Necessary, Part II

in All Posts

Although I was on cloud nine after my 17.0 mile run, I quickly came crashing back to Earth.   


As mentioned, I’ve been going through a rough time with my “womanly exams” lately.  My annual pap smear revealed “abnormal” cells or “pre-pre-cancerous” cells.  Then on the 22nd, I went in for a colposcopy, which is when the doctor looks at your cervix under a microscope.  If she seems anything that looks odd, she takes a biopsy.  My doctor took about four biopsies, but she said it was more for a precaution and that everything looks normal. 


The colposcopy post triggered more than 125+ comments.  Some of you had similar experiences, and some of you had never been to the gynecologist.  I’m writing about this now because I think it’s an important issue, and if my experience helps one other person, it will be worth talking about my vagina on the Internet.  🙂


So, the doctor told me that they found high-risk lesions, known as moderate dysplasia, on my cervix during the colposcopy, despite the fact that she thought it was normal in the first place.  Basically, these lesions are “pre-cancerous", not “pre-pre-cancerous” the pap smear revealed.  My doctor doesn’t know what caused my dysplasia, as I don’t have HPV, the most common cause.


This doesn’t mean I have cancer at all, but it means that if I don’t pursue some type of treatment, it could become cancerous.  I’m pretty sensitive to the cancer issue because I have one friend with leukemia right now and my other good friend had ovarian cancer.


The doctor recommended that I get a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP), which is the most commonly used approaches to treat high grade cervical dysplasia discovered on colposcopic examination.  Although my doctor said the LEEP is no big deal, I did some research and discovered:


  • Complications can include infection and hemorrhage.
  • Damage to the cervix may lead to cervical stenosis, when scar tissue forms at the opening of the cervix.  It that must be cut during delivery to allow the cervix to expand.
  • LEEP appears to increase the risk of premature rupture of the membranes during pregnancy, which may lead to preterm delivery.


Considering that I am considering a home delivery when I have a baby, these complications aren’t very appealing.


I have until November 19 to make a decision regarding what I want to do, but I think I’m going to pursue a second opinion.  I hate it when doctors act like slicing off a (small) part of an internal organ isn’t a big deal.  It IS a big deal!


So, that’s the story of my afternoon.  Obviously, I’m glad I’m on top of my appointments and I urge everyone to do the same.  Getting a LEEP done or another procedure is nothing compared to chemotherapy.


On a brighter note….


Tonight, we are going to downtown Orlando to celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday.  It’s going to be a WILD and CRAZY night.  I have not been clubbing in so long!


Eats of the afternoon included a big bowl of cereal before I took a long, long nap:


Post-nap, I found my appetite was quite suppressed after my run.  Don’t worry, I will make it up later tonight.  For my late afternoon snack, I had a salad:


Butternut squash soup:


All together now:


And…. I just took an Anti-Hangover Shot, which consists of:


  • Milk Thistle
  • Turmeric
  • Green Tea Extract
  • B Complex


Hopefully, this works!  Holistic medicine is quite effective sometimes.  🙂


Stay tuned for Nick’s birthday recap!  😉 I’m going to party like a youngster.



  • Jenny Eastwood@ JennyLikesToRun, On a mission to run a marathon to fundraise for The Breast Cancer Foundation October 30, 2009, 5:58 pm

    Thanks for posting this. It’s great that you are comfortable enough to talk about such a sensitive and personal topic over the internet. You’re absolutely right because this WILL help someone else out.

    I think it’s a good idea for you to get a second doctors opinion. They so often get it wrong and don’t bother to go over things more than once to check if they missed anything out and just jump to extreme conclusions, assuming the worst. It’s depressing!

    Congrats on your 17 mile run 🙂 that is a looooooong way. Tomorrow I have a ten k trail run planned, so I’ve taken yesterday and today as a rest day so I can have “fresh legs” to tackle that bush!

    NOTHING beats having a long nap after a huge run 🙂 it’s the BEST.

  • Deb October 30, 2009, 6:02 pm

    Second opinions are a good thing. If it brings you some comfort, my daughter-in-law had the same diagnosis and had the LEEP and has had two uneventful pregnancies and deliveries since that procedure. Just don’t let “Dr. Internet” scare the life out of you, get a second opinion.

  • Teacherwoman October 30, 2009, 6:17 pm

    I too think you should get a second opinion, if you are unsure of going through with this procedure.

    A little over two years ago, it was sugested that I get the LEEP procedure. I had seen two doctors before doing this procedure, only because my first doctor that told me my pap was irregular was not able to perform the procedure.

    I wasnt able to run for a while, or swim for about a month (if I remember correctly), but I am glad I didn’t let it go. Very serious situation. You can’t mess with cancer. Or pre-cancer.

