In the past week I have really stopped feeling so alone with my cervical issues. I’ve met a few great ladies who are blogging about HPV, cervical dysplasia, and/or cancer, but I have also attended a cervical cancer support group. It was amazing from the moment I stepped in the door at Wellspring, everyone was very kind and helpful. As I was early, I sat in the kitchen waiting for the group, and the facilitator found me and we had a quick private chat. It was nice to have a little one on one time, since I was new. I did feel weird about going to a cancer support group, as I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer (as many have reminded me), but as she and the rest of the group said, “You went through everything we did, the same tests, the same fears, and the same emotions, the only difference is you caught yours early enough that hopefully it won’t progress!”. The next hour and a half really calmed down my anxieties, and made me feel more normal, and supported. All the ladies had similar situations and talked about how their emotions were all over the place, happy one minute, sad the next, and angry all the time. Or how you are made to feel shameful by society, like you caused or asked for this situation to happen to you, like you didn’t eat healthy enough,or you had one too many partners . Hearing their stories, it did mirror a lot of what I have gone through, and while some of it made me worry (what if I do develop cervical cancer, and have to have chemo/radiation), but then I thought, I will at least know where to turn, and find support to make it through these things. It’s not that my friends haven’t been there for me, or don’t try to understand, but I am quickly realizing there is no way for them to understand what I went through last year, and will go through the next year. It’s a weirdly unique to you and yet similar experience for all the women who go through the stages of cervical dysplasia/cancer. Everyone had a chance to talk, and tell their story, or concerns to the group, and we all felt better when we left. I also wasn’t the only one with dysplasia who was at the session, as there are no support groups that target us separately from cancer….but really why should we be separate? I’m not sure I will ever find a place I felt more accepted, and cared for than in that room. If anyone is in Calgary and would like cancer support, check out Wellspring, they have so many support groups, and social workers, I can’t even begin to name them all, but they really help you to feel less overwhelmed.
As well, if you haven’t already, or it’s been a few years, book your pap! Don’t wait for something bad, or don’t hide because you are afraid your doctor will be mad, or you don’t want to know if that weird symptom you are having means something far worse. Believe me, ignoring the symptoms is far worse.