Just when I was feeling lucky…

I lay in bed Wednesday night, awake and composing a blog post in my head about how lucky I’ve been with this pregnancy.  Lucky that it only took two tries at IVF to get here.  Lucky that I had virtually no nausea and could enjoy the early weeks of my pregnancy.  Lucky that each ultrasound has been perfect.  That Thumper has always been right on track, even a couple of days ahead.

I had finally come to terms with the idea that, not only was this pregnancy going well, but chances were good we were actually going to end up with a real live baby at the end of it.

Then I got a call from my OB’s office yesterday that crapped all over my happy pregnancy parade.

My pap came back abnormal.  I’ve never had an abnormal pap in my life.  Now I have to go in for a colposcopy at the end of next month.

Two syllables keep forcing their way into my shiny, happy thoughts about Thumper and the future: Cancer.

I have no reason to believe that’s what this is.  No family history.  No history of STDs.  No risky sexual behavior.

And still, that’s where my brain immediately goes.  I guess, with this pregnancy going so well, something had to fill the negativity vacuum.  Might as well be cancer.

This is a new fear for me.  I’ve been terrified of heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes, given my own family history.  And I’ve been scared to death Hubby will be the one to end up with cancer, given how many people in his family it has claimed.  I’ve done the occasional self breast exam, but not as regularly as I should.  I honestly thought that was one scare I would be able to avoid.

And things were going so well.  Things were finally falling into place.  Clearly not what I’ve been used to the past five or so years.  Now, not only am I paranoid about my own health, but I don’t want anyone going anywhere near my cervix when it’s doing such a beautiful job of keeping Thumper safely inside.

Of course, I’m being ridiculous.  I am totally overreacting  It’s one abnormal test.  It could be nothing.  Or next to nothing.  It could be a lab error.  This was the second attempt at a pap because they somehow lost my swab the first time.  Plenty of women have had abnormal paps and ended up just fine.  Right?

I am still lucky.  I know that.  And luckier today, which marks a decade since the first time I laid eyes on Hubby and our first date.  For all the ups and downs, it’s been the best 10 years of my life.  He has made me happier than I’ve ever been, and now I’m pregnant with his child.

And so, until I know any different, I’m trying to flip the switch from “holy shit, cancer!” to “cancer schmancer.”  But I need your help.  I need to know that everything is going to be okay.  I need to hear it from someone else who’s been there.

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20 thoughts on “Just when I was feeling lucky…

  1. I haven’t been there, but I know people who have and it IS usually a false alarm. I will be praying for you and I hope you can get confirmation soon so that this doesn’t weigh on you. Hang in there!!!

  2. I understand your anxiety hun. I didn’t know this until recently but smears are often abnormal in pregnancy, this is why I was told not to get one done until 3 months after my last miscarriage. Ask your peeps about that. I’ve also had an abnormal smear, had a cone biopsy done and was all ok after that. I’m confident this will be ok for you, try not to worry too much but definitely look into it. Thinking of you xx

  3. I had an abnormal pap and it was absolutely nothing. I think your chances of a false alarm are much higher than it being Something. Best of luck and try to “relax” (hahah I just said relax!!)

    But seriously, I’m thinking of you. Be well.

  4. The thought of cancer is so scary. BUT I do know many, many, MANY women who have had abnormal paps and everything is fine in the end. No cancer and nothing else wrong either. Deep breaths, friend. Everything will be okay. xo

  5. If you have thrush you will get an abnormal pap. I would rather have another pap before doing a colposcopy. Can you ask your Dr to rather repeat pap?

  6. I was just about to put what Lisette said. Please try not to worry, an abnormal pap during pregnancy is almost ‘normal’. There’s a lot going on down there that can affect the result. You’ve been through a lot to get this pregnancy, you deserve to enjoy it. I hope you’re able to put this to the back of your mind until you’ve got your next results x

  7. For what it’s worth I had 3 abnormal paps in a row. My colposcopy was normal, negative for HPV. That was several years ago, now they’ve been normal for about 5 years running. My Dr’s best guess is I had some sort of infection or possible HPV at some point that my body fought off. No cancer at all.
    Hang in there! Everyone has to have one little speed bump during pregnancy. Hopefully this is the only one!

  8. This is SO common! I got the colposcopy back in April and went in again for my pap today, you are just fine, don’t make it out to be something bigger then it is. The reason they monitor is so it doesn’t turn into cancer, and even if ever got to that point, they said it takes 15 years to get there. I promise, you will be fine!!! Abnormal paps really are not uncommon, at all

  9. I have had several abnormal paps in the last 12 years. Every single one was followed up on, and subsequent testing was normal. Then, a few years later, another one. More testing: everything fine. This is one case where you are most likely going to be ok.

  10. I had an abnormal pap 6.5 years ago, and had to have a colposcopy. It came back normal with nothing to worry about, and all my paps have been normal since then. Hopefully that helps ease your mind. I’ve heard it’s very common.

  11. For what it’s worth, I’ve had abnormal paps (in my case caused by HPV) and it’s really nothing. Most of the time you just go back every 6 months or so for a check up until the abnormal cells go away on their own (at which point you’ll be done your pregnancy anyway, or close to it). Worst case scenario, if they’re high grade abnormalities they’ll remove them after you give birth. I had moderate ones and they watched them for two years before they got fed up and decided to get rid of them so I could stop coming back so often, and they had never gotten worse. Very VERY slow moving to become cancer, which is why if you get regular paps you’ll be fine. Stop worrying please!

  12. I had an abnormal pap in 2004. They followed with a colposcopy which came back normal and another pap six months later. All was clear and has been ever since. Cancer schmancer!

  13. Everything is going to be ok! Firstly, did you know that pregnancy itself can lead to abnormal test results? That’s one of the reasons they won’t do smear tests here in the UK on pregnant women (one of the few smart things I think the NHS is doing). Secondly, I had an abnormal smear a few years back, and given my cancer history (unrelated to cervical cancer, but still) it really freak H and I out for a while. The doctor emphasised to me that low immunity can do that (which is also common in pregnancy), it might be nothing, to eat well and get plenty of rest, blah, blah…they monitored me more closely with colposcopy and a second smear test six months later which also came back abnormal. The following test, a year later, was totally normal and that chapter is now ancient history. I really think it’s not all that uncommon.

    I’m sorry you have this to content with at a time when you would otherwise be focusing on all that happy, lucky stuff, but most likely it is nothing to worry about. I’m glad you shared with us so we could offer some encouragement. Hang in there Daryl!

  14. Just another positive story here- I had a colposcopy several years ago, and all was completely fine. And a little part of me wonders if pregnancy might not alter cervical cells in some way… if I find any research on that I’ll let you know. Hang in there- like everyone has said, it’s really common, and most of the time, it turns out to be nothing. Hugs…

  15. I’m late to the comment party because I was traveling, but I’m sure it will all be fine! Especially given your history of no STDs or abnormal paps. I bet it was a mistake! Just like my crazy AMH that one time. 🙂 Hang in there and keep us updated!

  16. I’m due a smear test but because I’m pregnant they won’t test me as a rule here in Ireland. And they make you wait three months after you give birth. Same in the UK. I was surprised to read ages ago your dr actually took a smear knowing you were pregnant. Please don’t panic. You WILL be ok.

  17. I had an abnormal pap about 6 or 7 years ago. I went back 6 months later and everything was normal and has been ever since. Try not to worry.

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