Not a Colonoscopy, but a Colposcopy. Different hole, equally not great.
It means I had a cancer scare recently and I wanted to share a bit about it with my readers. I do want to start this off my saying that chances are I am okay, they took some samples but they doubt what I have is cancerous. This will be more informational than anything.
Let me begin by saying that I was dumb and this whole scare was my fault. I left my Pap test for way too long before finally sucking it up and just spreading my legs for an examination. I was nervous and I hated the idea of going through something so innately female and I know that coming from me, Mr. “Dysphoria-can-eat-my-shorts”, that sounds out of character. I have come a long way with my transition and my feelings but I’m still susceptible to feeling dysphoric in certain situations.
Point being I hate the idea of Pap tests. The idea makes me feel icky as a Transgender man.
I will freely admit to being one of those “it’ll never happen to me” kind of guys when I saw an advertisement in my doctors advising Transmen to get checked. “Book your Pap test with your Doctor today!”.
Yeah, no thanks. I don’t see anything bad happening to me. What are the chances?
Pretty high actually, and that’s not considering the other things you might encounter besides cancer.
After finally booking an appointment, mostly to shut my doctor up, I was shocked when my local hospital called a few weeks later about booking a “colposcopy”. I had never heard of this procedure but when the receptionist said something about my Pap finding something abnormal I knew it wouldn’t be anything enjoyable for me. Thankfully, or maybe not, there is my buddy Google.
Thanks to Google I learned that I would have liquid sprayed into my cervix and a “sample” biopsied from the tissue wall. In my attempt to avoid a Pap I stumbled into something I was sure to find less fun.
Cue the anxiety.
I didn’t want to have cancer, I don’t think there is a single person out there that does. I tried to keep my cool by distracting myself with friends but it was always there, lingering.
“Countdown to procedure that you’re not excited for! Friendly reminder that your downstairs is going through some turmoil”.
Boyfriend and Cat have been doing a great job with keeping me happy and high-spirited while I tried not to stress. Not like I had a diagnoses yet so there was no point in worrying anyway. I told myself to chill but I tend to not take my own advice.
Once the day came, a few days ago by now, I was a nervous wreck. My family drove me to the hospital and told me I would be alright. I knew I would be, everything ends eventually even colposcopies you wish didn’t exist. Still, it was nice to hear it from my Mom. She has been my number one champ through this.
After finally finding our way to the women and children ward I was passed along to the lady doctor who would be examining me. Even though she was really friendly and considerate of my situation I still felt really wrong being there.
So how was the actual procedure? I’m sure you’re not here to read about the “vibe” of the office or the colour of my doctors hair. (It was a warm shade of brown. Really brought out the healthy glow of her skin)
There was more vinegar involved than a fish and chips joint, the doctor did her best to make me feel comfortable with Mrs. Speculum, and I am pretty sure I looked like a cat dropped in water the entire time I was laying there.
Having said all of that, it was quick. The whole procedure probably only took ten minutes tops.
After inserting the speculum the doctor squirts some vinegar around the area, it stung a bit like the time I accidentally used hand sanitizer instead of lubricant. That’s a story for another time though.
They then stick a camera inside you, much like a colonoscopy, and look for any abnormalities.
“Do you want to take a look?”
“Naw, I’m good. I hadn’t really planned on seeing the inside of my cervix on a monitor today,”
Once they find the abnormality they pinch the area with a tool and you feel pressure, not pain. Similar to cramps.
Finally, and this is the part I was actually scared of, they slice a small sample off for biopsy. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would but I did bleed more than I thought I would. It feels like an odd sort of pinching pain rather than a slicing pain. This part is over really fast. To be honest they spend most of their time looking around in there.
So what was the verdict?
After giving me some pads for the bleeding they gave me a guess as to what it might be.
Fun fact: you’re still susceptible to HPV even if you’ve had the shot, which I have had.
You can also lack any symptoms for up to a year after contracting it.
I knew none of this. I thought that having the shot back in school pretty much cleared me but that is apparently not the case. It just minimizes your chances.
So I am probably cancer free but that doesn’t mean I am out of the woods yet. I still need the definitive tests back and once we have those I’ll have to continue to be vigilant with my Paps going forward.
Learn from my little experience. Get checked out regularly and stay safe. I know that doctor visits can be stressful but your health is so important and you deserve to be healthy.
I’ll post an update in a week or two with my final results and hope for the best!
If anyone has any questions or experiences they’d like to share please feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear from you and maybe we can all spread a bit of awareness together.
Till next time folks, stay Tobly awesome!
I know I will.