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?
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: 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.