Thanks to Facebook, I was reminded the other day that it has been 3 years since I was diagnosed with uterine cancer. Gee thanks Facebook? But yasssssss! 3 years and counting CANCER FREE!! The funny thing was this memory came right on the same day that I had my duck lip exam. Yes, I still have to have an exam yearly because I still have my ovaries and I need my annual boobie squish. But guess what I don’t need? A pap exam. And guess who just could not grasp that concept? The medical assistant in the doctor’s office. Seriously.
In case you aren’t aware, the pap exam is where us women get the oh so wonderful experience of having not only the duck lips inserted and cranking you open like you are on display, but then you get to get cells scraped off your cervix to be examined. Guys, let us just say it would be akin to someone sticking something up your penis to scrape cells off of it. There. Does that give you a good visual? It is not pleasant and most of us dread this part of the exam. The best thing about having had a hysterectomy three years ago? I have no baby box. My uterus and cervix were removed and so I don’t have to worry about things like pap smears or getting pregnant any more. My exams just involve a quick look and feel by the doctor and I am sent on my merry way. Simple and easy. Until this appointment. This one was so not simple.
I sat and filled out the paper that they make you fill out every time about why you are there and all that business and then I got called to the back for my appointment. The part I hate the most is the damn scale. Why does the scale in the doctor’s office always weigh you heavier. I swear I wanted to tell them that to make women feel better, they should weigh us once we get all naked with our little gowns and drapes on. I mean then I wouldn’t feel like I had gained like 25 pounds with my jeans, shoes and purse on. After making me feel like a giant cow by weighing me, I went into the exam room where the confusion about me needing a pap exam started. The Medical Assistant (MA) asked me when my last pap smear was and I answered 3 years ago before my hysterectomy. She looked concerned , made some notes in my chart and turned to me and remarked how long it had been. Yup. Because I had a hysterectomy. I figured maybe she didn’t hear me or look at my paper that I filled out that said I had one, so I just nodded. She continued to prep me with things like blood pressure and the like while still asking me questions and filling out things in the computer. Then this occurred:
MA: “Since it has been three years since your last pap exam, I am going to set one up because you will need one.”
Me: “No, I don’t need a pap exam. I had a hysterectomy.”
MA (emphatically and now speaking to me like I am stupid): “Yes, but it has been three years since your last one so the Doctor is going to want one. That is part of your well woman exam.”
Me with raised eyebrows: “Yes, I am quite aware that it is part of the well woman exam. I don’t need one because I had a hysterectomy three years ago.”
MA (insistent): “I don’t think you understand what a pap smear is so I am just going to set it all up because you NEED one. It has been three years. We check for cancer with these you know.”
Me (uber frustrated): “Yes, I am a nurse so I completely understand why you do a pap smear. I. Had. A. Hysterectomy. You know, where they remove your uterus and cervix? No need for a pap smear.”
MA (utterly confused by my words): “If you are a nurse, then you should understand how important a pap smear is and why the doctor will want one. What if you have cancer?”
Me (with the are you freaking kidding me look on my face): “Been there. Done that. I really do not need a pap smear ok?”
MA (shaking her head and sighing a little): “So let me get this straight. You don’t want a pap smear because you had a hysterectomy? You know you could have cancer and this test will detect it and you still don’t want one. So you are refusing a pap smear?”
Me (Done. So done.): “Yup. That’s it. I refuse. You can tell her that yourself. That I refuse because I had a hysterectomy, ok? Use those exact words for me too.”
MA: “Ok I will. Just so you know the risks about not getting one. I will tell her you refused the pap smear because you had a hysterectomy and don’t feel you need one. Now, I see here you don’t use birth control. Why not?”
Oh yeah. I didn’t die today. I did however realize that maybe not everyone knows exactly what a hysterectomy entails (a medical assistant should though) but I didn’t die. I am Fat Girl Super Stann still kicking cancer’s ass Running. The experiment continues…