My LLETZ Experience after 5 biopsies

Hi all, I’ve been posting about my journey with CIN3 since the beginning and you’ve all been so kind and helpful. I had my LLETZ treatment yesterday and I thought I would give you an update about my experience as if I’m completely honest I was terrified as previously I had 5 biopsies taken unexpectedly at colposcopy which I found very traumatic and I had an infection afterwards, I was off work for a week and a half and was in excruciating pain. I think with biopsies this is fairly unusual, and I’d done all the reading saying that it should just feel like a little pinch and I’d be back doing cartwheels again an hour later so I really wasn’t prepared to be as ill as I was. So naturally I was terrified that the LLETZ would be worse. I did all I could to prepare.

Firstly, I want to say my LLETZ was MUCH better than my biopsies. I was very clear with the gyno and team that I was extremely unwell after the biopsies and requested antibiotic cover and proper pain relief up front (as to be honest paracetamol didn’t touch it with the biopsies). The team were lovely and were incredibly apologetic and immediately said this would be possible which really put my mind at rest. There was one nurse in particular who was on my wavelength and advocated for me the entire time, she explained every detail and was incredible, I’ll always be grateful for her.

The procedure itself was nowhere near as terrifying as I imagined. The longest part is the set up and local anaesthesia - setting up the camera and doing the injections. I was kept informed of what was being done throughout and I didn’t feel the injections at all (though the adrenaline injection gave me very wobbly legs, but I’m a shaker anyway so I wasn’t distressed by that and I was reassured that this wouldn’t affect their ability to perform the procedure in any way). I did feel a dull ache in my stomach throughout and at times the speculum was a little uncomfortable but the team checked I was fully numbed throughout.

The actual removal itself is incredibly quick, I’m talking SECONDS. Essentially the loop is like a tiny potato peeler - think how quick it is to peel one slice of potato and that’s it. There was no burning flesh smell and nothing gruesome about it at all. The nurse also let me look at the sample removed and we discussed the size of it (sorry if TMI - I’m from a medical family and am a non-medical researcher myself and I find the more information I have at hand the more reassured I feel, I actually felt much better seeing the thing itself as in my head I was convinced it was a huge lesion due to wording in my reports when actually it was only a 12mm x 15mm portion removed which the gyno assured me was not large). It also took some time for the bleeding to stop but the gyno was extra sure to dry out the area completely as I had experienced so much bleeding from the biopsies. Today I have had no bleeding at all and I feel a lot more confident than before.

I now just have 3 weeks to wait for the analysis of the removed material - I feel a lot more confident now that things will be ok, especially as after I requested to view the original report on my biopsies the gyno allowed me to see this and this very clearly said there was no sign of CGIN, SMILE or any malignancy (the summary she sent just said I had CIN 1,2 and 3 - it’s much more reassuring for me personally to also see what was ruled out). Fingers crossed that hopefully this will be the end of things, and fingers crossed for anyone else going through this that things will be ok for you too.

I am a bit woozy from the pain meds (but so grateful to not be in excruciating pain like I was from the biopsies!) so I’m so sorry if this doesn’t make complete sense, but in short - just because you had a lot of biopsies or that process was extremely painful, bloody and became infected, does not mean that your LLETZ will be terrible. Don’t get me wrong; I think experiences will vary, but I didn’t experience any of the horror that I was dreading. It was ok and I’m so glad that the cells have hopefully gone now and things were picked up before they could have become a lot more grisly (hopefully). Thanks again everyone for all your kindness - and I hope this has helped someone who felt like I did to feel a little more at ease.

Remember you CAN ask questions from your healthcare professionals and you ARE in the driving seat of your own care. A friend reminded me of this before I went and I was so glad she did, it really helped me to advocate for myself and now I feel so much better.