Thursday, September 13, 2012

A game I hate to play

Let's face it. Adults. Kids. Grandparents. Even teenagers. We all LOVE to play games. Board games. Word games. Kissing games. Games of pool, games of soccer, games of chicken in the pool. Games are fun. They get us together. They make us cooperate. They challenge us and push us to our limits, mental & physical.

Then there are games I think we can agree just plain old SUCK. Mind games are one of the first "bad" games that I think of. The game of love can also be especially bitter sometimes. One game I truly hate to play, yet find myself forced into day after day, is the Waiting Game.

This is where I throw in the TMI disclaimer. If you continue to read this post, you may learn more about me then you ever really wanted to know.

The first week of August, I went in to Planned Parenthood for my annual "lady's" exam and to get my IUD removed. After both of my pregnancies, I chose to use an IUD because I just don't seem to get along with pills or patches and I definitely don't agree with shots. I thought I was having problems with this second IUD; cramps, pain during sex, spotting between periods, all that fun shit, so an annual exam was a good excuse to get this junk taken out.

No big deal, right?? WRONG. A couple weeks later, I got a call from the clinic, asking if I'd received my test results. I hadn't. They sent the results to PORTLAND. To the address I haven't been at for over TWO YEARS and definitely NOT the address I put down on my patient info forms. When they send you results or call you with them, it's NEVER good news.

My PAP came back abnormal and I tested positive for HPV, which wasn't a big surprise.

I found out when I was pregnant with Phoenix that I have HPV when I had an abnormal PAP back then. At five or six months along in my pregnancy, I under went a colposcopy. For those of you unfamiliar with this procedure, CONGRATULATIONS because it really fucking sucks; it involves having your cervix examined under a magnifying glass and painful acid solutions being applied to your cervix and biopsies.

Yes. BIOPSIES. You get to have pieces of your cervix scraped or cut off so the doctors can look for everyone's FAVORITE six letter word.

CANCER.

Having gone through this once, I am not excited. I'm even less excited because while I'm dealing with all these super scary possibilities, I get to play the Waiting Game. I set an appointment for the colposcopy with PP on August 28. And then I got my period. I probably don't have to tell you but it's not really a good idea to have ANY sort of pelvic exam at this time of the month. So I cancelled and rescheduled for September 11. All the while, I'm not eating. I'm stressed the fuck out. Why? you ask. I've been through this before and didn't have cancer then.

I'm stressing out this time because all the symptoms I thought were my IUD are STILL HERE, without the IUD. I haven't been good about getting my lady exams every year and I don't think I even followed up with the 6-week exam after Paxton was born. Knowing I have HPV, the most common cause of cervical cancer, knowing the symptoms I'm experiencing CANNOT be from an IUD that's no longer present, my mind instantly goes to that ugly six-letter word: CANCER.

Tuesday morning, I dragged Jay & Paxton down to the PP in downtown Sacramento. The ONLY PP I've ever been in with a bullet-proof wall between the reception area and the office. After filling out the "what are you here for" form, I handed it to the receptionist and was promptly told they couldn't help me. Because of my insurance. The same insurance I had for my annual. The insurance I told them I had when I scheduled the appointment. This is apparently a procedure I have to go to my recently-assigned Primary Care Provider for. Which is AWESOME because they don't have an appointment until October. So after waiting A MONTH for news that could be potentially life-changing, I get to wait some more.

And worry. Are these lumps I feel tumors? Why am I cramping and spotting?? Could I have developed cervical cancer in the seven years since I found out I have HPV?? It's a slow-growing cancer, which is WHY getting regular lady exams is SO IMPORTANT. Early detection is the best way to fight any kind of cancer but you can't detect anything if you aren't going to the doctor regularly.

I'm scared, but not of the cancer. If I have it, I will fight it and I WILL WIN.

I'm scared for the boys. I don't want them to have to experience what will happen if we find out it is cancer. The radiation & chemo. Mom being too sick to function. I'm scared that I'll lose the chance to have another baby. I'm scared for Jay. Our path together has been rocky and full of pitfalls and perils that would have divided a LOT of couples. We still walk that rocky path and our relationship is FAR from perfect. This unknown, this possibility, adds more rocks to that path and leaves us stumbling, fighting to hold onto one another, fighting back the darkness that threatens to take us down and tear us apart.

We sit here and wait. And wait. And wait. For the day to come when we have answers. For the day when we can take action. For the day we can breathe a sigh of relief and rejoice in the HUGE, life-altering bullet we just dodged.

We wait, while life keeps rolling on. We wait and we hope.

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