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Self-care is more than bubble baths and pedicures.

by Meagan Francis on March 18, 2013

When I got the call from my doctor’s office the week before last, for a second I thought it was the front desk calling to remind me of an appointment I’d forgotten. Or perhaps the nurse, letting me know she’d called my refill into the pharmacy.

I’d been in the office the week before for a LEEP excision of my cervix – a Pap smear back in the fall had led to a biopsy, which showed severe dysplasia/pre-cancerous cells that needed to be removed. It’s a common, low-risk procedure, and when I scheduled it, I really thought the biggest thing I had to worry about was how I’d feel on Xanax (turns out, pretty great) and how the recovery would go (it was just fine.)

But one night, six days after my procedure, I started feeling anxious. I had a hard time sleeping that night, for no particular reason…I just felt that something, somewhere, wasn’t right. So when I picked up the phone and heard my gynecologist’s voice, I suddenly knew what it was.

I’d been told there was a 95% chance that the LEEP would take care of everything and I could just go on with my life, but until that moment it hadn’t occurred to me that I might be one of the other 5%.

And then it came. The biopsy of my cervical tissue, he told me, had shown invasive cancer.

A small amount, probably contained to one area. Very possibly, he’d gotten it all out with the LEEP. “You’re going to be okay,” he assured me. But all my brain registered was invasive cancer. Oh my God, they found invasive cancer in my cervix.

We talked over my options – almost certainly surgery; radiation and chemo unlikely but possible down the road – and I numbly, calmly listened, not really believing what I was hearing. Until the part where he said “I want you to know that you’re going to see your kids grow up.”  Talk about a statement jarring you awake – because up until then, had I ever, in my life, considered that watching my kids grow wasn’t pretty much guaranteed?

My doctor told me I’d know more after a GYN oncologist had had a chance to review the slides of my biopsy and the pathology report. So I waited.

A week later I sat in the oncologist’s office (a sentence I truly never thought I would type) talking over my diagnosis and treatment. The tumor they found was very small and had not grown very far into the cervix – a “microinvasion”, the doctor called it, also known as stage 1A – the best kind of cancer you can have, right? Ha, ha. Oh boy.

I really never thought I would be facing something like this. I have zero family history of cancer, and haven’t been on so much as an antibiotic since high school. I’ve always been healthy. I’m young!

Only…I’m not that young anymore. And apparently, I’m not quite as healthy as I believed…or wanted to believe.

I’ve gotten a lot of medical care over the last fifteen years, but almost all of it through the context of my pregnancies. And it had been more than three years since my last Pap smear. Yes, that’s the recommended time between Paps for most women, but given my history (more on that in a future post) I probably should have been going more often.

On the other hand, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief that I didn’t let life get in the way, letting another two or three years go by before making the appointment. It would have been easy to do, in the bustle of life. It is shockingly easy, really, to lose track of time and your own care when you’re in the intensive years of raising small children.

Our culture loves to give lip service to self-care for moms, but we tend to trivialize the topic. I know I’m guilty of that myself. Feeling stressed or tired? Seek a little retail therapy; do something nice for yourself, it’s easy to say. Have a cup of tea or a glass of wine. Relax.

But while bubble baths, massages, and manicures are wonderful things, they’re no substitute for taking real care of our health. And that can involve messy, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and un-pampering processes like screenings, blood tests, mole removals and mammograms.

No, those things don’t make for cute Instagrams or a fun girl’s nights out. But they are vitally important and we owe it to ourselves to make sure that “self care” includes the uncomfortable, un-fun stuff along with scented lotions and facials.

So here’s where things stand with me: I’m going to be okay. My doctors keep telling me that, and though I know there are never any guarantees, I am inclined to believe them so that I don’t completely freak out.

I will have a hysterectomy within the next few months, meaning I’ll have – ahem – the opportunity to face my fear of anesthesia and surgery. I’ll need to take it easy and will not get to do many of the things I wanted to do this summer. But I will be okay. Something I am very grateful for. 

That’s not to say I’ve been zippedy-doo-dah-ing with gratitude since I got this news. Truth be told, I’ve been pretty low. I’ll be sad to lose organs that have defined my life for the last 16 years, even though I don’t need them anymore and they’ve, frankly, been a nuisance lately. I’m pretty much terrified of the idea of “going under.” I’m bummed about the fact that I’ll be losing some independence and abilities and facing restrictions on everything from picking up my kids to travel.

I’ve been sleeping a lot, crying a little, having difficulty focusing. I know I’ll come through it okay, but I don’t feel awesome at the moment. I do, however, feel resolved to start taking a more active role in my health.

Here’s something you can do that I think will help me feel a little bit better. Comment here and tell me something you are going to do for your health in the next couple of weeks. Maybe you’ll make that mammogram appointment you’ve been avoiding. Maybe you’ll get that suspicious mole checked out. Maybe you’ll join a gym or improve your diet or start taking vitamins or get your thyroid checked. Maybe you’ll go get a Pap smear. 

Yes, our lives are busy. But looking after your health is every bit as important as reading to your child’s class or meeting a work deadline. And being healthy is every bit as satisfying as having freshly-painted toenails.

I’m learning this the hard way. Of course, there’s no guarantee that getting my Pap a year or two earlier would have led to a different result in the end. But when I think about how easy it would have been to put it off longer – while the cancer spread undetected – I just want to scream from the rooftops: GO GET YOUR PARTS CHECKED OUT.

We’re too important to put it off, to gamble on our health. We matter too much. Our families need us too much. Know it. Believe it. If cancer (I can still barely bring myself to type that word!) can happen to me, the person who always saw myself as so healthy, so tough, so invincible…well, it can happen to anyone.

It’s not always fun, this being a grown-up stuff. But I’ve found that the tests and procedures and screenings I get myself all worked up over are almost never as bad in the end as I think they will be. And they’re worth the time. I’m worth the time.

So are you. Please, give yourself some real self-care, soon.

And when you’re done, you can reward yourself with a nice bubble bath.

Are you in? Leave a comment letting me know what you’re going to do for your health within the next few weeks. It will really help me feel better about what I’m facing. And please share this post with your friends. You just might save a mom!

* * * * *

Since I wrote this post I’ve continued to blog about my diagnosis and treatment for cervical cancer. You can read the updates in these posts:

 

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{ 215 comments… read them below or add one }

Melisa Wells March 18, 2013 at 8:17 am

I am so relieved you’re going to be okay, Megan. How scary! I am, in fact, going to make my pap appointment. I got the reminder a couple of weeks ago and haven’t taken the time for that two minute phone call. Today, I will.

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Melisa Wells March 18, 2013 at 8:36 am

Sorry I misspelled your name! I’m usually so careful because I have an unusual spelling…oops!

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 8:39 am

No problem at all, Melisa!

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JillyG March 18, 2013 at 8:27 am

I am going to schedule my pap and mammogram. I’m very late. VERY late. I won’t let it continue. I love you, Meagan. I am so relieved by your good bad news. xoxo

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:39 pm

XO love you Jill :)

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KerryH March 18, 2013 at 8:29 am

I’m so glad you’re going to be Ok, Meagan. As for me, I just had my first mammogram and I’ve scheduled my first colonoscopy. My Mom has had colon cancer so I was supposed to have this thing done 4 years ago, but my own phobia of anesthesia was stopping me. I decided to just get on with it and so I will. Thinking of you…

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:25 am

I think the “fear of anesthesia” thing is so common. I definitely have it, but it’s funny – every time I’ve freaked out over needing medication (like when I had my wisdom teeth out) it’s turned out to be OK. This will be a little bigger than that – I had conscious sedation w/the oral surgery – but still, everyone I talk to says it’s no big deal.

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Marie March 18, 2013 at 8:31 am

I am grateful that they were able to catch it in time. Your post today has me in tears. It is very easy to put ourselves off when there are so many other things to take care of & most of the women I know do it. Thank you for sharing. I hope it will inspire many of the ladies who read here to pick up the phone & make whatever appts they have been putting off for themselves.

As for me, after months of feeling generally unwell, I scheduled a full work up last week. Most of my problem is general exhaustion but I feel somewhat better knowing that is what it is instead of just feeling bad without an answer.

Will be keeping you in my thoughts. xoxo

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:26 am

I’m so glad to read this! I have heard from so many women recently that the thyroid is a common cause of exhaustion in moms,just fyi.

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lakeline March 18, 2013 at 8:33 am

Wow, Meagan. How terrifying for you. But thank you for the beautifully written reminder about self care. And so many men need this reminder too – that a doctor visit isn’t something to ignore. Our wonderful scientific and medical community is worth using. I hope everyone can use them, or at least find ways to get low-cost checkups if they don’t have insurance coverage. <3

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:40 pm

Very good point – men need the reminder. In particular, my husband, ahem.

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Jodi March 18, 2013 at 8:38 am

How scary. I’m so glad you’re going to be ok. Call if you want to talk. I’ll tell bad jokes.

