Not even exaggerating, I wish I were. If I had to wait three years between cancer screenings my children would be without their mother. And even though I sometimes fantasize about the day after they leave for college turning their bedrooms into shoes closets, that would have been a senseless and avoidable tragedy.
Now they want to change the guidelines for pap screenings? CNN article linked below with details. Here's my story.
I was a no-risk woman. In my 30s. Monogamous. Had already had kids. No family history of female cancers. Always got my annual oil change exams and screenings. Never so much as an abnormal blip on lab results.
A few years ago, I got an abnormal pap. Ok, I like to think myself logical, so before panic set in, I do what anyone else would, go online. I look around and find out how incredibly normal an abnormal pap is. Ok, the next step, re-test and chances are (like huge chances here) whatever caused the unknown abnormality would be gone and we’d move on to the next year’s exam. Ok, not so much for me. Came back abnormal still, my primary doc said, why don’t you head over to an ob/gyn to be safe.
Now a little nervous.
Having not needed an ob/gyn since 1995 I just picked the one across the hall from my primary doc. Could not stand him, but if all I needed was a quick little biopsy for him to tell me not to worry, who cares, right? Ok, not so much for me again.
Results came back questionable, he said let’s re-test in 3 months. Hmm, ok, YOU wait three months, I’m close to a panic here AND you’re an ass, so moving on now. One more doc, again, did not like her at all. So, now I am looking around and interviewing doctors.
I knew I was done using the parts, so IF there was a problem, not concerned about taking them out. My concern was making sure I stayed around for my kids, to raise them, to watch them as adults, become parents themselves, you know all the stuff we’re supposed to do.
Found a doc I liked. He was a DO, not an MD, so in theory would take more of a look at the whole Julie, not just the parts of his specialty. So more of the same tests, more of the same results. Not normal, not cancer and now, rapidly changes cells. Toss in a few in-office procedures with the goal of just cutting out the affected parts of my cervix. Yea, again, not so much for me. Add in the bonus of not only rapidly changing cells, but more abnormalities the deeper thy got in the cervix.
So now doc says, probably time for a hysterectomy. A little more panic here, a DO suggesting surgery carries a bit of weight to me. We could spend time weighing pros and cons and the whole no more babies thing, but like I said before, we knew no more babies anyway. So let’s just do this.
Surgery uneventful, so that’s good. Got to keep ovaries, so that’s good for my family, no harsh jump into the land of menopause, just continuing my already started descent there.
Doc of course had all the removed parts sent for lab review. And he said the abnormalities were not only my cervix, but all up in the uterus as well. If left alone, it would have been one helluva cancer. And he said we were not too far off from that reality.
Start to finish of this little story? 18 months. Three year wait, I would have been dead.