CIN3 colposcopy and imminent cell removal

Hi ladies

Total newbie and perhaps the most anxiety riddled 38 year old you’ll meet. I’m a mother of one gorgeous 12year old and step mother to 2 big grown up handsome men. After a very turbulent and shocking week I have gone from cruising around with no issues to an absolute wreck, I am a complete mess.

Yesterday, I received the bad news that I had the highest grade severe CIN3 result on my Pap test and whilst in my gynaecologist appointment was directed for an immediate colposcopy. Thankfully it was so quick that I didn’t have time to panic and stress about the procedure. The procedure itself was really fine, I couldn’t hVe cared less what they did to me since I was in so much shock as to what the results actually meant.
The Dr was wonderful and explained everything but once I made it home, I couldn’t remember anything as I was such a mess.

I am a complete bucket of nerves and trying to keep ‘normal’ around the family is exhausting and really taking its toll. My daughter was home from school unwell today and I had to hide in our wardrobe when I felt panic attacks coming on. I am absolutely petrified at the results of the biopsy, I cannot think straight and am in so much pain. I have had shoulder pain and back pain for a while now and now all I do is think that it is linked. I cannot relax and am certain of a devastating result.

I blame myself for all of this. I left my Pap test for a long long long time and now I am paying the price. I can’t believe I have done this to my family and I am absolutely petrified of not being here for my daughter.

I am booked for cell removal (don’t ask which procedure - I have no idea). Maybe Leep?! He is going to take a significant portion of my cervix but I won’t be ok until I hear my biopsy results.

I have written a novel and I apologise but I am an absolute wreck and any perspective or advice would be so very much appreciated.

I’m obviously not a doctor or anything, and I don’t know your exact circumstances, so this is based on nothing but personal experience.

First off, I separate to going through abnormal cells stuff have had an ongoing issue with tension in my back/shoulders/neck causing referred nerve pain in my arms and legs and have had some physio. It has been a revelation because so much of it is stemming from just a desk job and not enough movement - of the right kind because I do hike, etc, but since doing small amount of physio led stretches, I’ve seen massive improvement. I say that because you’re stressed about this, totally understandably - don’t underestimate the physical impact that alone could have. My good progress was really knocked backwards by my smear test result and being more tense than ever while waiting for clarity.

My own cell changes were thought to be low level and turned out to be CIN2 - I was beside myself all over again, having only just calmed down after my first colposcopy and biopsy which was thought to have removed everything anyway. In the end, I had a small amount of precautionary cold coagulation to be sure everything was gone as it looked like it was, but CIN2 could have gone a little deeper. I’m still recovering from that as it was only just over a week ago.

But what was made clear to me was even if it had been CIN3, it is still not cancer and a long way from it with plenty of time and options for intervention. A nurse at my second colposcopy actually told me that she had experienced CIN3 changes in her 20s, had the loop/lletz treatment and never had an abnormal smear test in the more than 20 years since.

I’m right there with you in terms of the anxiety, so I totally understand it - but the important thing to focus on is that it’s been found in good time and it’s “fixable”. I hope you can find some peace while you wait to get sorted x

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Hi! I agree with the above comment 100% :slight_smile: your anxiety and worries are totally understandable and we’ve all been there!

But like she said, even CIN3 is considered PRE cancerous and they can be removed. It is still scary, I get that. I have horrible anxiety, and health anxiety to be specific so it’s been a crazy time for me as well.

My most recent Pap smear resulted in HSIL (severe changes) so I was expecting CIN3 as I thought that’s what HSIL meant. My biopsy came back and showed CIN2 only so I do still need it removed (am doing so tomorrow). But I think the biggest worry for me throughout this all was waiting for the biopsy results because I knew that would tell me what was really going on in there.

Regardless if you have CIN 1,2, or 3- They can all be removed before it turns into anything sinister. I know women in my day to day life who have had treatment such as LEEP and cold coagulation and are fine now :slight_smile: it is truly such a common thing that no one really talks about. But I’ve no doubt you will be fine! You’ve gone and had your appointment, will have your biopsy results soon, and then have them removed. Staying positive, although hard at times, truly makes a night and day difference in our bodies and minds!

This forum is full of lovely women who offer great advice and support, I’m lucky to have found it!


