10 years ago (far out, was it seriously that long ago?!), literally in the middle of my move to Wellington to start my teaching career, I got news that I had irregular cervical cells. 6 months previous I had been told I had irregular cells (CIN 1), but not to worry as they usually disappear or take at least 10 years to develop into pre-cancerous cells (CIN 3). Interestingly enough my body was some sort of super force and it only took 6 months for them to go from CIN 1 to CIN 3. I tell ya girls – don’t EVER miss a pap smear! At the time I was 22.
Luckily I was able to have a Lettz procedure in Wellington and have the cells removed. This was followed by 6 monthly biopsies for a few years, to yearly biopsies, to the all clear but yearly pap smears, a few bouts of reoccurring irregular cells (that thankfully disappeared), and I was finally home free….well, if you call yearly pap smears for life home free – ‘Hi, welcome back to New Zealand, time for a pap smear!’ Not my favorite part of coming home.
With my history and peer pressure, as well as the inevitable family pressure ‘When am I going to be a grandparent?’ and ‘I’m just worried you will miss the boat’, I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Where I am placed in life, both geographically and in age, some people may say that I have a few years left before I had to worry about this issue, after all, 35 is commonly known as the time when your eggs become known as ‘geriatric’. I mean, seriously! How is that fair? And I am still a few years off that number. But for some reason, probably mostly based on previous medical history, I had an inkling, a strong gut feeling and it turned turned out I was right.
When I told people that I was thinking about getting these tests, so many of them asked me why I would even think about getting these tests done, stating many reasons ranging from ‘You’re not old enough to worry about that yet’, ‘But you’re single’ to ‘But what happens if it’s bad news, what will you do then?’.
I have always had a massive thing about honesty and the truth. If someone isn’t honest with me or can’t tell me the truth, that has always cut very deep. It is the same with knowing things. I would rather know the full picture, the truth, than sit back and wait when I could have done something about it earlier. That is what drove me to get the tests done. That and also being able to put my mind at rest because of this intense gut feeling I was having.
Getting this test and the knowledge to do so, did not just appear from anywhere. I am lucky enough to have a good friend in my life who I met up with in October when I was back in New Zealand. My friend and his partner have had some extremely tough experiences and after expressing my concerns to them, they told me about the AMH and FSH tests. If I had not have talked to them about my fears and they had not shared their story with me, I would never have known about these tests until it was maybe too late and I will be forever thankful to them for that.
Back in Beijing and mulling it over, I thought that what I would do was have the 2 tests when I was home in December and then a year from then, have another set of tests to see the rate of decrease or the difference in the 2 results. Armed with these figures I could then make an informed decision in a year or so. Smart thinking….or so I thought. Life decided to intervene – and we all know how that story goes.
3 – Gut feeling
If anything has come from this whole experience so far, it is that gut feelings can be an amazing thing and from now on I am trusting mine without a doubt.