Tag Archives: hysteroscopy

What Is It Like To Have A Hysteroscopy?

My appointment for my NHS hysteroscopy was set for 10:00am. I arrived in the hospital waiting room at about 9:50am but then had to wait until 10:30am before I was finally called into a side room. It was a terrifying delay of half an hour as I was already scared about the possible pain and the possible sinister findings, but somehow I got through it although at one point I did have to get up and pace.

I was weighed and measured and then shown into an operating room where two nurses were busy gathering equipment, wiping trolleys, and moving paper towels etc. I sat with a specialist nurse at a desk (I think that was how she described herself, I was so petrified I could barely process anything anyone said to me) who took my gynae history, previous operations details, and explained what was going to happen. I signed my name under the list of awful side effects, dangers, and warnings of dire consequences they always give you before a procedure that scares you half to death, then, behind a curtain screening off a corner of the room I undressed from the waist down.

As directed, I lay on one of those horrible beds with the high leg stirrups, a sheet just about covering my nether regions, while one of the nurses raised the table so that my private parts would be exactly eye height to anyone sitting in the chair placed directly between my legs. At this point all dignity is gone, so the dazzlingly bright lamp next to the chair is just one more hilariously awful fact to endure. The specialist came and sat in the chair and put a local anaesthetic into my cervix because I’m sensitive there (it’s not routinely given!) and then the first thing she did was a cervical smear test. I was due anyway and it made sense since she was already right there. We’d discussed whether I was due for a test during the talk beforehand.

So far I felt no pain or discomfort because of the local anaesthetic, even as she inserted a camera into my womb to have a look round. For some reason I remember a lot of water being involved at some point – which subsequently had to drain out of me. That was a weird feeling. There was an impulse to cover (pointless), to cross my legs (impossible) and to wipe (unnecessary) but since none of those options were available I just had to let it gush out into the poor nurse’s face (well, not actually splashing I hope).

I was still feeling no pain at all, but that changed dramatically when she did the biopsy. This gave me some uncomfortable cramping but I chatted to one of the nurses about pet insurance(?!) to distract myself, which actually worked.

Then everything was finished. I lay on the bed for a few minutes with the cramping getting worse and sat up only when I felt brave enough. I was leaking a bit of blood but not too much to be uncontrollable by the usual methods. I’d already taken paracetamol before coming to the hospital (as advised) but that didn’t seem to be helping. I needed ibuprofen as well, and soon after, an anti-sickness tablet.

After I got dressed and had a debrief with the specialist nurse, I was able to walk away from the room, albeit bent over like an old woman, and my lovely friend who’d been waiting for me in the hospital all this time accompanied me to her car and drove me home. But by now the cramping was absolute agony and I was strongly nauseous.

As soon as I got home I clamped a hot water bottle to my abdomen, made myself a cup of tea, and nibbled a couple of ginger biscuits. Thankfully, within an hour the pain had faded and I was able to watch Netflix without having to brace against it. I didn’t need pain killers again that day, and the morning after there was no increase in cramping or bleeding.

With regards the findings, she specialist nurse said she saw two small fibroids (10mm and 5mm) in my uterine muscle wall which she left in place. Apparently they can’t be removed unless by hysterectomy, which is obviously too extreme at the moment as they’re very small. The uterine lining was 7mm I think she said?? But at that time the cramping was so painful I could barely concentrate on anything.

Apparently they will write me a letter with the results of the biopsy which I should get within the next couple of weeks. So now it’s back to the waiting game.

The Waiting Game and the Mind Games

I’ve got cancer, I’m going to die a horrible death soon and my kids will be orphaned.

I don’t have cancer. It’s just a thickening due to hormones. I can have treatment and get on with my life.

These are the two conflicting ideas I can’t stop my brain from debating every single second, including when I’m asleep. They’re extremes, especially the negative one, because getting cancer isn’t an immediate death sentence these days and there are lots of treatment options open to an early-caught malignancy. But it’s hard to stay positive. I feel as if disaster looms over me like a storm cloud which will break on Tuesday when I have my diagnostic hysteroscopy. These days while I wait for the appointment are slow and difficult. I’ve lost my appetite and I can’t sleep.

The other problem is that if I do get good news – the all clear – I’m unlikely to believe it and still want preventative treatment of some kind. Scans, tests, and cameras can’t detect microscopic particles that can implant and grow elsewhere. Recur. Pop up a couple of months or years later.

It’s all so terrifying, and it seems so easy to get. A thickening of the lining of the womb. That’s all it is at the moment – that’s all it’s known to be. But it’s suspicious, and is often an indicator of cancer or pre-cancer, especially at my age. I’d be delighted with a diagnosis of pre-cancer, but I think I’d still want a hysterectomy.

Oh I don’t know. I shouldn’t guess at what I might or might not want IF I get a bad news diagnosis. I should try and get my mind to live in the moment, take each day as it comes, concentrate on the now (and other cliches easy to say and almost completely impossible to do). I should, I should… I can’t, I can’t.

Wait. I have to wait.

The best way to wait is to keep busy. It’s the weekend and I’m seeing friends on both Saturday and Sunday and there are the children to look after and the ex-husband to chat with. My ex-husband has been kipping on my sofabed for the last five weeks since he split up with his girlfriend and had nowhere to go. It’s very odd but it’s actually quite nice having him around, especially now as I’d be more lonely and worried dealing with this on my own.

Back to waiting.