Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Phone call/appointment/phone call

The day after I got back from San Francisco, I got a call from a nurse at Harvard Vanguard about my recent annual check-up at the gynecologist. Here's how that went (paraphrased):

Nurse: We checked your tests, and it turns out that you have super-duper high-risk HPV.
Leslie: Um, the cervical cancer-causing kind?
N: Totally.
L: Well. Shit.
N: But don't worry-
L: What, me worry? NO WAY.
N: ...because almost everyone has HPV and it's not indicative of sexual behavior or misbehavior or anything.
L: That sure does make me feel better.
N: So.
L: Yeah.
N: You should make an appointment to get that checked out immediately. I'll transfer you now.

So I made an appointment for their next available testing day - three weeks away. The next two days I walked around distracted and unhappy. The Man wisely suggested that I call back and demand a test date sooner - even if that meant traveling pretty much any distance to a different office.
I called that Friday. They were very kind and offered me an appointment for Monday in nearby Watertown. I was not eager for the appointment at all. The paperwork they sent me about cervical biopsies was... grim. And gross. And sounded like I would want to show up really drunk.

I didn't show up drunk. Hurricane Sandy was in full effect and I didn't know if the doctor's office would be open but I called ahead and they were. It was mostly just windy here.
I got into the office. I got "gowned up". Then I waited for 45 minutes while the doctor did... whatever doctors do while you wait - computer solitaire? I don't know.
I won't go into the details, but it was intensely unpleasant and uncomfortable. Plus there was a 10X microscope on a rolling platform. And there were metallic noises. Bluh.
The overly cheerful doctor said she "wouldn't be surprised if I was just fine". (Well weeeeeeeee!) I should call back in two weeks to get my test results. That was right before I'd be going to Mexico with the Man and my parents and brother. I told my brother about it and he said that he sure hoped I didn't have cancer because that would ruin Mexico for everyone. I agreed but threatened that if I did have cancer it would be the first thing I would say when I got off the plane and I would constantly remind everyone of it. Ha ha! I'm a Debbie-Downer!

Side note: I sliced off the top of my right index finger in a mandolin slicer in 2007. Luckily I had all the stitches in the world and it's fine now and you can't even tell. But. For weeks afterwards I would feel the slicing feeling and remember the ickiness of the whole situation. It's the same with my biopsy. I still feel a discomfort when I think about it, and I remember the unpleasantness of the whole experience. I'm sure everyone has sensory memories they'd rather forget. Eventually I'm sure I'll completely forget how I felt except for the concept of the unpleasantness, but for right now, it's still very physical.

I called the doctor's office before I went on vacation. And I'm fine. All my bits look normal and despite it being of the super-duper high risk variety, the HPV seems to be pretty benign (as it is in most people). That's good!

What I'm taking away from this situation:
1. I want love and happiness everyday and less worrying.
2. If I ever have a daughter I will get that damn vaccine for her so that there's no worrying and scraping and biopsying. I cannot believe that people are against cancer prevention.

Happy Thanksgiving, peeps. Let's all be glad for some things, together.


die Frau said...

I am thankful the biopsy came out well and that you are my friend and in my life.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I’m so sorry you had to go through that but glad the biopsy looks good. May your cervix always be a happy cervix!

Shelley said...

I had an abnormal Pap once (not even HPV for sure, just "abnormal") and had to get a cervical biopsy. It was not the funnest day ever.

Glad you're cancer-free!