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Saturday, April 4, 2009

Suck It Up and Be a Woman!

I'm fairly certain I'm not alone in my tendency to ignore my health. Those little things that slip away as mommies... nail care, hair care, forgetting to take vitamins, eating right, getting your pap. That's right. I said it. Getting your pap.

It's not pleasant. Who wouldn't love an excuse to put it off for a bit... or indefinitely! It is not exactly my idea of fun... if only they could give you a pedicure at the same time or something. Or maybe even a glass of wine or dinner first? Who wants to go into an office, lay on your back, and put you knees to your ears to have some one you don't really know, do those things we are all too eager to forget. And then you get to wait a couple weeks for that phone call telling everything is fine... yet again! Right?

Well I sucked it up, stopped putting it off, and I went. I hadn't been since my daughter was born and was going for a physical. (For some reason, if I make my husband do things like take care of himself he wants me to as well - what happened to good old fashioned double standards?) And I knew my doctor would ask me if I'd had my yearly pap and tell me to go do it... so, like a big girl, I did. And naturally the phone call came and everything was fine. And they called to tell me again, everything was fine. Yeah, I got two phone calls telling my the same thing. Then I got a third. A bit different. It was my doctor this time.

She started out apologetic. The lab had given them incorrect preliminary results. When they got the actual paper work, my result were different: abnormal. She explained that when this happens, they automatically do an HPV (human papilloma virus) test. This come back one of three ways; negative, positive low risk, or positive high risk. Mine was positive high risk for the HPV that causes cervical cancer. She said I needed to have a culposcopy to diagnose the abnormality.

What!? Abnormal? Diagnose? Cult-o-what? You mean I could have cancer!?

I, in a daze, scheduled my culposcopy. The doctor puts acetic acid (or white vinegar as you may know it) on your cervix which highlights abnormal cells. Then s/he uses a culposcope to look at you cervix and if they see abnormal cells, they take a biopsy (or two in my case). This wasn't fun. And I even had to reschedule due to mother nature scheduling her own appointment with me the same morning. But I got it done. It was uncomfortable and hurt more than they lead me to believe it would. I was cramping for a couples day after and had a vinegary discharge, but that wasn't that bad (and DH never knew because there's no intercourse for 1 to 2 weeks).

So what's next. You worry. You worry for two weeks that you have cancer and that they're going to have to remove your cervix and you're going to have a hysterectomy before you're 30. You look at your child and husband everyday and get teary eyed every time you think about what the results hold. And then they come.

I got "lucky". I have cervical dysplasia. The lesion on my cervix has abnormal changes in the cells that may or may not progress into cancer. It is not cancer. But I do have to have cryotherapy - the doctor uses a probe and liquid nitrogen to freeze the abnormal cells to death. But I don't have cancer and it can be treated easily.

Don't let my story scare you. Don't let it be another reason to put off your health. If I hadn't gone when I did and it wasn't caught now, who knows what the results could have been a year down the road? It's not just health, it could be your life. So if not for your health, do it for you family. What would they do without you? So just suck it up, put your knees to your ears, and get your pap!

This post was written by Kelsey, a member of You can view her blog at

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