Taking the Bullet

I went to the dreaded LEEP surgery consultation, as first mentioned in Leep-Into-Cin – Part III, and more recently in  A Peach and A Catalyst.

Dodging Bullets
Honestly, I’ve been dodging this since I received word in May that my Pap came back bad again.  I put off the colposcopy until July, as I mentioned in All the Pretty Things.  The results of the colposcopy were among many things that triggered my breakdown in August, most noted in Meet Me in the Magnolia Tree.  I was informed at that point that I would need the surgery.  And I failed to go to both my August consultation and my September consultation.  I couldn’t face what I knew she was going to say to me.  I couldn’t hear that I may never be able to have more children.  And after the debacle from my last surgery, mentioned in Leep-Into-Cin – Part II, I couldn’t fathom the idea of having to go through another one.

The Reader’s Digest Version
It’s a lot of history to take in all at once.  I understand.  So, for those of you that really don’t have the time, or simply don’t want to sift through all of it, I will provide the abbreviated version.  I was diagnosed with HPV in August 2007 and had cervical dysplasia as a result.  At the time, I was in my early 20’s and the doctors all insisted that it would clear up on it’s own.  I got pregnant at the beginning of 2008 with T.D. and it only got worse.  In fact, so bad that I had to have the worst colposcopy of my life when I was 34 weeks pregnant.

Due to some insurance problems, I wasn’t able to get another colposcopy until May 2009, when it was discovered I had CIN-II and III in some places.  Essentially, I had the worst precancer before it became real cancer.  I had a very traumatic cryosurgery done in June 2009, and that was that.  For then.

Here we are, two years later.

My Worst Fears Realized / Speculated and More
From the moment I got the call, I’ve done my research.  I knew the words that were going to come out of her mouth.  And, I had face it alone.  C.S. and I decided that it would be better to save that 1/2 day off, in case I need it after the surgery.  Not that emotionally agree with the decision.  I see the logic.  But, I knew I’d need him there.  In a way, I am hurt that he doesn’t consider my health more important than his work.  I know he is only trying to make things stretch.  But, I feel like if he cared enough, he would have been there.

Like I already knew, I risk cervical stenosis, scarring of the cervix and cervical canal, that may make natural conception impossible.  I am at a higher risk for cervical incompetance, which may make carrying a child to term impossible.  I risk infection, hemmorage, etc.  But here’s what I didn’t know.  I risk damaging other organs in the vicinity, such as the vaginal walls, colon, bowel, etc.  And that made the whole ordeal so much worse.

All my doctor could say was, “The risks and complications are a possibilty.  I can tell you that these risks are small, but I can’t make any guarentees about what’s going to happen.”

On the subject of future children, “Cervical stenosis isn’t as much of a concern as cervical incompetance.  It depends on how much we have to remove.  We can only determine that when you’ve healed.  I’ll check at the 2 week follow-up and we’ll have a better idea then.”

My Aching Heart
I cannot get my mind away from the possibility that I will be incapable of having anymore children.  I wanted one, maybe two more if I feel my biological clock start to tick later on.  I cannot fathom the idea.  It breaks my heart to think about.  I may never have another child, ever again.  I could end up barren with the thoughts of the child that I could never have.  The child that would have been a sibling to T.D. and a child to C.S. and I.

Worse, is the possibilty of having multiple miscarriages.  I had one, and I know it was my fault.  I didn’t know I was pregnant until I miscarried at about 10-12 weeks.  I was drinking heavily at the time.  And that likely did it.  If that child had lived, he / she would be 9 in January.  It took me a long time to accept the truth about it.  But, I knew it wasn’t meant to be.  The day after I conceived, my boyfriend broke up with me.  I told him a year later about what happened.  His response was, “It was better this way.  I wouldn’t have left her (his girlfriend) anyway.  Now, we can all get on with our lives.”

It was cold-hearted, but he was right.  I was in no position to be a mother.  I was too young, with no college education, no income, and hardly a stable place to live.  The child would have had a deadbeat dad, and I would’ve been outcasted by my family.  This is not to mention that I was not yet diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  That baby has a better home in the life beyond.

Will I have to go through the unimaginable pain of losing a child?  Losing multiple children because my body just can’t do it?  I’m terrified at the idea.  I cry when I hear about it.  How could I even begin to handle that?

My doctor tried to be reassuring and said, “Most of my patients who have undergone one LEEP have gone on to have successful, complication free pregnancies.” Most.  Not all.  This is my second surgery.  I don’t know exactly what I will have left when all of this is said and done with.

The Worst Case Scenario of Them All
What if this LEEP doesn’t do it? What happens if the dysplasia grows back. I only have so much cervix. Do I have to face another LEEP? And if I do, that will destroy all hopes of another child. Beyond that, we’re looking at a hysterectomy. I’m too young to have my uterus removed. So what then? Hormone replacement therapy for the next 10 – 15 years? Or will I just have to bear early menopause?

That is honestly the worst of it all. Not being able to have children and having to go through menopause.

