So I drove all the way out to some new Cleveland Clinic campus out in Avon today to see Dr. Williams. I am collecting doctors like an old person, I swear.
I went through the standard questions with the nurse before he came in - I pretty much know them all by heart, now. They usually get tripped up on the date of my last period being last November, but the girl today actually just asked, "Do you still even get a period?" which was a surprising change.
When Dr. Williams came in, I was reminded of something a friend of mine who recently had to have a colonoscopy said about it being unfair that all ass-related doctors are hot. Cue Dr. Williams. I don't know what I was expecting, but a cute, young black man was not it. I explained all my symptoms and he started to tell me to get undressed from the waist down and cover up with the sheet on the exam table, but I was like, "Dude. I know this part after all I went through these last few months." He laughed and left me alone to get ready.
The only difference in this exam as opposed to the variety of others I've had over the past year was that I was face DOWN instead of face up. It was otherwise equally uncomfortable and humiliating. Oh, and the items that get stuck up the back door are (thankfully) considerably smaller than the ones they feel just fine about sticking up front! And, to the best of my knowledge, at least, no one has ever put a tiny camera in my vagina. But today, a nice man absolutely put one in my can.
What it all boiled down to is that the radiation definitely irritated the hell out of EVERYTHING it came in contact with. My skin is still a bit buggered up from that whole process. Add to that the fact that I continued using baby wipes even after treatment ended because they seemed more gentle on my sad tookus. Moisture is an irritant. Translation? I basically have wicked diaper rash on my super-sensitive butt skin.
Solution? No more baby (or adult) wipes. No soap downstairs... "water gets you clean enough by itself," he said. He actually described it like the loss of natural protective oils and whatnot on the skin through washing with soap and wipes would be the same as removing the wax from a car - leaving the paint exposed to more damage from the environment. (Ryan asked if this meant I need my ass waxed. Friggin' smartass.) Make sure I am D-R-Y after working out, using the toilet, taking a shower, anything that makes me damp in the crack. No thongs or satin drawers (not that I would EVER consider it... gross with a capital GROSS!) And my favorite part - I have to sleep bottomless. Something about that makes me giggle. Reminds me of when Giuliani went after NYC's topless bars and my sister said she was going to open a bottomless bar! HA!
Oh, and ointment. Some prescription thing I have to pick up tomorrow. (I hate the word "ointment," by the way. It's right up there with panties, pumps, moist, and my all time most hated: BLOUSE! - Anyone else have weird words that skeeve them out for no reason?)
I'd say that here is where the story ends, but it's not... I went out to make my follow-up appointment, and the girl at the desk cautiously asked me about my cervical cancer, which she saw on my chart. I told her I was cancer-free and we started chatting. She told me her best friend had cervical cancer which spread to her lymph-node or and four years later, she is still dealing with monthly chemotherapy. Ugh! Poor girl!!
The INTERESTING thing is that her friend had a very similar experience to mine with getting diagnosed in that her first gynecologist missed the diagnosis, but 8 months later a second one immediately saw the tumor. It just makes me wonder if this is a common thing... which is scary. All I can say to that is, and I've said this before, LISTEN to your bodies, my friends. If you KNOW deep down that something is wrong, don't let up until they figure out what it is! Be your biggest advocate and make the medical system work for you!
I am lucky in that it did (finally/eventually) work for me. I am lucky to be cancer-free after only 5-1/2 months. I am lucky to have had the support that I had through all of this at work, from my friends, and most of all from my husband and my family!
Never forget the things you are lucky to have or the things you are grateful for. Even if one of them is having a cute guy stick a tiny camera up your butt so that he can tell you don't need surgery. Or a colonoscopy.
Happy Monday, indeed!