Yesterday my doctor called to inform me that I have CIN 3 abnormal cells on my cervix. This means basically that I have stage 0 of cervical cancer. It’s not cancer, but could be eventually, if left untreated. The precancerous cells are just on the top layer or the cervix and haven’t invaded the surrounding tissue.
I don’t know how to feel right now. This condition is treatable at this stage, but I worry about it becoming reoccurring. After the LEEP procedure I am going to have in a couple of weeks, everything should be fine, right?
There is a part of me that feels like unless I do a lot of life changes and continue to build different thought patterns that this won’t be the last time I am in this position.
Thank god I have health insurance right now. It could have progressed even more if I waited another year or two. I read online that it can sometimes only take 10 years for these cells to develop into full blown cancer.
The worst part of all of this is that I had an abnormal pap 6 or 7 years ago, even before I was pregnant with Raj. I should have taken care of it then. Back then I had to pay out of pocket, and the doctor told me that in most cases, the cells clear up on their own, so I didn’t even think about it.
I think a lot about how my genitals and my sexuality have been abused over the years…if somehow metaphysically this is the outcome. That somehow this is my fault. That if only I had not had certain experiences, I wouldn’t be in this position. It really is messing with me. Unraveling a lot of work I have done over the last few years.
I read somewhere else that the condition I have can be reoccurring. That the cells can come back. I worry in 5 or 10 years where I will be, and where I want to be. I think about how I want to have just one more child. I think a lot about changing my diet and cutting back on work and taking better care of myself in a radical way. Sometimes I think I am doing a good job at taking care of myself, but then I realize I do an even better job at taking care of other people…
So I’m scared right now, I guess. I think life insurance policy and death wish list, and power of attorney forms and whether or not we can just get legally married already so all of that is just a given and I don’t have to worry about what would happen if something were to happen.
I’m probably putting the cart before the horse.
I’m going to be alright.
I guess maybe it’s a wake up call for things I have been ignoring. That cutting off all of these cells might be the last step in letting go of a lot of that pain and sexual abuse I experienced throughout my life. That right now I have the chance to change in radical new ways. That I can finally confront a lot of my stuffed down feelings about myself and my experiences. Sometimes I still feel like I’m judged for my past. That I carry a guilt with me for some of the choices I have made. As if that can change what happened.
Sometimes I think of my grandmother and how she died within 5 months of her cancer diagnosis. How I never really processed that experience and my experience in it. How I want to fight in ways she never did.
I don’t have cancer. What I have isn’t cancer yet, but I am, I don’t know, upset at myself for the idea that this could and can become cancer if I don’t take better care of myself. As if I am not important enough to take care of or something. That for so many years I haven’t taken care of myself, because I haven’t loved myself enough to do so.
How do I train myself that I am worthy and worth taking care of? That my needs are important? That I matter? Even now I feel guilty for sharing these thoughts and writing them down. I want to hide this experience away and brush it off as no big deal because I don’t know if I should feel grateful it isn’t cancer or worried that it might someday be cancer? Perspective is important.
I go straight from the colposcopy appointment
To the supermarket
With the most attractive clerk I see
Life is short
That until the phone call comes
I can pretend
The weight of it all
Does not suffocate
That the cramping in my cervix
But an afterthought
I haven’t posted in awhile because this month became fantastically busy. I had the awesome opportunity to perform at the Oregon Country Fair and feature at the Seattle Poetry Slam! Next Friday I will also be organizing an interactive “poetry Madlib” installation at the Studio Without Walls event in downtown Eugene!
Then…maybe I’ll have some time to begin work on my new book!
In the meantime, check out this blog post I wrote about the process of writing and performing my one woman show, Baggage featured in the TLA blog!
“I think you’ve turned me into a cat. Whenever I find dead bugs or rodents, I want to bring them to you”
(this is one of the most romantic things anyone has ever said to me)