My LLETZ under GA experience

Hi all,

I just wanted to share my LLETZ experience as I hope this may help some of you getting a better idea of what to expect from the treatment. This is a personal account and remember that everybody's experience can be different, but I'll try to be as detailed as possible considering what has happened and how I felt about it.

After discrepancies between smear results (moderate dyskariosis upgraded to severe, and a second one only showing borderline) and smear and biopsies (showing no CIN at all), I was advised by my consultant to undergo LLETZ nevertheless. After a lot of thinking and consulting this website, I have made the final decision to go through with LLETZ. I decided to do it under general anesthetics as I have found the previous colposcopy experience rather traumatizing.

So on the day of the LLETZ I've spent half my day teaching as I couldn't leave my students alone which was probably a good idea as it kept my mind off of what was going to happen. My partner drove me to the hospital for my appointment, where we arrived at 11:45. I had a number of questions for the nurse, specifically regarding how long everything would take (my consultant's secretary who I had rung the previous day was not able to provide me with any information). The nurse I talked to said she did not know how long things would take but in the end she then replied that normally they ask partners to call in to the hospital to see how it went after teatime. Finally some information there.

I was sat in another waiting room then for about 20 minutes until a different nurse came to pick me up. He showed me the beautiful hospital gown, one-size fits all undies and thrombosis socks I had to put on. Also, he asked me to wee in a cup to check for pregnancy. Luckily, I had undergone the pre-treatment tests a few weeks earlier, which saved a bit of time there. Once I was done, I stored my stuff in a locker .

Next up some more waiting in the general waiting area with my partner (luckily I wasn't alone). Finally, my consultant asked to see me. So I went into her office and she explained the whole procedure to me. She was very kind and probably the best thing that happened on the day. She outlined the potential risks (very low risk of infertility, an incompetent cervix and the cervical walls sticking together) and said that one LLETZ treatment should not normally lead to problems with future pregnancies. However, she also made a point that I should start trying for a baby once I'd have the result letter through (typically six weeks) and should not wait for a clear smear. I'll be 32 next week and haven't had a child yet, have experienced a previous miscarriage. My partner wants to wait though. My consultant made quite a strong case and told me about her own experience of waiting way too long and all the resultant complications. Apparently, when ladies over 35 have problems getting pregnant, the NHS won't pay, and treatment costs 6-7k per month. Something to think about.

I was sat back in the general waiting area until my anesthesist came to pick me up so I could have a chat to him. He asked me questions about whether I had GA before, any problems, dentals, etc. He was quite funny and kept making jokes, which put me at ease.

Back to the waiting area. Then, finally, at 14:30 another nurse came to pick me up for treatment. By that time I had spent 3 hours in the hospital. I was brought into the theatre and asked to lay down on a bed. A nurse then attempted to put a needle in my veins, fumbling around and this made me rather anxious, as she did not seem to be able to do it. My poor hand is still blue and swollen two days later but alas everything turned out well. Finally, the nice anesthesist came, asked what had happened to my hand and easily and quickly found the vein. He gave me oxygen and some intravenous stuff to calm the nerves, and then the GA - out I was completely and quickly. 

The next thing I remember is waking up in a differen room at 15:50. I was quickly wide awake. Another nurse came who asked me a few questions (I felt fine and wide awake), and I was taken to a different ward. I was told I would have to stay there for 4 hours which seemed very long given that both my consultant and my anesthetist said I should be home by 5pm. So I tried to do my best to get out of the hospital given that I find hospitals generally less comfortable than my own home.

Altogether I was attended to by probably 6 different nurses for the time I was there, all nice and caring. I needed to go to the loo once I had arrived in the different ward and asked the nurse whether I could put my clothes back on. She said yes, so I did - well attempted to - my hand was stuck to a saline solution and I couldn't put my shirt on. So I asked the nurse to help me which she did. Nurses needed to check I was able to go to the loo and had something to eat and drink and then finally, after 6pm, I was allowed to leave. At that stage I had felt nothing but a mild discomfort in the nether regions.

Once home, we ordered a pizza and tried to chill out, but then I experienced throbbing pains and became emotional. I spent the next hours being miserable. A few hours and some paracetamols and ibuprofen later I was feeling a bit better and was able to have some food and a glass of wine. Hadn't lost any blood whatsoever at that stage. The pain can probably be best described as deep pressure pain in your core, like very severe period pain combined with a bad bladder infection. My womb area felt sensitive and swollen and created a lot of pressure so that I felt the need to go for a wee quite a lot.

