I had decided not to write this post.
I decided it was to personal.
I decided it was irrelevant to those not going through something similar.
I decided that based on the mixed feedback I have received from those very close to me about my choice to share this experience, and the way I’ve shared it, I was obviously over-sharing.
I decided that for such a deeply private person it was a little odd for me to be writing so publicly about my vagina.
But then this morning I found this comment waiting for me;
after being told in April of 2013 I had hpv and pap was abnormal my life stopped, I was 39 years old. I went through two colposcopes, then it was leep time there was moderate dysplasia between 11 and 1. It is now March 10th 2014 the day for the leep so for now a year almost my life stopped. I go in and it hurt so bad I can’t even cope, no bleeding or discharge yet but some mild cramping and it was three days ago. I do t understand if you still have the hpv virus what keeps it from coming right back. I’m so scared and confused. The emotional feelings I had overcome me after the procedure was worse then the pain though. Help me cope with this.
I cried a little, then felt incredible overwhemed, then felt so sad that I really didn’t know how to respond. I have been begging for an answer on how to cope with the stress, confusion, pain, and fear around cervical dysplasia for over two years. I’ve come up short.
I can say that writing about it does help. It some how makes me feel less emotional and attached to the whole experience. Talking about things like this some times stresses me out even more but writing has proved to be very cathartic.
I can say that hearing “I went through it, it’s not a big deal!” doesn’t help. I am thrilled that some women have this experience, for me it’s been a fucking nightmare.
I can say that having an incredibly warm, concerned, and compassionate female practitioner has helped.
I can say that allowing myself to wallow in self-pity for a bit helps. Sobbing my face off and acting like the world revolves around me helps a little.
You know what else helps? Taking a few deep breaths and remembering that there are millions and millions of people around the world facing much harder things than I am right now and that in the huge spectrum of shit going “wrong” with our bodies I am in pretty good shape.
On the other hand, I can say that my main fear and concern and sadness around this whole thing is not that I will have a cancer that spreads through my body but that I will have difficulty being able to have children and when you put it that way it sounds like a pretty huge thing.
**(Just to be clear, the reason I say both of these things is not because cancer doesn’t sound horrible and scary but because even in the extreme case of cervical dysplasia transitioning to cervical cancer it is still usually slow growing and not to complicated to treat. As far as baby making, from all the research that I have found and from what I’ve heard from my doctors there is only a very small chance that my history of cervical dysplasia, including having the LEEP procedure, will effect my ability to get pregnant, carry a baby, and have a healthy delivery. However, a small chance is still a sad thing and our reproductive organs are pretty precious and bring up a lot of emotion. There is also the worst case scenario that if the dysplasia gets very bad and/or becomes cancerous it is possible to need to remove to much of your cervix to then sustain a healthy pregnancy (and a full hysterectomy is necessary in extreme cases). This is not where I am at with it, nor where I ever hope or plan to be, but unfortunately it is difficult to avoid that “worst case” thought process when dealing with health concerns.)
I can also say that being good, nice, and kind to myself helps. Sometimes I’ve found myself being angry with this part of my body, feeling like it failed me, or worse wondering what I did to provoke or deserve this kind of grumpiness from the cells. That definitely doesn’t help.
Lastly, I want to say a huge thank you to all the (over 100 at this point) women who have written me and shared their experience with cervical dysplasia. It’s easy to feel alone in this experience and easy to wonder if I’m being a wuss (this thought has crossed my mind many times). I appreciate each and every one of you for writing in (and those who haven’t written but are going through this as well) and helping me cope.
I had decided not to write this post. I had decided to stop oversharing. But you kept writing and I was reminded that community is even more important than ever when you are facing a hardship and in a small way I felt obligated to each of you to continue being honest and open and share my experience.
Speaking of my experience, I had another colposcopy. More on that in the next post because this thing is getting loooong.