I had my girlie parts checked out last week. After an irregular pap and dysplasia that led to a LEEP a few years ago, I put my feet in stirrups every year and let the doctor poke around BUT I don’t have a primary care doc. It’s been at least 6 years since I made an appointment to have the rest of my body checked. I’m going to make an appointment. Thanks for the nudge.

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:41 pm

I think the last time I had a full workup was when I bought my life insurance – so it’s been a while!

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Kirsetin March 18, 2013 at 8:43 am

Oh, Meagan! How like you to take a crappy, horrrible thing and turn it into a request for the rest of us to take care of ourselves. I completely forgot to book my annual exam last year. So, thanks, girlfriend, for thinking of others: Mine’s now scheduled for June. Incredibly grateful that you’re going to be okay — and you are, you really are! xoxo

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Aw Kirsetin, thanks for the sweet comment. I’m so glad you made that appointment.

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Amanda March 18, 2013 at 8:44 am

I am so happy to hear that you found this early and will be okay! I went through something similar about 5 years ago. Thankfully they got it all out and was not cancerous. I cannot imagine what I would have done since this was prior to having children. But I now have PAPS every 6 months to 1 year since I carry the “gene”. It is so important to take care of ourselves especially when it comes to our health!

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Amanda, I am VERY grateful that my family was complete – it would be much more painful to be facing the loss of future fertility. Thanks for sharing your story.

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CristieRitzKing March 18, 2013 at 8:44 am

I’m so grateful to you for sharing this story.
About two years ago I started really paying
Attention to how I practice “self-care” and set about learning all the ways I could to try to prevent cancer. I have a terrible history and got paranoid about leaving my kids the same way my parents left me-too soon and too young. I know I can’t guarantee I’ll never get sick, but I’m going to do everything in my power to try. Thank you for reminding all of us why it’s so
Important to really practice self-care, even if it isn’t all pretty. I’m so happy you did and will be able to fight this thing early and come out on top. I’m sorry you have to go through it at all, but am pleased to know you’ll kick its butt.;)

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Thanks, Christie. I’m so sorry to hear about your family history and losing your parents, but you are so wise to be proactive.

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Stacey @ Tree, Root, and Twig March 18, 2013 at 8:52 am

Thank you so much for sharing this. As always, you are such a strong, brave voice in sharing your personal journey for the benefit of others. I’ve been on a very regular schedule with my lady doctor, but we recently moved and needed to establish care with a new doctor. Even though I had been in for my “well woman check” just last year, and thought I was in the clear for two more years, this new doctor wanted to start a baseline of care, so she did the full exam the first time we met. My pap came back abnormal, even though everything was perfect last year. I’m glad she was thorough, and now we’re looking more closely at things. As important as it is to take care of ourselves, it’s important to partner with providers who are really looking out for us. Thanks again for sharing your story!!

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:27 am

Oh Stacey, thank you for sharing your story too – I will be thinking of you and hoping everything is OK!

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Becky March 18, 2013 at 9:00 am

I’ve got a whole week of checkups, poking, prodding & squashing (you know what I’m talking about) — top to bottom — scheduled in April. I think I’ll get that pedicure the week after that. ;)

*hugs*

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Hope everything is A-OK, and enjoy that pedi!

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Joanne Bamberger March 18, 2013 at 9:10 am

M, I am so sorry to read this story. You are so right about all if this. I had a similar Pap scar many years ago & it taught me to be on tip of my own medical treatment. Having said that, I’ve been putting off a colonoscopy for years precisely because of my own fear of anesthesia. I promise, I will make that appointment. Xo

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Oh yes, the dreaded colonoscopy! Which I keep hearing isn’t really that bad. I’ll try to believe it. Thanks, Joanne. :)

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Mir March 18, 2013 at 9:12 am

I’m glad you’re going to be okay. :) That’s the important part.

I had a hysterectomy 9 years ago, for different reasons, but if you need someone to talk to about what it’s like, I’m happy to talk about it. For me (I had a lot of uterus-related health issues) it was ultimately fantastic—I’m healthier post-op than I ever was before. But surgery is scary.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 9:44 am

Mir, I might just take you up on that. The “ultimately fantastic” part is appealing, especially as I’ve got a naggy fibroid that has made my cycles less than fun lately. Just, you know. SURGERY. Ack.

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MomofTwoPreciousGirls March 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

I don’t get to do the mani/pedis as often as I like, but I do make it a point to go to all my checkups every year. I firmly believe in preventative care to avoid (or make easier) a major health issue. Physical and blood levels once a year, gyn and pap once a year (I have always been told a pap should be annual) and two dental cleanings. I also ensure my girls do all their care as well. I can’t force the hubby but wish he would take care of himself better in the health arena.

I need to work on taking my vitamins daily, including iron since I’m anemic and b12 shots.

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm

They keep changing the pap guidelines, which is confusing and I think short-sighted, but I guess I’m not a public health official. I have been thinking of starting to get b12 shots, especially toward the end of winter when I tend to get sluggish and low on energy.

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Di March 18, 2013 at 9:13 am

I read here all the time, but it’s this post that has me commenting. I’m glad you are taking care of yourself – and thanks for the nudge to take care of ourselves too.

As for me – I’m going to schedule my annual checkups – PAP, mammo and finally get back to the dentist. I’m also going to find a therapist. I’ve needed help for a while, and I’m ready to take the step to get my mind as healthy as the rest of me.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

Thanks so much for the comment! You’re so right that mental health is vitally important. Good on you for taking this step.

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Lauren March 18, 2013 at 9:16 am

And I was seriously going to decline a pap on my next doctor visit … whenever I got around to making the appointment. No longer.

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. *hugs*

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm

thanks, Lauren. I’m glad you’re getting the pap.

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Lisa - Hannemaniacs March 18, 2013 at 9:17 am

How frightening! But so glad all will be ok. Last week I scheduled the colonoscopy – ugh – my doctor had prescribed for me a year ago. Your post made me thankful I did!

This week I’m scheduling my full body mole check. I’ve been waiting to get back in shape post-baby… But, seriously, can’t be worse than what they’ve already soon. At least I hope!

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 9:05 pm

I definitely need to have a full-body skin check! I come from a freckly lot and I’ve had individual spots checked out, but never the whole thing. Thanks for the comment!

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Heather Novak March 18, 2013 at 9:18 am

Oh wow. THANK YOU for sharing this. I just went through some fun with my boobies last month…but everything is fine. We all think we are the ones who will be fine…THIS IS such an important reminder. I will be sharing this post PRONTO. And I just got all my bits checked out so I’m jsut more focused on the Engine 2 diet we started…have you seen Forks over Knives? They talk about cancer there too….and with my family history….YIKES.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:29 am

Haven’t yet, but it’s on my list! Thanks Heather!

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Megan March 18, 2013 at 9:21 am

Count me in for scheduling a Pap. It’s been 2.5 years, which is too long for me, and I’ve had a nagging feeling lately that all systems aren’t go. I’m taking this post as the universe giving me a nudge to GET THIS DONE. Thank you.

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Meagan Francis March 22, 2013 at 3:14 pm

Hey Megan, it’s so important to listen to those voices (as well as the timetables!) Thanks for the comment.

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Devon March 18, 2013 at 9:23 am

Just as I finished reading this, my kids burst into the room. What a wonderful reminder of just HOW important our health is. Just as you so beautifully write, it’s not just us who depend on our health.

I’m so sorry you’ve been going through this. Thank you for sharing your story.

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Meagan Francis March 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Oh Devon, that is a wonderful reminder. Thank you for your comment.

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Amanda March 18, 2013 at 9:25 am

Great reminder. I’m off to schedule my annual and my first mammo. I had a colonoscopy several years ago after a scare—for those of you needing to get that done, it isn’t as awful as you might think. Good luck.

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Meagan Francis March 22, 2013 at 3:17 pm

Good to hear that the colonoscopy’s not that bad. People keep saying that, I guess we should all listen, right?

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Cara April 14, 2013 at 2:41 am

I had to have a colonoscopy (and endoscopy) in high school. Not that bad! Don’t put it off! The worst part was the stuff you have to drink to get “cleaned out” and only because I put it in ginger ale and therefore haven’t been able to drink ginger ale since, not even in pregnancy when it might have been useful for nausea.
I’m due for another full body mile check — I’ll make that call this week. Thanks for the reminder!

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Maureen Salamon March 18, 2013 at 9:29 am

Thanks for sharing this, Meagan, and I’m glad you caught it in time. It’s a great reminder for us all to be as vigilant about our own health as we are about our kids’.

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Meagan Francis March 22, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Yes, good point! It’s easy to put things off for ourselves way longer than we ever would for our kids. Thanks, Maureen.

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Jackie March 18, 2013 at 9:31 am

I’m going to the doctor today to check on my thyroid, but I will also find a GYN and start going regularly, in your honor.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:25 am

Let me know how the thyroid check goes? I’ve been wondering if I should have mine checked due to some weight gain and fatigue. I know it’s so common for postpartum women to have fluctuations.

