A Horror Story (slightly graphic)
There are people now who want to ban the HPV vaccine. I am not embarrassed to say that I have only had sex with two people. One was not consensual and the other is my husband. I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, which is why the incident below happened to me. My mother also had cervical cancer that spread throughout her reproductive organs and almost killed her. She had chemotherapy, radiation, and eventually a full hysterectomy. I remember her getting upset when I took one of her wigs to school for Halloween. I didn't know until I got older just how sick she was. Did either of us deserve to die?
I resent this being turned into just another Christian moralizing issue. So that my daughters, and yours, never have to go through what I did, I will fight with my last breath to have this vaccine made available in the United States. Don't let the religious fundamentalists push you around any more. They have no right to fool around with our lives and the lives of our children. I'll take that one step further, they don't have the right to put their own children's lives at risk either. The following is my horror story because of cervical cancer. It is why I feel as strongly as I do. If you are easily sickened by graphic depictions of medical proceedures, then go no further.
I'll tell you a horror story. I had cancer and had to have a portion of my cervix removed because the cancer was localized. The next night I started bleeding so heavily that I had to stand in the shower so my floor wouldn't be soaked. My husband took me to the ER and they said I was probably having a miscarriage. They dismissed me and sent me home.
The next morning I got up to go to the bathroom and started bleeding again. This time I passed out then became very sick. My husband rushed me to the hospital. He had to stop so I could throw up every few miles then went out cold in the car. He thought I died.
I was packed with gauze and covered in blood, but they had no way of knowing how bad it was. The nurse wanted to send me home. She told me I was being a baby and it was probably minor bleeding from the operation. They told me that people can't often measure their own bleeding and that a little will seem like a lot. I remember her leaning over and saying to me, “You DO know why people get cervical cancer don’t you?” Then she looked at me and sneered, "Are you crying?" like she thought I was being overdramatic. Maybe I was, but I have never been so scared in my life. I noticed two things about this woman, she had a little gold cross on her uniform and she reminded me of Kathy Bates.
Luckily, my OB was making rounds and my husband went and talked to her. She came rushing over and told the nurse to admit me into the OB ward since I had recently given birth and so that they would have the equipment to take care of me. She also put in the orders that my baby could stay with me since I was breastfeeding. When she left the nurse said, “I'm not putting you there where your dirty baby can infect the others.” So, she put me in Pediatrics! I think it was her idea of a joke. The next morning I woke up in Pediatrics. I was on bed rest with bathroom visits so I went to the bathroom. I started bleeding out on the bathroom floor and passed out. I pushed the call button and they got me back in bed. I remember the doctor coming in and saying they needed to get equipment from the OB ward! Then I hear, "knock her out NOW!" It scared me so badly and the next thing I knew Demerol hit. The next day, we all found out that my cervical artery had been “nicked” and if I hadn’t been in the hospital during the last round of bleeding that I surely would have died.
I was pregnant when they found the cancer and was given the choice to abort or wait until the baby was born. I waited because I had already miscarried the twin of this baby and couldn't imagine losing another child so soon. I also only had one other child and she was already in college. If I had younger children my decision would have been different because the doctors really thought that if I waited 6 more months the cancer would be out of control. Anyway, it turns out that my son was born a month early and weighed 10 pounds... no there was no mistake on dates and I did not have diabetes. I was lucky, but I could have died. That is why I am 1) Pro-Choice and 2) Very pissed about people who do not put the life of the mother first.
Obviously, I lived to tell this story. I keep it as a reminder of how unchristian many Christians act. I also tell it to you as a reminder of the faces behind the abortion and HPV vaccine controversies. There are women who will die as a result of anti-abortion or anti-vaccine legislation. Not just women who want abortions, but women who need them. There will be children who grow up without a mother because of this, husbands without wives, and fathers without daughters. The nurse was my judge, jury and almost executioner. I certainly felt exactly what Christian love is all about.