to be so frightened and feel like I'm not coping? (health-related, poss TMI)(14 Posts)
For background - I'll turn 42 in August, have been single and not sexually-active for over 2 years, no kids. I have severe endometriosis (I've had @6 operations in the last 6 years) and was on the pill until recently to try and regulate my hormones.
I found out yesterday that I'll be unemployed from August / September. I've had severe chronic anxiety for @20 years, and a history of depression - may be relevant.
Because of my age and because I get frequent migraines, my GP advised me to come off the pill last year (refused to continue prescribing it, basically). I've tried the coil in the past and was in pain / bleeding for a year, so that's not an option - so since October / November I've been contraceptive-free.
In November, December and January I had regular although heavy periods. In February, March, April and May I didn't have a period at all. I didn't go to the doctor because I've been under a ridiculous amount of stress this year and assumed my periods had stopped because of that.
At the end of May I had the heaviest period I think I've ever had. For the first time, I was crying with pain, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't eat. After my period I had abdominal pain for several days (never had this before), so at that point I made an appt with my GP.
My appt was a week or so later (no longer bleeding) - she did an internal examination, then told me that ovarian cancer 'is a possibility'.
She referred me for blood tests (have all come back normal), an ultrasound (I have a date for that at the end of July) and advised me to get a cervical smear. I then had another period in late June (not as heavy or painful but went on for a long time). I've also had fairly consistent abdominal pain for about six weeks.
My smear test appt was today. I've had problems with smear tests in the past because I had a tilted womb (Google it - it's a thing. And a bloody annoying one) - but the last couple have been fine. Today's nurse was an inexperienced student and she told me she couldn't find my cervix. She went to get a doctor, who made me bleed and also couldn't find my cervix. Another doctor was called. Altogether I was lying half-naked on the table for 35 minutes with three people looking at my vagina. I was also in a hell of a lot of pain from the speculum being twisted, taken out and reinserted etc etc - and bleeding quite heavily.
When the doctors had left - unable to take the smear - the nurse suggested I make an appointment with another doctor ('she's good at difficult smears') and if that doctor still couldn't get a result, she'd refer me to colposcopy. We went through my recent medical history (lack of periods, heavy bleeding, two periods within 3 weeks, abdominal pain) and then the nurse said 'You need to get that smear as soon as possible. If you have cancer, you'll need to be referred to colposcopy asap'.
I've had two medical professionals mention cancer in the space of about three weeks. I'm sitting here still bleeding and in pain, in tears and desperately worried. I can't get an appointment with the other doctor for another smear test for two weeks.
I'm meant to be going on holiday tomorrow with my best friend. My first holiday in 6 years, her first holiday in 12 years If I wasn't going away, I'd probably find a private clinic and pay to have a smear and a scan done first thing Monday morning. As it is, I'm worried that my anxiety is going to ruin the holiday.
Losing my job would have been bad enough. This just feels like the last straw. Don't have anyone to talk to in RL. The friend I'm going away with has been signed off work for about 2 months with her own health issues and I don't want to burden her with mine or spend the whole holiday talking about my bloody (literally) health.
Anyone have any practical advice??
Is there anyway you can ring around private clinics now see if you can be slotted in today?
They may be full but worth a try?
I am so sorry - that sounds incredibly anxiety inducing. Have you got a GUM (or whatever the sexual health walk in clinics are called) near you that could get to, I believe they should be able to do a smear there and then.
Thanks - I'm googling now. Although I thought you shouldn't have a smear if you're bleeding as it may return an inadequate result (?)
I know it's not much OP but I hope you get your answers sooner than later. Good luck with it all. Try and have a nice holiday. Sorry I can't b of any help.
Sounds a bit drastic, but I think I'd go to A and E. Tell them that you're desperately worried about it and can't go on any longer with the waiting. I'm sure they'll understand and be able to get you a smear sorted out there and then (with maybe a bit of waiting of course).
Try not to worry, as I would have thought they'd whip you in straight away if they thought cancer was the most likely.
I can't advise on the other issues OP but I would advise you to try using a family planning clinic to get your smear repeated. The nurses there get a lot more practice and as a result tend to be much more efficient, I had awful smears with the practise nurse at my doctors but they're always a breeze at the FPC. Give them a call and explain what's happened and about the tilted womb, you can normally get an appointment pretty quick and at least it would be one less thing to have to worry about. Hope you can get everything sorted and your mind put at rest really soon
I'm not sure but I think they can if needs be or at least do something how r u getting on
FPC or GUM will be able to advise you re bleeding affecting your smear result OP, give them a ring, they will know your best course of action
I had severe endometriosis and a retroverted uterus (tilted). The endometriosis created havoc internally, making my ovaries huge with chocolate cysts (blood escapes the uterus and forms cysts around the ovaries) and trapped and pulled my bowel into my pelvis. The pain was horrendous.
They also suspected cancer but it was all endometriosis. It is very likely yours is flaring up due to you coming off the pill as it is hormonally dependent. A complete hysterectomy at age 27 was the best thing that happened to me! Has you Doctor given you that option?
I agree with pp to get your smear at a clinic.
Enjoy your holiday! I hope you get your endometriosis sorted when you return. It is a terrible chronic illness that you have no idea how it impacts your life until the pain is completely gone. Good luck.
HumpMeBogart Firstly, [[hug]] Secondly, you sound exactly like my Mum, except she's a bit older.
She suffers from anxiety, a tilted womb and endometriosis and more recently suffered long bleeds 6+ weeks at a time. She had a smear which came back abnormal. She was referred to gynae who did a colposcopy and removed 2 califlour like growths from her uterus. She then was advised to have the coil inserted to stop the bleeding. She continued to bleed for 6m (one constant) bleed after the coil and they checked her again, did a biopsy and we had the worry about cancer. Luckily, all was fine.
I wonder, reading the posts above if the tilted womb and endo can cause long term bleeding?
Thank you for the advice and general niceness, you lovely lot. Couldn't get an appt yesterday anywhere (the clinics near me all seem to shut early on Fridays! ) Have decided to go away and relax as much as possible and have the smear when I'm back and hopefully have stopped bleeding. Thanks for listening x
I am sorry Bogart. It's grim, isn't it? Good luck with a speedy smear. Incidentally, I came off the mini-pill recently having also had ops and mirena for endometriosis. I'm currently having six months of GnRH injections. I won't lie, the first month has been pretty rough but I'm getting over it now and am hopeful this might work for my Endo. If not, I'm pushing for a full hysterectomy. I know people saying 'have you tried...' is really annoying but sometimes it can throw up a question to ask the docs.
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