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Shell March 18, 2013 at 9:33 am

How scary! I’m so glad that you are going to be okay. xo

I really need to make sure that I get in my yearly check ups. I wouldn’t skip the kids’ but I often shrug off my own, thinking well, I feel fine.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:27 am

You aren’t the only one, Shell. Thanks so much for the thoughts.

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Andrea March 18, 2013 at 9:36 am

I’m so sorry this happened to you but I’m glad that the prognosis is so good. Thank you for posting–I’m VERY late in getting my pap smear and mammogram. I’m going to schedule it today because your story could easily be mine.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:28 am

I’m so glad, Andrea! I hope everything is squeaky-clean.

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Christine March 18, 2013 at 9:36 am

Meagan, I am so, so relieved you are going to be OK. And I am so sad that you are going through all you are right now. Thank you for this very important reminder. We all know that mom is the center of the family wheel; we’re always so busy doing for others. But doesn’t caring for our health also fall into that category? By doing all that un-fun testing, eating right and exercising, we are insuring that we will be around for as long as possible for our families! I just had my mammo/sonograms last week, and my pap last month. My next goal is to get my *husband* to go for a physical for all the same reasons you stated here. Hugs!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

Oh yes, I’m dragging my husband to the Dr as soon as I get all this stuff taken care of! Love your description of moms as the center of the family wheel.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

Every single comment is so heartening. Thank you all for the support and love and commitment to yourselves. I love it.

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Cloud March 18, 2013 at 9:40 am

I’m so glad you’re going to be OK! I’m actually pretty good about getting my yearly exam. Last year, though, I made a series of small bad decisions that led to my asthma getting out of control, landing me in urgent care. I’m trying to pay more attention to that aspect of self-care now.

Also, I need to make a dentist appointment already. My dentist moved, so I need a new one and somehow it has been over a year since I last went to a dentist… So to honor your request, this week I’ll find a new one already and get that appointment made.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

So good to hear. Dentists are another thing I don’t see as often as I should – I go yearly or so but I know I should be getting cleanings more often than that, as much as I hate them. (plus, your teeth always feel so great afterward!)

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Jenn March 18, 2013 at 9:41 am

So glad to hear you will be all right! How very scary! I do get my pap every year and mamogram but thank you for taking time to share this and encouraging others to practice “self- care”. Sending blessings your way!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:30 am

Thanks so much, Jenn!

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Jenn March 18, 2013 at 9:41 am

So glad to hear you will be all right! How very scary! I do get my pap every year and mammogram but thank you for taking time to share this and encouraging others to practice “self- care”. Sending blessings your way!

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Kristen | The Frugal Girl March 18, 2013 at 9:42 am

I’m so glad you caught it early, Meagan, but also so sorry you’ve been having to deal with this.

Much love coming your way!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:30 am

Thank you Kristen! I am so grateful that I caught it early, too.

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Kate March 18, 2013 at 9:51 am

Thanks for sharing in a typically awesome post, Meagan. So I need to schedule a colonoscopy. I’m only 42, but my family has a history of weird colon stuff, and my college roommate was just diagnosed with colon cancer (caught in time, 4 chemo treatments to go, 2 young kids, totally world-rocking diagnosis). I guess I need a primary care physician first? I still don’t have one of those. OK, my 43rd birthday is May 16. I’m making it my present to myself to have found a primary care physician and at least have an appointment on the books by that date. Thanks for the challenge. :) And sending all kinds of good juju your way.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:31 am

What a great gift to yourself Kate – it isn’t quite as fun as new shoes, but it’s just so important. I want to live a long, healthy life – and I realize I’m starting to set the stage for my “older age” now.

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Michelle March 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

Oh yikes, Meagan! So glad to hear that it was caught at 1A. I won’t say you’re lucky because no one getting cancer is, but you know my thoughts and prayers are with you and sending lots of positive energy, too. I had thought paps were supposed to be every year. Because the last time I got a pap it WAS every year. Apparently that recommendation has changed sometime in the last 4-5 years. And it’s time for me to go get mine. Now.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

I’m honestly perplexed by the changing recommendations – they apparently don’t apply to women who’ve had irregular Paps or HPV+ in the past (both of which apply to me) but there doesn’t appear to be any standard recommendation for those women – it’s just “talk to your doctor.” It’s difficult to get good continued care if you change care providers or move, and throwing a bunch of pregnancies/births into the mix just confuses things more, because both pregnancy and postpartum cervical changes can affect the accuracy of the test. I’m thinking the annual seems like the safest bet to me, and it’s not a particularly expensive or invasive procedure, so why not?

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Rebecca March 18, 2013 at 10:09 am

So scary and a big wake up call for me. I had a colposcopy at 19 because of an irregular pap and it’s so easy to let things slide — especially now that I’m not getting prenatal care! Booking a pap this week.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:32 am

Rebecca, I remarked to a friend yesterday that for 13 years, my health care WAS my prenatal care! Now that I’m not “doing that” anymore, it’s just easy to forget. So glad you’re booking that appointment!

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Beth/Mom2TwoVikings March 18, 2013 at 10:10 am

Oh, Meagan! So sorry you had to go through this! Having lived around the corner from you and met you IRL, this seems to hit even closer to home. We’ve been here nearly two years now and I haven’t had my yearly “oil change” (as my mom calls it) since I got here. But, the call is in to the appt line and I’m waiting. Maybe I’ll ck in with them today and see what’s taking so long. Be well, Meagan. Take care!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:33 am

ha, oil change! That’s great! Hope your checkup goes smoothly, Beth.

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Emily March 18, 2013 at 10:11 am

I needed this wake up call. Thank you, and good luck in your recovery.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:39 am

Thanks, Emily. :)

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Whitney March 18, 2013 at 10:19 am

Oh Meagan,

I’m SO sorry you’ve been through this! I’ve had a cancer scare in my life (still do) and it’s been one of the roughest things I’ve ever been through. I’m so glad the prognosis is good. Your part about being scared to go under…can I just say I can totally relate? I’ve had major surgery and I was very scared. However the doctors were so compassionate and allowed me to break all kinds of rules and just helped me deal with it overall. Just talk to them – they get it! For example, I was scared to walk into the OR and they were able to give me a drug while I was with my family where I don’t remember it leaving. I mentally “left” while with my husband and that meant a lot. Just little things like that went a long way to calming me down.

I was recently freaked out to get a pap smear due to some irregular results and two good friends took me to task very sternly. “You HAVE to do this! Look at what you have to lose.” I finally listened and everything was fine. I’m grateful for friends like that (and you!).

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:34 am

Whitney, this is really, REALLY good to know. Walking into the OR alone and undrugged is a freak-out point for me, too. It would be wonderful to know that I could come in a little hazy :)

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Tragic Sandwich March 19, 2013 at 12:22 am

I’ve had general anesthesia for each of my D&Cs. For the last two, the anesthesiologist gave me something Valium-like, and it helped tremendously, just when I was getting more anxious.

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Cara April 14, 2013 at 2:45 am

Oh yes! I have had a spinal fusion, partial rod removal, and an ovarian cyst removed — all under general anesthesia – I’ve been wheeled away foggy each time. They don’t make you walk into an OR;). But definitely ask ahead of time if they can give you fog-inducing drugs just to be sure — being foggy before you go in and then waking up with family beside you is definitely preferable!

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Anne-Marie March 18, 2013 at 10:22 am

Megan:
You’ll be in my thoughts and prayers for sure; this is the kind of post that makes you say YES—to yourself, to friends and family, to life in general—a micro-moment of clarity in which things fall into place and you know with certainty what you must do for yourself…

I’m at the tail end of breast-feeding my last babe—While this time has been easier than the first, I’m prone to all sorts of fun things like mastitis, blockages, cracked skin etc. It’s time to wean but I’ve been dragging my heels; my babe is fine with it, he’s more or less moved on, it’s me who’s prolonging the task. But this weekend was spent with painful blockages, on anti-biotics for mastitis, and you know what? Do it. Just do it. I need to do it for my physical and mental health, I can’t be walking around in such pain anymore, especially when I don’t have to be. And as soon as I have that behind me, I’ll be scheduling my mammogram for three months-post breast feeding.
Thank you for your post, good health and happiness to you.
A-M

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:46 am

A very important milestone, Anne-Marie! Good for you for knowing when the time is right.

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Bess March 18, 2013 at 10:29 am

Meghan, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. In a word, it SUCKS. That said, I’m thrilled you’re going to be OK and I guess you’re just going to have to spend a lot of time this summer on a lounge chair with your feet up. :-)

As for me, I’m fairly on top of medical stuff, but not so much good at taking care of my stress. So this week, I will try to read more, drink less wine, and be more mindful about what I eat.

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Bess March 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

Oh, wow – and I spelled your name wrong. BAD MOMMY. :-)

My apologies.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:40 am

No problem, it happens all the time :) I like the idea of sitting around in a lounge chair…perhaps with a glass of lemonade? Thanks, Beth.

