Abnormal PAP: I'm scared!

  1. I recieved a call yesterday that my pap smear from two weeks ago showed dysplasia. Now I need to go back for a colposcopy and further testing. I've never had an abnormal pap before but it has been at least three years since I had my last exam. I don't have any of the risk factors- no history of STD's, never smoked, no family hx, blah, blah, blah, but still.... I'm so scared right now. The soonest available appointment was for Janurary 8 so I have to worry through the holidays. I did ask to go on the cancellation list.

    As a nurse, I of course asked lots of questions and then went online to do some research about dysplasia. YIKES! I dug up all kinds of terrifying stories about women who ended up with cervical cancer after a dysplasia diagnosis. Hubby blows it off and says not to worry, but how can I not? I'm freaking out here so I hope someone out there will be able to offer some past experience or advice. Thanks
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   Dratz
    I know how you feel. Just after my first son was born back in 1981 I went for my pap and was told I had a Class III pap smear. I was looked at under their colposcope and it was determined that I would get the cryo surgery. I was pretty worried but the cryo only took a few minutes to do and that was it. I had it all done in the doctors office. It was a strange sensation and I felt like I might pass out but I have had no other abnormal pap smears since then and it has been 24 years since I had all that done. I rarely worry about it. All my doctors know about my abnormal pap. I am not sure how they classify them now but at that time mine was a Class III which is considered cancer in situ.

    The colposcopy is painless. So is the cryosurgery and maybe now they have made it even easier to get through. That has been my experience thus far. No history of cervical cancer in my family, although my mom did take DES when she was pregnant with me.

    Hope this helps alleviate your fears. I would call your doctor and get more answers if you are that scared. You will be ok.
  4. by   HeartsOpenWide
    I had an abnormal pap once. I got all freaked out. After they repeated the pap and it came back normal I asked them why it could have come back abnormal the first time. They said it probably that when they took the sample they caused me to bleed a little and that set it off. Whatever! I was just glad it was all fine. Don't get yourself too worked up.
  5. by   Super_RN
    i had an abnormal pap last year, also showing dysplasia. the colposcopy was painless, the biopsy they did right after hurt. i'm not going to lie...it *******' hurt. i went on my merry little way and when my results came back i scheduled a leep procedure. the only part that hurt with the leep is the numbing process...a needle in the cervix does not feel good. i had no history of std's or anything else for that matter, but apparently the main (my doc said approximately 98%) cause of abnormal paps showing dysplasia is a form of hpv. when i first heard that, i was totally disgusted. i told him i sure hadn't noticed anything growing down there and hadn't been with anyone who had either (to my knowledge). males are a carrier of it and pass it along very easily, women obtain the virus and it can only show up inside. i am going back in january for my 2nd follow up pap after the leep. i was very angry that it happened to me, but i am not saying that is what is wrong with you. make sure you discuss everything with your doc. mine was wonderful and answered any questions i had. i was especially freaked out due to cervical cancer being prominent in my family. i wish you the best.
    super
  6. by   10ACGIRL
    Honey, you made me think of this past Sunday (12/18/05) when shortly after the dinner hour, I was getting sharp pains coming from my uteros. It felt like someone using a sharp knife and using it in a butter churn (OUCH!). I was very scared and my residents said I didn't look so good. I said that I was going to try and get in with my OBGYN but, the pain has subsided since then. I just had a PAP 3 wks. ago & it came back normal as I will get out.
  7. by   Nurse-o-Matic
    Thanks for sharing your stories. It really does help to hear from others that have survived after an abnormal pap! If I have a biopsy done with the colopscopy will I still be able to work that evening? I just wish I could get this done sooner than later.
  8. by   Super_RN
    Quote from Nurse-o-Matic
    Thanks for sharing your stories. It really does help to hear from others that have survived after an abnormal pap! If I have a biopsy done with the colopscopy will I still be able to work that evening? I just wish I could get this done sooner than later.
    well, you could work, but I wouldn't. I thought I would be able to work my 12 hour shift, but afterwards...no. I did not end up working. Personally, I thought it was painful. Others may not think so, but it's my personal opinion.
  9. by   redshiloh
    I had a PAP that showed dysplasia once, but on the repeat it showed normal. My doctor told me that sometimes an infection can cause this type of result. Did they do a repeat?
  10. by   Aneroo
    I've had one as well- I was 19. Cancer was not something a 19year old shoulder have to think about, so I am sure I was just as freaked as you are right now.
    I had the colopscopy done. The actual procedure did not hurt, but afterwards I did have menstrual type cramps- they gave me some Aleve in office and it was good. I went shopping afterwards! Everything came back ok with that, and they just did more Pap's that year. Once I had normal paps for a while, I went back to a yearly pap.
    My understanding is that it is usually caused by HPV (the same one that causes genital warts). There are a lot of strains of this virus- some cause the warts, some are more likely to cause the cellular changes. I think this is why most woman say "I never noticed anything growing down there".
    *hugs* to you- Regardless of what we tell you, it's scary until you find out everything came back normal!
  11. by   ortess1971
    I had a biopsy done with the colposcopy and I went to work afterward-It felt a little uncomfortable but I get painful cramps during the first 2 days of my period so the biopsy to me wasn't really much. My doctor however said that if I need a Leep eventually, he likes to do them in the office. Needless to say that won't be happening-I'm going to insist on him doing it in the OR. I figure, if we get these guys in the OR with vasectomies(which are an office procedure) and they put them under general anesthesia(I'm not kidding) they can do my Leep in the OR. I've seen these cases and me personally, I'd be so afraid,that I'd end up canceling it(I'm a big baby about gynecological procedures ) There are lots of things they can do for this-I was just like you-SCARED.I think as medical people, we freak out more sometimes. A nurse I work with said to me "I'm sure you already have yourself going through chemo right now" and she was right, I went right to the worst case scenario. I feel better about it now-I have a class one dysplasia and am going back in February to have another pap smear. These things tend to move slowly and there are lots of treatments. Hang in there! PS. I also had no history of STD's and have been with only 2 people and I'm responsible about protection so I was thinking, what the hell???
  12. by   Nurse-o-Matic
    Quote from redshiloh
    I had a PAP that showed dysplasia once, but on the repeat it showed normal. My doctor told me that sometimes an infection can cause this type of result. Did they do a repeat?
    No, they just scheduled me for a colposcopy. This is what has me thinking it's really bad. Maybe I should call again and pester for more information. I'd actually like to know exactly what the lab report said.
  13. by   Super_RN
    Quote from Nurse-o-Matic
    No, they just scheduled me for a colposcopy. This is what has me thinking it's really bad. Maybe I should call again and pester for more information. I'd actually like to know exactly what the lab report said.
    For the colposcopy the only thing they do is get a "magnifying glass", coat the cervix with some dye, and it will show any abnormal cells more clearly. That part is not uncomfortable. I had scheduled the colposcopy and then a biopsy to be done if the cells were indeed found.
  14. by   mandana
    My OBGYN goes straight to colposcopy with an abnormal pap. He doesn't feel that a follow-up pap is as beneficial as being able to see things clearly.

    I know this because I asked about it at my recent pap when I found out that approximately 1 in 3 people have been or will be infected with HPV at some point in life!

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