The Tragic Optimist


I had my annual exam today.  (Yeah, that’s one of the topics that I did not want as my 200th post – call me crazy, but I really didn’t feel like commemorating a pap that way).

I read a great post at In Search of Biscuit 2.0 about her experience going in for her annual  exam as an infertile.  I really identified with a lot of what she talked about, and it brought back memories of going in for all my testing and first few rounds of testing.  Memories of feeling like I must be in the wrong waiting room with so many couples and pregnant women, while I was there for a blood test or other er, more invasive, tests to see why I couldn’t seem to join their ranks.  Those memories aren’t nearly so raw anymore, and going to the women’s clinic now when we’re not actively trying was much easier.  And that clinic has new memories for me now, too.  It’s where I went for all my pre-natal appointments while pregnant with Zoe, where I heard her heartbeat, saw her image on the ultrasound screen.

I saw a midwife last year when I went in for my annual, and I remember her being kind of cold and not too personal.  But she was available for appointments on short notice, so I saw her again this year.  She hugged me when I walked in and was extremely kind and warm.  I don’t need my doctors to be super touchy-feely, but it was nice to feel like I had a medical professional who was actually listening and giving me the time to talk and ask questions.  Not that I really had many questions.  Though I did surprise myself by asking to do a diabetes screening.  Since I have PCOS, that puts me at a higher risk for developing diabetes (ah PCOS, infertility and increased risk of miscarriage isn’t enough for you, is it, you have to throw in the diabetes risk as well).  It surprised me because my general plan for dealing with health questions is to pretend they don’t exist and hope they go away, at least until they’re too prominent to ignore.  The nurse wasn’t too worried – I hadn’t developed diabetes during pregnancy – but she agreed that it was a good idea to do a test.  A test, of course, that is 2 hours long and involves fasting and then drinking a huge overly-sugared soda that’s nasty.  So that’ll be fun.

Oh, the other thing I learned, that may be of interest to a few women.  Apparently the new pap guidelines say that if you’ve never had an abnormal pap or biopsied your cervix and you get a negative on an hpv screen, then you can do a pap only every 3 years instead of every year.  Did I want to do an hpv screen this time to see if I can get out of a pap 2 out of every 3 years?  Oh hells yeah.



  1. LeAnn

    The idea of not having one every year was scary to me, so even though I’ve had the shots to prevent HPV and I was all in the clear, I told the doctor that I still wanted one every year. Call me crazy, I know, because it’s not the most pleasant thing in the world, but it scares me to think about going a few years without one.

  2. boo diabetes test! hope it goes ok!

  3. And if there is any history in the family of cervical or uterine cancer (as there is in my family…mom’s mom…), one more reason not to skip. My Dr. keeps reminding me that I could skip a year…then I have to remind her that my mom’s mom died of uterine cancer…then she says “oh…” and then once again the icky tests resume…

    That, and frankly, it’s a peace of mind issue darnit!

    (and btw…your snow feature is cool!)

  4. Oh, I hate the annual PAP. Before I was infertile, now, when I’m 50. I’ll always hate it.

    The one good thing to come out of this whole IF biz is now I have a real OB-GYN for my annual. I used to do everything at my family practice doctor. He is a great doc, but I’ve seen him since I was about 12 so it made it a little weird for me. And he thinks he is the funniest guy on the planet. There was (probably still is) a little sign stuck to the ceiling above the exam table that said, “Ask about our new low-carb pap smears!”

    Every year I would lay there thinking, “Next year I will find an OB-GYN. I swear.”

  5. Hope your test goes ok.. by the way- I tagged it if and when you have the time!

  6. I never skip my annual vaginal vault. It was discovered that I had cervical cancer when I was in my late teens, and although I was loathe to have surgery, in my late 20’s I had a partial hysterectomy. I do hope your test goes well, and I hope the new years holds a new baby for you to love and raise. Have a wonderful and warm holiday season. &hearts TT

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