Abnormal Pap smears are normal

Abnormal Pap smears are normal. 

Really?

Really!

I got the call yesterday that my Pap smear was abnormal.

Not only did the nurse inform me my Pap smear was abnormal but she also indicated the test determined I was HPV positive and I would need a procedure that could include a biopsy for this abnormal Pap.

Aren’t biopsies what they do for people with cancer? CANCER!

Immediately my thoughts are that I’m dying. My baby maker is riddled with cancer and I’m dying like right now. 

The nurse tells me I need to schedule an appointment for this procedure. There is an opening tomorrow morning or next Tuesday. I immediately take the appointment for the next day knowing I can’t wait a week. 

Then I call my husband and in dramatic fashion tell him I might have cervical cancer, cause that seems rational, right? 

For the rest of the day my stomach is in knots. My irrational brain tells me my baby maker has betrayed me. I have cancer and I won’t be able to watch my children grow up.

My husband brings me one of my favorite fast food meals for lunch and I can hardly eat it. I mean I might be dying. 

Two of my best friends try to reassure me that abnormal paps happen all the time and I’ll be fine but in my head I’m not fine, not even close. 

My one friend tells me that most people walk around with HPV and don’t even know it. The other tells me stories of several friends who have had abnormal pap smears and they were fine.

But I keep telling myself I am not fine.

When the day was finally over, I picked up my kids from daycare and hugged them both tightly. 

The evening was lone as I freaked out about the pending procedure, contemplated the whole HPV thing and questioned the future.

The morning of the procedure, exam, whatever you want to call it, I was a mess. 

I was mad at my husband for not helping as much as I thought he could. I was mad at my dog for being an excited puppy. I was mad at my body for forsaking me. 

We drop the kids off at school and daycare and I can feel my heart begin to race as we drive toward the clinic. By the time we get to the clinic, I feel like electricity is racing through my body.

The nurse asks how I’m doing as she prepares to take my blood pressure and I honestly declare, “I don’t want to be here.” 

She tries to comfort me saying that most people who come in for this type of appointment feel the same way.

“Well, duh,” I think to myself. 

Shockingly my blood pressure fell in the normal range, much lower than I expected.  

The nurse leads us into the exam room and debates before deciding to have me undress from the waist down. While the doctor hasn’t arrived from the hospital yet, he’s on his way and he’ll want to do the procedure as soon as he gets here.

As soon as she closes the door, I begin crying as my husband tries to talk me down saying it’s just a simple procedure and all will be fine.

Then I cover up with the paper sheet and wait, thinking a million things and nothing at the same time.

When the doctor finally walks in, I say, “Hi. Nice to see you but I wish I wasn’t here.”

He then launches into the explanation that “cancer” is not a word that is on the table, my pap was the least level of abnormal there is and HPV isn’t a big deal. Everyone has it.

Tears are still streaming down my face as he writing upside down explains that he can clearly write upside down because he has done so many abnormal pap smear follow ups that it happens all the time.

Finally he gets down to the dirty of it all, does the procedure, then looks up and says, ‘Everything is normal.’

My baby maker hasn’t forsaken me. I can have more kids and I’m not dying of cancer.

Honestly it took another 20 minutes for my heart rate to slow and for the reality that I wasn’t dying to kick in.

While I will never be okay with the abnormal pap smear, I can say I survived my first one and will live to fight another day.

Published by Shay Burk

I'm a lifelong learner who has had a passion for writing almost from time I learned letters. I love to write stories of people who inspire me, people who do good and people who beat the odds. Now I am turning the tables and writing about a topic I know well and avoid most — me.

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