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I have HPV, now what?


I got the cervical dysplasia diagnosis in that same appointment room where over the course of a year I had two Paps and one colposcopy, so definitely not my favorite room.

They do a good job of being as friendly and warm as possible, but the items in the room are still clinical (the IUD models are informative, but creepy) and damn, why can’t they ever make the temperature warm-ish? The stirrups, uggh. I am always slightly entertained when the nurse says, “Sit wherever you want.”

Me: So, it doesn’t seem to be going away. What do I do now?

Gyn: (without a second of hesitation) You can go ahead and schedule a LEEP procedure with reception on your way out.

Me: Is this an out-patient thing?

Gyn: Oh, yes, just right here in the office. It’s as common as sliced bread.

Me: What is LEEP exactly?

Gyn: (shaping his hands to mimic a cervix, indicating how much length was involved) It’s an electric current that takes off about a half-inch of the cervix, removing the abnormal cells.

Me: (now feeling my gut tightening thinking about cutting off a half-inch of my body, down there, in there) So, I understand what I have is not cancer, right? So why would I do this now?

Gyn: In my thirty years of practice, I’ve never seen a woman your age regress.

Wait, what?

I am too old to heal from this? Ever?

I stood up and mumbled something resembling the tones of thank you and goodbye and bolted past the receptionist with some strange degree of guilt and shame for ignoring the opportunity to expediently schedule the common-as-sliced-bread procedure. I slinked into the safe and snug sanctum of my car and hunkered down with my friend Google.

Me: What is cervical dysplasia and HPV?