  • Christy October 30, 2009, 6:19 pm

    So sorry to hear what you are going through but getting a second opinion is an excellent decision. Better to get as much info as possible.

    Did you buy your hangover mix or did you make it yourself? I have tried those before and they didn’t seem to work.

    • caitlin October 30, 2009, 6:23 pm

      its a bunch of different supplements the husband has and mixes itself. i will let you know if it works.

  • Kate October 30, 2009, 6:20 pm

    Sorry to hear you’re going through this! I’m going through something very similar right now and have opted to have a LEEP procedure done ASAP as my doctor as some concerns that the cells taken during the biopsy are not the most severe. I am worried about the future potential complications associated with the LEEP procedure, particularly those related to childbirth, but I was able to talk those through with my doctor thoroughly enough to give me some peace of mind about them.

    I do hate when doctor’s take a cavalier attitude toward what are “routine” procedures to them. I’ve also been frustrated with some responses I’ve gotten from people I’ve told, who have responded with things like, “Oh yeah, I have abnormal paps all the time! No worries!” Although not cancer in the way it’s thought of traditionally, this is some very scary shit. (excuse my language.)

    Best of luck to you!

  • Amelia October 30, 2009, 6:22 pm

    I went through the same thing: abnormal pap, colposcopy, and dysplasia. I was freaked out, depressed, and confused. I had the LEEP procedure done because it seemed like the best option for me. It was about as good as it could be. They give you a little shot to numb you and that was the most painful part (and it wasn’t bad at all). After a little pressure you get an adrenaline surge and then your cervix goes numb (not that you’re aware of that). The procedure itself is over very quickly and you can’t feel it at all. Afterwards it takes about a month to heal (read, no sex) and a bit of funny disharge right afterwards. The healing process was not painful at all for me, as I only experienced mild cramping for a couple days afterwards. Since then all of my follow-up paps have been clear!

    Best of luck with this decisions, and if you have any questions at all, please let me know.

  • Kate October 30, 2009, 6:23 pm

    Oh! I also wanted to say that I’ve found some very interesting information about women being able to naturally do away with their high-grade dysplasia with the help of naturopathic doctors. The information isn’t applicable to my situation, but it may be helpful for you.

  • Mama Pea October 30, 2009, 6:23 pm

    I have no advice, but just lots of prayers and supports. Now get it done tonight!!!

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite October 30, 2009, 6:23 pm

    Always get a second opinion! Its the motto I live by for anything medical!

    Have a great time tonight! Party your “you know what” off!

  • metivia October 30, 2009, 6:24 pm


    Hi there, my name is Metivia. I’ve been reading your blog for about 2 weeks and I wanted to reply to this particular thread b/c I had exactly what you have (pre-cancerous lesions on the cervix) in 2008 and I had the LEEP. Let me preface this by saying that I am a Physician Assistant in Family Medicine, so for me to get this news (mine was due strictly to HPV…all my PAPs were always normal) – I deal with abnormal PAPs (and I do PAPs on my patients as well!!) every week. Oh yes, all of this happened just 6 months before my wedding…I was a trainwreck of emotions. My biggest fear was not being able to have kids, but my gynecologist reassured me that it shouldn’t be a problem in the future!

    I would highly recommend getting the LEEP b/c the only alternative is cryosurgery which is when they freeze your cervix. For the LEEP you get anesthesia and it’s an in and out procedure. I felt nothing and had no complications; literally, it was painless. (Unfortunately you can’t have sex for 3-4 weeks aftewards…boo!) All of my PAPs and my HPV have been negative since. I am so glad I had that done instead of the cryosurgery (you’re awake for cryo and it is extremely painful).

    I don’t know if this is helpful…just thought I’d let you know my experience. My Ob/gyn was wonderful in taking me through the process. I wish I could refer you to her, but I live here in CA right now!!

    If you have ANY questions feel free to email me. I can give you personal and medical opinions…..

    I completely empathize with what’s going on and I’d be happy to hear your concerns. Chin up, you will be great!



  • Diana October 30, 2009, 6:25 pm

    I’m so sorry. I think going in for a second opinion is a good choice.. Our health is too important to just make decisions like that.

    Thank you for talking about these things and letting people know that they should take care of themselves and that ignoring the problems doesn’t make them go away.

    Have LOTS of fun tonight!!

  • Bec October 30, 2009, 6:26 pm

    my former manager was just telling me about how she had laser treatment for early stage cervical dysplasia is that an option for you? Best of luck with everything 🙂 and have fun tonight!

