“Considering that history, you did very well.”
This was the comforting phrase which was said to me yesterday, following my first PAP examination. I – compared to the general population of girls my age – became active rather later in life, so the idea of getting one done did not seem needed to me. It was neither the intrusive nature of the act, nor the exposure of one’s self (providing the facilitator was also a female) which caused me to hold off for so long, but simply the fear of the result. Never have I been concerned with the possibility of a STI, considering my limited sexual partners and commitment to being… clean, but the prospect that something more severe could be a reality was very much in the back of my mind. Yet, being that I have been in a relationship for almost two years, it seemed only obvious to obvious to push aside my fears and let them in – so to speak.
In all honesty, it was no nearly as bad as anticipated. I spent the entire time rambling on about my interest in and plans to pursue a career in holistic therapy – figuring that being a health professional, herself, she might harbor some interest in this goal. She did. Being that the overall time-length of a pap smear is short, the conversation turned into more of a oral business plan, which wanted nothing more than brief ‘oh’s and ‘that’s very good’s, which it did receive.
In the moments which followed, the doctor told me to get back into my pants and come around the curtain to discuss when I was ready. I chuckled, thinking back to comments made by my mother in the waiting room, referring to my meditation practice:
“It says that if you breath deeply and spread your legs as wide as you can, you ill be fine. So… you’re good”.
All I can say is: thank you circular breath cycles and pigeon pose.
Once my leggings were properly adjusted to my body, I walked around the curtain to begin the second part of the check up, which was arguably the part that worried me. After a few moments of having large, unfamiliar medical terms thrown at me, I heard six words that were not only understandable, but also somewhat alarming to me:
“I can’t feel your left ovary”.
She assured me it was nothing to worry about, which I plan to listen to, completely. However one of my largest fears is the prospect that I might not be able to birth, naturally. Due to my history of an eating disorder, my irregular periods (which, sometimes are more ‘nonexistent’ and my hormonal imbalances, I have always tacitly thought that I would be a likely candidate to -at the very least – experience issues conceiving. So, as I am sure you could understand, hearing that one of my ovaries was out of reach called for some concern.
After a slew of questions, I discovered that the explanation was most likely due to an ovarian cyst. This lead me to little solace, as I had often heard ovarian cysts leading to infertility, or being somehow related. However she assured me, at this point, there was nothing to be concerned about. She also told that an ultrasound would be a good next-step.
Yesterday had such a ‘becoming of’ feel to it; similar to getting your first period, or having your first kiss. Typically speaking, I have always found myself to be mature in most facets of my life, but after having my first PAP, I felt even more like a ‘woman’. To be completely honest, I was excited to have it done. Not exactly to expose myself to another woman, but to feel that feeling of maturity and growth; to be surrounded by that declaration of femininity.
While I still feel a slight pang in my stomach regarding the left ovary, I fully commit to not reacting too strongly until I know the whole story. Typically speaking, this is not rare, therefore indicating there is little need to strong concern. I am treating this as part of my ‘self-growth’. I know, generally speaking, that I need to relax more in regard to my life. Things will not always be as you plan; ovaries will not always be easy to feel. Regardless, one must not over-concern themselves with possibilities. Every ‘what if?’ should follow with a ‘so what?’. Life is what you make of it, not simply what is is naturally. If you let your experiences define your existence, without priming them to better suit you, you’ll be living completely out of your own personal control. So, instead of worrying about what could be, I plan to focus on what is, which – as it stands – one shy ovary.