Thanks for coming back. It feels like years since I sat down and wrote a post. Oh god I feel rusty crusty! I don’t get to sit down and type here nearly as much as I would like to. It’s been a roller-coaster couple of weeks and it is only just settling down. I did 10 days straight at my ‘everyday-boring-I-would-rather-be-watching-Greys-Anatomy-or-doing-anything-else-for-that-matter-job’ and then went straight back home to have a vegetable peeler inserted up my chuff (yup!) I then spent 5 days getting my chuff and life back to normal and actually watching Greys Anatomy, which was secretly lovely. AND THEN, I spilt a glass of water on my laptop and it died. SO what I’m trying to say is, please bare with me if it takes me a while to get back into the swing of things or if what I write is all just mind numbingly boring. Let me dust away the cobwebs, take a deep breath, have a sip of my tea…. okay, I’m ready.
Firstly, I must address the fact you probably thought this post was going to be dedicated to someone else’s poor, long suffering vagina. That is what I promised at the end of the last post. SHUT UP ABOUT YOUR OWN FANNY SOPHIE IT IS GETTING A BIT ANNOYING! I know, I’m so sorry. Those 10 days at my everyday job prevented me from having any life, sense of humour or simple brain activity. And since then if I haven’t been serving people stale popcorn, I’ve been going on gentle walks, recovering and eating a lot of fish and chips to bring back that sense of humour. I haven’t been able to pull myself together and schedule to meet with a lovely lady to talk about her ovaries yet. I promise it will be coming soon, just not as soon as I would have liked. But conveniently I have another tale to tell about my own catastrophic cervix (as always). Without further ado, buckle in and prepare for the ride of your life as I take you on a detailed, practically virtual reality experience of my cervix. My cervix that now has a teeny tiny hole in it. YAY.
QUICK RECAP! I opted for the CIN 2 abnormal cells to be removed. Biopsy results showed that I had CIN 2 (moderate abnormal cells) on the entrance of my cervix. I was given the choice to monitor them to see if they return to normal or have them removed. I opted for the latter. Ah, Luton and Dunstable Gynae Clinic, my old friend. I think I’ve marched in and out of your doors enough times to be given my own key. I know the drill. I know the exact time the shutters will open (8:38am usually), I know the floor number, (3) and I know which nurse will be standing waiting for me (the short Irish woman with blue eyeliner). What was different about this time however was that I genuinely had my biggest boots on. The biggest I’ve ever tried on. I was feeling brave, ready and I had done NO crying in the build it up. It was a bloody miracle. I also was going to enter the procedure without my Mum (BFF/vagina buddy/all round babe). No hand holding, no company, just me.
I shuffled alone into the room with the big, blue, scary chair in the middle, took off my shorts and flip flops (it was the height of the heatwave. Everything was moist. MOIST) and put on that gown that feels as if you are wrapping yourself in sand paper. Thought about taking a selfie, then decided against it. I slid into the seat, my bare bum hanging out of the hole in the bottom and lay back as the chair started to ascend heavenward along with my heart rate. It was time for the treatment. Cue internal screaming.
Loop Excision Treatment
“The most common treatment is large loop excision of the transformation zone (LLETZ).
Involves removing the abnormal cells using a thin wire loop that’s heated with an electric current. Local anaesthetic is injected into your cervix to numb it during the treatment.
LLETZ is also called loop diathermy, loop cone, loop biopsy or loop excision.”
I actually got a bit emosh writing down that definition as it required me looking back at my notes and the dreaded internet to make sure I got all the medical facts correct. DO NOT DO IT! I KNOW I KNOW, BAD SOPHIE! Never look at the internet (I’ll never learn). On the internet the words CERVICAL CANCER just scream at me every time I click on a new link. Makes me want to cry. Sometimes when I’m writing or talking about this all, I only see the funny and positive side which is great I suppose. Then on reflection I think about how frightening it actually is/could be. About how the treatment I’ve had doesn’t mean the cells will never grow back. About how I might still have the HPV virus which means more biopsies, colposcopies and treatments. About how developing cervical cancer is still an option. URGH! It sucks when you know something isn’t 100% right. It’s just somewhere in your own body being a nuisance and it makes me sad.
But, we don’t wallow in self pity over here on Gash Gossip for too long. We put on our gnarly big boots and forget the ifs, buts and maybes. Let’s lighten the mood instead, here is my own definition of the treatment and if I may say, a better one.
Vegetable Peeler Up Your Chuff Treatment
“Basically, getting rid of those cells that you just don’t need up there. They might cause havoc, they might not, but tell them to pack their bags anyway because a man in white is coming to scoop them out.
Cue the vegetable peeler object that vibrates. Although this vibrating object isn’t remotely pleasurable. It looks like something Sylvanian’s would peel their carrots with. Up it goes, cuts out a tiny whole in your cervix where the unwanted cells are, and although you’ve had a vaginal speculum up there for 20 minutes keeping your cervix firmly open, you cannot feel a thing! Bob’s your uncle, it’s all done.”
That’s a bit better.
The treatment itself is very straightforward, I didn’t need to panic and neither do you gals if you find yourself having one, promise. The longest part of the whole procedure is getting set up. Lights, camera, action, quite literally. I was lying back in the chair, my feet in the stirrups, doctor between my legs with a huge f*** off microscope for 25 minutes before anything had even started. Even with my legs clamped open, I was in quite a pleasant mood, chatting away to my nurse/new mate who had to spend 10 minutes scrubbing moisturiser off my legs. The pad that they put on your thigh to keep you ‘grounded’ whilst the electrical current is zinging through your fanny wouldn’t stick! Warning: do not put moisturiser on before having this treatment. Especially E45. You may think like me that your skin will smell peachy, look lovely in the most unflattering circumstances and make the situation more pleasant for the doctor, but don’t do it. They nearly had to call off my procedure because I’d laid it on Love Island, Dr Alex, Factor 50 thick and the pads wouldn’t stay put.