The Only Good News
The actual surgery isn’t nearly as bad as cryosurgery. I will have a cervical block, as well as IV sedation. Instead of being in the office, I will be at the hospital. The procedure is supposed to be painless, and afterward, I should sufffer no symptoms worse than a light menstration.

The after care is much like having a colposcopy, and heaven knows I’ve had enough of those.  Literally, I’ve had four or five.  With the last one, I wasn’t doing great the same day.  But, within a few days, I was back to my regular self.  I should be healed enough to resume normal activity within two weeks (like aerobic activity), with the exception that I’ll have a lifting restriction for a month.

The Plan
The date of the surgery – November 10th or 11th.  I have off on the 11th, so I tried to schedule it for then.  But, I can take the 10th off, if needed.  My doctor specializes in treatment for woman cancer.  I trust her and really like her.  She reminds me of the wonderful OB that delivered T.D., except she’s a little more forthcoming.  She’s the only doctor that has sent my specimens to an oncologist for review.  She is the only doctor that has been extremely proactive about this.  And she is the only doctor that hasn’t treated me like I’m a case, or I’m insane, or anything else.  She’s regarded me as a person every time.

I just want to get this all behind me.  I want to be able to deal with the aftermath as soon as I can.  And, I need to make the attempt to get pregnant as soon as I can afterward.  Because, if I have to face another LEEP or hysterectomy, I’ll be damned if I don’t at least try to have another baby before we come to that.

13 thoughts on “Taking the Bullet

  1. As much as I am worried for you, I’m glad that you’re a little more able to look at the not-so-bad things and possible positive outcomes. I wish I had something wonderfully reassuring to say to you. We will hope and we will see and whatever happens, it’s going to work out for the best (trite and maybe not believable right now, but it will).

    • I don’t know. I’ve had people say that to me all along this whole thing. I know I mentioned it in one of the “Leep-Into-Cin”‘s, but I actually had one OB/GYN mock me for my extreme concern. I’ll get some links, but I know I’ve said this before. All of the odds have been on my favor, all along the way. And many times, I fell into the minority. I can’t understand why.

      My great-grandmother died at 50 or so from cervical cancer. Yes, that was back in the 1940’s. But, it still bothers me. I know I’m not going to die. But am I going to see the absolute worst of it?

        • I have to wonder if that’s the reason this got as bad as it is. I just have the gene that’s like, “Oh yeah, I want cancer! Gimme!” I already have the ones from both my parents that are like, “Ooooh me! I want heart disease!” and “I can’t wait to have diabetes when I’m 40!” and my favorite, “A life without mental illness isn’t worth living! I’ll take the Bipolar Disorder please!” LOL, I had to laugh a little. Sometimes, I let the sarcasm go to some bizarro places.

          I’m looking up. Things are looking up. I’ve got a post coming for that one.

  2. Hang in there, Lulu. I had a LEEP 14 years ago and it saved my life. It wasnt painless but I had no complications at all. I’m praying for you that your procedure will be just as smooth. *hugs* If you want to chat about it just send me a private email.

    • Thank you for your confident words. Today, they are just more than encouraging. Today, they are a life preserver for a girl who’s quickly going adrift.

      I hope that in the last 14 years that they’ve made some improvements to the procedure.

  3. Hope it comes out all right for you. Surgery is scary, I’v been through my own on my back, but after you’re done with it you’ll wonder why you were so frightened in the first place.

    • Thank you for your thoughts. I’m not so sure I’ll be able to look back like that. This whole four year ordeal has been less than pleasant. I don’t really know how to explain it without sounding overdramatic and / or ridiculous.

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  5. Luna, I think that being honest with yourself and moving forward is what it sounds like you are doing. To me – this seems to be the best way to deal with medical issues that could or would take your life. The scary things are always the maybes that might be worse.
    I think that doing what you need to do at times like these takes courage like you are showing. A decision to chose firstly that you have a life that is worth living with hopes and things to live for – because you are a person who cares to survive – even though there are risks that are close to you. Then you find a way to deal with the fears that linger – or run riot.
    I remember the fears from when they operated on my brain. For me there was no choice but live or die – but the risks of what could happen, I needed the discipline of the stark perspective and the prayers of friends to bear those. You have my prayers.

    • Well, it’s kind of like this. When I found out that I had the lesions again, and that I had a cancer risk again, I flipped. I’ve been in some very dark places where I’ve attempted to take my life. That hasn’t happened in a long time now. But there were periods of time in my life where all I wanted was to die, and I failed each attempt.

      The one time in my life I really want to live, that I have everything to live for, is the one time in my life that I have to look at the real possibility that this might one day kill me. Poetic justice. Irony at it’s finest.

      I’m glad I have your prayers. I try so hard to buck up and be okay. And in this post, I was okay. By the time I had a moment to mull it over, I was already medicated for the night. My mind was too dull for my emotions to process it. (Benzos, a blessing and a curse).

      I know I’m going to need them. Thank you!

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