Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Girl Talk

This one is for the ladies.
a
Let's talk about women's health, shall we?
a
If you read the Credit Card Scam entry, then you must be wondering what we were doing in the hospital last Saturday. I've been seeing an OB-GYN regularly for the past couple of weeks for two things: 1) because we're trying to have a baby, and 2) because of my ASCUS pap smear result
a
ASCUS stands for Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance. It's the most common type of abnormal pap smear. My doctor said that it's not cancer, but I need to undergo a series of tests to determine if the abnormal cells are caused by HPV (Human Papillomavirus), which can potentially cause cervical cancer.
a
When we found out about the ASCUS pap smear result, the doctor gave me three options: 1) have another pap smear after four months to see if the test will yield the same result; 2) submit the remaining tissue from my previous pap smear for HPV DNA testing and see the results in two weeks; 3) undergo a procedure called colposcopy on that same day. With option 3, we can determine right away if the abnormal cells were indeed caused by HPV.
a
Now, my choice would depend on my level of anxiety. Can I keep it cool and wait for another four months? Or do I want to see the results right away so I can save myself from worrying? Since the OB-GYN told me that ASCUS is not exactly life threatening, I went for option 2.
a
After two weeks, we went back to BNH hospital. The result: positive for HPV. So our next step was to undergo colposcopy. It's a 20-minute procedure where she will use a camera to look for abnormal areas in my cervix. If she finds any abnormal areas, she will take tissue samples for biopsy. The procedure will have to wait for another week because I had my period that day.
a
So last Saturday, I had my colposcopy. I'm not going to describe the procedure here, but if you want to know more about it, just google it. All I can say is, it wasn't painful, but it was very, very uncomfortable. Sorta kinda like having mild dysmenorrhea. My OB-GYN found some abnormal areas which are viral in nature. Nothing serious and nothing to worry about. It should go away by itself, but I should get regular pap smears every six months.
a
I will be seeing her again this coming Saturday for the biopsy results.
a
When I told my sister Angel about this, she was alarmed because she just attended a seminar about women's health and the picture that they painted was not a pretty one. Turns out, the whole ASCUS scenario back home is more serious because some of them were not caught early on. Like I mentioned before, HPV can potentially lead to cervical cancer. Luckily, this type of cancer progresses gradually therefore it's preventable and treatable if caught in its early stages.
a
I would really recommend -- no, I strongly encourage my gal pals out there to visit your gynecologist regularly. I've already told my bestfriends Pat, Ria and Fides to see one. A pap smear may not be the most comfortable thing in the world, but what's a couple minutes of discomfort when your entire life depends on it?
a
In my case, I'm glad we were able to detect it right away so my mom and my sister can stop worrying. Oh, and yes, I still have many more years of shopping bliss to come :) ...now it's Richard's turn to worry.

2 comments:

susan said...

Thanks for the post. I just got a letter from my gyno today (of course it's right before the weekend and I can't talk to her), that I require a coloscopy because I had an abnormal pap (non-cancerous though). I have to admit, I'm really scared, but your post made me feel better. thanks!

Domestic Goddess said...

Hi Susan! I'm glad my post was able to help :) I was scared too when I found out about my pap smear result, but my OB-GYN kept telling me not to worry because ascus is very common and it's non-cancerous. When I went back to her for my biopsy results, she said the abnormal cells are only caused by a virus so it should go away by itself and no medication is needed. I only need to get a pap smear regularly (every six months).