In an attempt of preemptive combat, my doctor strongly recommended I get the Gardasil 9 immunization. If you know anyone who has had this shot, it hurts…and it’s a series of three shots throughout a six month period! It stings from the moment you get it and lingers for days.
My last three-month colposcopy follow-up was in September. I completed my Gardasil series in August, but I still had a bad feeling for this appointment. Just a week before my follow-up, I felt a new lump emerge out of nowhere. VIN dysplasia generally grows very slowly, so I knew this new lump was going to cause frustration. We did a biopsy and it came back as VIN2. Because we have fought the same area over and over, we decided to go ahead with surgery.
Because I continue to have abnormal cells, my fear is that more are growing inside, beyond the naked eye, and we won’t find them before they progress to cancer. I asked my doctor about it and he said that’s why we do the colposcopy at each follow-up. During the procedure, a colposcope (special magnifying instrument) allows the doctor to closely examine the cervix and vulva for signs of abnormality. A vinegar solution is applied to help highlight any areas of suspicious cells. (Source: mayoclinic.com)
When biopsy treatments aren’t working, laser ablation is one of the next options. In ablation surgery, a laser removes thin layers of skin. Besides the surgery prep, I actually prefer ablation surgery recovery compared to biopsies. As you can imagine, having pieces cut and removed from your vulva is unpleasant.
I had my second surgery in mid-October. My husband and I made it a long weekend and headed down to Minneapolis to enjoy a few days of relaxation and great food. Pre-op went great and I had surgery bright and early on Tuesday morning. IV’s for general anesthesia can be a problem with small veins. With my second C-Section, I was stuck 15 times. The nurse got it right on the first try this time! Yay! Surgery went as planned and I was home that afternoon.
The first few days of recovery are numb. It’s hard to tell what exactly went on down there. My nurse called and warned me of a likely peak in pain around days 5-7 post-op. Luckily, it never got that bad. The pain stayed manageable. Once the swelling went down, I noticed there were three additional areas treated. I was told by my nurse that the doctor will notice areas during colposcopies that are generally not a concern at the time. Being I’m already prepped and under anesthesia, the doctor will treat those areas in surgery. While I’m happy to get those areas “done with”, it’s still frustrating to know I’ll be fighting this for a lifetime. Some days I believe I AM healed, and others I’m not so sure.
The human body is a beautiful and wonderful thing. I want to believe I am healed, but there are times when my body will begin to tell me otherwise…with a small itch here, or a sting there. I am so thankful for a great doctor, whom I completely trust, to stay ahead of the issue. Listen to your bodies, ladies. If you feel like your body is trying to tell you something, LISTEN and mention it to your doctor.
Thank you for reading. xoxo, Erica
ICYMI…You can read VIN3: Part 1 here…