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Why is it so important to get your Pap and HPV test...we’ll here goes the actual truth in all its glory.  

Because nobody, I REPEAT, nobody, should have to be subjected to the ongoing medical mutilation of their female reproductive parts as so many of us survivors have had to deal with. It is so much more than the having to deal with the fact that you have HPV.  

It is the ongoing phsycological trauma coupled with the physical issues that makes this disease so bad. I can no longer count on my fingers and toes how many vaginal exams I have had over the course of the 10 years I have been dealing with HPV and cervical cancer. Not to mention how many doctors, nurses, specialists, ultrasound technicians, and so on who have seen my vagina. Seriously, I think so many people have been involved with my vagina that they are more intimate with it than my own husband.  

HPV is a very real, life long struggle that has you questioning everything and everyone. Where did I get it, how did I get it? Did I inadvertently pass it along to someone else without knowing? How do I tell the person I am sleeping with that I have it? How do I knwo the person I am sleeping with has it? What happens if my HPV becomes cancerous? What if the cancer returns?  

These fears are never ending and saty with you a life time, just like HPV does. It can be dormant in your system for many years and reactivate when your immune systemsdips, which can be caused by illness or even menopause. To us survivors, it is a very real struggle that nevers goes away.  

As a 10 year survivor, who is married with two young boys, I am terrified deep down in the recess of my mind that this disease will come back again and this time, kill me. I worry that I could have infected my husband, who may have problems down the line. I worry that I will not be here to see my boys grow up because of a careless mistake I made at age 16.  

So you see, HPV and cervical cancer are so much more than just the physical surgery. While the pain from surgery and repeat procedures is awful, the ongoing psychological issues remain for manu years. They ruin relationships, destroy intimacy, make trusting others scary and make you feel shamed and stigmatized.  

For me at the 10 year mark, I still live with the fear nagging at the back of my mind, buthave chosen to turn that fear into activism. Encouraging women to get their Pap and HPV test, and when applicable, the Gardasil shot to protect against HPV. I also encourage any women who has or is currently facing a diagnosis of HPV and/or cervical cancer to get out ther and share their story. Don’t let other make you feel shamed. Sharing your story is so empowwering and perhaps the best way to overcome this life long diagnosis.  

So, in honor of January being designated Cervical Health Awareness Month by the US Congress, I am sharing my hopes and fear, and encourage you to speak up in the face of ignorance and help us put an end to cervical cancer and HPV.  

Because with the ability to prevent HPV, no woman should have to be diagnosed with this disease.  

Cheers to a New Year - one that is HPV-free.  

PJ



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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Denise Richardson wrote Jan 7, 2009
    • Thanks for the post as well as the reminder. I usually have PAP yearly.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Vikki Hall wrote Jan 7, 2009
    • Thanks for sharing this. I usually get my exam yearly and I encourage both my daughters as well. I also had them get the HPV vaccine to help reduce the chances.

      I hope and pray that you will cintinue to be a survivor and will be able tonpass your message on.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Maria68 wrote Jan 7, 2009
    • Hi Pattisev,

      Thanks for the important reminder. I also religiously get my annual PAP smear. I pray that you stay in remission.  

      The jury is still out for me on the HPV vaccine, I am currently researching the information for my 16 year old daughter.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Juli1967 wrote Jan 26, 2009
    • I just had my yearly pap smear.  I was shocked when the next day, in less than 24 hours my dr’s office called to tell me that I have cell displaysia.  Some may not know this but cervical cancer is not the only risk!  I don’t even have a cervix—having had it removed 2 years ago in a hysterectomy.  It is still necessary to have a yearly pap smear.  They just scrape your vaginal walls instead.  I bet there are lots of you that know how this happens—the dr’s office calls and they give you just enough information to go out there and search and find stuff that will scare you to your very core.  That is what happened to me.  They called, scheduled a colposcopy for February 13th—3 weeks from the day they called.  That night I did some research, and spent the next few days so upset that it was all I could think about.  One of the possibilities was that it is caused by HPV.  I have had the same partner for 20 years but my husband had an affair 2 years ago with a piece of trash.  (Not that it would have been any less devastating had she been a better class of person.)  But, even though I have never been diagnosed with HPV and have had yearly exams since I was 18, does that mean that I didn’t pick one up more than 20 years ago and just didn’t know it, or is it just another insult on top of the affair that I have worked very hard to get past. Just something else to keep the wound open. These are questions I have to ask—what exactly am I dealing with here? and can you pinpoint its cause to HPV, etc.?  Having a hysterectomy is also a risk factor for cell dysplasia.  And it could be something not even related to cancer.  I pray thats the case.



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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Patti Juric wrote Jan 26, 2009
    • Juli1967 -

      I am so sorry you had to go through this. It is still VERY important to get tested for HPV and get your yearly Pap even if you have had a hysterectomy, as you are aware. Vaginal HPV is very common in women who have had their uterus removed, especially if they have had cervical displaysia before the actual surgery. Unfortunately, HPV can be dormant in a women’s body for a very long time, surpassing 20 years, so you may never know if it was your husband or if it was something that was there before the marriage.  

      If you are looking to connect with other women with your same condition, please visit: [Link Removed]

      It is a link for the national Cervical Caner Coalition, which I am heavily involved with and use their community to speak with others like me for support and just connect with women who know what I am going through. Sometimes friends, family and husbands just don’t know what to do or say, so it is a good place to learn more and vent when needed.  

      Anyway, if you ever need more info or have any questions, please ask. Because of had cervical cancer, I am not shy about sex, reproductive health and gynecological conditions.  

      Please let me know how your colposcopy goes. In fact, blog about it, cause you never knwo when your story will help someone else!

      PJ


      Pattisev, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.



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