Every so often something happens in life that changes your path; for the good or bad.
In October of 2012 I went in for a routine exam with my gynecologist, not knowing that a few weeks later I'd receive news that would change my life in several ways. At 19 years old, you think you're invincible. You're a young adult. You have your whole life ahead of you. I thought this too. I was a selfish, obnoxious 19-year-old, and then all of the sudden I wasn't. I was a 19 year old who didn't know whether or not she'd ever have children. I was diagnosed with a severe case of cervical dysplasia, also known as precancerous cells of the cervix or stage 0/1 of cervical cancer. It is most commonly caused by the human papillomavirus, but it isn't always. It doesn't sound like a huge thing, and at the initial testing stage I didn't think it was. After a secondary biopsy, though, it was confirmed and my thoughts on it changed exponentially. The only treatment my doctor wanted me to go through was cervical tissue removal, so that's what we did. The problem with it, though? A severely weakened cervix. One that might not ever be strong enough to hold a child to term.
I know this is probably an uncomfortable topic for a lot of people. Not everyone enjoys talking about women's reproductive parts. Personally, I think that's a silly notion.
Anyway, when I first found out about my diagnosis I was devastated. I had always wanted children. It's always been my dream; to be a mom. I cried. A lot. Over the next 3 years I would visit my doctor every couple of months for more tests to make sure we were making progress, and sure enough it was working. Four years after my initial diagnosis, and I have had 2 tests in a row come back negative for any dysplasia. For that I am lucky. For that I am thankful. As for whether or not children are in my future? It depends on a multitude of things that I can't plan for at the moment, which is overwhelming for my not-so-inner high strung mentality. Will I be able to hold them by myself, or will I have to look to my doctors for a solution? Will I only be able to adopt? Who knows. I don't. What I do know is that I am healthy again, and for the time being I'm going to enjoy that. I was lucky enough to catch my illness before it became catastrophic.
The whole experience taught me a lot of things. It taught me to love deeper. When you have to look to others for support you learn who is really important, who really cares about you. There are some people who don't even know what I've gone through, and I'm sure this will come as a shock to them. The experience also taught me to be kinder and more patient with children. I will be the first to say that as an 18 year old I was probably not the best young woman to be left alone with children. I had absolutely no patience when it came to whining or crying. I had no desire to play with infants, to learn their mannerisms, to encourage their learning. Sure, I wanted kids eventually, but I always figured my patience would come with practice. It didn't. It came with understanding. An understanding that this may be my only chance to be someone's person they look up to. An understanding that I have been given this life to live as lovingly, as warmly, as happily as possible. That's not something I'm willing to take for granted.
I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my world; into what has made me into the person I am today. It's not an easy read, and maybe it's a little confusing, but it's my experience. Love and light to all ♥