August 17, 2011

The LEEP Procedure; Everything a freaked out patient needs to know....

Yes, I survived my LEEP procedure (and none the worse for wear). I have to say, I'm a bit angry about all the nasty stories I have read on the Internet and the YouTube clips that are posted telling nothing but scary-ass stories freaking more women out than seeing the first gray hair.  That is why I feel it so necessary to use this blog to post my own experience as a highly-neurotic, freaked out, woman who has never had children nor gone through any creepy "woman's" surgery in her life. I felt so sorry for the woman before and after me yesterday as they looked so scared walking into their procedure with their own man-friends holding their shaking little hands (although I thought the men looked more afraid than the women - one came out white as a ghost).

There I was, high on muscle relaxants, cracking one joke after the other (trying desperately to make one other person smile besides my own supportive man-friend - who was really only smiling because he wanted to make me feel better). Seriously, I was about to fall asleep when the nurse (who was wearing a fabulous black outfit vs. those stupid baby powder coloured smocks with little kittens on them - I mean really....how is a smock covered in kittens going to make me feel better?) called my name. I have to admit, there was a bit of dissonance between the drugs sedation effect and my fear....I didn't know which way to go, so I just fell onto the table and waited for the inevitable (legs in stirrups; blue cloth smock on).

The LEEP (Loop Electro Surgical Excision) procedure went something like this.....

First, after a few post surgery directions (no working out for at least 10 days, no sex for 3 weeks, no fun of any kind until I heal........) the doc came in and did a routine colposcopy (checked out the area with a micro-camera thingy - you won't be getting the appropriate jargon here...it ain't necessary). It was fine and painless. Then came the needle. Um...ya...they literally stick a needle in your cervix to numb you (it) and you know what? I only felt a little prick and it was gone (too many jokes, too little time). If it wasn't for my damn anxiety level, I wouldn't have felt a thing.

The fun part came when the epinephrine started circulating (the stuff they inject into you along with Novocaine)...completely harmless but got my legs and arms shaking like I lifted a weight that was way too heavy for me. That was it. I little bit of a heart palpitation, but it was absolutely nothing....no more than the palpitations my man-friend gives me when he shoots me his killer smile. So that part was done faster than you can say "I wish they had the HPV shot when I was a little girl".

Next, came the LEEP. I chose to look away and talk about the latest movies (I just saw "The Change Up in the movies and really loved it - very funny). My man-friend was fascinated by the procedure and watched every step on the monitor (colour and I'm sure in HD....you had the option to purchase the video once it was done....kidding...but that would be a great way to make extra cash). The doc took this ....if you have ever played with clay you may have used a tool with a wire loop at the end...the very same tool. With the grounding pad placed on my thigh (cause he is playing with electricity) he basically shaved off the pre-cancerous cells in less than 20 seconds while my nurse joked with me, talked with me, and coached me through some visualization and breathing exercises. It was absolutely nothing to worry about. I felt a little ache but nothing as bad as wearing tight jeans whilst you have gas (sorry, it's what I have to compare with).

After it was done, he cauterized the area to prevent bleeding and placed some liquid bandage on there and I was good to go. Except for the fact I was still kinda drugged up, stressed out, and not fit for walking. I was able to lay there until I felt ready and off I went (not before telling the girl after me that it was fine and nothing to worry about....she looked like she was heading to the chopping block...well, I guess she kinda was but whatever). 

The entire procedure took about 20 minutes from start to finish. On a pain scale of 1-10 I would say it was a 3-4. If there's pain it came from my stress and anxiety and not the actual procedure itself. I have felt more discomfort from a teeth cleaning....seriously. If you are waiting to get this procedure please please please believe me when I say it isn't worth your worry.  Visualize yourself walking away from it saying "that's was nothing!" and you will do just that.  It is safe, quick, painless, and a very important medical prevention that could save a life. 

Now my cute little sample goes to get tested. If it comes back cancerous...I will be blogging about it I assure you (the chances are very small it is). I will have to go back to the clinic for another colposcopy in six months and another six months after that. Once I clear...it back to normal, baby!  As for me now? I have to say I'm a bit freaked out about moving funny for fear something will fall out....but nothing has yet. There may be some carnage occurring in about 10 days once the scab leaves the area, but that's it. Nothing to be concerned about....that's real life health, right? Sometimes it ain't pretty but we have to do it anyway.

I have to say, I have never been under the care of a nurse/doc team that was so relaxed, professional, caring, thoughtful, and fun. Yes, they were fun. The doc talked about his favorite TV show and the nurse started talking movies and they made it enjoyable. Hey...when was the last time I was the center of attention like that???? Thank you for your kindness.

Again, try not to loose yourself in the stories that people share about their experiences. I am all for research but try to keep a level head when you read all the horror stories around this procedure. The Internet is great, but sometimes it can do more harm than good.  I was one of many women yesterday going through it and not one left looking horrified...they just went in that way. I highly recommend practicing some visualization exercises every day before your appointment...maybe before you fall asleep. Visualize the entire (painless and easy) procedure and you walking away thinking to yourself..."OMG...that was absolutely nothing to be concerned about!"

That's all I got....oh except for pictures. Sorry, I was too high on muscle relaxants to take pictures. My bad.
K

PS. If I didn't cover what you are most concerned with, please feel free to leave a comment and I will respond.  I know when I was surfing I was always left with a question that was never answered.

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for helping me calm my fears. It's been stressful to get the news in the first place much less have 6 months to prepare for this if it still comes back abnormal. Kudos to your man friend hanging out for it!

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  2. I wish I had found the article BEFORE my surgery last Wednesday!!! Would have saved me a lot of stressing. Thank you so much for posting! Because you're right, it's honestly painless and literally can save your life.

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  3. Thank you so much! I am tired of hearing just horror stories of this online, you have helped ease my nervousness a lot...I have to go at the end of the month for mine so thats a long time to worry for nothing!

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  4. This is so great. Thank you very much for sharing your experience. I had my leep procedure done about 3 months ago and I was very scared. I was not really scared about the procedure but about the word cancer. The procedure was painless. The only weird ting I felt was a big heart race because of the medication they gave me but that was it. I did not even need to take pain medication afterwards. I felt only a very mild discomfort for a couple of days. I decided to be on the safe side so no exercise or sex for 6 weeks (I know sucks...). I came back to repeat my pap last week and the results came back: normal pap and HPV negative! I was a bit surprised since the Dr said the expectation was that the HPV should still be positive since I am breastfeeding and had a baby 4 months ago (so my immune system is not 100% yet). I believe this result was due to a healthy diet I have been eating since the leep procedure. I am a big believer on natural eating and healing naturally so I looked up on Google (but also consulted with a nutritionist) the best things to eat to fight a virus and here is what I ate pretty much every day: smashed raw garlic with my salad, alfafa with my salad, 10 drops of propolis on my milk, apple cider vinager on my salad, raw dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale and collard greens), oregano (fresh with my salad), lots of water and daily 30 min walks (massages also helps your body to heal through relaxation). The best thing for your immune system is to relax and surrender things you cannot control to God. Be happy. Eat healthy. Serve others and try to make other people around you happy.

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