But most people have….If you haven’t figured it out by now I have HPV – Human Papillomavirus. This is an STD that unless you are a virgin sleeping with a virgin, you probably had or have HPV. Most people don’t even know they have it! There are hundreds of strains of HPV, the most well known are the ones that cause genital warts or cervical cancer. My biggest issue with this Sexual Transmitted Infection is that the only time you probably have heard about it is when you’ve seen a Gardasil commercial but are still left knowing nothing about it. So I thought I would give you a few facts so you know for the next time you climb into bed with someone.
Do you know that there are over 6 million new cases of HPV each year with approximately 20 million Americans that are infected at any time? An estimated 80% of the population having been infected during their life with about 12 thousand women (per year) being diagnosed with cervical cancer. HPV usually clears on its own (it’s a virus, so just like most colds, it goes away) so if you only see a doctor once a year, you may never know you had it. The only way to prevent HPV is to abstain from sexuality activity. But there is a vaccine! I actually got Gardasil (a series of 3 shots) which prevents 90% cases of genital warts in both women and men, and 70% cases of cervical cancer. I personally think that every child should be vaccinated at age 9 (before sexually active) just like mumps or measles. If you or your children are between the ages of 9-26, please get them vaccinated because it can help! Both girl AND boys, BEFORE they become sexual active as there is no cure.
So I am sure you are wondering what the result of my biopsy was and if you haven’t figured it out, I don’t have the HPV that causes warts….instead the one that causes cancer. I wish I could say everything was fine but it is neither good nor bad. I don’t have cancer…but I do have pre-cancerous cells or to put a fun spin on something that is scary, as my OBGYN likes to call them “funky”. If I was a 40 year old woman who already had children I would be having what is called a cone biopsy or a FEEP. However, they have found that with some younger women the biopsy (since it’s such a large chunk) can make me more likely for a miscarriage or lack of conception and with my previous conditions, it is in my best interest to just watch the cells instead of remove them. We will monitor them every 6 months and it will probably lead to more biopsies. Am I frustrated? Absolutely! Please, just add another tick mark on the “not able to get pregnant” side. When I told my friend Luisa the results she asked when I would start looking into artificial insemination or if I already found a sperm donor! I couldn’t help but laugh! She knew it was going through my mind… after this, I am at a point where I just want to have a baby and then remove everything. While as tempting as it might be, it is also very selfish. I may consider it down the road closer to the age of 35, but for now, my mother got me thinking about freezing some eggs just in case I do have to have a cancer treatment down the road. We shall see… but right now I will just keep on, keep track of my funky cells so when they do turn into cancer, I can attack. Thanks to those who prayed or thought about me and to those who were there to help pick me back up. I am truly thankful for you in my life.
Update: I am absolutely amazed at the response from this and my previous post! I have had so many friends and strangers come to me with their experiences or how my openness encouraged them to go back to the doctor and get a Pap Smear they have been avoiding for fear of the results. This is the reason why I wanted to talk about it! That it isn’t anything to fear or be ashamed of. We should not be afraid of our own vagina’s! Ha ha ha! Thousands of women face this every day but you would never know since no one wants to talk about it. Thanks to everyone for the support and keep the stories coming! If you have the courage, post yours in the comments below.