My Story – Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer: 11-Month Checkup on 11/11 . . . and Another Pap

Eleven in Peach Circle Eleven in Peach Circle Eleven in Peach Circle   eleven is peachy . . .


Today I had my 11-month post-hysterectomy visit (my surgery was December 13, 2013). My checkup regularity was thrown off by an abnormal Pap test this summer. Fortunately, it was followed by a normal Pap test—and also by a normal vaginal biopsy, taken during a colposcopy.

Doing due diligence, my doctor did another Pap test today. He didn’t have a ready explanation as to why I had an abnormal Pap test followed by a normal result. But he said perhaps a woman’s immune system takes care of temporary abnormalities in vaginal cells. In fact, I have heard a number of women say that they had an abnormal Pap test followed by a normal one, so this may be a fairly frequent occurrence.

If I hadn’t had ongoing vaginal discharge since my vaginal radiation (brachytherapy) in February, I wouldn’t have needed the follow-up Pap tests. Today’s preferred follow-up modality is visual exams only. But because I reported the discharge problem, the doctor took the prudent course of closely monitoring me in the months after my surgery because, he said, discharge “should not” be occurring at this point. The radiation oncologist also said that ongoing vaginal discharge (as well as rectal leakage) is not a typical post-radiation symptom. Hmmm.

In an upcoming post, I hope to discuss the problem of atypical symptoms and how the medical community may not quite know what to do with them. My suspicion is that a lack of reporting and data collection may be the problem—what the doctors can’t explain they may dismiss, relying on known protocols rather than on new information to provide what they believe to be the best care.

In the meantime, I am in waiting mode because the lab results will take an inexplicable two to three weeks to come back. If the test is normal (fingers crossed), then I will see my regular gynecologist in February and the gynecologic oncologist in May. If all continues to be well by two years out, meaning that the Pap tests are all normal and examination shows no evidence of “lumps or bumps,” I will alternate six-month visits between the two doctors.

For the time being, then, everything is peachy—even though peach is the symbolic color for uterine cancer, which I appear to be free of. Stay tuned for more discussion soon—and for the Pap test results.

GYN Cancer Ribbons_FWC


See more on my story here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 thoughts on “My Story – Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer: 11-Month Checkup on 11/11 . . . and Another Pap”

  1. So glad everything is PEACHY!! Hoping and believing that the Pap will be also. Good work!!!! Congratulations!! Now take a deep breath and relax. Love you, Mom

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    1. Thanks, Mom. Of course, relaxing will be easier after I get the test results–not because I believe anything is wrong, but because Paps are fickle creatures. I’d really rather not go back for (probably) unnecessary colposcopies/biopsies/Paps, so . . . fingers crossed! Love, P

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  2. Dear One, May I take this moment in time to share with you and all that tomorrow is the second anniversary of my healing hysterectomy. My precious womb protected me and left with my cancer. This is and has been an amazing journey, Pam. Know that I hold you near in anticipation of your Pap good news. Love you and all who heal through cancer, Kathryn

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    1. Thank you so very much, Kathryn. So, we were both operated on on the 13th of the month! Lucky 13 for us both. You’re right about the protection of the womb–it contained my cancer as well and kept it from spreading. So glad we’re both able to share our stories. Love and continued good health, Pam

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