  • Kristen October 30, 2009, 6:28 pm

    Thanks for sharing this with the blog readers! I had a similar situation a few years ago. My doctor (who rocks) explained to me the options of procedures. She said that while ultimeatly it was my choice, she personally felt most comfortable with the laser in the LEEP as apposed to other methods. Knowing that, I felt more comfortable with it too! I would get a second opinion, especially if you arent 100% in love with how the visit went. Go with your gut!

  • Erica October 30, 2009, 6:29 pm

    The most important thing I have learned after a year of breast cancer treatment is that you must be comfortable with what your doctor is telling you, and his/her recommendations. If you feel that you need a second opinion, by all means, get one! It is YOUR body!

    And remember, knowledge is power, but googling too much can scare the begeeses out of you! As my dr told me, for every horror story or bad outcome, there is a thousand positive stories that people didn’t tell.

    Best of luck to you and thanks for sharing. You’re right, if just one person reads this post and makes a positive change in their life, then it’s worth posting. Thanks, girl 😉 Hang in there! I’ll keep you in my prayers <3

  • Monica October 30, 2009, 6:29 pm

    Agreeing with everyone else on getting a second opinion, it never hurts, and hopefully whatever you end up doing goes smoothly. And let us know if the hangover shot works! Have an awesome time tonight! 🙂

  • Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) October 30, 2009, 6:30 pm

    So sorry to hear that Caitlin. I agree with you and definitely think you should look into a second opinion.

    Have fun tonight! Maybe some drogging later? 🙂

  • Stacie October 30, 2009, 6:31 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I am a breast cancer survivor and you are correct, chemo is NOT fun (been there, done that and would not wish that on ANYONE).

    You are also right to get a second opinion. Had I not done that I’d be dead (my first Dr said my lump was not cancer because I was too young).

    I know you’ll do what you have to! And, try not to be too disappointed if it interferes a bit with your ideal of having babies. I was going to have two kids, 3 years apart. My life did not go according to plan either yet I am here and it’s wonderful (I had my second son after cancer, 7 years after my first son and now I can’t imagine it being any different)!



    • caitlin October 30, 2009, 6:36 pm

      you are amazing!!!

  • Lee October 30, 2009, 6:31 pm

    I am glad that you went to the doctor and were proactive about this and are urging others to be as well. I actually just finished blogging about this, but my father found out that he had bladder cancer from a routine physical. He had no symptoms. (They found microscopic blood in his urine sample). Early detection is so important when it comes to things like this. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your health.

    Have fun tonight. Hope the hangover prevention works.

    • caitlin October 30, 2009, 6:36 pm

      i hope your father is OK 🙁

  • Alyssa October 30, 2009, 6:35 pm

    I have no advice, but I hope everything turns out ok! I definitely endorse seeking a second opinion, no matter what the outcome is 🙂

  • Priyanka October 30, 2009, 6:38 pm

    This just goes to explain the importance of staying on top of your health. The good thing is that you know about it and you can move forward in the right direction.A second opinion is an excellent decision.

    Have fun tonight!!

  • Justy2003 October 30, 2009, 6:49 pm

    Sorry for more abnormal tests 🙁 And that procedure does not sound like fun…sorta makes my vajayjay hurt thinking about it! It wouldn’t hurt to get a 2nd opinion, especially when we’re talking about such an important part of your body as a woman! I hope everything works out well for you!
    Hopefully you can relax and have a little fun tonight! Enjoy your night out!

  • Courtney October 30, 2009, 6:53 pm

    Hey Caitlin,
    I’ve been a reader of your great site for a while. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve had very similar issues as well. I did test positive for HPV, though. I decided to have the LEEP, which I’m glad I did. By all means, get a second opinion, but just know that I googled the LEEP the night before my procedure, TOTALLY freaked out, decided to have it done anyway, and it really wasn’t that bad. I’ve had no adnormal paps sense (though this could be due to many factors). Just do what feels right for you and your health. I wish you all the best.

  • Michelle October 30, 2009, 6:54 pm

    I would like you to know that because of you, i started talking to my friend at work. She goes ‘Michelle, I haven’t gone in over 2 years and last time I went they said that I had abnormal cells, but I ignored it’. I looked at her and go ‘make an appt. now’. So, through your experience your are potentially saving lives. my thoughts and prayers are with you. hang in there and remember that you’re strong and can make it through this.

  • 'laina October 30, 2009, 6:57 pm

    Hi, Caitlin.

    I just wanted to chime in that I, too, had dysplasia (moderate), when I was about 22. The doctors tried to freeze the cells off with cryosurgery. Twice. With no luck. I ended up having the LEEP procedure done. Yes, I was scared, but I didn’t want the cells to progress to cancer either (way more scary!). That was 10 years ago, and I have a healthy 3 year old son, who I delivered naturally with no drugs, and no problems. The cryosurgery HURT, (I cried and the nurse held my hand) but is a viable treatment, if you want to consider alternatives. It just didn’t work for me.

