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When Your Pap Smear is Abnormal :: My Cancer Scare

When Your Pap Smear is Abnormal :: My Cancer Scare | Columbia SC Moms BlogPart of my New Year’s resolution was to come out of my comfort zone and write about things that make me feel a little bit uneasy. I’ve got a story to tell that’s hard for me to share, but needs to be told.

Almost three years ago after the birth of my daughter, I had abnormal precancerous cells on my cervix. My doctor performed a procedure called Cryotherapy on the abnormal cells. Since the procedure, I’ve gone in for Pap tests every six months and the results have always been normal. 

Until this past November.

I received a phone call from my doctor’s office telling me I had severe dysplasia carcinoma, also known as CIN 3. All I could do was cry. Earlier that year, everything had been fine.

I needed to have a Loop Electrosugical Excision Procedure (LEEP). While my gynecologist is great, the procedure itself is probably the most humiliating I have experienced.

It was awful laying there exposed for almost twenty minutes while my doctor poked and scraped inside of me. I wasn’t given anything to calm my nerves beforehand. All I kept wanting to ask was, “Are you almost finished?” I wish I could have been asleep throughout the whole thing. The Cryotherapy I had several years ago was a walk in the park in comparison. 

As soon as the anesthetic kicked in it wasn’t so bad, but I did feel a lot of cramping during and afterwards. After the procedure I couldn’t lift over twenty pounds, take a bath, or insert anything into my vagina for four weeks.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month and it is so important to get a Pap smear! It is recommended that women over the age of 21 get a Pap smear every three years. As you saw above in May I had a normal Pap test, but in November I had moderate to severe dysplasia. Left undetected, precancerous cervical cells will turn cancerous and possibly spread to other nearby organs. 

Cervical Cancer is the most common HPV related disease, and according to the World Health Organization, cervical cancer is the fourth leading cancer among women. The American Cancer Society states around 4,210 women will die from Cervical Cancer this year. According to the Center for Disease and Control, most sexually active women and men will have HPV at some point in their life.

If you have not had a Pap smear lately call your OB/GYN or midwife today and schedule an appointment. Don’t have a regular gynecologist or looking for a new office to visit? Here are some local practices here in the Midlands:  

Have you or someone you know been affected by cervical cancer? Share your experience below.

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