“As a general rule all woman should have a pelvic exam, and a women’s wellness exam once per year”
“I don’t know if I’m hitting something, or what but you bleed sometimes” is all I heard him say, before I started panicking. With those words my life flashed before my eyes. I know it’s shocking and I’m embarrassed to say that I haven’t had a Pap smear in over four years. Well not since I had my son in December of 2014. Pap Smears aren’t fun for anyone, but I absolutely hate them. There’s nothing more uncomfortable for me than a person I don’t want between my legs between my legs sticking foreign object inside of me. Every time I get a Pap smear or have an exam I feel violated and they always hurt me no matter who does them. The doctor is always like “relax” or “if you relax this will be over sooner”. I’m like how can I relax when my vagina is in a stranger’s face? There is nothing relaxing about that situation.
Last week after having sexual intercourse with my friend he abruptly stopped advising me that I was bleeding. He told me that this wasn’t the first time he noticed blood. I looked down at his under shirt and saw what I deemed to be a pool of blood on his shirt.
“I don’t know if I’m hitting something, or what but you bleed sometimes” he said.
“What on earth could you possibly think your hitting” I said to myself rolling my eyes. The nerve of him.
At that moment I just wanted him to leave so that I could be alone. I was scared, nervous and wanted to know why I was bleeding. I just thought to myself “Janay you haven’t been checked in years who knows what is wrong with you, and if it can be fixed” I thought to myself.
My friend sat around with me for about 45 more minutes and then left. While he was still there I thought to myself we have been together for a while now, and talked about different things, but sex was not one of those things. We never established if we were friends with benefits, or something more. We never talked a discussed not using condoms, but one day we just stopped using them one day. We never discussed if this was an exclusive situation, or if we were sleeping with other people as well. I haven’t slept with anyone else in years, but I can’t say the same for him. It’s like I wanted to know, but at the same time I didn’t want to know.
As soon as he left I started googling what blood during sex could mean. “CERVICAL CANCER” is what I read and instantly started crying. Cancer?
“Really after everything I’ve been through now I have cancer? What about my son” I thought to myself as I cried harder.
Instantly I started having cramps. The cramps were so bad I could barely stand up. I’m a hypochondriac and I had to remind myself I wasn’t cramping two minutes prior to me reading and that I may have cervical cancer.
Monday morning at work I started googling gynecologist in my area. I called several offices who weren’t accepting new patients or who didn’t have openings until fall.
Finally I called the Capitol Women’s Health Care Clinic in Towson Maryland and was able to make an appointment for Thursday. The only problem was in order to see a female doctor I would have to wait until May so I had to accept a man. The last thing I wanted to do was see a male gynecologist, but I had no other choice. I booked an appointment to see Dr. Sapra.
Thursday I couldn’t even sit still because I was so nervous. My heart was beating so fast, and so loudly I couldn’t hear anything else. When I walked into the doctor’s office it was very clean and very clam. Everyone seem happy, but I didn’t want to be there. I checked in and was escorted to the back. The medical assistant was extremely friendly, but I was too nervous and had very few words. I explained to her I was previously diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
She told me step by step what was going to happen during my visit. She explained that before I got undressed the doctor would come and speak with me so that I wouldn’t be naked the first time I met him. That was a real relief, but I needed this visit to be over soon rather than later.
The doctor came in and introduced himself to me. We went over my medical issues, and then he explained to me again what the visit would consist of. He advised me that he would check my cervix, check my breast and give me a Pap smear. He would also run a test for any STIs and give me my options for birth control. I have never taken birth control before so that made me extremely nervous.
“Ok let’s get this over with” I thought to myself. The doctor left and I undressed nervously. I sat on the bed and the doctor and the medical assistant rejoined me in the room.
As soon as the doctor started the exam I tensed up and tears started falling from my eyes. I don’t know why, but I felt sad and vulnerable. I felt scared and I didn’t want to be there, but I knew I needed to be there.
“Are you okay do you want me to stop Janay?” Asked the doctor concerned.
“No” I barely said above a whisper.
“Do you want to hold my hand” asked the super cute medical assistant.
“No” I replied again.
This was something I needed to get through on my own. The medical assistant handed me a tissue to wipe my tears.
The doctor walked me through the exam step by step. Explaining everything that he was looking into, and everything he was going to do. To my surprise there was no pain associated with this exam. Yes I was extremely uncomfortable, but I was able to cope.
After the exam the doctor to me my cervix and uterus looked normal.
“Maybe he did just hit something” I joked to myself. Finally after the week of hell I was able to breathe. The doctor advised me that he collected samples to test for chlamydia, gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections.
The doctor also explained my birth control options. After speaking with him I decided that starting birth control couldn’t hurt. I was given a sample of Lo Loestrine FE birth control pills and I decided I’d try them out.
I left the doctor’s office feeling like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I felt like I would be able to get regular Pap smears and checkups. I felt better knowing that my cervix didn’t appear abnormal.
I also felt ashamed of myself. Everything could have been so much worst because I wasn’t getting regular checkups. I made a promise to myself to see a gynecologist regularly. I made a promise to myself to never left my fear make me compromise my health. I also decided to have that uncomfortable talk with my friend. Yes it is an uncomfortable talk, but it is a necessary talk if we are going to continue being sexually active. I will get a pap smear once a year.
Even if you’re not getting a pap smear you should see you gynecologist once a year at least.