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) October 30, 2009, 7:02 pm

    Always scary to hear such news from your doctor. I think it is wonderful that you share this info with everyone reading your blog, despite how personal it is, and that you stay up to date on your doctor visits… I know some people who literally NEVER go to a doctor until they are actually sick, but sometimes preventive medicine really does work. We get one body, gotta take care of it best we can. Do whatever you think best!

    AND you’ll have to let us know if that hangover prevention actually works! 😉

  • MelissaNibbles October 30, 2009, 7:06 pm

    Thank you for this information Caitlin. I’d get a second opinion as well, but be careful with the info you find on the internet. I’ve driven myself mad (mad I tell you!) looking up my own medical troubles on the internet. I’m sure you already know that, but I’d hate for you to stress yourself out more than you already are.

    Now, get out there and back that ass up!

  • Charline October 30, 2009, 7:12 pm

    I read daily, but never post….

    I just want to let you know that I had LEEP done at 21, after the birth of my daughter. I am now almost 36 and have had 2 successful pregnancies and uneventful deliveries since. It was an out patient, thing, I was only in the hospital for about 20 minutes, and I had a little spotting for 2 days and have been fine since. My paps have all come back clear.

  • Jenna October 30, 2009, 7:12 pm

    great post caitlin! i am glad you are staying on top of your appointments, that is very important 🙂
    have a great night!

  • Ellen October 30, 2009, 7:23 pm

    I am so sorry about your medical troubles. I was diagnosed with cervical dysplasia too. My doctor has elected to watch and wait. He gave me the option of a procedure, but we both agreed to just wait. He said that it typically will clear and heal itself. So far, in over a year, it has not gotten the slightest bit worse. I go in every 3 months to get checked. I don’t want to risk having problems as far as having a baby – since I haven’t had one yet and really, really want one. It’s not cancer so I am okay with just seeing if it gets better on its own. If it gets worse – then we’ll see.

    Good luck to you – and I appreciate you sharing your experience.

  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is October 30, 2009, 7:26 pm

    OH, I can’t wait to hear if the anti-hangover shot works.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. I agree with you on a second opinion. I also think it is cool you are planning on a home delivery someday.

  • Errign October 30, 2009, 7:35 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I am very glad you posted about colposcopies! I had one myself this summer for the same reason – abnormal pap. Luckily, they were still pre-pre cancerous cells as they had assumed and now I am going for paps every 3 months for one year, at which time, if I am ‘all better’ then back to paps once a year, if not another colposcopy, etc.

    I think you are making a wise choice in getting a second opinion, the option of LEEP sounds scary (and extremely painful!). Do you know what other options you may have?

    Another thing that I think is important to note – maybe post this up on the blog too, I’m not sure, but for women who have no insurace – contacting hospitals and larger ob/gyn facilities, sometimes they have breast & cervival programs at a prorated price, or even free if you cannot afford much. These issues are not something to ignore, even if you don’t have insurance – catching them early could save your life!

  • Anne October 30, 2009, 7:37 pm

    I also had the LEEP procedure for pre-cancerous cells. I was pretty stressed before the procedure, but it honestly was so quick and painless. I waited a few days before running because I was told to do so, but I felt back to normal the next day.

    Everyone is different and it’s very smart to consider the risks, but I was so glad that I had it done and got results very quickly (days later).

    Good luck, and thank you for sharing! There are plenty of people here to help you through this!

  • greenbean October 30, 2009, 7:38 pm

    that can’t be easy to deal with, Caitlin. You are definitely in my prayers. thank you so much for sharing the details of this and I pray you find the right course of action and get this taken care of. xo

  • Susan October 30, 2009, 7:43 pm

    Haha Caitlin, you are still a youngster. I refuse to believe that mid-twenty-somethings can’t still party hardy 😉

    Researching and getting a second opinion is always a good idea!! I’m so sorry these tests aren’t coming back the way you’d hope. But at least you’re finding out now, rather than further down the road, when it could be a lot worse. Have FUN tonight girly!

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat October 30, 2009, 8:06 pm

    I am SO glad you have discussed this on your blog and while I know it must not be easy for you to talk about, I applaud you. So many women out there don’t get examined at all, like you said. And it is also important to be informed, do your research and get second opinions, don’t just blindly trust what you are told. Thanks Caitlin!

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) October 30, 2009, 8:15 pm

    Caitlin I will be praying for you through this. Seeking out a second opinion is good and you need to be comfortable with the decision you make. Thank you for sharing with us though. It reminded me to schedule my ob/gyn appointment.

