So I admit it, I seek medical advice from Dr. Google. I like to prepare myself mentally before going into any medical procedure. I spend countless hours searching. And even after listening to close friends telling me not to worry, I keep searching. I need to know the worse-case scenario.
Why do I torture myself? The unknown can be scary.
It’s not always wise to look for answers on the internet. Not all sources have accurate information and you can’t trust everything you read. But when it comes to people sharing their experiences with medical procedures on the internet, I find that there are a lot more bad experiences shared than good experiences. I sometimes feel the internet was created so people can complain about everything they are unhappy about. We should share our positive experiences too.
If you recall from one of my previous posts, I decided to go for a second opinion after being told by my onco hospital that I did not need yearly pap smears. Sure enough, after receiving an abnormal pap result early this month, my GYN told me I needed to get a colposcopy to rule out cervical cancer. I felt scared.
I got my colposcopy done yesterday. Going in, I was terrified. I was scared because I did too much reading on the internet about other people’s experiences. Based on that reading, I was expecting this procedure to be painful. I was expecting to faint or throw up, because that’s how I react to pain.
I am happy to report that the procedure was a painless experience. My GYN used iodine to numb my cervix, which I highly recommend if your doctor is performing biopsies. I also took an Advil and an Ativan prior to the procedure. Even if your doctor isn’t performing a biopsy, the procedure itself is just a little uncomfortable, like getting a pap smear without the swab.
The ironic thing — a lesson I wish I would learn for the future — is that my obsessing about the procedure for two weeks online created much more pain and anxiety for me than the procedure did.
As it turned out, my GYN saw some minor spots. Then she took some biopsies from those areas in question. She also performed an endocervical curettage (ECC) to be thorough, because she is just wonderful in that way. ECC is a procedure in which the cervical canal is scraped to test for abnormal, precancerous conditions, or cervical cancer.
I am expecting to receive the results in two weeks, maybe sooner. I have scheduled an appt. to see a GYN oncologist at MSKCC. He specializes in uterine, cervical and ovarian cancers. I may not have cervical cancer but if further treatment is needed for me, he will take over the case from that moment on. I also want to speak to him about the possibility of doing a hysterectomy. Sounds drastic, I know. But, to be honest, I am tired. I already have the anxiety of getting frequently checked for my breast cancer.
I need to understand what getting these results mean for my health moving forward. Do I need to be monitored more frequently for this too? I also need to understand what my risks are if I decide to keep all my reproductive organs. I want a child but I am scared of facing a gynecological cancer. So here I am again, needing to make important big decisions. Who said we’re ever done with cancer?
We all know what the worst part of all of this is, right?
I will be sure to update you all about what challenges I may be facing next.
Now, let me go back to why sharing our positive stories is so important. I am sure there are thousands of those good stories out there but no one seems to spend time writing about them on the internet because most people want to move on after learning they are OK. But I think it is so important to share these good stories too. These are the stories that encourage people to keep going. They bring us hope. So I encourage you, if you have a good story to tell about a medical procedure you experienced, please share it. Go online and look to see who is scared out of their mind wanting to know about other people’s experiences and connect with that person.
The same goes for illnesses such as cancer. If you have a good story to share, please do so.
I had an idea today: I think there should be a website dedicated to only good experiences people have with medical procedures. You can go in and share your story so when others come visit that website, they can read them. The stories can be categorized by procedure type. This can help people with their anxiety and know they are not alone. Does this already exist?
Knowing myself, even if such a site existed, I would still search for worst-case scenarios through Dr. Google.