Like a child who asks questions they already know the answer to, I went along with my list, seeking reassurance. I knew the answers to most of them before I went but needed to triple check what was what.
So here’s the questions….and answers!
- What happens if I do nothing? There is a strong likelihood it will turn to cancer.
- Why vaginectomy and not laser? Too widespread an area to remove easily and effectively by laser, need a good sample to send to pathology.
- Risks of vaginectomy? Infection, bleeding, blood clots, risk of anesthesia,bladder irritation, usual stuff, but what can happen and does is that a heamatoma (blood blister) can form along the scar and that needs to be burst and drained. (nice)
- Vault smear results (They came back borderline) Waste of time? Can’t remember the answer to this. Don’t think any doctor likes being told that his patient considers somethings he’s done as a waste of time. Biopsies trump smears so pretty irrelevant anyway but if I can dodge a procedure in the future I will.
- What won’t I be able to do and for how long? Can’t drive for 2 weeks, 2-6 weeks for general housework, shifting, living etc! He says I can get back on my bike in the new year! Great news.
- Guarantee that this op will be the last? Nope. No guarantee there.
- If cancer is found what will you do? Radio therapy.
- Anus. Can you biopsy it while I’m under? ‘Why wake up with a sore arse as well as a sore vagina?’ Point taken.
- Swollen thigh. Lymphodema? Wasn’t too worried or massively interested. One for Jane I think.
- How many vaginectomies have you done? 6
- Is sensation I’ve been feeling significant? (I’ve had an ‘odd’ feeling top left of my vagina, he says abnormal cells are there but also in other places)
- What does ‘warty appearance’ mean (this was on a letter from him to my GP about the lesions) Just means they looked very different from 6 months ago and that is concerning.
- Is there an argument for having a total vaginectomy and reconstruction now? My thinking behind this is that if a total vaginectomy is done I could have a reconstruction done. Apparently this is not done at Bath and I would have to travel to London or Glasgow. He says I’m better off having this partial vaginectomy as my vagina will still work. He said most reconstructions are not that good and many women who have them end up having anal sex anyway. (Fingers in my ears….LA LA LA at that point) Recommends I measure my vagina to reassure myself of what I have left. Told him I won’t do it before the op because it would be a case of ‘Here’s what you could of had’ I have to try and remind myself that these conversations are not banter down the pub, but really, could anyone have conversations like this in a grown up serious manner? I can’t.
He has told me that he does not like doing this operation. This was a week ago and it really upset me. I told him that he should find someone who did like doing them then. I told him that if I wanted someone to come and clean my oven I wanted someone who bloody loved doing it not someone who hated it.
He knows he upset me and explained today that he doesn’t like doing it because it’s hard, tricky and awkward.
‘Like peeling a banana from the inside’
I had made my mind up before I went in that I would have to have it done. And nothing he said changed my mind one way or the other really.
So I am provisionally booked in for 16th November. But with Nick operating, who has done my past two surgeries and who I hope like cleaning ovens just a little bit more.