  • Rachel October 30, 2009, 8:21 pm

    I think second opinions are always worth while, even if it’s just for a piece of mind. Thoughts are with you, and thx for sharing.

    p.s. Can you plz share that anit-hangover recipe?! I’m going to need it before tomorrow night’s Halloween adventures. Have fun!

  • Cary October 30, 2009, 8:28 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for a little while, but never felt like I had anything to contribute until now. I think it’s great that you’re planning on having a homebirth someday! I had my second child at home, and it was wonderful.

    I also had cervical dysplasia, but mine was treated with cryo and between that and many, many biopsies, my cervix was pretty scarred. When I was in labor with my first child, the scar tissue just popped out of the way on its own at the end of my labor, but later, the midwife that I used with my second child said that she could have massaged it out of the way before I even went into labor if I had been her patient at the time. So there’s hope – you can have a natural homebirth even with a scarred cervix!

    But you’re smart to look for a second opinion, because scarring on the cervix can lead to greater complications than what I had to deal with.

  • Sarah @ The Foodie Diaries October 30, 2009, 8:30 pm

    This is definitely a big decision, and I think you are doing the wise thing by getting a second opinion. I wish you all the best!

  • Erin October 30, 2009, 8:35 pm

    Wow, the comments on this post are amazing. My sister just had an abnormal pap come back, with some of the similar issues that you’re having. Reading these experiences has helped me understand it a little better. It’s so amazing that people can share all of their experiences through blogs. Second opinions are always valuable and will hopefully give you peace of mind – in my opinion, more information/various perspectives is better! I’m sending my positive energy to you!

  • Wendy October 30, 2009, 8:50 pm

    I think getting a second opinion is a wise choice. The more information you have, the better you’ll feel about the decisions that you make. I will be praying for you!

    You are a brave, amazing and beautiful woman, Caitlin! 🙂

  • Morgan October 30, 2009, 8:50 pm

    I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. I think you should definitely get a second opinion, and I think it’s great that you are educating yourself. You have a great support system, both on the blog and in real life! My thoughts are with you for this!

  • Kelly October 30, 2009, 9:31 pm

    Agree with all the others about getting a second opinion 🙂 Even if it says the same thing at least you’ll be more confident!

  • Julie October 30, 2009, 9:33 pm

    Oh wow. I’m glad you’re getting a second opinion. I’m also glad your discussing it on here, women need to be educated about their bodies and having an open forum to talk about these things is very helpful. I’m thinking about you and praying for you.

    I hope you can hang with the young’uns tonight! I just had 2 beers and I’m ready to call it a night. I can’t hang.

  • Molly @vegandorm October 30, 2009, 9:34 pm

    I have had a lot of issues “down there” as well. i’m only 18, but I found out two years ago that I would never be able to have kids. Luckily I will have plenty of time to get used to this idea before I’m even going to think of kids.
    Anyway, a second opinion can never hurt, but I would discuss the risks with the doctors. I would always trust your doctors more than the internet.
    Good luck with everything, and have a blast tonight!
    Congrats an your AMAZING distance run this morning! way to work it out!

  • Kath October 30, 2009, 9:43 pm

    Sorry to hear your news wasn’t ideal 🙁 I second the second opinion. xoxo

  • Kirsten October 30, 2009, 9:55 pm

    Sorry to hear the news on the test results! I know how these things can be really upsetting. 2nd opinion sounds like a good idea.

  • Jacqueline October 30, 2009, 10:09 pm

    I don’t have any advice, but I say follow your intuition. It never fails me. You will know what’s right.
    Good luck!
    You are amazing!

  • Nicole October 30, 2009, 10:10 pm

    I am sorry to hear the news! I hope everything turns out okay. Sending you love!

  • Niki October 30, 2009, 10:19 pm

    So sorry you’re going through this! Sending hugs and prayers your way. My advice as a nurse is to get a second opinion and be sure to get all the pros/cons about the surgery from your doctor, not the internet 🙂 Sometimes it’s hard to know what’s right and what’s wrong out there!

  • Rosey Rebecca October 30, 2009, 10:22 pm

    I’m glad you are so open about this on your blog. I know it’s not the same thing but about 2 years ago, my gyno thought he felt a lump in my breast. It turned out to be nothing but it was horrifying for a couple weeks. It was right before the summer and I remember not wanting to go bathing suit shopping because I didn’t want to look at my chest.

    So, in a way, I know how it feels. Try not to freak yourself out about things you read on the internet. I do it all the time so I know it’s hard but I’m sure everything will turn out fine.

