I had to go get a pap smear today. I haven’t had one since 2015. Why? Because I fail them. I’ve been getting them since I was 12 and I’ve failed all but 1. It gets annoying. It gets frustrating and depressing… so I just stopped. But, you can’t dodge that forever, especially when your family runs RAMPANT with cancer.
So I went, and it was a surreal kind of experience.
When I previous went to my doctor, several things were standard at the well woman physical. The nurse would try to pry information on my entire sexual history out of me. (Which I still don’t get. Who I was fucking before my 2.5 year celibacy break does NOT effect my current sexual health.) I’d take a pregnancy test. My birth control would be held hostage until I came in for the pap smear. My doctor would remind me that this was all for my well being.
A Kaiser well woman is a lot…. less. Just less. I went in. They took vitals, as usual, and then we did a quick breast exam and a pelvic exam, followed by a Gardasil shot. THAT’S IT. Now… I don’t say a lot of good things about Kaiser, because I hate them and I’d like to set their corporation on fire from the inside out, but this was great. No interrogation. No suspicion of pregnancy. In and out. Easy peasy.
But… as always… my cervix hurts and I’m probably going to fail the pap… so that’s no good, but whatever.
Chris was a real sweetheart about this, cuz I was complaining and then had a panic attack in the doctor’s office… and he was his usual suspiciously supportive self. He assured me that if anything was wrong “WE” would get through it and get it fixed, and then he told me about his Magic Tournament this weekend to distract me. He’s great. I love how great he is. I love him. It’s gross.
In other news.
Someone asked me to describe what living with mental illness is like. Here’s my metaphor.
It’s like… you’re the paste eating kid in grade school.
Everyone knows something is up with you, but can’t always figure out what it is until an incident. Then they know, and they treat you different for it. Sometimes it’s mockery, sometimes it’s avoidance, sometimes it’s lectures and repercussions, sometimes it’s someone telling you to just stop… but even if you get better and you move on with life, there will always be the people who know what happened, and they’ll tell other people, and you’re the kid that ate paste for the rest of your life…
The longer you go without eating paste, the more you can laugh at it, the less other people will know, and the less people who know will talk about it. But you always know you’re the kid that ate paste… and you always live with that shame, even though it wasn’t something you meant to do.
If you don’t get better… you’re always the weirdo that eats paste, no matter what else you do. You could cure cancer, and you’ll still be remembered for paste… it’s always going to be a footnote in a textbook about you… “They cured cancer! But also they ate paste… so… think about that.”