I just want to try and offer some reassurance to you, I’m no doctor but have recently gone through the process of having 2 procedures done (LLETZ at my colonoscopy appointment, then had to have surgery for cone biopsy 2 months later) my results from the LLETZ came back as CIN III but because one of the sides didn’t have a clear margin (I think that’s what they called it) I had to have further surgery done which was under GA as they had to go in deeper in the cervix. Last week I got my results and have been told that they have removed it all and I don’t require anymore treatment at this stage and will have to go back in 6 months for a check up and smear test.

Like you for the last 3 months I have been all over the place mentally with thoughts of the worst, things feeling like a blur and the bits I do remember always felt like the worst bits and not the reassurance part from the doctors and nurses, I also over think a lot of things or look into something that was said and create something that isn’t there/doesn’t happen.

As others have mentioned CIN III is not cancer and from what I’ve read, spoken to people and been told by my consultant that in 40 years he has never had a case that turned out to be cancer from doing the procedures, as it can take many years (10-15 is what I was told) before it turns into anything more serious. Just be glad they have found it early and carrying out treatment and before long it will be distant memory.

I know it’s easy for me to say and it’s easier said than done but try not to worry or stress over it.
For me it was more the unknown and waiting for results that I found the hardest rather than the procedures themselves.

If you have any questions feel free to message me.

Thank you so so much for your reply xxx
Sending love for your procedure, I am sure it will go super smoothly and you will be very relieved at the end of it all.

For me, the biopsy results are really what is bringing me undone. I am absolutely petrified of a worse result and can’t seem to control my anxiety around it at all. It has completely turned me into someone I am not proud to be… I am generally the supporter, the one in control and the one who doesn’t let others down… right now, I am that person and I am so sorry.

Your post has really helped me and I can’t thank you enough xxx

Thank you so much for your reply, it certainly is wonderful to be able to chat with people who have had slightly similar experience.

I am so pleased to hear you have been able to go through a successful process. My major concern is the biopsy results, if I was sure what was going on I think I would find more ‘peace’ with the situation and just get in and get it sorted.
Until then, I just can’t seem to ‘get a grip’. I am in a constant state of worry and go in and out of ‘panic attack’ mode where I quiver and almost convulse with fear. I feel sick and have so much pain everywhere all of a sudden that I just can’t move forward. My daughter is home unwell again and I am utterly exhausted from acting as though there is no problem…… she thinks my shoulder is incredibly painful (not untrue) and that’s why I look so terrible and not eating or sleeping.

Thank you so much for your reply again and I wish you the most beautiful wishes xxx

Waiting for my biopsy results was the worst part for me too, but I found comfort in knowing that whatever it found I would be taken care of and it would be treated. For what it’s worth, and this is truly what helped me put my mind at ease during my colposcopy appointment, my gyno has been in practice for over 20 years and said he has only diagnosed ONE woman with cervical cancer and she had had no medical care in over 10 years time. It is the smears and colpo’s and biopsies that we have done that alerts us of the cell changes so that they can be removed BEFORE it turns into something.

Also, you have every right to feel the way you do. It’s a nerve wracking and anxious time for you but you will be ok :slight_smile: I know how you feel, but this forum is great and you are more than welcome to message me anytime you’d like to vent or anything!

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Thank you so so much for reply, it means more to me than you know xx

Waiting and associated anxiety is my main issue and games the mind plays is not helping. I wake up quivering and almost convulsing with fear at night. I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. Two things I know I need!! I just feel as thought I am in a deep black hole and can’t get out…. I am never like this. I am the person who supports and boosts people who need it. At the moment I am the complete opposite to who I truly am.

I just wish I knew the CIN3 was accurate from the Pap test :frowning: Waifing for biopsy results is really bringing me undone.

Your reply has definitely helped me feel a little more calm, just finding it all really really difficult.

Thank you so much again xx

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Hi Jackie

Thank you so much for your support and for taking the time to message me. It truly means a lot, wish I could hug you LOL.

Tonight my head got the better of me and so called my GPs office out of sheer panic and frustration and asked if it was possible for her to call me. She called me at the end of her work day and explained she actually did have the biopsy results with her… it showed the severe changes to the cells - she said this was same as CIN 3…. God I hope she is right. This has provided me some relief and I do feel somewhat more settled in the fact that they know what it is and what they are dealing with and ultimately that it is PRE cancerous. I have been so upset all day and convinced that the pain down both legs was some how related. Thing is, I think it is… I think it was from that damned chair you have to put your legs in for the colposcopy.