  • Stephanie October 30, 2009, 10:37 pm

    Hey girl, I just wanted to let you know that one of my best friends had this procedure actually so I def know where you are coming from with having some concerns…. however she did not experience any immediate complications and I hope that she won’t in the future either. Thanks for being so brave and posting this, many girls will benefit from reading this for sure. 🙂

  • Jenny October 30, 2009, 10:43 pm

    I think it’s great that you are looking at a second opinion – working in healthcare right now I have learned that everyone is going to have a different answer to your problem, whether its for the right reasons or not, so good luck with everything! Getting checked out can be one of the scariest things but it’s something that I fully believe we all need to just bear down and go through for our own health and happiness. good luck with everything 🙂

  • Marissa October 30, 2009, 10:46 pm

    I think it is so wonderful that you are posting about your “girly issues.” I have just gone through a very similar thing. I’m 27 and had not had a pap from 18-25, which is wayyy to long to go without one. Sure enough, mine came back abnormal. I had the colp with biopsies and we decided to watch and wait. If it gives you any comfort or hope, I found out this week that my follow up pap came back normal. I was pleasantly surprised. Always do what you gut tells you & girls, get your checkups! Caitlin, you’ll be in my prayers.

  • Jolene ( October 30, 2009, 10:58 pm

    I am glad you are posting about this – it is very important!

    Have a fabulous party, and party like it is 1999!!!!!!!!

  • Meghan@traveleatlove October 30, 2009, 11:18 pm

    Best of luck to you. I know a woman who had a LEEP and has a perfectly gorgeous almost year old baby girl 🙂 The procedure was uncomfortable but not painful according to her. Up to you, entirely on what you do, but just wanted to send positive vibes your way!

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) October 30, 2009, 11:34 pm

    Thanks for being open about this. I’m really sorry you are going through this…I can only imagine how much stress it adds to your day to day life. I agree that a second opinion is always good. Just for peace of mind. You are already ahead of the game by having these tests done…many people have it and don’t even know it. Good for you…I am sure you will reach out to many women out there who have been putting off their own exams. Love you girlie! xoxoxo

  • MarathonVal October 30, 2009, 11:38 pm

    I’m so sorry you are going through with this, but I really admire your candidness and strength and I know, with your enormous reader base, that your openness is surely helping to save someone’s life out there since you opened the door to this discussion. Thank you for doing that!

  • Anne October 31, 2009, 3:08 am

    I’m so sorry for you. I hope everything turns out okay!!

  • Marina October 31, 2009, 3:23 am

    I’m sorry that your tests didn’t went well. I hope it all turns out ok. It’s really nice of you to share this with us. I’ll keep you in my thoughts and have fingers crossed 🙂 You’re strong, you can defeat this!

  • christie, honoring health October 31, 2009, 6:46 am

    Good luck with whatever you decide, I know this is a challenging time for you with lots to think about.

    I had the LEEP when I was 18 years old, back then (15 years ago), I wasn’t aware of all of the risks. Thankfully, I have had normal exams ever since and am so thankful that my mom was wise enough to start taking me to a gyno so early. I hear of so many women in their early twenties who have never been and who knows what could be going on in there! I think it is awesome that you are bringing this issue into the light of day and I am sure you will inspire many to take there girly health seriously, even at a young age.

  • Kara October 31, 2009, 6:49 am

    Another great post-I agree that a second opinion is critical. I’m sure that your doc explained to you that your cervix is almost like an onion (lots of layers that are constantly shedding) so abnormalities can change (for better or worse). Another concern about ANY procedure to your cervix is raising your chance of a miscarriage when you do decide to get pregnant. I got pregnant recently and I learned that if you have an “inadequate cervix” that means no sex for 9 months! The no sex thing is because of the triggering preterm labor that you mentioned in your post. I also hate to say it, but it would also mean NO running during pregnancy, or any otherwise pregnancy-approved strenuous activity. An “inadequate” cervix can be caused by natural causes, but for most it is caused by a cervical procedure, like LEEP or the freezing.

    When I had the abnormal Pap, my biopsies came back “mild to moderate” and my doc was super cautious about any surgery. She actually wanted to wait 6 months and retest. We waited and when we retested, it was back to normal!

    You’ve got to love your womanly parts, you’re going to need them to step up to the plate when you want kids. Surgery might be the only (or best) answer, but I’m crossing my fingers for your body to correct the abnormality on its own, like mine did.

  • Shannon October 31, 2009, 8:29 am

    Thank you for sharing this. It’s an important reminder for all of us. I have nothing to add that hasn’t already been said. I’m definitely in support of the second opinion.

  • skinnyrunner October 31, 2009, 8:54 am

    have a fun and wild and crazy night and best wishes with your health!!

