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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Unexpected News

"I'm calling about your PAP results. They came back abnormal..."

That was the phone call I got yesterday from my NP. As if dealing with an embedded IUD, and the possibility of pregnancy wasn't enough, I get hit with this. I know abnormal PAP's are fairly common, and that a lot of women have an abnormal PAP at some point, but it's still news I never expected. From what I gathered from our short conversation, there are 4 "levels" of abnormal: Change in cells, low grade, high grade and cancer. Mine was low grade abnormal. Because of that, my NP recommended that I have a colposcopy done. With the colposcopy comes the possibility of a biopsy, and I'm dreading that. The biopsy depends on what is seen during the colposcopy. Someone at work says it hurts a lot. Wonderful, just what I wanted to hear.

She also brought up HPV. Say what!? Isn't that an STD?? She said often times, abnormal PAP's can be caused by HPV. Unfortunately, my HPV results haven't come back yet, so she couldn't tell me if I am positive for that or not. Because I was blindsided by this call, I didn't have enough time to come up with questions. So I consulted Google. From what I read, HPV is the most common virus, and almost every male and female has it at some point in their life. It's most commonly spread by sex, and there are about 40 different strains of HPV. Some cause warts, some don't have any symptoms, and some cause cervical cancer. Also, men can have it too, but they are more like "carriers", and are rarely affected by it. There actually isn't a way to test men to see if they're even carriers. Lucky them.

The other thing is that HPV can lay "dormant" for years. So I could have got this years ago, and then something activated it. Most times HPV doesn't cause symptoms, so there is no way to know if you have it until it causes cell changes in your cervix. It can also correct itself over time. So many times, depending on how abnormal, if you have an abnormal PAP, the doctor may recommend a follow-up PAP in 6 months to see if it's corrected itself. So that's good news.

What makes me nervous is that my NP suggested going straight to the colposcopy instead of a follow-up PAP. Maybe she's just being proactive? I know every practice is different. Maybe if it was just cell changes, it would have just warranted a follow-up and not the colposcopy? Who knows.

So anyway, my "procedure" is on Friday, May 17th in the afternoon. I'm going to leave work at lunch, and have Matt take me, in case I have any discomfort. As I tell the patients that need biopsies, be hopeful and optimistic, but be prepared for the worst. I should follow my own advice.

Oh, and I'm definitely not pregnant .Yes, it was still a thought in my mind, especially since my NP told me that if I didn't get my period when I removed the Ring after the 3rd week, to take a pregnancy test. Well, with this new news, and my procedure a week before I would get my period, I felt a test was necessary. Totally negative. ::Phew::


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