Once my legs were squeaky clean, the pad was in place and the doctor had adjusted and re-adjusted his camera angle and the light, the sound of the electric peeler began… in it went for 10 seconds and out it came again. MAGIC! All done. That’s it. See you in 6 months. Sorry, what?! After a mini wobble, a shot of orange juice and 3 biscuits I was in the car home already. That was that, or so I thought.
I’m not going to lie to you, the after effects of the procedure are kind of worse than the procedure itself. I started getting stabbing cramps in the car home and my stomach felt like it was made of cling film, delicate but tight. Unfortunately, the side effects didn’t stop there. Here is what I experienced over the next week or so/I’m still experiencing writing this post! Most of it was all on the leaflet I got handed after the procedure and some of it I’ve been finding out for myself.
NHS leaflet says:
- Mild pain, similar to period pain – this should pass in a few hours and can be relieved with paracetamol or ibuprofen
- Light vaginal bleeding and brown, watery vaginal discharge – this may last up to four weeks
- No tampons, sex, exercising, swimming, heavy lifting whilst you are still bleeding (4 weeks)
- Risk of an infection – this can cause heavy or persistent bleeding, smelly vaginal discharge and persistent tummy pain
- A slightly increased risk of premature birth (before the 37th week of pregnancy) in future pregnancies – this is more likely if you need repeated treatments or a lot of tissue needs to be removed
Of course the long term effects of not having the treatment outweigh these short term effects and risks massively. I would rather have stomach cramps. HOWEVER. I feel that if we have a fanny and if that fanny is causing trouble, constantly being poked, prodded and peered at, we can moan just a tiny bit and talk about the irritating symptoms after procedures!
- Constant period pain for 5 days, no break. A little gremlin was jumping up and down on my womb day and night. It twinged when I moved as if someone had taken a scalpel to my insides funnily enough.
- I did a lot of lying flat. A lot. I felt zapped of any energy, getting up off the sofa was too much effort and it didn’t help that I felt a bit battered and bruised on my insides.
- I don’t know about you guys but I can do nothing for a maximum of 5 days and then I’m just restless, bored and want to get moving. For about a week I was still feeling the effects of the treatment, my energy was low and my whole body was having to re-calibrate what was going on. I was constipated, I couldn’t walk very far, I felt highly emotional, light headed and spaced out. It’s pretty crazy that even though this procedure was focusing very specifically on one part of my body, the rest of my organs and bodily functions had a bit of a freak out and a ‘WHAT DID YOU DO TO OUR FRIEND THE CERVIX moment’.
- This is the grossest bit FYI. I essentially had an open wound up my vajayjay, like any wound, it scabbed over… but this scab falls out. Yep. 1 week later and out it came (which is completely normal but highly disturbing.) Flakes of blood disturbing. This is when I first started experiencing any bleeding. I think I was quite lucky to not have any straight after the procedure but now we’re on week 2, and it’s like “HEY! Didn’t escape me that easily and I’m going to be extra runny and unnecessary.”
- Soooooooo many panty-liners, pads, tissues and period pants. I can’t get up from sitting down without a little rush. Hopefully this will stop by next week because there’s nothing worse than feeling like you are constantly dribbling. 3 words, loosey-goosey baby!
- It is minor surgery, local anaesthetic and so I could have gone back to work the next day which I’m sure a lot of women do (super women). BUT even a couple of days after the procedure I would wake up feeling sluggish and not myself. The last place I wanted to be was work. It is difficult to get the time off if you’re on a 0 hours contract and sick pay doesn’t exist. Also hard for people to take you seriously unless you divulge all the details and say you have a gaping hole on the entrance to your cervix (which is a slight exaggeration). Makes me wonder how women with conditions like endometriosis survive every day life. You girls are my heroes. Period pain is a thing. Endometriosis is a thing. Sore cervix’s and vagina’s are a THING. HAVING CELLS REMOVED IS A THING. Listen to the vagina’s that are saying “No, I cannot come into work today. I’m a mess” and give them the time off they need please and thank you.
So in short, I now have a tiny hole in my cervix that is taking a while to heal but apart from that.. I feel pretty good. I’m nervous about when I’ll next hear from the clinic but hopefully I’ve managed to jump this little hurdle with no complications, now I just wait for the next one in 6 months. It’s a long race. Mentally and hormonal-ly I’ve been a bit cray-cray. I stopped my period from coming this month on advice from the doctor, more pain and bleeding wouldn’t have helped me recover. But as a result, I’m cray-cray. I’ve also got cabin fever because I can’t do activities yet. I want to go swimming in Hampstead Heath ponds! I want to do some yoga or just any exercise (the fish and chips are piling up already). And I want some sex!! Urgh. Only 2 more weeks to go.
Anyway, now that I have my mojo back, I hope I’ll be bringing you some more goss very soon. And lots of different types of goss. I want to have a good natter about all sorts. Let’s talk period poverty! Let’s talk moon-cups! Let’s talk vaginal herpes! It’s all relevant. It all matters. Thank you for all your continued messages of love and support. It is the loveliest thing and brightens up my day every time I receive them. Some days I don’t feel brave. Some days I moan, cry and struggle to be an adult about it. Along with all the other crap. But your little messages or even just heart emoji’s give me the boost that I need to snap out of it. I’m doing this not only for my vagina, but for all vaginas. If I can help, offer support and advice, or just tell you what the hell goes on with my genitalia to help your genitalia, well that makes all my trouble worth while.
Much love and so many heart emoji’s,