The next day I felt much better. Still pressure in the nether regions and period type pains, which came in waves. Brownish discharge too, which I think is probably the solution that has been put on the wound for it to heal. Still no blood. I spent most of that first day in bed doing some online shopping and drinking tea.

Day 2 after recovery today - I have been quite lucky I think as I am not experiencing much drowsiness or grogginess from the GA. Period-type pains are still there. Your core is affected and that makes you a bit miserable (I am feeling a bit sorry for myself! :), but medication against pain helps. The pressure is still there, making me go to the loo a lot. I had dehydration before surgery (not allowed to drink anything for more than 6 hours), my ketone levels were really high and I can feel the aftereffects today (with problems going to the loo, etc.).

I am working from home today and will be taking the weekend to relax. No sex, tampons, sports, heavy lifting for 4-6 weeks. Luckily I've got my partner to look after me.

So overall I can tell you that if I were to do it again, I would definitely go with GA. The after-effects of the surgery are not nice, but not completely debilitating either. Persoanlly, I am quite surprised hearing stories of ladies going back to work the day after as I could not have possibly done that. My body needs time to heal and I can feel it. Now the last thing is the wait for the results - 6 weeks. Let's hope I'll have the all clear as a christmas gift...

Happy it's done though and it was not too bad. Ladies, don't worry because having a small treatment like this is better than the possible result if there was no treatment.

PS just to add that my consultant came to see me after the surgery and said it all looked the way it had looked before (moderate abnormalities) and she did not spot anything sinister. She said she took only a bit out (1x1x1com) and the surgery went well. Lucky me! :)

Hi Anne,

my experience was quite similar.

There is definitely a lot of waiting around, before my RH I was in,a corridor for 6hours. I think it's because they need everyone there before the start of the surgical slot, and then they consider various factors in order to decide who needs to be done first. Hopefully anyone reading this will make sure they have magazines and a good book with them!

i had an overnight stay after my lletz, with a gauze pack and catheter. Neither of those were even really uncomfortable. In fact one of the biggest surprises for me has been how easy my catheters have been!

I found the constantly changing nurses difficult, even though they were all wonderful. After my RH I got really comfortable with the nurse that was sorting me out, and then she vanished! I'm sure there are good reasons for that though, probably good not to get too attached! They work crazy shifts too bless em.

i too am glad that I had the GA, and that I was off work for a while afterwards.

i hope you're feeling better.

Molly xxx

Dear Tivoli and Mollz,

thank you for your time and consideration of my post. I appreciate your concern and feedback.

Tivoli,

thanks for reviewing my experience from your perspective. I am happy you had a good experience with your treatment and the staff that have been looking after you.

I am sorry if my post came across too moany but what I wanted to do was to share my LLETZ experience in the way I have experienced it. I am afraid that you may have misinterpreted my words. I have not stated waiting in the hospital for my treatment was a waste of my time. Instead, I have experienced the lack of information provided as to the proceedings of the day as rather distressing. Had I received the information I would have liked to receive I would have felt calmer. Prior to my appointment, I have made several attempts to receive information on what is going to happen on the day, by calling the colposcopy clinic, my consultant's secretary and the women's unit, none of which were able to give me more details. I have experienced the LLETZ and the emotional rollercoaster-ride prior and after as very scary and frightening, and the lack of information provded by the NHS as adding to the difficulties. This is my own experience -- other women may find it different. I am a bit obsessive by nature and it gives me peace when I know what is going to happen to myself. I need time to memtally prepare. In amy case, I was provded with information at some stage and I would strongly encourage women who want more information to ask for it because the information is available. As far as I am aware, te NHS do not want to scare ladies off with too much information put into their letters, which is understandable. But in my opinion there should always be the possibility to provide additional information if requested.

May I also add that by nature I treat people with respect and kindness, particularly people who are looking after me. I have worked with indivduals for 17 years now in different capacities (in catering, as psychotherapist, and as university lecturer) and I am aware that kind treatment goes a long way, particularly when you are in a position of responsibility and care for other individuals. As stated in my post, my nurses were caring and kind and I had a long conversation about their professional lives with one of them during my stay. On the other hand, I do not think it is very surprising that ladies in my situation are anxious, scared, and emotional in the face of surgery being performed on their lady parts. From the community on this site, I would expect acknowledgement, sympathy and reassurance, which is something I have received from my nurses. However, I am afraid that I have indeed read your response as very critical and honestly speaking it has upset me.

