WHEN YOU'RE 23

  1. and someone tells you that you might not be able to have kids-
  2. it's a weird feeling. you're in pain but not because of something that HAS happened or IS happening.
  3. you're not sitting with your husband, being told you can't have kids after actively trying.
  4. honestly, you're kind of a kid yourself.
  5. on the one hand, you know that you DO want kids, so the shock of having that option taken away is like the freefall feeling you get when you're sleeping and you jerk awake.
  6. "are you sure?" "what are my options?"
  7. basically, look. i was 22 when I found out I had hpv. I was told not to worry, that everyone gets it, to come back in a year and get a check up to make sure it's gone.
  8. then i was 23 and i was told that it actually got a lot worse and that out of the thousands of harmless strains of hpv i could have gotten, i got one of the cancerous ones.
  9. so then i had to get a colposcopy, which is where they clip out parts of your infected cervix and look closely to see how BAD it really is.
  10. and then i had to get a procedure done. to burn off the bad cells.
  11. i'm almost 25 now. over the past few years i've been poked and prodded, given countless urine and blood samples. I have had heart tests and ultra sounds and had more strangers see me naked then i can even stand to think about.
  12. in the end, i got lucky. my body's immune system kicked in and started to heal, so less of my cervix had to be removed then originally planned.
  13. so maybe I'll have kids. and maybe i wont. it's a 50/50 kinda deal.
  14. regardless, if anything good can come of this, i want it to be that you know a few things :
  15. first, guys are the ones that spread hpv but there are no known tests for it.
  16. which means every time you have unprotected sex you're exposing yourself to the possibility of getting it.
  17. it's SO important to get a pap every year. if caught early, you can have what i had done and you can move on with your life. if you wait and it's not caught, cervical cancer can be fatal.
  18. also, the shots protect you from THREE strains. and there are thousands.
  19. be smart. be safe.
  20. love yourself enough to protect your future.