Monday, September 22, 2014

Fairy Dust {The Selfish Post Update}

Thank you for all the fairy dust this last week. It means more than I could possibly ever express. I've been so overwhelmed with the amount of love and support, I honestly didn't know how to respond. I still don't, but at least I can thank you from the very bottom of my heart.

Update RE: The Selfish Post

I had no idea-- no idea what what would happen when I shared with you last week. I thought it might be odd to share and I was fully prepared to take it down. Within a couple hours of publishing, over 50 of you commented on facebook; within a couple days, about 600 people read my story. I had never heard of cervical dysplasia and I was so scared; it wasn't until you all started posting, emailing, messaging, and sharing your stories that I realized what incredible company I find myself. No one talked about this before, and I am so in awe of all of you. I felt vulnerable and almost selfish sharing, but I'm so happy I did. I am astounded time and again how my definition of "community" is ever evolving; what a beautiful and wonderful thing.

So. The colposcopy on Friday was probably the most painful and uncomfortable thing I've ever experienced. To the women who shared that they too underwent this biopsy sampling: I f***ing salute you. I wore the locket that held an old photograph of my grandmother and a street sign of where she used to live. My mom talked to me the whole time, distracting me with details and stories about that same town where she grew up (the town that has my heart). Following the procedure, standing next to my sister in the bathroom of our parents' home, I could feel arms surround and hold me. It may sound silly, and that's fine, but I felt an overwhelming warmth that it was my Aunt Joan.

The Fates

I was so happy and relived that the biopsy was over, I practically forgot to worry about the results! I was covered in all of your fairy dust and happy thoughts that I wasn't scared for a while. Beyond touched at all of your candidness and warmth, I decided to put your words to work -- which I'll detail soon in an upcoming project. But first -- the results. (See, I shared this news but didn't realize people would be asking for an update, so here we go.)

Right before the biopsy procedure, the nurse practitioner warned me that cervical dysplasia usually only progresses to cancer if the patient hasn't been tested in 5+ years. The cervical cancer test came back normal: not cancer. It is still, however, pre-cancer. I tested in level three/three-plus out of four levels in two different sections. If it were levels one or two, the chemo gel would've been a viable treatment (and you better believe that I hoped for that). Levels three and up mean that I have to undergo a LEEP surgery. Now, I was surprised that several of you reported experiencing this procedure as well. The good news is: this is treatable, this is not cancer yet, and I can still have children (with some adjustments and additional precautions).

And though she be but little...

I really didn't mean for this post to be so long already, but I can't go without saying this next part. If honesty is the best policy, then let me be totally frank. I am really, really upset about this. I've been walking around this last week trying to remind myself of the aforementioned good news while struggling with the fact that I am actually very angry and very sad by all of this. If you know me, then you know how I already feel about needles... now lasers? But more so, this feels personal and is so personal. (I'll interrupt myself by saying that it feels melodramatic being so emotional even after several of your reported that you're fine after your LEEP, but again, if grief therapy taught me anything... cue feelings... ugh, so many feelings!) But here's what has been troubling me. Everyone said such nice things about how strong I am and how brave I'll be, but it just sort of feels like a lie. I'm not being brave or strong. I opened up about this because I was scared. And now that I have the results, I cry about this almost every day. I'm angry. And I feel bad for feeling so angry. I am so sorry for not taking your calls or responding to messages right away; this is unlike anything I've ever experienced and I'm doing my best to navigate. I don't mean to complain. I want you to know that my family insisted on distracting the evening of the colposcopy by taking me to karaoke. With convincing, I got on stage with my sister (which hasn't happened in years) and we jammed out to Spice Girls. That first "YOOO--" of Wannabe was pretty cathartic...

Fairy Dust

I'm completely flustered and I'm trying to stop apologizing for being a baby (because I have a bad habit of saying that), when I received a postcard in the mail from a friend I haven't seen in almost ten years. I hope it's okay with the sender that I share, because it really helped me and maybe it could help someone else too:
Joan! How are you feeling today? Whatever you may be feeling, I just want to validate you in that. The world often tells us that we should just "feel better" or "Don't worry; be happy." But I want to encourage you to not numb yourself, but to really live and honor your heart... something I've been learning in my journey the past two years.
I have received the most incredible doses of fairy dust this week, this postcard being one. It's things like this that I know and you already know, but it's nice to hear from someone else. Thank you for your kindness this week and every week.

I hope you were able to send some fairy dust along in our ITLT project from last week!! 
As a surprised recipient of some of your letters,
I can honestly tell you that this little effort means the world.
The littlest things... 

And I will be posting the following ITLT project soon so stay tuned!