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  • jamie
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  • I am a cancer survivor
  • I had my first abnormal pap smear in 2009 (slightly abnormal--atypical squamous cells of undetermined significance and high risk HPV).

    First, let me state that I literally cried for 2 straight days and ignored my doctor^s advice to get a colposcopy because I was scared to death! I googled my diagnosis and that scared me even more. I hated myself, I hated my cervix, I hated anyone else who didn^t have HPV or an abnormal pap smear, and I hated every guy that I had previously been intimate with (only 4 guys--I am 29). I was utterly disgusted with myself! I always used protection and didn^t lose my virginity until I was 20 years old so I was shocked that I^d caught this virus.

    Instead of taking my doctor^s advice to get a colposcopy, I simply kept telling myself that it would go away by itself. I wasn^t ready to face reality so I did some research and started eating dark green vegetables and taking green tea pills, hoping that the HPV and abnormal cells would clear up on their own.

    Fast forward 2 1/2 years later, I finally gathered enough courage to go have a second pap smear and to get tested for HPV. I wish I could report that it had cleared up, but my results came back the same. Again, I went home and cried, but this time was different. Yes, I cried but luckily I had a doctor this time who took time to explain to me the meaning of my diagnosis. She explained to me that it didn^t mean that I had cancer and that the best thing I could do was to get the colposcopy and biopsy. So I scheduled myself to have the colposcopy and biopsy done the next day. I knew that if I waited any longer, I would talk myself out of it.

    When I arrived at my doctors office the next day, I couldn^t stop my tears from flowing. I took hydrocodine prior to the operation to calm my nerves and to help with pain during and after the procedure. The procedure was not bad at all. Its just like getting a pap smear, but the biopsy pinches a little. It feels like a period cramp. My doctor explained to me that I had 2 lesions that were right next to each other. In her opinion I did not need to worry. She was actually able to remove the lesions during the biopsy and explained to me that by removing the lesions my body^s immune system would recognize that the lesions aren^t supposed to be there and would hopefully clear the virus up completely.

    I tell this story so that I may be able to encourage someone else to take the steps that are necessary to prevent cervical cancer. Do not wait 2 years like I did. It took me two years to gather the courage to have my lesions removed because I was so scared that I had a much serious issue and did not want to face reality. I thank God that the lesions hadn^t progressed into something more serious within that 2 year period. Yes, eating well and drinking green tea may have prevented the HPV from spreading more, but it did not cure my issues. As a matter of fact, my doctor explained to me that having the lesions removed is therapeutic in nature and helps my body fight off the virus faster and more effectively. She further stated that HPV is the "common cold" of STDs and nearly everyone comes into contact with it at some point. Its just that some people have no symptoms while others do. She told me that it can be a scary thought, but I shouldn^t be ashamed of it because no amount of safe sex can protect you from it 100%.

    I now have peace of mind and know what I need to do in order to manage the virus and hopefully fight it off completely or at least keep it suppressed. I encourage all women to please take the necessary steps to avoid cervical cancer by having your pap smears and following up with your treatments and appointments. Think of your following up and treatment as a way to prevent cancer. You work out to prevent obesity and you brush your teeth to prevent cavities. Get your pap smears and your biopsies and other cervical treatments in order to prevent cervical cancer!!!

    Lastly, my doctor recommended that I receive the gardisil shot even though I am 29. I will definitely get the shot. The only negative side is that my insurance does not cover it because I am over the age of 26. But I think, and my doctor concurs, that the financial investment is totally worth my health! Please get your screenings and follow through with your treatments!!! You will thank yourself in the future.
  • 02-03 -2012
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