The subject title says it all: I’m back in the waiting game again! I’d forgotten what fun it is: travelling home from work with increasing anxiety and a sense of foreboding; walking up my streets with trembly legs; finally opening the door and discovering to my relief/disappointment – no letter! Or finding a letter, and guessing from its size as to whether it’s good news (in which case small) or bad (bulky because it contains one of those booklets featuring smiling ladies of all ages, telling you what your smear results mean – I have enough of those to start a library now).
As this is my second follow up smear, I’m no stranger to this. Yet this is worse than ever before. Perhaps because the first time I received my abnormal cells letter, I wasn’t expecting there to be anything wrong, having always had clear smears. After my colposcopy and lletz, the nurses were so reassuring that when the letter arrived assuring me everything had been removed successfully, it was a relief but not a huge surprise. At my first follow up smear, I was expecting things to be OK, so it was a big shock to get the letter saying I had abnormal cells. Luckily my smear was normal but HPV was still present.
This time…well, it’s more complicated. Several factors are contributing to my anxiety:
· It’s been over a year since my lletz. I’m worried that the HPV in my system has had time to regroup and cause mischief once again
· At my first follow up in March, I bled. The nurse asked me to come back at a later stage in my cycle. I bled again at this smear, although there was less blood and she managed to take a sample. However, she warned me there’s the possibility it could come inconclusive
· So in addition to the worrying presence blood, I am also faced with the possibility of the letter saying it was unsuccessful!
· My wedding is in August and I desperately want this to be over with by then
· We want to start trying for a baby this year – I’m 34, so have left it quite late. If I have to have another lletz treatment, I’m worried about the effect this will have
I am keeping my fears realistic – I know the chances of it being cancer are very small. But I am worried about my fertility, and if the HPV will ever leave my system.
I realise that compared to what many of you are going through right now, this is small change and I haven’t much right to whinge. But I am really struggling. Sitting at my desk trying not to cry, not sleeping too well and it’s making me feel a bit unwell - I have IBS which is easily triggered by stress so let’s just say I’ve been making a lot of bathroom visits!! (sorry for TMI).
Writing it down and sharing it is cathartic, and does help. If anyone has any tips or advice on calming the hell down and putting things into perspective, I’d really appreciate hearing them!
My thoughts are with all of you xxx