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Felicia March 18, 2013 at 10:36 am

I will make an appointment for a physical. I had a Pap smear done about 2 years ago but I will have another done sooner than 3. Thank you for the kick in the butt!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:40 am

You’re welcome, Felicia, and thank you for taking care of yourself!

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Another-Mon March 18, 2013 at 10:39 am

I’ve been figuring out how to get some exercise – real exercise. It’s hard…I’m so busy, I hate to exercise, the baby is in a “hold me all the time” phase… Excuses, all of them. Thank you for reminding me that keeping myself hale and hearty is a part of my job.

Also, check out Menopausaul Years the Wise Woman Way (by Susun Weed). It’s a wonderful resource for helping your body through your upcoming big change.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:41 am

Thanks – I get to keep my ovaries, so I won’t be going right into menopause but I know I will probably experience some hormonal changes. Will definitely check out the book (I had Susun Weed’s book for pregnancy, I think?)

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Kat March 18, 2013 at 10:40 am

Oh my, I am so sorry to hear this! I hope, that you will be okay! I have been pretty good about getting the gyn stuff done on a regular basis (like mammograms and pap smears), but have to follow up on my elevated cholesterol, which means I have to deal with changing my diet, losing those extra pounds that I couldn’t shed since my last baby almost 5 years ago. The soothing myself with chocolate and wine is probably not going to help with my blood work….Oh well, exercise would help too, I guess. I just have to convince myself, that there actually is time for these things in my day…. All the best to you! Get well soon!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:42 am

Kat, this is the first year I’ve actually consistently exercised for a whole year (except during my recovery from the LEEP.) I am going to write about it because there are a lot of things I always assumed would help me stick with it that didn’t, and things I never thought of that did. Thanks for the good thoughts!

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Christine w. March 18, 2013 at 10:42 am

Prayers coming your way! How scary to deal with this in midst of the rest of your busy life – but be thankful for early detection and course of treatment! Might pale in comparison, but I really need my eyes checked. Every time I drive at night, it’s really difficult to see and I know I probably need to change my prescription. I don’t currently have a nearby optometrist so it’s a matter of finding someone new and making the appointment and finding the kid-free time, but I need to move this higher up on the to-do list. Don’t forget to have your husbands do the same!!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:43 am

Christine, I know how easy it is to put off getting your eyes checked. I have a family history of glaucoma and should probably add screening to my list of yearly to-dos. Thanks for the reminder!

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Lisa March 18, 2013 at 10:46 am

Meagan:

It is wonderful that you will be OK!

I actually have my annual pap today. Talk about timing! I was thinking it was a nuisance, interrupting my work day, but I wasn’t going to cancel. I was just going to be grumpy. Now? I will not be grumpy about it. I will go with joy for my family. (I go annually despite the new recommendations created by men.)

What I don’t do regularly, though, is go to the dermatologist. I had a dysplastic mole removed when I was 27, and I was good for a few years, but it may have been 5-10 years since I’ve been now. I have now called and made the appointment! They got me in next week! Thanks for the nudge. :-)

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:44 am

Hi Lisa! I hope the Pap went just fine and that you were not too grumpy :) I’m with you on the new recommendations – going to urge women I know to stick to a yearly or at least every other year plan. Things can change and screening tests don’t always detect what they need to. I hope your dermatologist appointment went well, too!

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Rebekah March 18, 2013 at 10:51 am

Hi Meagan,
So sorry that you are going through this!
I was diagnosed with a genetic mutation 1.5 years ago, a predisposition to certain types of cancer. It’s so hard to believe when we are young with small children that this can be happening. Very surreal.
What I did to take care of myself is I finally made an appt with the right oncology specialists at a cancer prevention clinic last month. It set my mind more at ease.
One book they recommended is “Anti Cancer Life” by David Servan-Schreiber. It was a help to me – it deals with All facets of preventing cancer & MOST helpful for me at the time, talks about the surreal-ness of being diagnosed. It helped me wrap my mind around it & think positively again. There is so much we can do to prevent cancer.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

Thank you for the book rec Rebekah!

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Carrie March 18, 2013 at 10:57 am

First, I’m glad you are going to be okay and I’m sending you as much love, prayers, and good energy as I can. Second, I haven’t even finished reading this post yet and I’ve already called for an app’t with my doc to face some nagging concerns I have been having. You’ve done a real service for women with this post.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:45 am

I am SO GLAD TO READ THIS, Carrie. Thank you, this really makes me happy.

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Kim March 18, 2013 at 10:59 am

((Megan)) If you can, have your hysterectomy vaginally. The recovery is much faster.

My birthday month of January is when I have the gyn exam and mammogram and even a dental check-up. In April, I touch bases at my yearly physical with my doctor. He is a wonderful doctor and he won’t keep you as his patient if you don’t see him for a physical each and every year.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:35 am

Thanks Kim. It sounds like that is likely a possibility for me – I’ll know more after the oncologist reviews my slides (he was going off the path report when we spoke before.) I have heard the recovery is much easier, so I’m really hopeful that will work out.

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Renata March 18, 2013 at 11:02 am

I will be praying for you! And believe the doctors: you will be fine. Also, don’t worry about the surgery, you will just need a few days of rest afterwards and you will be perfectly well.
Here in Brazil the doctors recommend the pap smear to be done every year, so I have been doing this since I was really young. But I need a mammogram and I need to get my skin checked.
You made a beautiful thing out of your difficult news….you should be proud, many women who read your blog will start paying more attention to themselves, and then will tell others…you are spreading good things :)

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:45 am

Thank you so much, Renata. I so appreciate the support and reassurance.

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Martha March 18, 2013 at 11:03 am

I’m sorry you have to go through this, but you’ve always seemed like a strong, confident woman to me, and I know you’ll be okay! As for me, I just had a mammogram, had a colonoscopy last year, but I believe I’m about a year late on my pap smear (I’m old enough to need one annually). Making an appointment today!!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:46 am

Thanks, Martha! Glad you made that appointment.

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Karianna March 18, 2013 at 11:09 am

I finally got serious with my health last year, and ended up having major back surgery this past summer. I was exceptionally frightened of the anesthesia because of some past experiences, and I’m thrilled to tell you that everything was totally perfect in that arena. I know you are nervous, but I’m confident that you will be absolutely fine.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:39 am

VERY good to know. Thank you!

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Kathleen March 18, 2013 at 11:11 am

So glad you’re going to be ok, thanks for sharing your story. I just called my dermatologist and made an appointment for my (overdue) annual skin check. It’s been in the back of mind to schedule it for a few months now, but your story brought it to the front for me.

Best wishes for you surgery and recovery.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:46 am

I’m so glad you did, Kathleen! Thank you!

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Jennifer Fink March 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

I’m sorry that you’re going through this, and I hope all goes well with your surgery, and that your recovery and quick and uneventful.

This blog post, though, may well be your best. I LOVE these lines:
“But while bubble baths, massages, and manicures are wonderful things, they’re no substitute for taking real care of our health. And that can involve messy, uncomfortable, inconvenient, and un-pampering processes like screenings, blood tests, mole removals and mammograms.”

What I’m going to do for my health: Call and schedule my breast check-up/mammogram for in May, after my conference.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:39 am

Thanks so much for the kind words, Jennifer. And I’m so glad you’re scheduling your checkup!

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Valarie March 18, 2013 at 11:14 am

First, best wishes to you for a speedy recovery. Second, thank you so much for posting this. Third, this week I will do three things: I will schedule my mammogram, a mole check that is years overdue, and a dental appt (which sounds silly but I have awful gums and just read that gum disease is linked with all sorts of health problems). I will also post this to my FB page and pester several loved ones. Thank you, and blessings to you and yours.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

Not silly at all, Valarie – dental care is really important and it’s a very easy thing to put off. Thank you!

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Leta March 18, 2013 at 11:17 am

I recently took my two youngest kids with me to my mammogram, because of a lack of sitter. It wasn’t a great morning, but it wasn’t horrible. Ladies, make the appointment and take care of yourselves!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:47 am

Good point – having kids at home doesn’t need to be an obstacle! I’ve found that doctors are usually very understanding about little ones coming along. Thanks, Leta!

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Jan Udlock March 18, 2013 at 11:18 am

So sorry to hear and like someone else said – so important to share. I’m sharing your post on my FB. Prayers for you, today.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:48 am

Thanks, Jan, for the comment and the prayers.

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christina March 18, 2013 at 11:24 am

So glad to hear you are getting the treatment you need and you will be okay. Best wishes for a smooth surgery and easy recovery.

I recently went to the GYN after dropping the ball for a few years–I have some other health issues, and getting to those appointments made me feel like I was doing enough.

But I still have that order for a mammogram on my desk…thank you for sharing and the kick in the pants to set it up!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:49 am

Thank you for the well wishes, Christina! It’s funny how when you see a doctor for something, it’s easy to feel like you’re “doing enough.” Particularly as I move into my mid-30s and the list of “should dos” seems to be mounting by the day!

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susie March 18, 2013 at 11:32 am

I’m sorry to hear that you got cancer, thanks for the reminder to keep getting our check ups!

