“This week was really hard on me” —me, every single week for the last 29 years
I thought about not sharing this post. It’s “embarrassing.” It’s not something I’m supposed to share. It’s about my private parts. But… I am passionate about being transparent and sharing how fucking hard life can be, and sometimes that involves my vagina. A lot of people have them. A lot of people don’t. If you aren’t interested in reading about that or find this topic to be gross, please close this tab right fucking now.
If you’re staying to read more, let’s dive right in.
On Wednesday, I had three biopsies of my cervix and it sucked a lot.
I’ve had positive tests for high-risk HPV since I was 16. I wasn’t eligible for the vaccine because I had already contracted the virus. Oops.
The HPV has gone away before. I tested negative for several years—many of those years I’ve had the same sexual partner. Sometimes it’s just dormant and doesn’t do anything or show up in tests, and then sometimes, when your immune system is comprised, it comes back.
A few weeks ago, I had a Pap Smear, like I do every two years or so. I had a panic attack that night. HPV came back positive again.
I don’t know a lot of the science behind this, but I know my doctor did not want me to wait before getting a colposcopy (a closer look up there).
I made sure to discuss the immediacy of this next step with my PCP, my psychiatrist (the one that prescribes me the medicine I’m on for PTSD and severe anxiety), and my psychologist. They all agreed it would be best to get the colposcopy sooner than later, just in case. At this point, I’d say my mental health is somewhat stable so I made my appointment for a colposcopy.
I took an Ativan on the way to the appointment and made sure my husband was available to pick me up after. I meditated in the waiting room to calm myself down.
When I met with the PA and doctor, I was very transparent about anxiety related to my lady parts, that I am in treatment for PTSD, and that I had a panic attack last time my doctor went up in there. They are part of my care team and I want to help them, help me. The PA and Gynecologist were appreciative that I was open and asked how they can help me before/during/after, and what to do in case I have a panic attack (every person handles panic differently).
A Colposcopy lets a doctor examine an illuminated, magnified view of the cervix and the tissues of the vagina and vulva.
Colposcopy can be used to diagnose:
• Genital warts
• Inflammation of the cervix
• Precancerous changes in the tissue of the cervix
• Precancerous changes in the tissue of the vagina
• Precancerous changes of the vulva
With a quick butt scootch and a cold speculum, the doctor swabbed and inspected, then swabbed some more. Let’s just say vinegar + your insides = ouch.
Once the doctor got up in there, she wanted to take two biopsy samples of “suspicious bumps” to send to the lab, so she pulled out a giant metal scissor looking thing and the next thing I saw was blood. As I laid there with my knees in the air and a paper blanket over my lap, I worried about my vagina and how it’s been through a lot despite not having children. I felt uncomfortable in front of two women I’ve never met with my vag in the open like that, but I’m not entirely sure why. I took a few deep breaths and focused on counting the tiny dots on those awful speckled ceilings, then practiced some of the Calm The F*ck Down techniques I talked about in another post.
I did not panic.
If a biopsy comes back as cancer, I can handle it. That will mean they caught it early. I’m not supposed to say that, but isn’t that what you’d be thinking too?
And while I’m on the topic of saying what I shouldn’t say… I can’t help feeling like it’s “punishment”… I know that’s irrational but this is my reality. That said, I’m strong and I’ve been handling it well so far.
Thoughts and prayers to me, I guess.
I hope you never need a Colposcopy,
Update 6/4/2018: one biopsy came back with dysplasia cells that “could be” pre-cancerous, but its growth is slow. My doctor said we could wait for another six months before doing another biopsy (colposcopy) or a LEEP procedure, where they cut cells and freeze them.