I emailed my boss and told her that I needed to work from home this week. For personal reasons. I guess I could claim that my lady parts still stung a little and sitting in a chair for nine hours would be cruel, but the reality was I didn’t want to see anyone. I was racked with horrible guilt – who did I get this from? Was it an ex and I’ve now exposed my boyfriend? Or did Studly give it to me? If I had decided not to get that dental filling and chosen Guardasil instead would I be safe from HPV and be sitting blissfully unaware of my luck? One of the first questions I asked my doctor was, “Should I still get the Guardasil shots?” She said no*, it’s like vaccinating a child for Polio after they’ve already been fitted for a wheelchair. Great imagery Dr. D. She said if Studly and I break up, that might be a different story, but at this point the horse is out of the barn and has drown in the creek.

*Note – I’m not a medical professional, I’m not your damn doctor and I only know what MY doctor told ME in MY personal situation. So if you have something skeevy on your genitals, get it checked out by a professional. If you want to know whether you should get an HPV Vaccination, ask YOUR doctor because I’m only reporting what I did, not giving advice. Capice?!

This led to me thinking about how Studly would react. Oh fuck. So I tensely waited for Studly to show up on my doorstep, wondering how you even start a conversation like this. ‘Hey honey, I didn’t cheat on you but now we both probably have this incurable disease that may or may not cause cancer in one or both of us and I’m not sure which one of us is to blame, but I’m scared.”

Actually, that probably would have come out better than what I actually said. I ended up crying so hard I had to repeat it multiple times before he understood what the hell I was saying. At that point, I couldn’t understand what the hell I was saying. And that was after squeezing the poor guy half to death because I was really afraid that after I told him he wouldn’t want to be with me, so I desperately held on in case this was the last time we cuddled. That’s how upset I was, we all know I hate cuddling.

After that I basically verbally vomited on the man, running from how disgusting I felt to how scared I was of cancer to how my lady parts were kind of hurting based on the position we were sitting in and could he please scooch over a bit?

After I finally got a clue and shut the hell up, I waited for his response. And waited. And waited so long I was sure he was just trying to come up with the right words to dump me. I finally looked up into his eyes, convinced it might be the last time I see them.

Then, he proved what being a great guy is all about. He told me that he loved me and that nothing had changed for him. He called me beautiful and said that no matter what I need – a hand to hold during a procedure, a shoulder to cry on, someone to cook me a healthy dinner (since my idea of “cooking” is slapping together a peanut butter and jelly sandwich) – he would be there. He wasn’t going anywhere and we’d figure out what HPV meant in our relationship together. Holy fuck guys, I found a goddamn winner.

So I cried some more, because in my wildest imaginings I would never have guessed he would say that. He got really emotional and told me he was scared that he had given it to me, since he didn’t always wear condoms in a previous long term relationship, some of which involved cheating (his exes cheating, not him). In the end he said he would go to his doctor and find things out too. For a while we just held each other, holding hands; then I felt him lift my hand up and he stared at it for a long time.

“Uh, what are you doing?” I asked, snuffling a little bit. He looked down at me and grinned in a goofy sort of way. “Seriously, what are you thinking?” He silently smiled at me and I wondered if this is the moment where the stress from this diagnosis would finally cause him to snap. “What’s on your mind?” Damn, now I was starting to sound like Facebook, so I shut the hell up.

“I can picture being with you forever.” He said softly.

“OK, not the right time for that conversation.” Then my stomach pointed out the fact that I hadn’t eaten. So we got up and made a healthy dinner (his kind of cooking, not mine) and then googled a few things together. One of my biggest worries was about children – could I still have them? Could I pass this on? We found out that HPV doesn’t cause infertility but there’s a small, rare chance that I could pass this on through a vaginal birth. Not enough of a chance to recommend a C-Section (according to the CDC). Some people talked about a procedure to remove part of the cervix that had been affected by HPV leading to a weakened cervix and increase in miscarriages. That’s a scary notion, but I figured I would think about it if something was found on my cervix.

I just got this diagnosis and I’m still working on how I feel, who I want to tell and doing research about HPV. Right now I don’t want to tell anyone, because I feel so ashamed, gross and dirty. I know intellectually this isn’t the case, but it’s an honest assessment of how I feel right now. I’ve read that the types of HPV that cause genital warts are not the same as the ones that cause cancer so I’ll probably be just fine; although for all I know I have both kinds, since my vagina feels like a cesspool right now.

I don’t plan on making this blog about HPV in the slightest, I’m still going to bitch about the usual stuff – but I’ll have occassional updates. For now I’m telling myself that everything will be A-OK.

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