, out of the way first. The Colposcopy was completely normal, so my doc did 3 biopsies in order to have a better sense of what is going on. I’ll get the results in two weeks. There are two possible scenarios here: 1. I have HPV. I’ve never had a bad Pap before. I pointed out to him that I haven’t had a new sexual partner in almost 15 years. And I trust that my partner has been faithful. My doc is a pip. He told me he agreed-couldn’t imagine anyone cheating on someone as adorable as me. He also said the virus can hang out and not be detected in Pap smears for that long. Which is why they are moving towards a model where they do yearly HVP tests and skip the Paps. 2. I don’t have HPV and there was a mix up with the labs. The doc felt it could go either way, particularly after the Colposcopy showed nothing unusual.
More information in two weeks. Being the visual was clean I’m not that worried. Even if I do have HPV it is probably very manageable at this point.
Ok, things are going to get super graphic. Please just skip the rest if you don’t want unsexy talk of vaginas, biopsies, blood, and fancy mustard. Yes, the mustard part will make sense in a bit. Now here is where I offer advice to other ladies who need to go through this procedure:
1. Bring a friend or family member who will help you stay calm. Hey asshole! That does not mean a 15 month old kid! And C-you were a total trooper. I owe you.
2. Do you have a prescription for a benzo? If the answer is yes, you are pretty much guaranteed to be the kind of person who is going to flip out during or directly after this procedure. Save yourself some major grief and doen’t wait until you are a sobbing mess in your car and miles away from the pills in your bathroom cabinet before realizing you should probably take one.
3. Do you have something important to do after the procedure? Unless you want to miss, say, your second to last class of the semester-the one that had the most interesteing reading so you are pretty sure the seminar was amazing (although the rest of the class was probably thrilled they got a chance to talk for a change). The one where they make CHEESE during the practical. Cheese, people! Missed the chance to make cheese! Yes, I know making ricotta is easy, but I only know the theory, I haven’t actually tried it! Sorry, got carried away there. So yes, unless you want to miss your important thing go ahead and reschedule. If you have an anxiety disorder you will be a mess for the rest of the day.
4. The advice my sister-in-law gave me to take ibuprofen before the procedure was sound. Do this. The Colposcopy takes a long time. The biopsies take a long time. There is a lot of poking and prodding. It hurts. Even if you like and trust your doc (and I do), even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, it is incredibly stressful and by the end you really just want all foreign objects out of your vagina. Which is good because you can’t put anything in your vagina for two weeks. Sadly, this is non-negotiable. If I knew this in advance I would have gently prepped Z, rather than blurting it out on the phone as I wept hysterically in the car. I’m thinking that call was not the highlight of his day.
5. If you are getting biopsied you are going to bleed. The doc might even remark you are bleeding a lot. Which will send you in a tailspin if you have a frightening history of ladypart bleeding. I think I would have been able to rally if it weren’t for the bleeding part. But here I am almost 24 hours later, still running to the bathroom every 12 seconds to make sure I’m not passing huge clots. My heart has taken up residence in my throat. I’m in what feels like a never ending anxiety attack.
6. But it isn’t regular bleeding. Which you’d think would make for a pleasant change, instead it is even more disgusting! We ladies are used to blood coming from our vaginas. It’s been happening to me for about 25 years. After the biopsies I spied the nurse holding a glass jar of what looked like fancy mustard. Vinegar is used for the Colposcopy (it makes the bad cells turn white) so I enquired if we were making salad dressing. I kid, I kid. I just asked what the hell was going on. So the mustard stuff is packed onto your cervix because it stops the bleeding. I’m not sure on the magic/science here (feel free to correct in the comments) but I think it makes blood clots form on the biopsy sites. Blood clots are not my friend, so this made me very nervous. Doc assured me I was not getting out of there until the bleeding stopped. And he told me that was part of the whole nothing-in-the-vagina-for-two-weeks deal. Dislodging those blood clots would be really bad news. Also! The mustard stuff will continue to come out of you for about a week! Also! Parts of it will morph into what looks like coffee grounds! Yes! Mustard and coffee grounds coming out of your vagina for a week!
7. For the rest of the day you will hobble around, very very sore in your special area, the mustard stuff hardening right outside the entrance to ladytown and sort of create a pulling, burning, painful sensation. But you can’t do anything about it! Removing it might dislodge the inside stuff, and that is trouble! Also, gobs of mustard will fall out of you, each time convincing you a hemorrhage is beginning (Ok, that’s just me. But I’ve had a hemorrhage so it’s legit I’d feel that way).
Alright, ladies. Yesterday was the opposite of fun. But I hope some gal who is going in for the procedure does stumble upon this someday. Knowing exactly what is going to go down might make things easier for that person. I’m not writing this to scare you, Person-who-needs-a-Colposcopy-in-the-future. Rather, I’m trying to help educate you. You need to do this. It is important. Just know it is going to hurt a bit. Cancel plans for the rest of the day. Take some pain relief. Bring the maxi pad of your choice so you aren’t stuck with the bricks they give you at the doc’s office. Be prepared.
And I’m going to get serious for a minute. It sucked. It sucked balls. But I am so happy I had this procedure done. I feel so lucky to have health insurance. To have excellent medical care and a rockin’ doc who will find out what is going on and help me to fix it. Did I have one unpleasant day? Yes. Who fucking cares in the long run? I’ll also have help and answers and I will not wake up 15 years from now with an endstage cervical cancer that is going to kill me. How extraordinary is that? Don’t you wish every woman was afforded the same opportunity?
And a huge thanks to my friends who have been through this and showered me with awesome, helpful advice. I’m lucky to have all of you in my life.