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:52 am

Thanks, Susie.

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Donna March 18, 2013 at 11:38 am

First, I am so glad to hear that you caught it, and are getting the quick and excellent care you need. I have always taken reasonably good care of myself, but became much more aggressive about it as I was turning 40 (in an effort to avoid my family’s history of blood pressure/cholesterol medication at 40).

However, I have to say that I have become much more serious about taking care of my short and long-term health (including mental health) since my youngest was diagnosed with Asperger’s. I have to be totally present, clear of mind and heart, and around for a good long time to help him (and all of my kids) be as whole, happy, and successful (in whatever way they choose to define success) as they can be. This had always been a general goal, but became much more concrete once I realized that my son was going to need more guidance for longer than my other kids might. I want to be the one walking beside him to provide that, right into adulthood and beyond.

Now, every August, I have a full tune up before the kids head back to school: physical, mammogram/pap, dental, and vision. And I save the results of my labwork so I can strive to stay the same or better year after year. I hang my lab report right up on the bulletin board with the kids’ test scores and achievement awards.

Take good care of yourselves, ladies. Take loving care of your physical and mental health and the best care of your marriage that you can. It is only my opinion, but I believe that these things have more of an impact on my parenting and my children than whether everything I bake is from scratch (it isn’t) or whether I scrapbook every soccer game (I don’t). I want them to last for the life of my family xo

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

Donna, this comment could be a post all on its own. THANK YOU for the reminder of what’s really important – that we are HERE for our families, not what we DO for them.

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Lisa Reichert March 18, 2013 at 11:47 am

I’m so glad you have a supportive team of practitioners.

I had an irregular pap during pregnancy; one month later it was normal–fixed by a month of high dose probiotics and fermented veggies. I was scheduled for a pap when my baby was 6 months. I slept through the appointment. My baby is 18 months now! It’s been the broken record in my head, “make an appointment”. I am making it today.

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Meagan Francis March 27, 2013 at 11:54 am

Lisa, for a second I thought you meant that you went to the appointment, but fell asleep through the Pap. And I thought, now THAT is some sleep deprivation right there! :) Thanks for the comment and for making that appointment.

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Emily March 18, 2013 at 11:49 am

SOOOOO glad you got check out. You ARE going to be ok.

I went through the whole LEEP thing in 2005, so now I’m diligent. But watching my brother battle cancer over the past year, and finally lose last week, has been a wake up call about making sure to be a good self-advocate when it comes to health issues. His went undetected by three doctors as he was pursuing treatment for his symptoms. By the time someone thought to give him an MRI, it was stage four. So being aggressive about your care is very important.

Another lesson that I learned from him is to spend your time wisely… make sure that you are pursuing the path that fulfills you creatively. That’s half the battle to a healthy life.

And, I’m gonna start doing yoga again. Soon.

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Meagan Francis April 3, 2013 at 10:04 pm

Emily, I totally missed the news about your brother. I am so very sorry. Big hugs to you.

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Lisa March 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Meagan- Wishing you strength as you navigate through this complex time. I am so glad you caught it early and rest in the knowledge that you will be here for your kids! Thanks for sharing and the reminder to take care of these important matters. I’m going to focus on scheduling my Dr’s visits and though seriously cleaning up some bad habits. Like you, I think I’m pretty healthy but if I’m honest, there is plenty of room for improvement!

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Meagan Francis April 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Isn’t that the truth for all of us? Always room to improve. :) Thanks for the well wishes, Lisa!

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Lori March 18, 2013 at 12:10 pm

I’m so glad that you have caught this so early and your prognosis is so good! I have been wondering if I have some thyroid problems for months and I haven’t had a pap for years. I have been putting it off, but I will call and make the appointment today. Thank you for sharing your experience and kicking my butt into gear!

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Meagan Francis April 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm

that tricky thyroid! It’s so common for it to go out of whack after having a baby or in midlife. Thank YOU for making that appointment!

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Noelle March 18, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Maegan, thanks for sharing today. I’m glad the doctors caught it early and you’re going to be ok. I wish you strength, an uneventful surgery and a very speedy recovery.

My parents live in Europe and they always come over for an extended stay during the holiday season. I have gotten into the habit of scheduling all my important appointments during this time. I know my kids will be taken care of with love while I take the time to go get that pesky dental work done, have that mammogram or Pap smear and undergo my yearly physical check-up. And afterwards I treat myself to a quick trip to the mall or a lunch with the husband, all while my kids are having a blast with their Opa and Oma. A win-win.

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Meagan Francis April 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm

That sounds nice – to have a set period of time to take care of yourself “top and tails.” My MIL is also very available during the summer, so I should follow your lead! Thanks, Noelle.

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Tragic Sandwich March 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Oh, Megan, how terrifying! I’m glad you’re going to be okay.

I had my mammogram a few months ago, and my annual Pap smear should happen in the summer. My mother had breast cancer, so I do my best to keep on top of my own checkups–even though it isn’t always easy.

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Meagan Francis April 3, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I swear, time just goes by so much faster these days than it used to. I blink and six months have passed! Thank you for the comment.

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Valerie March 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

I am sorry to read this. Well of course being okay is the most important part..the treatment you face is still hard to digest. I just recently had my pap…the first or maybe 2nd since I had a LEEP 4 years ago. I should be getting them more often..I know this. I am an RN…getting my Masters in a women’s health area of study! But it is SO easy with work and 5 kids and school to keep putting things off. Thank you for reminding Mama’s that we need to *truly* care for ourselves. Thankfully my pap did come back completely normal. However, knowing what I know…the days waiting to hear were horrible anxiety filled days.
Good luck! We will all be rooting for you~

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Meagan Francis April 3, 2013 at 10:11 pm

It’s easy to know you should do something…but not so easy to actually DO it. Good for you for getting your pap done and I’m so glad it was clear!

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r March 18, 2013 at 12:55 pm

how timely ! I just got my cervical smear ( UK ! wording ) appointment & I think I avoided the last one, but I too have had a leep excision , though mine was rather dramatic as it wasn’t sealed properly and I carried on bleeding all day until they fitted me in to stitch me up at 11pm! I had lost a lot of blood it was a horrible experience , luckily after that so far…I have been clear & it didn’t affect my giving birth .I still have a fear of losing blood like that & found my 2 miscarriages brought back all that fear..
well done for being proactive & I will get that don’t now along with a new patient check up I have been putting off as well !

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Sheila March 18, 2013 at 1:00 pm

So sorry to read this Meghan – wishing you the best. I just called to schedule my mammogram – first one in 6 yrs due to being pregnant & nursing so I needed it!

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Sheila March 18, 2013 at 1:02 pm

So sorry to read this Meghan – wishing you the best in your treatment! I just called to schedule my mammogram – first one in 6 yrs due to being pregnant & nursing. Thanks for the reminder!

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Holly March 18, 2013 at 1:19 pm

The best I can do is to tell you what I have already done: I made an appointment for my first Pap smear in 3 years. I was low risk and knew that the guidelines said waiting was probably okay.

It turns out that its not all okay with me either, though. Like you I will be having a hysterectomy soon, but mine is because I was finally diagnosed with something that has been a problem for over 15 years but went undiagnosed. While I don’t have cancer and I’m still processing the idea of hysterectomy, I’m relieved that I will most likely feel much better when I’m done. In my case, avoiding the doctor meant that I’ve been suffering needlessly for all these years when there actually was help available. I was so used to dealing with certain pains and discomforts that it didn’t even occur that a different way was possible.

Needless to say, I’m not going to skip so many appointments going forward. And I’m wishing you an easy recovery and a future in which you never have to hear the c-word again.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Holly, I know you have struggled with your health for a long time and I am really hopeful that the hysterectomy makes you feel a LOT better. Maybe we’ll be recovering at the same time :)

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Karen L March 18, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I need to get serious about maintaining my bones with weight-bearing exercise. I had to have by bone density tested at age 36, which is young, because of a cracked rib. Turns that that while my results were officially normal and they are very, very close to (but below) “average” for my age, I realise now that at almost 38, at best I’ve got a decade to improve matters. I have been good about taking vitamin D and calcium supplements, but I’ve got to get with it exercise.

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Meagan Francis April 3, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Ahh, vitamin D! After an especially “low” end-of-winter bout of blues for me, I’m wondering if my levels might be on the low side. Thanks for yet another reminder of something I ought to do! :)

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Deaun Sandberg March 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Hi Megan,

Yes, it sucks. I was diagnosed with a prolapsed uterus at 20, during my first prenancy. I had a hysterectomy 3 years ago, at the tender age of 39. Ask about having a vaginal hysterectomy, if its possible with your health condition. The recovery time was much less than the conventional. I was back to work (in an office) part time after only two weeks. The downside is, now 3 years later, the rest of my woman parts are also prolapsing. I am scheduled for another surgery to repair my vaginal walls and bladder on April 18. Depressing, for sure. But, I need to do this, as it is causing all kinds of other havoc in my body. Apparently it is fairly common after a hysterectomy due to a prolapse. But, you may want to ask your doctor is this is something you will have to do later, or if there is anything you can do to prevent it (having a second surgery later)….

