Are you ladies ready for this one?
Today I go to get my pap test done at my cancer hospital like I usually do, every year. After waiting for one hour in the examination room, my GYN comes in and says…
“So we are not doing a pap today because yours was normal last year. We are only doing a manual examination.”
“Huh?” I say.
“Sloan is no longer performing pap smears yearly…it’s just too many of them.”
“Are you serious?,” I say, laying there. “I don’t mind getting mine done today though.”
“Nope. We are not doing it,” she says.
“How do I tell if I have cervical cancer other than getting the pap test done, today?”
“You’ll notice some abnormal bleeding, for example. You are tense. Try relaxing.”
“I mean, you’re already in there, why not swab some cells and send them to the lab to check them out?”
“No. We are doing the pap today. And you’re still tense.”
Not only was I tense because of the examination, but also because, unexpectedly, I was not being allowed to use one of my weapons.
We cancer patients have limited tools to fight cancer with. Preventive testing is one of them. This particular tool was taken away from me today and I am unhappy about it.
Also, something else occurred to me, something that I think about often: Is this change being done because I’m part of my hospital’s research?
I had a “mouse” moment.
You see, ever since I’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, I get the feeling I am now part of a “system.” I know I’m either directly or indirectly involved in research since they can’t figure out how to cure cancer yet. I couldn’t help but to think that they are trying to figure out if it makes a difference for women to do pap tests yearly vs. doing them less frequently. And I am in the “experimental group” instead of the “control group.” And would they tell me if they were using me for research?
When did they change the protocol for these pap tests?
I honestly don’t get it. Wouldn’t I want to know if something was brewing in there before it’s too late?
I am too paranoid to let this one slide.
I am scheduled to see my other GYN in June for my semi-annual sonogram. (Yes I have two GYNs — my personal GYN and the one my cancer hospital assigned to me as part of my cancer treatment.) I’ll tell my personal GYN what just happened to me today and will see what she says about this change. Meanwhile, here’s a link to the latest developments on this related subject.