Will this be the end of me?
Almost four months ago, I woke up and took a pregnancy test. Was shocked when I could see the faint line!
I rushed and bought a few more tests to confirm! Went to my moms house and they all came out positive! My mom, sister, and I- all hid in the bathroom and cried together out of excitement!
It was Friday, the doctors office was closed. I had to wait until the following Monday to make my pregnancy intake appointment.
First thing Monday morning, I schedule to be seen. Their first appointment was a few weeks out but because I had a new type of insurance, I was able to be seen at this fancy well known practice.
I’m used to being sent to Planned Parenthood, or the county hospitals, which are wonderful and I’m beyond grateful for their service. Don’t get me wrong, but because I was able to be seen and give birth at this phenomenal location, a few weeks wait was well worth it.
I arrive at my appointment,
“Mother Earth has arrived!”
They quickly have my fill out my paperwork. I get called in to see my doctor. They let me know they’ll be doing a full panel of bloodwork, PAP smear, and ultrasound. I was hesitant to do the PAP because I was pregnant and didn’t want anything to irritate my cervix. The fear that a PAP smear or cervical irritation could cause a miscarriage was on my mind. But I proceeded.
The last time I had a PAP was probably 2-3 years ago. The facility I was seen at, lost my chart, we couldn’t remember the exact last date, the refused to give me one. Said they aren’t required annually anymore and I could wait another year. My insurance wouldn’t cover it. So I figured all was well.
Laying with my butt, “all the way down...” my legs up in stirrups, knees relaxed, you know the routine.
“Lights, speculum, swab!”
The doctor reassured me that the spotting was normal, and I went home thinking literally nothing. I’ve never had an abnormal PAP smear, I’ve never had any issues with my vaginal health, and because I carry magical Ashkenazi Jewish DNA, I’m at higher risk for breast and ovarian cancer. So I was given a genetic screening and don’t carry the BCRA 1 or BCRA 2 gene mutation.
About a month later; a month ago from now. I get a call back. I remember, “no call is better than a call. No call, no news.” But I got the dreaded call. And thought
I got the clap... it must be some STD.
But no, It wasn’t. It was abnormal results on the PAP smear.
HPV along with some questionable cells.
Ok, so let’s stop and be real for a minute. I’m 29. I was in a 12 year relationship with my children’s father. He cheated a lot, had plenty of sex with others, I broke up with him, and had plenty of sex with others. You know, Tinder dates, flings, and giving myself to a few men- hoping I’d find love again. “I’m grown, adults have sex.. blah blah blah...”
But at what point, do you ask yourself- is this hook up worth my health? My life? My sanity?
Was this even caused by sex? Did I contract it from some unknowing bloak? There are so many twists and unknown turns to HVP. I’ll never know how I contracted it. But I do blame sex.
My doctor walks me through the process over the phone, I’m worried about my little developing fetus, it’s the size of a small lemon this week. I don’t want to hurt my little lemon! Leave my cervix alone. It is what it is.. but I know I have to be seen again.
They let me know I’ll have a Colposcopy. They’ll swab some vinegar on my cervix and watch for a reaction. I agree. I’m seen two weeks after the call.
I get to my appointment, I’m so nervous. But I don’t wear any emotions- so I probably look extremely bland and careless.
They call me back. You know the routine.
“Lights, speculum, swab.”
But I hear, “more solution, ok Brooke, so I’m not going to do a biopsy unless I see something very scary or concerning. Don’t worry. I’m sure we won’t need to do much. More solution, ok go get me.. (medical terms I’ve never heard).”
And I see these long, narrow, chomping scissor things. Like scissors with a garden hoe attached to either side. Chompers.
I’m thinking, “Phuck.... There’s a scary monster on my cervix.”
She lets me know, word by word, every step of the way, what she is doing. She needed to remove 3 pieces of my cervix to biopsy. Maybe more but she didn’t want to disrupt my pregnant cervix too much. She wouldn’t touch the inside because that would be too risky while pregnant.
(So does that mean that there was more tissue she wanted to remove? Does that mean that’s it’s spread to the inside of my cervix also?) So many questions were blocked out by my tears and emotions.
Its pretty intense seeing pieces of your cervix in a dish.
I go home. I spot a tiny bit. I’m slightly sore. But it wasn’t as bad as I expected.
(“No news is good news”)
But I get the call.
“Brooke, Hi, it’s me, doctor Suchandsuch. We got the results of your biopsy. It’s stage one cervical cancer. Don’t worry about the pregnancy, you can deliver vaginally if you wish to, it won’t harm the baby, it’s not contagious, but you’ll need to stay on top of your PAP smears and coloscopies. In 6 months, a few weeks after you deliver, we’re going to have to do another biopsy. This type of cervical cancer can take decades to spread and evolve. We did notice a mutation in cells since your PAP smear and biopsy. We want to see you in a few days to discuss more in person. Do you have any questions?”
Did you just say, “have a vaginal birth if I chose to?”
I can get an elective c-section!?? What the hell.
You guys, I didn’t even want to hear what she said. I didn’t want to process those words about cervical cancer. I didn’t want to believe that call was for me.
Stage 1 cervical cancer..
I know it’s stage 1.
I googled, knowing google is associated with the devil himself. And read that the survival rates are 54% within the first 5 years. And decrease there after.
So I had to stop with Google. That doesn’t seem right.
I’m 29. I have 3 kids. A 14 year old, 9 year old, and 5 year old. My developing fetus is the size of an orange. He’s a little boy. I can’t die in 5 years. I’m not ready to face death.