Get Your Schmear! | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


A lot of you know that recently I had a scare with a little (non) friend that I (not very) affectionately call “The Cansuh.”

In April, I found out that I had a tumor on my cervix. It was quite a blow for me and it was a very awful, terrible, dark couple of weeks while I went through appointments to find out how invasive it was, if at all. I have a four and a six year old and one day I was their healthy mom who was doing triathlons and the next day I had a cancerous tumor that I was walking around with for who knows how long.

It all went very quickly in the grand scheme of things and I was very fortunate. I saw an oncologist almost immediately and we scheduled a radical hysterectomy for a couple of weeks out. I had the best, most understanding and wonderfully communicative oncologist who listened intently to all my concerns. He was simply amazing and he made all the difference in an experience that was difficult for me.

This may be the end of my fertility as I know it (a whole nother topic I am working on being ok with), but I’ve been blessed with the fact that I’ll be here for the babies that I do have. Surgery got all the cansuh and I didn’t have to go through chemotherapy and radiation (hurrah!)

The key, though, was catching it early. 

Which is why I am urging you in this post to do several things.

1. Take charge of your body. Listen to it. It’s talking to you right now. It’s telling you if you’re stressed, hungry, in pain, tired, happy, relaxed. Always, always listen and respond. It is always sending you signs that it is either healthy or not. I did have signs. I had them for a while, actually. Even though I brought them up several times to my gynecologist, they were either “wait and see” or they treated my symptoms and it didn’t work. It was called many things, a cyst, a polyp, etc. (Obviously it wasnt.) Be persistent. I went through a long period of “well they told me nothing was wrong!” but I knew in my heart something was wrong. Eventually MORE signs appeared and then I thought I was too late. Feeling like you’ve missed the boat is the worst feeling ever.

2. Make that appointment. For your mammo or for your schemer. As I continue to recover, 9 weeks later, still in pain and unable to wear jeans because they’re too tight on my midsection, it’s hard for me to swallow the new pap screenings recommendations of every three years and the every two years for the mammogram. I PHYSICALLY KNOW TOO MANY PEOPLE WHO WERE SAVED BY THEM. But however many screenings you choose, don’t skip them. Mkay? I know we’re busy a busy bunch but wouldn’t you rather be here to enjoy everything than to put off something simple that could have saved your life? You may not have any signs at all, but getting your yearly is important, whether it’s your mammogram or your pap.

3. Feel yer boobies. Do that self-examination, it’s part of taking charge of your body. Know what’s going on, how they normally feel so that if anything pops out that’s not supposed to be there, you’ll know.

I thought I was doing all the right things. I ate healthy, I exercised. I recently cut out processed foods from our home. I don’t know why it happened to me or how, but it did.

I asked my doctor, tearfully, “Why?”

His answer was, “Everyone asks me that. I never have the answer.”

I knew in my heart, in my gut, something was wrong. In hindsight I wish that I had been more proactive, that I didn’t take no for an answer, that I kept pressing the issue. I was shocked to find out that it HADN’T spread, actually, full well knowing how long I had these symptoms. From the first symptom to the last, it was about a year.

I think it was just plain lucky.

Thinking, even for just a few weeks, that there is a chance that I could not be around for my children was enough to scare me into taking charge.

So. Are you down for a mammo or a schmear?

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