I remember looking at my gynecologic oncologist and saying, "Humanpapillowhat?"
"HPV," she replied. "The human papillomavirus."
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I was 31 years old, in the hospital, and recovering from the radical hysterectomy she had just performed on me. I had never heard of HPV until that moment.
Two weeks earlier, on April 18, 2000, I was told I had invasive cervical cancer and needed my bits and pieces out—immediately. Through the shock, disbelief, terror, and tears, I remember thinking, Am I going to die? followed by, I am NEVER going to be able to have a baby. lemondrop: I Left My Boyfriend Because He Didn't Want a Baby
I was a very healthy, happy, proactive young woman—I had always gone to my pap every year for 13 years and never had a problem of any kind. I didn't understand exactly what was going on under that white sheet while sitting in the stirrups and staring at the ceiling...but i knew that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing by being there. lemondrop: The Sex Advice We Wish We'd Gotten As Teenage Girls
Unfortunately, regardless of my routine annual screening, the pap had failed to pick up the cellular changes that were happening on my hooch (my word for ladyparts, specifically the cervix) for years and years. And then, when my doc changed pap tests from regular to liquid, he saw the cancer colony in action and BAM!—my life changed forever. lemondrop: A Rose of So Many Names
Read more on lemondrop
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Written by Christine Baze for lemondrop