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Colposcopy query.

Posts: 505
Joined: Aug 2014

Hello. I had/have anal cancer due to HPV-16 and already read and post in that forum.

I received chemotherapy and radiation, both of which were difficult and resulted in 3 hospitalizations during treatment. My 3 month sigmoidoscopy shows dysplasia (AIN-1) and a condition where the skin is very dry and easily fissures ("parakeratosis"; turns out that my constant pain was due to fissures, not inflammation). No malignancy, though. My 3 month CT scan discusses wall to wall lymph nodes, however, so I don't know the significance yet until my appointment with the oncologist tomorrow.

Meanwhile, she wanted me to see a gynecologist for a pap smear and HPV test. That exam was peel-me-off-the-ceiling excruciating. She kept telling me to relax so it wouldn't hurt. I assured her that it had nothing to do with relaxation. She said if I ever needed a colposcopy that it would be "very difficult to do on me". I subsequently found out that with women who had pelvic radiation and a high risk of vaginal stenosis that she should have used a very small speculum, the so-called "virginal speculum". I asked the nurse what size speculum was used and she told me that the doctor "always uses the smallest one on all her patients". I think neither the doctor nor nurse have any experience with pelvic radiation. (The radiation oncologist has since given me a vaginal dilator to use.)

Since radiation, I've had a bright yellow vaginal discharge. It's not fluid, it's just there on the panty pamper all the time. Also, my skin turned black (the actual color, not the gorgeous darker skin tones that some people of African descent have). Though it's faded a lot, it's still much darker than my normal skin tone. I asked if the skin of my upper thighs would ever return to normal or are my bathing suit days over. For both issues, she gave me a clipped, "They'll go away."

Well, the nurse called me to say that I need to have a colposcopy because of some "abnormal cells" on the PAP smear. I couldn't get her to be more specific. I asked about the HPV test and was told that they don't need to do a separate test, that the PAP smear would reveal it if it was there.

My speech therapist (I have so-called "chemo brain") says that she had a colposcopy with LEEP procedure and although she has no functional vaginal problems, it was very painful. They told her to take Motrin prior to the procedure, but it didn't help.

I do not want to return to that gynecology woman. I made an appointment to see my GP next week as I trust him to refer me to a good doctor. He also owns the practise with that gyn and I want him to know about my experience.

My questions are these:

* Am I am over-reacting about that gynecologist? Please tell me if I am. It's been many years since I've seen one and that guy has retired. He was thorough and kind with both a pre-exam and post-exam discussion.

* Is a colposcopy an emergency procedure or will waiting a few more weeks be okay?

* I have rheumatic heart disease with lots of arrythmias and easily stimulated vaso-vagal episodes (pain is one trigger, needles and scalpels are another). My cardiologist recommended atropine IV push prior to sedation of sigmoidscopy and colonoscopy and indeed, any other surgery. It helps a lot, bringing my pulse up into the 70s and maintains my blood pressure. Is colposcopy so different and easier to take then other types of scopings that sedation isn't needed?

* Will the discharge go away? Will the skin discoloration go away? Will I ever wear a bathing suit again? Should I turn my kayack into a big plastic planter in the yard?

Thank you so much for your time and attention. I truly appreciate it! Kiss


NoTimeForCancer's picture
Posts: 2728
Joined: Mar 2013

Ouchy, I suspect all the women on the gyn cancer boards who have had radiation are also the proud owners of a dialator or two.  I just saw my gyn onc and he said to get the next larger size of dialotor, which I am struggling with, but knowing it will help with all future visits means I struggle through the pain and hope it gets better.  You may want to get some to make your exams easier as well.

I had a coloposcopy and it isn't a party.  It was taking little snips of your vagina - so it really sucks.  I ran to my car with my legs together, plopped down in the car and got myself to a healthy glass of wine.  It isn't immediate but it is a diagnostic tool to determine what is going on.  However, with all the other health concerns you have the best is to get a doctor help you with discharge and medicine to assist you deal with the tests and health issues you have.

Good luck

Posts: 505
Joined: Aug 2014

During an innocent port flushing today at the Infusion Center, I was caught off guard to find out that my platelets have dropped from 133,000 one month ago to 35,000 today. I guess this means that nobody will want to do a colposcopy & biopsy on me in the near future.

Posts: 505
Joined: Aug 2014

I got the PAP smear result ---

"Diagnosis: Atypical squamus cells; cannot exclude a high grade squamus intraepithelial lesion (ASC-H). [= HSIL]

STI Molecular Profile: HPV-16, HPV-18 Not Detected; HPV High Risk Non-16/18 Not Detected.

Adequacy: Satisfactory for evaluation [. . .other stuff. . .] Partially obscuring inflammation."

Not so bad after all, eh?

Posts: 505
Joined: Aug 2014

My radiation oncologist is sending me to a gynecological oncology group that he "loves, loves, loves!!" When I asked him if this was overkill at this point, he said "absolutely not!!" (He really does talk in exclamation points .^_^. ) Before they will give me an appointment, they want to look at all the medical records and scan CDs. I'm working on that.

Meanwhile, I was put on Prednisone 50mg x 5 days. My platelets are now up to 74,000. The oncologist thinks that I have Immune Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) so I will continue on a reducing schedule of Prednisone. Funny, I didn't have it before I had cancer treatment..... .^_^.

Supposedly, my cancer is gone, but the aftermath is very trying and scary.

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