Ultimately, I wanted to share my story with you so that you can maybe ask the questions of your doctor that I didnt ask mine the first time around. And to tell you, that the upside to the hysterectomy is NEVER having a period again. Hormones are still good, (I still have my ovaries and they are in GREAT shape, thank goodness) and I feel good aside from the issues caused by the newest prolapse issue. Although I am scared to go in again, I am looking forward to having my life back when its fixed!

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Alexandria March 18, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Such an important message. !! Whether it be concern about costs, fear of Doctor, or “I am Invincible” syndrome. The most important thing you can do is catch these things early.

I am sorry to hear, but glad it sounds like you caught early. We’ve had a few serious health scares in our household the past few years – I know the emotions and feelings. My spouse and I both had tumors removed about a year to the day of each other. Crazy crazy times. (His was a brain tumor, so I got little sympathy a year later when mine was just a thyroid growth – I think everyone was just emotionally exhausted after all my spouse had gone through. I admit thyroid surgery was a cake walk in comparison). Hang in there…

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 3:50 pm

Oh my goodness, Alexandria, what a roller coaster ride. I’m so glad you are on the road to health now and that both you and your husband caught your tumors in time to remove them!

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Sam March 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Meagan! I just made an appointment I’d been putting off. I’m so sorry you have to go through this, but so relieved to hear everything will be OK. And it will!!!

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Rebecca March 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

This post is so incredibly hitting home for me right now. I avoided getting a pap for years (over 10!) because of abuse issues and my inability to find a care provider that I really felt comfortable with. Well, I just had it done about a month ago after feeling a lump in my vaginal wall that freaked me out. Everything turned out to be ok, but after the abrupt loss of my dad (cancer), and some other factors that are currently playing into my thoughts, I have learned to view things in a very different light. I’m rewiring my brain to believe that certain things are absolutely non-optional. Megan, I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this, but so relieved that you will still be with us. <3

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Darcy Lewis March 18, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Meagan, I’m sorry to hear your news. I had a Stage 0 (pre-invasive carcinoma) removed from my cervix years ago. Like you, I’ve been mentally reframing my life the past year (as you’ve gone from “happy” to “WTF?”, I’ve gone from “I’ve done serious illness but it’s behind me” to “it’s back and now it’s never going away.” The pituitary tumor that was removed 15 years ago has grown back and now is not entirely operable. Even after a second scary surgery and, this time, radiation, my issues will be ongoing and, because of the tumor’s placement, very possibly life-shortening. It *does* change the way you look at things, doesn’t it? But you’ve got an excellent prognosis and will feel a bit calmer as you adapt to your new reality. Hugs to you! P.S. – Anesthesiologists hear fears like yours all the time, but they actually feel “safer” having you under because they are able to control every aspect of your breathing.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Oh Darcy, how scary. I’m wishing health and strength for you.

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Melissa Drew March 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm

I will remember to check my breasts in the shower tonight.

I had to have a hysterectomy about 3 years ago and was also terrified of anesthesia. I asked my doc if she could do a spinal block instead. After all, they do them when a woman has a Cesarean section so why not for a hysterectomy? She listened to me and decided there was no reason she couldn’t do the surgery that way. I was given the spinal block, wheeled into surgery and then given a mild sedative right before she began. I woke up without the awful grogginess and tunnel vision I’ve had from previous surgeries and I swear that my recovery was quicker because I didn’t have to wait for all the anesthesia to work it’s way out of my body. The doctors were amazed at how fast I was ready to get up and get moving.

See if your doc would be willing to try the same thing. And good luck with your recovery!

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:15 pm

So glad to hear about this option, Melissa! Thank you!

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Kristen March 18, 2013 at 4:06 pm

Oh, Meagan, I’m so sorry to hear this news, but am really glad to learn that the prognosis is so positive. You are such a role model for so many of us moms with your calm, realistic, and optimistic manner – and I’m so impressed that you are using this scary moment in your life to spur the rest of us into action. (For me, that’s scheduling my first ever mammogram.)

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Rudri Bhatt Patel @ Being Rudri March 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Meagan,

I am so relieved to hear that your prognosis is positive. Thank you so much for sharing your truth and words. Even though I realize these health check-ups are important and essential, I tend to put them off. Since my father passed away from cancer, I’ve developed a phobia of anything medical and am reluctant to go to a physican for a check-up. Eventually, I schedule the necessary appointments and do go in. The whole time I am so anxious and afraid of bad news. Your post demonstrates that early detection can save your life.

Again, thanks Meagan for sharing your words. I know it will help so many women and the children and men that love them.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 10:19 pm

Rudri, I haven’t experienced what you have with losing a parent to cancer, but I can totally understand how an experience like that would lead to so much anxiety and paranoia. Good for you for making those appointments, even with as hard as it it. Big hugs to you.

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alison March 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm

I was thinking that I’ve been good and on top of all my self-care…until I realized that I need to go *back* to the dentist to see what’s going on with the filling I just got…and I need to schedule an eye appointment! Not as on top of things as I thought. I should just go ahead and get my husband a check-up, too, since he always says he should go in and never calls, and an eye appointment. Thanks for the reminder!

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Carly March 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm

I’m so sorry you are going through this Meagan.
I wish you a speedy recovery and also send you done calm vibes for your pre-op nerves.
I was so shocked to read your story. I know most of is think it will never be is or even sone one we know, well I am currently freaking out with my own abnormal high grade pap result. I’m unsure of what to do next. I had heard several horrifying stories from women who have had the LEEP procedure and I was hoping to avoid it unless absolutely necessary. But I don’t want to waste time that could be crucial in preventing further development. So even though I am taking action, I want you to know that your story will be in the back of my mind reminding me to do what needs to be done. Thank you.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Carly, I just want to reassure you (and anyone else who might be dreading/avoiding/nervous about a LEEP procedure) that a few weeks ago, before my procedure, I was an anxious mess. I’d read a bunch of horror stories online and was terrified. The doctor prescribed me Xanax and codeine to take an hour before the procedure – in retrospect I probably didn’t need the codeine and I think it was a little overkill because I react pretty strongly to pain meds and I was really messed up for about 15 minutes! But the Xanax really helped to calm my nerves and by the time I walked into the doctor’s office, I was barely anxious at all. I literally DID NOT FEEL the numbing shot – I was a little uncomfortable in the way you are when you’re getting a pelvic exam and the speculum is in, and then he said “Okay, I’ve just numbed that area…” and I said “Wait, what?”

My doctor was awesome – understood that I was nervous and have a sensitive cervix and asked me every 15 seconds or so if I was doing OK. A few times I felt like, if he moved the loop a little further, I *might* feel something (it wasn’t like pain but like it could start to become pain, if that makes sense?) and I’d say “HMMMMM” and then he’d either move away from that spot or give me more novocaine.

Truly, I hardly felt anything, the entire procedure took maybe twenty minutes, and I only took one dose of Motrin that night for MINOR cramping (not even as bad as a period.) I asked the dr. to show me the tissue he’d removed and could NOT believe how much there was! He said he took about 1/3 of my cervix. And yet – never any pain to speak of, during or after.

I know experiences can vary but I think you tend to hear the bad stories and not the good ones, you know? For me, it was SO not a big deal. The biopsy (which had been done by another care provider who grilled me the entire time) was so much worse. I am thinking a lot depends on the sensitivity of the care provider as well as things out of your control, like how well you respond to local anesthetic. But in any case I truly believe you should NOT feel pain and if you do they should be able to stop and do something about it.

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RLR March 18, 2013 at 10:36 pm

My primary care dr recommended a baseline mammogram last fall, but I have yet to do it. I wanted to see my gyn and get her opinion first (on the necessity of the test, especially given the type of insurance we have – I’ll be paying the cost myself). Given the “texture” of my breast tissue, she’s sure to say yes. I just don’t feel “old enough” to do that yet. Also? I need to have a colonoscopy. I’m on the five-year plan given my medical history, but the prep is so unpleasant and I can’t drive myself home from the procedure, so I feel I’m an inconvenience. Plus, I’m a runner now – and the prep and procedure days would mean taking days off from running/training. Stupid excuses, I know. And then there’s the whole insurance issue. It’s out of pocket (or rather, out-of-HSA) until we meet a rather large deductible. So the moolah has to be in the HSA first…
All of those reasons are sooooo inconsequential compared to the bigger picture. Thank you for this post, for the gentle nudge. Best wishes for your procedure and recovery.

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:03 pm

I totally understand all those reasons. I was mentally putting off the LEEP because it required 2-3 weeks of recovery without exercise or lifting. Well, how can I not lift a laundry basket for two weeks, AMIRITE? And I’ve been exercising really consistently and it was a bummer to stop. But…yeah, in the grand scheme of things? Not great excuses :) (my husband and kids lifted and carried the baskets and I’m back to exercising now with no noticeable setbacks.) So sorry about the insurance thing, I know I’m getting kicked in the butt right now with our high deductible self-employment insurance, which seemed like such a cost-effective choice when we were never sick!

