Hello Wonderland2021 and hello again Juniper,
Thank you very much for your replies. I’ve had to split this into two parts!
Unfortunately the hospital were really insistent that my husband not go in the treatment room with me and I just got too resigned/exhausted to argue. I can’t speak for the NHS elsewhere, but NHS Scotland is still following Scottish government guidelines about social distancing in medical settings and they seem horrendously inflexible on that. Fortunately the receptionist let my husband stay in the waiting area so he was there when I eventually emerged but I won’t lie, despite the kindness of everyone I still found it an awful experience to be expected to endure this alone. A nurse just isn’t the same as your mother, your spouse, your best friend etc.
The procedure was fairly straight forward. I was taken into a side room by the consultant (she does all the LLETZ procedures at my Glasgow hospital) and she explained that my CIN3 wasn’t very deep in the surface, which threw me as I thought CIN3 meant it had penetrated all the layers of your outer cervix. She also said she’d be removing an area no bigger than a fingernail.
I had the same routine as when I went for my biopsy, went into a side room to undress and put on a gown (I was wearing a loose dress though so was allowed to simply hike that up under the gown when I went to lie down) - I was also allowed to use the loo as one of my fears whenever I go for a smear is needing to wee! Both times I’ve been in this position I didn’t get to view a screen either.
I won’t lie, I definitely 100% felt a bit of pain when I had the local aesthetic. Not enough to make me scream in agony but she did say “ooh you did really well there!” which makes me wonder if my pain threshold means that other women aren’t so lucky and end up vocally in pain or crying.
I also found “you may feel a bit of pressure” regarding the wire to be sugar coating it. There wasn’t any pain as such but I definitely felt something when she cut and again it made me wonder if, for whatever reason, other women do feel pain at that part.
Not saying any of this to frighten anyone or suggesting my experience is universal but I just thought I’d be honest and say that I think they do downplay the potential discomfort a little with these procedures. I even said to the consultant that I’ve heard of folk saying they get pain during their smears, whereas I never do - but you don’t know what trauma they may have experienced so I just tell people that whatever they feel, it’s legitimate but for me personally I’ve never had pain during a smear (I say this hoping it might help, but know it doesn’t always.)
I know exactly what you mean about feeling like a nuisance because I’ve been through the same thought process, but with the way things are at the moment I’d say it’s better we keep at it. There’s going to be some sort of huge fallout when Covid is all over and the enquiries are beginning and I think part of this will be how many women AND men awaiting other procedures, screenings etc have essentially been left to rot for weeks. I am by no means downplaying Covid. I got my jags, I followed the rules, I’m trying not to catch or spread it. But the various governments and health services are going to have to face up to the huge mental health burden they’ve created.
So that’s why I say, keep phoning! Keep asking! I got told my LLETZ results (for clear margins etc) will be 4-5 weeks. If I don’t hear anything beyond 5 weeks, I’m definitely going to start pestering again because I’m just sick of this. I’m sick of being told it’s “due to Covid” as though I don’t know. I know they see hundreds of women in the same position but we’re all individuals and I wonder if they’re losing sight of the fact they’re dealing with individual human beings in all this.