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Yeah, I'm Abstinent

It was October and time for my annual checkup: blood test, pap smear, mammogram, etc., etc.  No big deal.  I sort of look forward to my regular visit and finding out that – one more time – I passed!  A week later the doctor’s nurse called, as usual, and I flippantly asked, “Am I still alive?”

“The doctor would like to see you Tuesday at 2.  Is this a good time for you?”  My jaw dropped and I, then standing by the phone, dropped into the chair.  I had never been summoned by the doctor – any doctor - before.  I said, yes, and then asked if I should be concerned.  She said the doctor would explain everything in detail, but that some abnormalities had appeared on my pap results.  I choked back the gasp and the tears, told her I would definitely be there on Tuesday at 2, clicked off that call, dialed my closest friend (who is a cervical cancer survivor) and told her, between uncontrollable sobs, what was going on.  She asked if I would like for her to go with me.  Um…DUH?

Fast forward to Tuesday at 2:  My friend and I sat in the doctor’s exam room trying to figure out what could be causing my pap to come back abnormal.  Various things were presented including an ectopic pregnancy.  I had begun a relationship in July, had been with the man ion September and this was all taking place in early October.  I only have one ovary due to a hysterectomy performed back in the 80’s so the pregnancy concept was a bit out there, so much so we were nearly in tears from laughter.  Fear had had it’s ugly grip on me for too long already.

When the doctor came in he said he wasn’t too concerned with the diagnosis.  It could even be technician error.  He did however want to bring it to my attention since the indications were high risk HPV.

High risk HP what???  Fortunately I had a wise and informed doctor at that time.  He thoroughly explained what the virus was as well as the genital warts strain, even though at the time I had no GW symptoms.  The doctor recommended doing another pap immediately.  Those results came back identical so his next course of action was to refer me to a gynecologist for a procedure called a coloposcopy.

Thank God for the Internet.  I Googled HPV and voraciously read every article that “popped” up.  I also found support groups, joined them, and was invited to join another that became a huge source of information for me.  In fact this particular group led me to a site I like to call “home” that inevitably led me to Yoshi.  Isn’t it wonderful?  But I digress… ;-)

My first visit to Gyno Man’s office was just a “get to know you.”  If kind of set me back a bit when I had to “tell” the nurse how many partners I’ve had.  I felt so sluttish.  All of this and an STD too?  My main question was,” Where did I get this?”  Well, evidently having had 40 partners makes it anybody’s guess.  I wanted to curl up and die.  But then again, I didn’t want to get cancer and die.  Go figure?

The second visit was my first colposcopy.  What an interesting procedure!  I don’t know if it’s just me being overly sensitive but that dye burns!!!  The results of this colpo was the same as the previous two pap smears so another was scheduled for three months later.

During the second colpo three “questionable” areas were biopsied.  I was in pain for three days and ended up on Vicadin in order to attend my brother’s birthday party that weekend.  The biopsy results showed two microscopic warts and one microscopic polyp.  Time to freak again!!!!  Genital warts????  Where did these come from???  Of course I wanted to point the finger at my most recent partner but all info was telling me I really couldn’t do that.  Uh huh.  Sure.  Gyno Man told me if I boosted my immune system with healthy eating, exercise, vitamins and practiced abstinence I could get the little buggers to go away.  Abstinence???  Right, Doc!  Another precautionary measure was for me to see a gyn-oncologist.  Oh, please!  A cancer doctor on top of no sex???  Can it get any better than this???  But I went…

Getting through the doors of the cancer clinic was the most difficult part of the entire visit.  Telling the nurse how many partners had not lost its sting.  This nurse added a little vinegar to the sore.  “That many and this is the only STD you’ve ever had?”  I felt like asking her is she was jealous!!!   Cancer man didn’t see any cell destruction to be highly concerned at this time.  Seems most of the cell changes in my vagina can be relieved with the use of estrogen cream.  I have family history of breast cancer and heart disease – both aggravated by estrogen so I have opted not to use that therapy.  Due to that decision I have to have pap smears twice a year and a colpo annually.  Sigh.

December was my most recent pap/colpo.  It showed no “questionable” areas.  The buggers appear to be gone.  Oh…the relationship ended last August.  Yeah, I’m abstinent.

 

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