It was October 2005 and I was a 17 year old senior in high school. I had become sexually active the year before, and had neglected to have a pap done after the encounter. It’s funny to think back on what finally made me overcome my childish shyness. A voice in my head nagged at me that something was wrong. I felt fine, I was not losing weight, and I appeared healthy, except for horrible stomach aches and occasional bleeding between periods but I thought nothing of it.
Well I finally made a "secret" appointment (without my parents knowing about it, as they did not know I was sexually active), and went in to have a Pap. About a week later I got a call at work from my mother, she told me to call my doctor as soon as possible, that there were abnormal results from the test I’d had. Since I was 17 both my parents were invited to the follow up appointment. I remember sitting down with my mother looking worried, and my father staring at me. I couldn’t tell then if he was angry with me or worried. The doctor said that I had suspicious cancerous looking cells on my cervix. These usually came from an HPV infection.She assured me that there were minimally invasive treatments available. She referred me to an OBGYN 2 hours away.
I remember seeing that doctor about 3 times. The first time she conducted tests of her own, she told me that a minimally invasive LEEP procedure should take care of it. When the results from the tests she’d conducted came back, she informed me that a Cone biopsy would be preformed and this should take care of it. When the biopsy came back the cancerous cells had spread further up the cervix and were threatening to invade my uterus. A hysterectomy was the only option. I was devastated. I was referred to an Oncologist 6 hours away.
He did not understand how a 17 year old who^d only been sexually active for one year could have such an advanced case. He told me that he^d never seen this in someone so young. He ran blood tests and all came back normal, no immune system issues. I felt helpless. The surgery was scheduled for the end of November 2006. I begged him to wait, to hold off. At 17 I was mentally, and financially unprepared but was desperate to have a child of my own. But he told me that even if I waited another 2 months the cancer could spread and my survival rate would be decreased.
The morning of my surgery I contemplated running away. Wondering if it would be better to die young and live the rest of my days unhindered and as a whole woman. My mother grabbed me by my hand and once I was in the preoperative room I broke, the tears I^d tried so hard to hold back spilled over. Before I realized it, the surgery was over, the doctor salvaged my ovaries. He said one day I might want a family of my own. Little did I know that Adoption and surrogacy are outrageously expensive.
6 years later, I am still here, I am cancer free. I visit the doctor yearly for Paps. There have been times when I do not think about what happened and I am happy. But the pain is with me always. People who hear my story say that I was saved for a reason, I have a purpose, I am still trying to figure that out. I am in a relationship with someone I would love to spend my life with but I will never be able to give him children. Having children was never a choice for me, nor will it ever be...Cancer took that from me.
Morale of the story, girls....go get your Pap so that having a family will be a choice not taken from you.