I was asked recently how often I think of the dysplasia my body is fighting, as it was perceived I spend too much time thinking about it, and it must be affecting me negatively. That question got me thinking, and the truth is that after two years of going through this, I don’t think about it as much as I use to, which granted was a lot. I’ve almost become complacent during the six months between follow ups, it’s a time to relax and just live my life, as I don’t have any control over the situation medically. That being said, I do spend a lot of time tweeting and talking about cervical cancer and pre-cancer, and the reason I do that is to make sense of things. I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s been affected by cancer who does this very thing, and I’m someone who does better when she knows more than when she knows less (Huzzah for anxiety!). Let’s say I never allow myself to think about it…..well, it’s still my reality, something that I need to accept. When I do think about it, I want to turn away from it always being a negative thing and having my anxiety destroy me. I’m tired of anxiety taking away some of my joy in life. Really, this is the one part of my life where I’m an extrovert, as I will gladly share and talk about how this has affected my life. It’s not that I want attention, in fact I hate it. I just want to feel like I am normal, and talking to other people with pre-cancer or cancer helps me, and I hope I help them too.
When talk about it with others, I am taking control of the situation through my story and making things a little more positive for myself. I hope I am educating people that we didn’t ask for this through some behavior, or lifestyle, and that listening to your body can make a difference. I also hope that people become more comfortable with gynaecological words, and don’t flinch when I mention where the dysplasia is occurring. The best part is when someone tells me that I’ve made a difference, like when I’m told someone’s daughter will be getting the HPV vaccine, a friend scheduling a pap that they’ve been putting off, or someone speaks up about their condition and no longer suffering in silence, normalizing things for so many. I’ve seen how this can bring people together in such an amazing way in my support groups, and the love and respect I feel for many of those in the group has made me a better person.
This is the only way I’ve found to be okay with this condition and the procedure last year, and of course I’m not really okay with any of it, but that doesn’t change the reality of the situation. I can pretend it’s not there, but that just isn’t the truth, it is there and I need to trust that my body has the chance to fight it off for good. So for those who worry about me and how my choice to be outspoken affects me mentally, you don’t need to, because now when I think about the dysplasia, it’s usually in a more positive way. And those times my thoughts are darker? I call a friend, or I go outside and exercise, and I don’t let those dark thoughts drag me down.