  • Renee October 31, 2009, 9:10 am

    I had a very similar scare when I was younger. My doctor had told me that I needed to have a second opinion and that it was basically no big deal. I did some research and found out the side effects and decided not to have the procedure done. I too wanted to have children one day. To make a long story short, I did not have the procedure done, became pregnant and then went to a different doctor who confirmed that I did not have a need to have the leep procedure done. I had my daughter and 7 years later have continued to have normal paps after several abnormal. Consider having a second opinion.

  • Chelsea (Chelsea's Chew and Run Fun) October 31, 2009, 10:19 am

    I’m so sorry to hear you’re enduring this type of scare currently. My mom had stage one ovarian cancer a couple years ago, and was able to nip it in the bud by getting a total hysterectomy.

    I want to commend you for following up on your Gynecological health and setting the example for your readers. It’s an area that’s so very important to be mindful of, yet so commonly ignored by a lot women for a garden variety of reasons.

    Regarding the Leep procedure, I second Renee’s (from above) advice, get a second opinion.

  • Nicole October 31, 2009, 10:34 am

    You are smart, you are strong, and you are beautiful. Following your gut to get a second opinion is, I think, the best thing to do.
    I truly appreciate you sharing this very personal situation with all of us. Every single one of us needs to be aware of things like this, and to know that we have options (such as getting second opinions.) You have hundreds of people praying and thinking of you. I hope you had a great time last night!!

  • caitlin October 31, 2009, 11:15 am

    THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO COMMENTED. you made me feel a lot better!!!!!!!!!!

  • Cindy October 31, 2009, 11:35 am

    Good luck with everything. I will be sending positive thoughts your way! <3

  • gfe--gluten free easily October 31, 2009, 11:40 am

    Here’s some food for thought … abnormal PAP smears and precancerous cells were one of my gynecological issues before I found out I was gluten intolerant and went gluten free. I even had my cervix “frozen” and my PAP smears were normal for a bit, but then the abnormal readings returned. Long story short: Since going gluten free, no abnormal PAP smears. Gluten issues can be a factor in precancerous and cancerous cells. I’m glad you are doing your own research and considering what is best for you.


  • Anne P October 31, 2009, 12:13 pm

    So sorry to read about this 🙁 Hugs.

  • Kristin October 31, 2009, 12:54 pm

    I think it’s important that women share their experiences and swap information surrounding these procedures. It helps to know you aren’t alone. Thank you!

    Also, I urge the readers who haven’t gone to the gyno to get to one ASAP! Sexually active or not, it is critical to see one regularly- it’s also a part of living a healthy lifestyle!

  • Aimee October 31, 2009, 1:52 pm

    I’m so sorry that you have to go through this. You are very brave to share your story. My thoughts are with you.

  • Paige @ Running Around Normal October 31, 2009, 2:46 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear that. That’s exactly what I experienced too. I went ahead and had the LEEP done. My doctor had me put out for it, but I believe it can be done with just some numbing stuff, or you can be out for the procedure. The anticipation is worse than the actual procedure (if you decide to go through out it.)I hear you that it just sucks that they can’t explain why.I think I DM’d you on Twitter, too, but again – let me know if you have any questions whatsoever, and I’d be more than happy to talk to you about my experience! I’ll be thinking about you!

    And I hope you had fun last night – can’t wait to hear about it:)

  • Caroline October 31, 2009, 3:26 pm

    Hang in there Caitlin, I think that getting a second opinion is a great idea, it can’t hurt. It’s a tough thing to be going through but it’s good that you get regular exams and knew about this early on. I am hoping the best for you!

  • Sarah October 31, 2009, 5:41 pm

    Hi Caitlin,

    I was also diagnosed with pre-cancerous dysplasia in 2006. I had a number of biopsies taken and then a session of cryotherapy (freezing the cervical tissue). 6 weeks later I had a follow up to check for scar tissue and 2 months after that I had a pap…the dysplasia was still there. I then had the LEEP procedure and followed the 6 week/2 month follow ups…and found the dysplasia was still there. the next step would have been a cone biopsy (removing a larger piece of the cervix) but as I was only 23 at the time my doctor wanted to wait 6 months and re-test. He suggested that I start taking a prenatal vitamin as some studies show that increased folic acid can help reverse or slow down abnormal cell growth in the cervix. 6 months later, In January 2007 I was diagnosed as “free” from the dysplasia and I continued to have follow ups and a pap every 3 months for a year to check for scar tissue and also to check that the abnormal cells had not returned. I will be going back in March of 2010 for my annual check up and have continued the folic acid regimen. My heart goes out to you as I know how scary all this news is, it took over a year for me to finally let myself breathe and now every time I go back for my annual check up I hold my breath all over again.

