Wednesday, November 02, 2005

This is personal

Scientists have developed a vaccine against the human pappilloma virus to prevent against cervical cancer. But the pro-life crowd doesn't want the FDA to approve it based on the umproven belief that it will encourage teen-agers and young adults to have sex, lots of sex. I have news for them, it didn't stop me from having sex with lots of men before I got married (yes, my husband knows about my sexual history and it doesn't bother him. If it did, he wouldn't have married me.) Guess what, I got cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN). Do you know what CIN is? CIN is defined as
Invasive cervical cancers are usually preceded by a long phase of preinvasive disease. This is characterized microscopically as a spectrum of events progressing from cellular atypia to various grades of dysplasia or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) before progression to invasive carcinoma.
Does that make me a bad person? A slut? Why should you judge me negatively and not judge the person who infected me with HPV? (For the record, I do not know who it is and it is not relevant at this point.) I was infected with a virus that kills 33% of the women who get invasive cervical cancer.
So what happens when you have a precancerous HPV infection? You get a colposcopy, where a biopsy is taken using these forceps. Yes, it takes a "bite" out of the cervix and it hurts like hell. Sometimes the biopsy gets everything, in my case it didn't. I had to go to the next step and have a loop electrosurgical excision procedure, also known as a LEEP. It is a superhot wire that is used to excise part of the cervix. Fortunately, the doctor does numb the cervix before this procedure and care must be taken to not burn the walls of the vagina. I must admit it is rather disconcerting seeing smoke come out of your vagina and smelling your own burning flesh. And there is no sex for one month after this procedure in order to allow the cervix to heal. The long term complication of having part of your cervix removed is not being able to carry a pregnancy to term. That's right, even if you are cured of the precancerous condition, the cervix cannot support the weight of a developing fetus. So much for the pro-lifers concern about the unborn.
After the LEEP, I had to get a Pap smear every six months for two years. I am now free of the virus. For the generation of girls who are approaching puberty now this disease will be preventable. Imagine, my nieces will not have to go through what I did. I will be more than happy for my son to get the vaccine so he won't be able to inadvertently spread the virus.
So I will make a deal with the fundagelical crowd. Since you hate science so much, don't get shots, medical tests or medicines. We'll move you to an island where you can quarantine yourselves and you can be happy and praise Jesus the whole time. And we won't have to put up with your trying to impose your beliefs on us and listening to your whining about it when you don't succeed.

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