On Monday I got a voicemail from a nurse at my Ob/Gyn’s office. My yearly exam was less than two weeks ago so I had a feeling it was not great news about my Pap smear. I called right back and…it was not great news about my pap smear.
Evidently it’s the best kind of bad there is. The overwhelming odds are that this is nothing. My wonderful sister-in-law is finishing up Medical school this year. After contacting Z so I could freak out a little I sent her an email asking what she thought. Her reply was perfect. She clearly explained what to expect during the next step while assuring me this wasn’t a big deal and that even if it turned out the be worst case it still wasn’t a big deal.
Of course it’s pretty much all I’ve been thinking about ever since. I needed to take a chill pill last night because I’m so nervous about going back to the Doc’s today. You see, my Doc is being incredibly accommodating. It looked like I couldn’t get in until next Monday, which really wasn’t long to wait. But they know I’m crazy anxiety gal. The Doc was not going to see patients on Wednesday, he just had a meeting at the hospital in the morning. But he is going to see me anyway. The office can be frustrating to deal with. Having a doctor who delivers his own patients means regular appointments are often rescheduled or include a long wait. But this guy, my doctor, he is a good man and a wonderful doctor. I feel like he really cares about his patients and goes out of his way to ease worry.
So why am I writing about this really personal thing before I’ve even found out what is going on? Um, have we met? On Monday before the phone call came I wrote about wishing the there wasn’t a stigma when it comes to talking about the hard parts of marriage. That same wish extends to medical stuff. Isn’t it more stressful to keep in to yourself? Or rather, it is more stressful for me to keep it to myself.
I don’t think everyone should be forced to talk about the super personal minutia of their lives. If you got a bed Pap test back and talking about it was going to make you more anxious, well, then I think you shouldn’t talk about it. How you handle your problems is up to you and should make you comfortable. I just think keeping quite shouldn’t be the only option. For me it eases my anxiety just a bit to let you guys know that there is an issue and that is it probably nothing. And even though my brain knows it is probably nothing my heart is really scared. It helps me to write it. I’m scared.
I know about half a dozen ladies who have been through this process. Some have just had to get the colposcopy, some have had to have biopsies, some have had the “Loop” procedure. I’ll have a colposcopy this morning and if things look fishy he’ll take some biopsies. I’m pretty worried about that part. One friend who had that done said it hurts pretty damn bad. Even if it does end up being cancer (and the chances for that are ridiculously low) it is a very treatable desease when caught early. I know deep down I’m going to be ok.
When friends have told me they are going through this process I’ve tried to be reassuring by letting them know there are a number of women in my life who have been there. My intent was not to devalue their worry, rather to made them feel less alone. The interesting thing is when I got the phone call I thought of my friends who have been in this position and it didn’t help me one damn bit. I immediately thought of what I’d said to my frightened friends in the past to comfort and I got a sinking feeling that I probably made them feel worse. At least there is one positive thing that is come from this situation-the next time a friend talks to me about her situation I will mostly listen and empathize. The fear is legitimate. Trying to make it into something that isn’t a big deal is easy for the person who isn’t going through it. It is allowed to be a big deal. I’m allowed to be scared. If I want to write a blog post about it I’m allowed to do that as well.