By Anonymous | The Daily Muse
From the time I received the first call notifying me of my abnormal Pap smear results until the day the doctor confirmed I was free of all cancerous cells, I was a complete mess. In the span of three months, I found out I had an incurable STD, learned that it had led to cervical cancer, went to the gynecologist more times than I can count (including lots of poking and prodding – joy!), and had a chunk of my cervix lasered off. And though I am currently cancer-free, I will never truly be free of the fear those cells will return or that more serious treatment will be necessary.
The following is a recount of my experience and the emotions I dealt with in the aftermath of hearing the news.
Phase 1: Panic
Honestly, the very first thought that ran through my mind when my doctor told me I had HPV (human papillomavirus) was, “Oh my God, he cheated on me.” After all, I was married, had been in a monogamous relationship with my now-husband for some time, and was clear of HPV before we met. How else would I have gotten an STD?
Turns out, it’s possible to have HPV for months or years without any signs, symptoms, or even an abnormal Pap. There was no way to determine how long I’d had HPV or how I had gotten it. Both my husband and I had to trust that this was an issue that existed before we were together.