My Date with A Speculum
In my part of the world they say to get a pap smear every three years if you are a women without symptoms of cervical cancer from age 25-69 who are, or have been, sexually active (source).
So today was my date with my family doctor and a speculum.
Was I thrilled? Nope.
Was I terrified, like I was getting my IUD inserted or that ultrasound a few months ago? Nope. I have already survived the emotions of medically removing the possibility of having another pregnancy and I survived the ultrasound so, I knew I’d survive the pap smear. In the scheme of my life, a pap smear seemed easy. So, leading up to the actual procedure I wasn’t worried and really didn’t give it much thought. I didn’t get worked up about the actual procedure because seriously, 5 miscarriages means I’ve had more medical instruments shoved up my lady* in the span of a few years then the average women will ever have in her life. And honestly, I know my family doctor. He’s well aware of what I’ve been through both physically and emotionally. He is both professional and compassionate. His entire team is pretty awesome. Simply, I trust him. And this trust put me at ease in the days leading up to my appointment.
But, that all changed when I arrived.
My amazing family doctor works at a teaching clinic (which I like because I think it keeps the older doctors current). In the last few years they stopped sending the residents into see me – I was a special case.
This time, they gave me the resident. I could have said no, but I didn’t because honestly, they’ve all got to learn at some point. In hindsight maybe I should have said no.
All of the sudden I’m lying down, legs in stirrups and just wishing it would be over quickly. As I lied there she began describing what she was doing (as all doctors seem to). For some reason the last thing I wanted to hear was her voice so I cut her off and said, honestly, I’ve been though this enough times, I’m good. Just do what you need to do.
Much to my annoyance, she didn’t take the hint when I tried to cut her off. Instead, she began asking about my medical history and so while I lied there staring at the roof, I got to repeat everything of the last few years (I think this caught her off guard as she didn’t respond to anything as I said it).
So anyways, as I was reciting my recurrent pregnancy loss story, I was fighting tears, determined not to cry in front of some resident doctor I had just meant. Determined to just get through the damn procedure and move on with my day.
The potential tears were not the result of having a speculum and some women’s hands and face up in my lady, I’m all about proactive medicine and testing. But, I was lying there fighting the tears because I couldn’t help but once again face the reality of our lives and the baggage that I carry around:
- I hate what the last few years has done to my relationship with my body. I try not to dwell in it and just accept my body for what it is, but honestly, days like this are hard. I have to have pap smears for the possibility of cancer in a part of my body that kills babies. Seriously, if it cannot do what it’s supposed to do, why even have it?! Why do I have to have yet another reminder of my body’s failures?
- I hate that for the rest of my life when I’m asked about my medical history I get to say:
- I hate that my body has put my husband and I through pure hell over the last few years.
- I hate that I rationally know the death of our babies was not my fault, but I also know it was my body’s fault and sometimes its fucking hard to separate those two things.
- I hate that my body cannot and will not ever do what it is meant to do.
- I hate that we are now staring down the end of another year and it is becoming clear to me that 2015 will be another year of empty arms.
- I hate that my daily life seems to continually give me more reasons to think that things might just not work out in the end. I hate that some days I am left fighting to make lemonade out of my life’s shitstorm with some sort of crazy recipe intended only to be used be the insane and fighting to hold onto hope.
It’s freaking exhausting and I’m tired.
So, am I okay right now? Not really. As I sit here writing, I have tears running down my cheeks. I’ve had better days.
But, will I be okay? Yes, I will be. Maybe not today, but there’s always tomorrow and who’s to say tomorrow wont be better? I sit here reminding myself that so long as my test results come back healthy (which I expect they will) I wont have to go through another pap smear for 3 years.
* during the actual procedure the resident doctor referred to my womanly parts as my lady. I thought it was hilarious and decided I had to share my newly acquired terminology with the world.
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