If anxious; please read! Positive story!

Hi All, I’ve posted on here many times to calm my anxieties following colposcopy (CIN2) and LLETZ after first smear and now I’m 7 days post-LLETZ with local anaesthetic, I thought I would share my experience.

To say I was terrified was an understatement. My boyfriend took me out for drinks the night before which helped keep my mind off things and helped me sleep! but I’m sure there are healthier ways to do that, worked for me though! My appointment was at 8:30am - I woke up at 7 and took 2 paracetamol and 2 ibuprofens as soon as I woke up to have a base of pain relief (unsure if this helped but was willing to try anything). 20 mins before the appointment, I had 4mg of Diazepam – if you can get hold of this (my GP were very reluctant but it’s worth pushing), it was an absolute lifesaver to take the edge off the anxiety I was feeling.

Called in to the room, my mam came with me and stayed next to me for the whole appointment. I was asked to sign a consent form and the nurse went over the risks prior to getting a hospital gown on. You undress from the waist down and put the gown on, before going over to the chair (I think the chair makes the experience scarier) but you just hop up and put your legs in stirrups. It was at this point, I had quite a significant panic attack, where I almost refused the procedure however, I was able to push through knowing I was there now and just had to do it. I had Gas and Air too, which was helpful in calming the anxiety (at this point you can imagine I was pretty out of it!).

The nurse put the speculum in (I explained how this felt more uncomfortable than usual, she told me she had to use a bigger one to be able to have more room – I wasn’t aware of this prior but it’s ok!). One amazing thing is that after the biopsy, it appeared that this had ‘kick started’ my immune system to do something about the CIN2, and the nurse showed me my cervix in comparison – we all agreed it didn’t even look like the same cervix!.

After that, they give you some local anaesthetic via injection in your cervix. This was the bit I was most scared for, and whilst yes it does hurt, no doubt about that, it’s over in 30 seconds (use your Gas and Air during this bit, don’t be afraid to cry out either!). Your legs will be wobbly after, my leg was shaking a lot, but I could control it by relaxing (tensing was making it worse). The injection is the worst part, but it’s just a sharp scratch in a bit of a weird place – it’s a bit painful but the sensation is more strange than anything else.

After that, they turned on the LLETZ machine (they called it Hettie the Hoover) which is exactly what it sounds like – and they stick a pad with a wire on the top of your thigh to ground the current. I didn’t feel ANYTHING during the actual LLETZ, and it lasted less than 10 seconds. They removed 1cm of cervix and she explained she was optimistic this would be nothing more than the CIN2 they think it is. I had read that I would be smelling burning flesh during it, this was NOT my experience. If not for the noise of the machine, I wouldn’t have even known it had happened.

I’m writing this as I spent HOURS on this forum, trying to find stories that would confirm my anxieties over the procedure, and it isn’t worth it. I (like many people) like to know everything about something to feel some semblance of control over the procedure, but in turn, that just brings up more questions, worries and anxieties than if I hadn’t looked – a real Catch 22! I can honestly say, the lead up to the procedure and my own mind was 100x worse than anything the nurses did.

Whilst it’s so scary, and you feel vulnerable and out of control, the procedure is so quick and relatively pain free (It feels like you’re at the dentist). Top tips would be to advocate for yourself, ask for sedatives at your GP if you can, push for Gas and Air if the hospital allows and definitely bring someone you care about to hold your hand!