A Rollercoaster of a Journey and a Surgery Date
The last couple of months have been a rollercoaster.
Throughout this journey, I’ve found it pretty difficult to digest and understand all of the information I’ve received. Then when you add emotions into the mix, it makes it even more difficult. To say this journey has been a rollercoaster is really an understatement 🙂
Just last week I was lucky enough to have a visit from two lovely ladies at Manukau Counties DHB. They took the time to come out and meet with me to discuss my experience with the health system so far. They were genuinely concerned about the process and lack of communication, and within a couple of days they helped me obtain the answers I had been looking for.
The biggest answer I had been pressing for was my surgery date.
I am now able to confirm that I will be booked in with the hospital for the 3rd of July.
One week later, I was chatting with my friend Hannah* about my results. She raised some questions and concerns. My mind was racing and instead of turning to Google I thought it would be better to turn to a medical professional.
I decided to contact my GP Jo* to clarify the information regarding my latest biopsy results. Jo called me back at 6pm that Friday night (now that’s dedication for you!), to talk through my results.
Here’s where I have to add that I was really impressed with Jo. She listened carefully to my story and put my mind at rest. Jo said that terminologies in this instance can confuse even doctors, let alone patients, and she was glad that I had rung her to get clarification. She said this was a difficult enough time for me as it was.
Jo then explained that when my smear test was first taken, the results had shown adenocarcinoma in-situ, meaning the early stages of cancer. From there, I had a colposcopy – where a small biopsy was taken for further testing. After an MDM meeting, the doctors had downgraded my initial results from early cancer to CIN3. This meant that I had high-grade changes in my cells, and that if left, may turn into cancer.
Jo continued to explain that because there is quite a ‘grey area’ between CIN3 and adenocarcinoma in-situ, my results are being dealt with quickly (hence my current status of priority two) so that the cells do not progress further.
Once I have my surgery, the cells will be cut out of my cervix and sent to the laboratory for further testing.
We also discussed my irregular bleeding, as I had recently been sent to the Manukau Super Clinic for an ultrasound on my pelvis, uterus, and kidneys. The ultrasound was taken to see if there were any lesions (which would explain the bleeding), however, this came back clear. This is great news but still leaves me puzzled as it does not provide an answer as to what may be causing the irregular bleeding. Perhaps once my surgery is completed, more information will come from there.
The surgical procedure I am booked in for is called a cone biopsy. This is performed under a general anesthetic, and a scalpel is used to take a cone-shaped section of the abnormal cells out of the neck of my womb.
Counties Manukau Health explains that a cone biopsy is completed when:
• When the smear results show abnormal changes in glandular cells.
• We suspect abnormal cells are present which cannot be seen at colposcopy.
• Early cancer is possible.
• Smear test continues to be abnormal despite normal examination.**
The removed tissue is then sent off to a laboratory to be examined.
So for now, I’ll wait in this ‘grey area’ until I have my surgery in a couple of weeks and the results are received from the laboratory. At least for now that I know that if anything, the results may be even better than we thought at the start.
If you do find yourself with a medical issue, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions. That’s what your GP is there for. Knowledge is key 🙂
A big thank you to the effort from the people at Manukau Counties DHB and my GP. I am feeling a lot more positive about my situation.
* Names have been changed
** Information supplied by Counties Manukau Health (Cone Biopsy leaflet).