On February 3, 2017, I went in to hospital for a Colposcopy and came out with having the LLETZ treatment. You can read about the procedure and treatment here. I received the results this week and I have to say, I didn’t realise I was worrying but the good news felt like a house had been lifted from my shoulders. Below is a little account of the infection symptoms and what my results mean if anyone would like to know…
The aftermath of the LLETZ treatment was very unexpected. I felt like I had been flatted by a bus to begin with, that weekend I was so tired and lethargic I could hardly think, let alone do anything productive. It’s nearly two weeks on from the treatment and I am now starting to feel a lot better. More energy and more colour in my cheeks – that might be done to the antibiotics I am taking for the infection though. Ah yes, an infection! Great.
I apologise for gory details, as with the other post if I don’t explain symptoms then people will not be able to compare! How did I know it was infected? I felt poorly. The “blood” I was expecting, was not what was happening and it didn’t smell very pleasant either. I ended up calling the hospital and the GP in the end as I was so unsure.
What I was expecting to see was a red blood with sprinkles of black charcoal from the cauterisation, which happened at the beginning. Then after 4/5 days it turned into, what I can only describe as, a black blood period. Yuck. It was like treacle and smelt odd. I can’t even describe the smell, basically it shouldn’t smell at all. So that’s enough information in any case.
The doctor prescribed some fabulous antibiotics (Flucloxacillin – which I like to call Flux Capacitors), in the nick of time as I had started to get feverish and I felt horrible on Saturday. After two days of taking the antibiotics the black blood had gone, along with the smell and I was back to where I started – red blood with flakes of black. I also felt like I had a lot more energy and people kept telling me I looked like I had some colour in my cheeks.
I have another couple of days of antibiotics left and then I have another week of recovery. I am hopeful that by March – I will back to myself again!
YIPPEE!! I won’t drag it out, don’t worry. On Monday I got the all clear. The all clear in that:
a) the cells had all been cut out (and I didn’t have to go back for another LLETZ)
b) the cells were not actually cancer *although technically CIN3 is also called stage 0 cancer*
Great news huh?
What the results do say is that the cells were: CIN1, CIN2 and CIN3. These are the stages the cells go through before they become cancerous. Basically, if I had not have had my smear test then they would have turned cancerous and this post would have been a very different tale.
What is CIN?
CIN stands for Cervical Intra-epithelial Neoplasia. The three levels of CIN are detailed below:
CIN1 – Slightly abnormal cells are found on the surface of the cervix. CIN 1 is usually caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and is found when a cervical biopsy is done. CIN 1 is not cancer and usually goes away on its own without treatment. Sometimes it becomes cancer and spreads to nearby normal tissue. CIN 1 is sometimes called low-grade or mild dysplasia. Also called cervical squamous intraepithelial neoplasia 1.
CIN2 – Moderately abnormal cells are found on the surface of the cervix. CIN 2 is usually caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and is found when a cervical biopsy is done. CIN 2 is not cancer, but may become cancer and spread to nearby normal tissue if not treated. Treatment for CIN 2 may include cryotherapy, laser therapy, loop electrosurgical procedure (LOOP), or cone biopsy to remove or destroy the abnormal tissue. CIN 2 is sometimes called high-grade or moderate dysplasia. Also called cervical squamous intraepithelial neoplasia 2.
CIN3 – Severely abnormal cells are found on the surface of the cervix. CIN 3 is usually caused by certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) and is found when a cervical biopsy is done. If not treated, these abnormal cells may become cancer and spread to nearby normal tissue. Treatment for CIN 3 may include cryotherapy, laser therapy, loop electrosurgical procedure (LOOP), or cone biopsy to remove or destroy the abnormal tissue. CIN 3 is sometimes called high-grade or severe dysplasia. Also called cervical squamous intraepithelial neoplasia 3 and stage 0 cervical carcinoma in situ.
The scary thing about CIN3 cells are they are actually called stage 0 cervical carcinoma in situ. So in effect I did have stage 0 cancer. It’s quite worrying. But, incredible that the cells have all been cut out in the 90 minute appointment I had. I am amazed at how efficient and calmly the doctor and nurses just cut the cells out. I’m very grateful for the NHS. Not only performing the smear tests in the first place for women, but for acting so swiftly and calmly in times like this.
So, I had all three of these kinds of cells sitting on my angry looking cervix. They have all been cut out and, fingers crossed, the next smear test in 6 months time will be all normal!
Thank you for all of your support and messages over the past month, it has been a rollercoaster and I am glad to say “I was worrying about nothing”. It’s hard not to worry though, when a GP tells you they think you have cancer.