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Megan at SortaCrunchy March 18, 2013 at 10:52 pm

Oh MEAGAN. So, so scary. I am so thankful you are okay!

I’ll actually be going in tomorrow for a Pap because it’s my six week postpartum check-up. I’m embarrassed to say before that, it had been 5 years since my last exam! I’ll do better though. I promise I will. Thank you for sharing this!

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Meagan Francis March 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Definitely get another down the road sometime Megan – I’m planning to write more about this later, but several docs/midwives have now told me that dilating/giving birth (I can’t remember if you delivered vaginally or not, so this might not apply to you!) can “slough” off abnormal cells on the outer area of your cervix. But they might still be there somewhere, just not showing up on the test. I read today that at the 6 month mark your cervix is more back to normal, but I’m going to check with some experts to make sure that’s the case and to find out when is the best time to have a follow-up pap after having a baby!

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Danielle Smith March 18, 2013 at 11:11 pm

Oh my friend – boy are you in for a great big hug this week! For someone who was worrying so deeply – you certainly did an extraordinary job of holding it in, keeping yourself together and pushing on. You amaze me more every day. I am so very happy to know the news you have been given is so very good. I know the surgery sounds scary – I promise anesthesia isn’t as bad as you fear.

I was just thinking this week that I needed to make my Pap appointment. I will be doing it tomorrow. Thank you. xoxo

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Tammy March 18, 2013 at 11:26 pm

What a great post and reminder about “the other” self-care!! I, too, have been putting of the big two yearly exams! For several years now! I have been completely procrastinating for some reason. I think just worrying about fitting the appointments into a small amount of “free” time during the day before preschool pickup time. And before you know it summer is here and you don’t want to drag kids to “those” appointments. But, your post has really given me the push I needed. Will schedule those two things tomorrow! So glad that things are looking positive for you Meagan! You have much support out here. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise so that you could help so many others!! THANK YOU for sharing this!

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Linda March 18, 2013 at 11:49 pm

Just a thought: you may be able to have the procedure using an epidural catheter like they use for childbirth if you really do not want general anesthesia. They can use conscious sedation along with this so that you won’t be awake during the procedure. Speak with your surgeon/anesthesiologist. I plan to schedule my overdue gyn appt for when I get back from vacation in April to get it done before I go back to work.

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Carly March 19, 2013 at 6:05 am

It really is reassuring to hear that your LEEP snd recovery were fine. Those horror stories are pretty frightening but you’re probably right about it only being the bad ones people talk about. I really feel for those women and I desperately hope I won’t be one of them.
I think youre right about the care provider msking a differece, my gynaecologist isn’t someone I feel comfortable with so I’m trying to find someone I trust, luckily for me my health cover is excellent and allows me to choose from a lot of care providers and hospitals. I just have to make sure I don’t get stuck on this step and avoid moving on to the hard stuf and actually doing it.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and being so strong for everyone Meagan, you are making a difference in lots of womens lives by writing this post and responding to our comments. Our health is so important, we are literally nothing without it.
I hope you are getting all the love and support you need and deserve during right now and over the upcoming months.

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Amanda March 19, 2013 at 6:14 am

I get yearly PAps, they are not recommended yearly for me but my insurance pays and the dr is up “there” anyway so my thought is to check it an be safe! I do need to schedule my drs physical though, it’s been 2 years. Good luck to you. I had my first surgery last year and it is very emotional. I really hated that I “lost” so hours of my life to anesthesia. I kept wanting to ask the doctor if he played music during surgery! The feeling of iciness faded in time.

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Jen March 19, 2013 at 8:43 am

Thanks for sharing your story on this hard and very personal situation! I am wishing you health and wellness! As I’ve gotten older and am now 40, I’m doing lots of routine care and screenings–mammagram, moles checked and removed, etc, etc. I’m starting to understand why people don’t like to go to doctors. Sometimes it feels like you’re going looking for trouble–but I know, first hand, that finding trouble early can save your life. A year and a half ago, I had to have a colonoscopy because I had a polyp in my rectum (originally thought to be a hemorrhoid). Because it turned out to be precancerous, both of my younger siblings were encouraged to have a routine colonoscopy early. My 35 year old brother finally had one in November, and they found a cancerous polyp in his rectum as well (cancer). But because they found it early and removed it early, he is SO extremely lucky. He’s on close watch (major tests every 3 months) to make sure it’s not returning or growing. Preventative medicine can do wonderful things–save lives! Again, thanks so much for putting yourself out there!!

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Annie Logue March 19, 2013 at 9:34 am

I’m sorry to hear about this and wish you much health and an easy recovery. The medical stuff is current, so I’ll concentrate on eating less junk food in your honor.

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Stephanie Precourt March 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

So glad you’re sharing. I’m thinking about you so much. What a wake up for us all- thank you for forging ahead for us!

Steph

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Carrie March 19, 2013 at 10:06 am

I’m up to date on my girlie parts, but I’m scheduling the dentist and the dermatologist to look at a mole now, thanks to you. :-)

I’m so sorry for your scare, Meagan. I’ll be praying for you and your family, and thank you for using this to encourage other women to take care of ourselves. It’s sad that we need the push, but so very true! Hugs!!

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Sarah March 19, 2013 at 10:22 am

I need to get to the dentist (very important for pregnant women and I’m in my 2nd trimester!) so I’m going to make that appointment right now.

Twice I’ve been lucky enough to catch things early becuase of preventative care…irregular pap and stage 0 melanoma on my hand. It’s scary enough to learn of these things when they are in early stages and typically treated easily enough, that gives me the push to keep up with those exams and tests.

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Christina March 19, 2013 at 10:44 am

My husband and I hired a health coach a few weeks ago. We wanted to do something that would benefit the health of the whole family. I’ve been cooking with so many real ingredients, fresh ingredients, and healthier choices over the last few weeks. Boy, what a difference!!! It is something we are doing for all of us. And it has been the best choice!

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Tami @Colorado Mountain Mom March 19, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Thank you for this post. Funny, heartfelt, courageous, important, and motivational… you hit pretty much everything!

I’m on my way next month to follow up on something I’ve neglected for the past 3 years, while being pregnant and then nursing my son. Uggh. Not excited. But I feel much better about it now. Isn’t it wonderful how we can support each other via blogs?! Nice job, and truly – thank you again! :)

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Kim March 19, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Sending good thoughts your way! And scheduling my mole check I’ve been putting off.

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Elizabeth Kane March 19, 2013 at 2:52 pm

You are definitely in my thoughts, Meagan. I’m sorry for what you’re going through.

This year I’m more adamant than ever about maintaining a healthy diet and getting some exercise in my work week. Also making my OB appointment soon. And you’re absolutely right: self care is more than just about some small indulgent activities once in a while.

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Kimberley - The Go-To Mom March 19, 2013 at 4:47 pm

Meagan, you are so strong and so brave. When I saw you mention Leep I froze up. I had one and I know how scary they are. Since my sissy has cancer I do yearly clock-work paps a mammograms. I even do MRI’s – let’s say I take Cancer SERIOUSLY. I know you’ll get through this. You are stronger than you know. Truly. Your story will motivate many to jump on their yearly screening. Hugs to you.

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Beth B. TechMama March 19, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Meagan – I agree with everyone that you are so strong and brave (for what you went through then sharing it with all of us). Look at the positive effect it has already had – I see so many people saying after reading your post they are scheduling their appt. This is a great call out to remind people to take their medical care seriously.

As someone with BRCA in my family(breast cancer gene) – I had to jump on the high risk bandwagon and get myself tested. I don’t have the BRCA – but as you shared some of this is just completely random and surprises you. So I try to stay on top of my tests (but I was 6 months behind in my mammorgram until I had scheduled that last week). Life does get busy and it is easy to forget.

Big hugs to you and thanks for being an inspiration to all by sharing your story. Wishing you a quick recovery – and lots of little boys pampering their mama. That is the kind of pampering that is good:-)

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Silly Lily March 19, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Hi Meagan, thank you for sharing your story. I have been reading your blog for a few months and haven’t commented on it yet until now. I emailed my OBGYN but she told me that I’m not due for a pap until next year so… I want to let you know that your blog and 10 habits for becoming the happiest mom have helped me through a very difficult time after giving birth. I suffered from post-partum depression for more than a year… though I was taking anti-depressant and seeing therapists, mentally I was still stressed to find happiness with my child. Your advices helped me to think, feel, and see little by little that I should try not to take on so much responsibilities, false expectations, and what-so-nots upon myself. Currently I’m still working on being a mom (can we ever stop, after becoming one?), but reading your blog gives me a new sense of realization and practical ways to actually practice being a *happy* mom. I hope one day I can be proud and joyful saying that being a mom is one of the best choices I made cuz man, oh man, it is so difficult at times.

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Meagan Francis March 19, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Oh wow, this is so awesome to read. I am so glad and grateful that this blog has been helpful to you in any way – and I wish you lots of strength and JOY, when you can find it. Thank you.

