On Monday I received some VERY good news: I matched.
But 15 minutes later I received some bad news.
Recently, I posted about some physical health issue but I didn’t elaborate on it. I was hesitant to post about this for fear of being TMI. I decided to go ahead and do it for completion’s sake. It hasn’t been an awesome week for me and I’d be lying if I said my mind is focused only on the Match and the good news.
I was waiting in my gynecologist’s exam room when I received the email from the NRMP stating I had matched. I was happy, obviously. But then she came in and gave me the bad news: I have severe dysplasia in my cervix. In other words: there are precancerous lesions in my cervix.
Long story short, I got infected with HPV probably thanks to the Russian or Pizza guy and in the span of about 3-4 short months I have developed severe cervical dysplasia. My doctor told me I’m the first patient she’s ever had who has a perfectly normal pap smear and then in 3 months has severe dysplasia in there. I won’t go into details, but I had a second pap smear done by another doctor by mere chance, really. But if it hadn’t been for that, my doctor wouldn’t have screened me for another 3-5 years, which is what she is supposed to do in accordance with the screening guidelines. I shudder to think of what would have happened in that case…
So, I receive the news that I matched and then I get this bucket of ice cold water thrown on me in less than half an hour. My doctor was great about the news, though. She was patient and answered all my questions. I’m going to miss her when I leave for residency.
What follows is getting the cells removed by way of a procedure called LEEP. It’s done in the office, thankfully. Then close follow-up after that.
I don’t know what I feel. I’m kind of all over the place and stunned, I guess. I’m more focused on the Match, though, so I guess that’s good.
I don’t have cancer. But, you know, even as an almost-doctor, when the words “severe dysplasia” and “precancerous lesions” get thrown at you, you automatically think about cancer and death. I’m human after all. My reaction was actually textbook for any patient’s reaction: doesn’t matter your level of education you’re still going to go completely numb and blank when bad news get thrown at you. In my stunned state I actually had to ask my doctor to explain things twice to me even though I knew what she was talking about.
I won’t deny the fact that on Monday I was enveloped by irrational thoughts of: I’m going to be a psychiatrist….unless I die of cancer first. I’ve tried to rationalize by thinking: At least I’m young, it was caught on time, the odds are in my favor…But the thoughts are still there.
Then yesterday I saw G and we obviously talked about this. And during the session I had an aha moment where I realized that if there’s one thing I can thank depression for, it’s that I’ve become more comfortable with my own mortality. Thanks to that, I’ve been a bit more calm. The reality is, I have no way of knowing when I’ll die. Like G told me: the truth is, I could die 3 or 40 years from now of cervical cancer, or I could die today in a car crash. We will never know when our time will come. So, why focus on those bad news? I’m taking the right steps toward taking care of this sudden problem. I’m doing the “right” thing.
I’m taking care of what I can control. The rest is to be determined by life itself.
So, for now, I guess it’s best to just focus on the Match, on things to come, on the future that awaits. And, as corny as it sounds, make the most of the present moment and what I do have now: life.
PS: WordPress is getting on my nerves and randomly disabling comments on my posts. If ever you can’t comment, please email me and let me know.