Today I was inspired by this post over at BeAGoodMom to share with you a cause I feel deeply about.
I am greatly in favor of the new HPV vaccine. I really think it should be a routine vaccination for every young girl in this country. Why?
Because I have personal experience with the HPV virus, and it is frightening. Let me explain.
Summer 07 I went in for my routine pap and pelvic. I thought nothing of it, because I had done this several times before and everything had always been fine. About 2 weeks later, I decided to call for my results on that hotline they give you-you know, the one where you enter in a bunch of numbers and they give you your test results? I had done this so many times before that I wasn’t even really listening to the little script on the phone until it said something a little different. Instead of saying “your results were within normal limits” like it usually did, it said “Your results are in. Please contact your care provider’s office.” I was confused, but still not really worried. I thought maybe there had been some change in privacy laws or something that wouldn’t let them give you the actual results this way anymore. So I played phone tag with my ob/gyn a few times, until MY BIRTHDAY when I found out I had had an abnormal pap. I was worried, but I attributed the abnormal results to a yeast infection I’d had several weeks earlier. (I had been taking antibiotics for a sinus infection.) So it was arranged that I would go back in December for a repeat test. December came and I went for the test. My doctor called again. Abnormal again. Now I would need a colposcopy.
A colposcopy is a procedure where the ob/gyn uses a special miccroscope and special solutions to check for abnormal looking areas on your cervix. I also had a cervical biopsy done with mine, because he could see the abnormal areas. The “pinch” I felt from where he took some of my cervix to biopsy didn’t hurt very badly, but I had the WORST cramps after the procedure was over. If you ever have this done, you will probably want someone else to drive you home afterward. D drove me home and I really don’t think that I could have driven. It’s different for everyone though.
Luckily, my colposcopy only showed CIN 1 and 70-80% of cases of CIN 1 resolve themselves. I had another pap done this summer and it was normal. (Yahoo!)
So maybe now you can see why I am a firm believer in the cervical cancer vaccine. HPV can happen to everyone. I know. According to theGardasil website; 80% of women will have had HPV by the time they are 50%. That is a HUGE number! Gardasil does not prevent all types of HPV, but it does protect against the two types that cause 70% of cervical cancer cases. If I have a daughter, you can bet your bottom dollar that she will be getting this vaccine when she is old enough. My experience with HPV was frightening and worrisome, but it could have been much worse.
Oh, and one other interesting thing I found was that when I opened up to other women about my experience, I was shocked to find out how COMMON this is. We really need to make this a less taboo subject, so that women will know that this doesn’t make them “dirty” or anything of the like. It happens everyday. You could keep it from happening to your self/daughter/granddaughter/niece, etc one day.