    In terms of the LEEP, I actually thought it was less painful than the cryotherapy. I had local anesthetic (similar to the shot used before the biopsies…I never thought I’d have a needle “there” lol) and took Tylenol before and after the procedure, and took the day off work. I was running again within a couple days (my doctor said he was fine with me getting right back into working out as long as I had only minimal spotting). My doctor also reminded me that if my husband and I choose to have children, as long as you wait for the cervical tissue to repair itself after the procedure, there are of course some risks of complications – but they are very minimal after a year or so has passed.

    Good luck to you, I will be thinking about you and sending good thoughts your way as you make this decision!

  • TorontoGirloutWest November 1, 2009, 11:54 am

    I am not going to pretend that I know what the right decision is for YOU. But I am going to tell you that I’m a big believer in the power of prayer. God can do wonders and I’m going to keep you in my prayers.

    Try to keep your head up amidst all of this – we’re all pulling for you!!! 🙂

  • bhealthier November 1, 2009, 7:36 pm

    hey caitlin!
    I had the same diagnosis as you, dysplasia ( pre-cancerous) not due to HPV. I had the LEEP done, and while it was not pleasant, it was in & out kinda thing. The important thing is to go back to get follow ups to make sure all of the pre-cancerous cells were removed. I haven’t had a baby yet, but suspect no problems with having one in the future. It is a really low risk operation, which is probably why the doc acted so non-chalant. It’s like saying it is possible for you to get hit by a bus if you drive a car… I mean, it is possible but have you ever gotten hit by a bus while driving ? 🙂 hope you are feeling better !

  • Courtney November 2, 2009, 8:34 am

    At 19 I had my second irregular pap. I had the same exact diagnosis as you basically – dysplasia that was not caused by HPV, it was just there. It was the second pap that showed dysplasia and my doctor recommended the leep. At 19 I was a bit freaked by the possibility that I might not be able to successfully carry a baby to term or that there would be delivery complications or even that after surgery it could occur again. However, I was very close to being cancerous at that point and the surgery was the better option. I had the leep with no surgical complications. Two years later, I got pregnant and carried the pregnancy to term with no cervical complications during or at delivery. I was pregnant again a year later and also had no complications. While they monitored me very closely during my pregnancy, I was delivered by a midwife with no problems. A second opinion may put your mind at ease, but honestly the surgery wasn’t that horrible. I can’t say that I’m not on edge every time I go to the doctor or anytime there “might” be an issue, but the surgery was worth it for me. Good luck with your decision, all the best!

  • A November 2, 2009, 10:07 am

    I know this comment is really late, but I am just catching up on blog reading after the Halloween weekend.

    About 4 years ago I had an abnormal pap folowed by a colposcopy and biopsy. It was found that I had moderate to severe dysplasia. However I did not have HPV when tested. My docotr and I choose not to do a LEEP or any other procedure. Because I had had a clean pap less then a year ago, my doctor wanted to give my body a chance to heal itself. He said it was common that once the body receognized the abnormal cells, that dysplasia can heal naturally. Given that I was young and otherwise healthy I agreed. 3-6 months later I had no signs of any abnormal cells and I was so thankful that I did not go through with any more invassive procedures. I have never had an abnormal pap since.

    Just wanted to share my story. I thought it was really brave and empowering of you to bring up such a personal issue. But hopefully you feel some solace in knowing many other women have faced the same or similar issues. I wish you luck and health in which ever decision you choose.

  • A November 2, 2009, 11:01 am

    This comment, too, is really late, but I saw you Tweet last week about disappointing test results. I didn’t remember that until I was catching up on the blog this morning.

    I was diagnosed with moderate cervical dysplasia without HPV 2 years ago. I was seeing a homeopathic provider at the time, and we jointly decided to not do any medical procedures — instead, I started taking more folic acid and other supplements, and I had an escharotic (it’s a chemical procedure). It wasn’t fun, but I’ve only had clean paps since then (thank goodness)!

    I was terrified when my doctor told me I had dysplasia — thank you for sharing your story on such a public forum. Sometimes it’s hard to find people you can talk about this stuff with (I really only had my doctor). I wish you luck with any course of action that you choose!

  • katie April 23, 2010, 11:18 pm

    I am sorry that you are having to go through this. Its great that you’re writing about it so other girls wil hopefully benefit.

    Did you end up having the LEEP? I had one in 2008. I read an above comment that a girl had one and it was quick and painless. I wish that had been my experience! Unlike her, I did not get a shot beforehand. (Maybe that’s what made the differnce?) I found it to be pretty painful and the recovery process was not fun. (I’d be glad to tell you about it if you want to email me.) I am not trying to scare you or be pessimistic, just wanted to share my experience.

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