Monday 16 June 2014

Why me?

This was a hard post to write, and an even harder one to decide whether or not I wanted to share. I decided that when my results came back was when I would make that decision. The reason I am posting it is because this is a scary matter that is affecting women my age more and more than ever before. Is it personal? Ohhh yes. Too personal for a blog? Maybe, but I know if I had something like this to read a few weeks ago, I would've felt a lot calmer about this process, too.

I am a big believer in fate, and that things happen for a reason. I don't necessarily believe that we are "destined" for certain things, I just believe that the seemingly random things all add up to a bigger picture.

November, I'm entering into a new relationship, which means birth control which means a pap test and the ol' "make sure everything is good" checkup. In April, I locked my finger in my car door. Hurt like a mother f-cker and just ruined my nail (ring finger too, of course.), but since I literally didn't severe it, I didn't go to the hospital or anything. Well a couple weeks later it was still looking smushed, and my boyfriend's dad said I should really get it checked out, just in case. Long story short, it was fine, a little smushed for life, but fine. How do these relate? A couple days later I received a call from my doctor first thing in the morning, asking if we had ever gone over the results of my latest pap (the one from 6 months prior). I said no, because as ladies we always know the golden, "No news is good news!" rule when it comes to getting your lady parts screened. "Well, your results came back with high-risk cells, and we're going to need to have you come in to get them biopsied, which will then be sent to an oncologist who will send back their recommendations." Although this only went through the second time he phoned me, because as soon as "high risk cells" was stated, my stomach dropped, tears filled my eyes and I didn't hear anything other than buzzing. Thank god for my boyfriend who was on his way into work, but when he received what I'm sure was the most hysterical dolphin screeching phone call from who was supposed to be his girlfriend, not two minutes later he was on my couch, arms wrapped around me while I cried. He had no idea what I was talking about or what any of it meant, he just knew his job was to make me feel safe, regardless.

My biopsy appointment was for two weeks later, and in that time I had myself convinced that the results were wonky, as I've heard that happens a lot. Hormones, yeast, a lot of factors can cause an inaccurate reading, so when I went with my mom to have my biopsy done, I wasn't too concerned, because in my mind this was a false reading. When I got into the OR, my mom wasn't allowed in, so I pretended I was brave and a grown up and went in. The surgeon sat with me before he performed the procedure and asked me about my sexual history, whether or not I smoked or had in the past, etc. etc. "So the cells we're going to be sampling today have come back as pre-cancerous, this was caused by a strain of HPV that doesn't get covered by the vaccine (which I had informed him I had gotten when I was 17) and when I send these off you can make an appointment with your doctor in about 3 weeks and he will explain to you the results and what my recommendations are. It doesn't matter how much is here, just how quickly they're progressing."  Bless him, he either thought I was already aware of this, or he had many other patients to throw that horrible word at, and he's become a little bit numb to the word in general. In order to not think he's a huge dick, I'm going to believe he thought I knew that's what was up that day. I got up, got my clothes on as fast as possible, and bee-lined to my mom to get the fuck out of there before we both lost it in the parking lot.  Which we did.

I have two "biggest fears": That I will have cancer at some point in my life, and that I'll be unable to have babies. When it comes to anything to do with your baby maker, that's where my mind instantly went, that whatever they were going to have to do would ruin my chances of having a baby. On one silver lining, I was facing two of my biggest fears at once. On the other end of the spectrum, I was facing two of my biggest fears. At. Once.

The last 3 weeks brought up a lot of thoughts, but one got pushed out of my mind really fast, that I didn't think I'd ever have to selfishly think: Why me? Why am I going through this, I've always been so proactive about my health, about what I put into my body? But then it hit me, how does that give me a pass? Bad things happen to good people all the time, it doesn't mean that because you're a "good person" you somehow manage a "get out of jail free" card.  Things happen to make you stronger, to teach you how precious life is and to better yourself, really it just gives you a pretty good dose of perspective. There have been a lot of inward conversations with myself, and by the Monday before my Tuesday morning results, I had figured out every silver lining in my head. Jake & I have those really great, intimate conversations in the dark of the night, cuddled into our pillows when we go to bed about our days, stories, our goals, etc. On Monday night, it was strictly cervical related. This guy had been bursting with questions, but since in his mind, his job was to keep my mind off of it, he didn't want to ask them. Now was finally his chance to unload. Many of our thoughts got interrupted by tears when the reality and fear sunk in for me again, but we talked for what felt like hours about what we were going to do, together. "You certainly didn't sign up for something this heavy only 8 months in" what was I said to him, "We're a team and whatever happens, whatever, we are going to deal with it together" was his answer. How do you know he's a keeper? That's how.

I've gotten my results now a week ago, and I am extremely lucky in that this was caught very early, and therefore can be eradicated in the lesser of all evil ways: a day surgery to remove the cells, and many many many biopsies and pap tests are in my future. You know the feeling of iciness in your stomach when that feeling of sheer panic takes over your body? The feeling I got when he told me it had not turned into full-fledged cervical cancer yet was just that feeling, but in the best way possible. I laughed as all of the tension and panic finally was allowed to escape my body, and he laughed at me when I made sure that none of the procedure was going to "scramble my eggs" - yes I used that term with my doctor. If you take anything from this long rambling pseudo-diary entry, it's this: Get your pap tests done regularly, especially if you are a young lady. This is called one of the silent ones, because unless you get screened, you don't know it's there until it may be too late. I am so lucky in that it was caught early, who knows how advanced it would've been if I didn't go get screened until now, or later. I'm a very lucky girl, and in this really awful past 6+ weeks, I've truly realized in just how many ways that statement is true.

b334b34aeec18dff5bcdbec9d7c72618 I've never been a religious girl myself, but I saw this about two days before my last appointment, and it resounded so much with me. Truthfully, I'm not interpreting it in a religious way either, but that's the beautiful thing about this language, it's up for interpretation as we see fit. All I know is when I saw that full scripture, it resounded with me and gave me a little teeny sliver of peace, and for that I'm grateful.

1 comment:

  1. I recently went through a similar situation. For me, though, the process was more drawn out as it wasn't "high risk" (still boggles my mind though, because what if there was something still going on regardless, I had to wait 6 months for a biopsy and then another 2 for my results - the joys of the Canadian healthcare system!) but I was still terrified. My brain instantly went to the same place - not being able to have another baby in my future (had my first 2 years ago in Oct). I am so so so glad things turned out well for you and that you are using your experience to get the word out there. I say the same thing to ALL my female friends and family - get checked regularly!