My GP has also prescribed me something to help me sleep tonight so I really hope it truly knocks me out so I can function a little more rationally tomorrow.

Again, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to check in and provide some more support.

Thank you so much xx

Hi Aussie, first thing I’d like to say is I understand exactly how you feel…It can be nerve racking going through this. I had a similar experience myself…25 years ago I had a abnormal pap test that they wanted to check in 6 months…Being young and stupid, I was scared and didn;t return…Fast forward to over 20 years later where I am now in my 50’s, i had a period and a week later I had another. I went to the emergency room and they only give me a pelvic test and asked with a suspicious look when was the last time I had a pap. I told him over 20 years. He give me a transvaginal, and abnormal and said everything was fine and that I had fibroids, but to go to a gynecologists to get a pap test. I didn;t realize he couldn’t tell of results of abnormal cells. I didn’t go again as i was fine as I felt fine and my periods were back to normal.

Fast forward to 3 years after that, I had really low blood and I told my doctor I had heavy periods caused by fibroids…He said that’s probably it…He sent me to a gynecolgist to check it out. THis time I had to go…After a bunch of test, colonopski and biopsies and 4 months later, I had the highest severe changes of abnormal cells. I was suppose to receive the leep treatment but the cells were to abnormal,so I was given the cone treatment. It was confirmed that it was pre-cancer (not cancer) and it was removed. The bleeding of periods, were as thought, caused by my fibroids.

Because my doctor failed to notify of any results until before the cone, I got nervous as expected when you don’t know…I got sick to my stomach, shaking, couldn’t sleep, feeling dizzy, and aches and pains in my back and legs and shoulders. I was surely convinced it was cancer. It turned out that it was anxiety of the not knowing…This could be the cause of your aches and pains and sickness as the mind plays tricks and sends signals to the body. I mentioned my past abnormals to let you know that I was convinced and thought for sure with leaving it all that time, that I had cancer and it turned out that it was something highly curable. A doctor can tell by just feeling if they suspect cancer. A doctor (or at least mine did) will not tell me what it was until the results came in confirming.

One thing I’d say, and I totally get having to hide your distress from kids, but don’t feel any kind of way about suddenly and out of character for you being the one going through something and needing support - you’re normally the one to give, so if you can, find someone you can lean on a bit. This forum is great, but I bottled it all up not wanting to make a fuss or worry anyone and it brought my mental health so far down. Finally opening up to family, friends, colleagues, it took so much of the stress out of it because actually hiding it somehow made it feel more serious and sinister while casual conversations revealed a lot of other women in my life who had been through it. And people will want to be there for you, even in small ways, it won’t be the burden you think, but I do understand that not being easy and was the exact same.

With the pain, as I said, it’s impossible for me to know your exact circumstances, but I found mine so distressing, worrying that it was a sign of something underlying. You don’t have to tackle it as some big fitness thing, especially while you have enough on your plate, but you could try some very small exercises designed to release tension where you feel it most. Depending on what’s normal for you in terms of movement ability, you could try some very simple yoga poses literally just for a few minutes at a time so it’s not something you need to devote hours as a busy mum. Def don’t Google anything around the pains you get because there are a million reasons someone could get them and it’s not helpful - but Google specific things like “exercise to help tight shoulders/back/hips”. Child pose is one I find great to try to just relax your back and there are lots of other things as simple as shrugging your shoulders or rising up and down on the balls of your feet - it also helps take you out of any flares of panic around all of this stuff!

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Hi Aussiemum23,
I completely understand why you are anxious but don’t be annoyed with yourself or blaming yourself. I understand you waited a long time before you went for your smear test but I’ve kept up with my smears every three years and I still got CIN3 changes. I went for my routine test last November. I was shocked I had CIN3 changes as my smear test was normal three years previous. You might expect CIN1 or CIN2 changes but CIN3 changes and so quick. I had them treated in January 2021 and I’m currently awaiting results following my six month post treatment appointment. Be grateful that you did go for your smear test, however late it was and be grateful these abnormal cells have been found on time and can be treated. Good luck with your treatment.

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