I understand from previous things you have written on here (which I found both insightful and entertaining) that you have experienced medical problems worse than mine (sorry for a lack of appropriate words to better describe this) and I admire your bravery and perseverance. I am afraid I am not that strong and may be coping in a less functional way with this. This may stem from my fears of the future, what is going to happen to the family I want to have (I do not have children yet and have previously experienced a miscarriage) and the general existential questions such medical problems bring along with them. Let me ask you: What is your advice to cope with these problems? Just go with it and try not to worry too much? These are the sort of things I hear from family and friends, but I think this does not suffice to put my mind at ease. I may be exaggerating the whole issue (statistically speaking it seems rather unlikely I will be diagnosed with cancer and will need some more invasive treatment), but I am frightened nevertheless.

Mollz, thanks for your appreciation of my experience. It is good to know that other ladies have had similar experiences and this makes me feel less alone with my (hopefully entirely removed) abnormal cervical cells. I find your bravery encouraging and I admire the strength your post carries particularly showing how you have been able to cope well in the face of your treatment and your experience.

I am thankful of the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with other ladies who may share similar fears and worries, as I think it is helpful to receive the acknowledgement and understanding from somebody who has gone through something similar.

Thank you both and I hope you are well (coping well and enjoying Christmas celebrations).

All the best xx

Hi Anne Boleyn - thanks for your detailed description of the LLETZ. I could feel the tension and frustration you experienced. I have my own LLETZ this wednesday (under local) and can't seem to get enough information into me about it. I'm reading stories every day so was glad to see a full description of yours. Being jabbed with a needle in the wrong place a number of times is never going to make for a happy story! :)

This is a place to share feelings no matter what they are, because we all know its very hard to have other people understand what we are going through, even if what we're going through is a lot less compared to others.

Hi JJ,

thanks for your response - I am glad you share my view. 

I am wishing you all the best for your LLETZ tomorrow - I recommend you take some pain killers an hour or so before and have somebody to look after you afterwards. Let us know how it goes. x

Thank you Anne for that very detailed report, I'm sure it will help a lot of women have a better understanding of the road ahead.

I hope you have a very happy 32nd birthday and that you get good news before Christmas.

Be lucky

Tivoli

Thank you for this and I hope you're feeling better.

Am I missing something? I just don't see how Tivoli's response was critical? Possibly me misunderstanding the full post but I though Tivoli just wished you well?

Lucy x

Hi Lucy,

We have all been making use of our 'edit' buttons. 

I took exception to Anne's original post, which was rather less helpful than it is now, and threw my toys out of the pram. In retrospect a better course of action may have been to send her a private message raising my concerns, and then, had that failed, raise the issue with the board administrators instead of bringing it out in public. Anne has now edited her post as I have mine. I have learned an important lesson from this experience and I hope that I am not the only one to benefit from it. 

This thread is now much more pleasant than it was and I would like to thank Mollz and jjcarnage for remaining level-headed throughout.

Be lucky

Tivoli

Oh right, ok that makes sense. I re-read all the posts over and over trying to understand where it went off.

I suppose it's hard, most of the people on here are under quite a lot of stress and also facing things  not very nice. The same experiences are all different for people, some not so bad and some really horrible. I suppose I feel bad that some people recover really well after LLETZ, whereas I know the first time I had a fairly long and uncomforable recovery. I felt bad becuase someone made out (on a different forum) that I should be getting on with things more than I was and that I should be a bit more pro-active. I was really upset and did the same as you - I replied on the thread when I shouldn't have done.Suppose on forums like this, emotions are naturally very high so it's not a surprise sometimes things get a bit tense.

Nice to see though that it's all been resolved. Wishing you well and hope you're enjoying the festive period. Lucy xx

Hi Lucy,

I'm sorry to hear that your previous LLETZ experience wasn't so hot and that you are now facing another. It must be a pretty tense time for you just now. Just to say that I hope next week's procedure goes well for you and that you are fully recovered in time to enjoy the festivities.

All the best

Tivoli

Thank you - just want it over and done with now. Friday still seems ages away!

My sister in law gets married on 21st Dec so I'm hoping to be feeling well enough for a few drinks and a boogie! x

Hi Jelly,

thank you for your post. Please don't be put off by negative responses - most ladies on here are happy to help and will do the best to support you. I am sad to hear you did not have the best experience in the first place, but I am keeping my fingers crossed for a successful second LLETZ experience. Please let us know how it goes. And I am almost certain you'll be able to dance the night away on your sister's wedding! ;) x

Thank you - I will let you know how it goes :-)

I hope you're doing well and recovering nicely in time for xmas. Hopefully I will be able to enjoy a good dance, got some new shoes in prep! xx