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Tammy March 20, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Meaghan,
You have inspired me in so many ways. I find it amazing and sweet that you turn this news into a “let us all learn from this moment”. It speaks volumes about who you are. I’m grateful for you.
Lots of Love from Chicago,
Tammy

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Lindsey March 20, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Thanks for the reminder Megan. I’m now calling my doctor to make a much avoided appointment to switch out my IUD, which will provide a pap smear at the same time.

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Michelle March 20, 2013 at 10:06 pm

Meagan i’ve never commented before but how on earth could i not contribute to this one?! I am so, SO relieved to know that you have got this early and that your kids are going to have years and years (and YEARS!) ahead of them with their super-awesome mum.
I have booked an appointment with a gastroenterologist to finally get to the bottom of my chronic bloating issue.
A tonne of love to you and yours from Australia xx

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Jenni Chiu @ MommyNaniBooboo March 21, 2013 at 12:14 am

You. Are. Going. To. Be. Okay.
I just had a pap last week – that counts, right? I have had two LEEP procedures in my lifetime and forget to get my pap as regularly as I should.
It’s true – we tend to forget about self care of the most important kind.

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Mariale March 21, 2013 at 6:27 am

First of all I’m sending you a really big hug and a smile as well. Plus lots of positive vibes for you to recover well and soon!
Because I’m currently 34 weeks pregnant I’m being frequently checked. But there’s still something I can do to take care of my mental health, and is to ask for help now and in the next weeks, and after the baby is born. There’s no point in trying to be a super mom when I’m feeling very tired and have people around who can help me.
Thanks for sharing your story, I’m sorry this is happening to you, or to anyone.

Mariale

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Dayna March 21, 2013 at 9:36 am

Yes I’ll get my parts checked. Also I’ve been putting off getting oral surgery because I have been using up my babysitting favors with the grandparents with things like moving. I’ve been getting headaches from the problem for years. Need to take care of that.

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othersideoftheworld March 21, 2013 at 10:25 am

Sorry to read that you’re going through a hard time. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Thank you for taking the opportunity to remind readers to look after themselves. After reading your blog, I made appointments for a cervical smear, mammogram, general and endocrine blood tests and a long-delayed visit to the dentist. If it hadn’t been for your reminder I would probably have let everything slide for another year.
You’re completely right, we mothers need to look after ourselves. Continued blessings.

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Gwynyth March 21, 2013 at 8:12 pm

Meagan,
I’m so glad to hear you caught this early. Thank you for sharing this , it is such an important message. I will call my doctor tomorrow and schedual an over do check-up! Sending you love and healing vibes….
Xo
G.

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Brook March 25, 2013 at 6:19 pm

Well, I feel a little late to the “party”, but I just had to tell you that you are the most awesome person ever. You are strong, funny and spunky this cancer doesn’t stand a chance against all that. I’m glad you went when you did, it is easy to neglect yourself in the world full of child-raising and life living. Ironically, the GYNO has called me three times to remind me about my yearly appointment, after reading this I just made an appointment. Thanks for the kick in the butt, and the reminder that check-ups may not be fun, but they could save our lives. You will beat this!! And while I know “it’s the best cancer to have” The “c” word isn’t something anyone wants to hear. Stay strong, and spunky and I’m sending you healing and peaceful thoughts.

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Abby March 26, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I am stocking up on the sunscreen for this spring and summer and scheduling a skin check at the dermatologist. My mom has some basal cells removed from her nose last week due to years of being a lifeguard and in the sun without sunscreen (it wasn’t around then). I’m taking care of my skin so I can be around for my kids.

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Dona B March 27, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Meagan, I’m so glad this was caught so early, not that *ever* hearing you have cancerous cells in your body is OK. Please know I’ll be thinking of you often and sending you good and couragous thoughts.

Having a baby late in life has made me much more aware of how important it is to take care of my health. I want to be around and part of her life as long as possible! This year so far I’ve been focusing on increasing my exercise and have getting to the gym more regularly. I’ve started doing zumba and increasing my occasional yoga class to a regular date with myself. I scheduled my annual exam today, which is right on schedule (and also needed to get my IUD out to see if we can get pregnant again – eep!). Big love to you, lovely lady.

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LisaJD March 28, 2013 at 11:50 am

Very pleased to hear they think things will be OK. Remember to look after you while you recover as well and not just think ‘that’s done, next job!’.
I’m finally going to see a gastroenterologist having not seen one (even though I have active Crohn’s Disease) for over 8 years! My eldest daughter has lots of health issues, and I have been putting off yet more hospital trips, but I need to be healthy for my girls.
Hugs, be well x

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Joanna March 31, 2013 at 10:50 am

This is my first time reading your site, but I must have needed this post. I’m calling first thing tomorrow and reinstating my health insurance coverage. My husband and I are self-employed, money has been tight, and I dropped my coverage because I take excellent care of myself and am never sick. However, lately it’s been bugging me that if I were in an accident or got ill, the costs out of picket would be devastating. Thank you, and yes, I’ll be scheduling all my check ups as soon as the underwriting goes through.

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Shelley June 6, 2013 at 11:44 am

Joanna – i have to comment even when it is none of my beeswax. :)
Do not wait to get helath insurance back again. i know someone who let theirs lapse, (or their employer did) and they had to have an appendectomy. She got a slight infection which was taken care of in the hospital with anitbiotics. After the ER, DR, surgery, surgeon, hospital stay and meds, she was on the hook for almost $11,000. At 26 years young, in otherwise excellent health, she never thought it would happen to her.
Save money anywhere else you can. Best wishes for a more properous future! :)

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Carol April 1, 2013 at 11:15 am

Already Scheduled a mamogram for next week, and started up an exercise routine this morning.

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SW April 1, 2013 at 11:21 am

I’m glad you shared your story. It’s a good reminder for women everywhere.

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Naomi April 1, 2013 at 12:17 pm

I’m going in to be evaluated for depression. It’s hereditary, I was in the psych ward when I was 17, but after leaving home I never really followed up on it. And I’m 38 now and miserable, but have no reason to be. I just don’t want to deal with what they (the docs) may tell me. Never heard of you before, got here through the Generous Wife. Thanks.

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Amy Allen Clark April 1, 2013 at 9:20 pm

You have been on my heart, Meagan! If there is anything that I can do (other than praying) please let me know! I’m so proud of you for sharing about this and making other women aware that self-care is important.

My work this past year had taken me away from routine care appointments- I was two years overdue for a physical, PAP smear, & dental care. I put myself dead last when it comes to that stuff and would much rather take advantage of that bubble bath or glass of wine. I need to do better about this & this post is a huge inspiration to me (and I am sure many other women).

Love you and love your heart! xo

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Eliina April 5, 2013 at 1:24 am

So glad you caught this early! I’m a long-time reader but I don’t know if I’ve ever commented. I’ve been putting off a trip to the dermatologist, and you’ve inspired me to go.

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Liz April 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Thank you for sharing your story with us, you are a true inspiration, Meagan. Sending you a few more virtual hugs, my friend!

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Shannon Entin April 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm

Sending you lots of positive vibes and thanks for sharing and inspiring us Moms who often do so much for everyone *except* ourselves. I’ve been putting off getting the girly parts checked for a few years, but I will be making an appt ASAP. I’m also trying to eat more cleanly and get off (or at least reduce) the thyroid meds I take.

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RookieMom Heather April 14, 2013 at 1:55 am

Shit, Meagan. I need to do all that: I’ll make that mammogram, follow up on some blood work, figure out my insurance, get those suspicious moles checked out, and a darn pap. XO

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christieo April 17, 2013 at 10:37 am

Hi Meagan! I read this over the weekend on the plane and have been wanting to come back and comment since I read it. I’m so sorry to hear but I am confident you will kick its arse!

I too had cervical cancer. Stage 1b1 Adenocarcinoma. Fortunately it did not spread and was not invasive, though the tumor itself was pretty large. I had a Hysterectomy with the davinci robotic surgery. I wasn’t finished with my family so the hysterectomy was devastating to me though I have two boys already and I find comfort (so much comfort!) in them. Recovery was a little tough, though I was walking (trying to run) 6 weeks after and I did a triathlon 5 months after, I was still very tired in the afternoons for a while and the jiggling of the parts as they got used to their new home sans uterus was interesting. I found a lot of info on Hystersisters.com (try not to read too too much because it can get scary but finding out what to expect was invaluable and didn’t make me feel crazy.) I went home with a pee bag (I called it) which I HATED it was so uncomfortable but as the bladder and whatnot healed it was necessary. I had some longterm effects (still can’t feel when I need to pee and they hit my obturetor nerve in my leg which left me with numbness that is just now starting to go away a year later – things they didn’t tell me would happen) but overall 1 year later, I’m healed, cancer free and training again like nothing ever happened! I think your outlook on the whole thing is just fabulous, I was in a little bit of a darker place when I learned of my own (but I can be a bit dramatic). I tried to laugh by calling it “The Cansuh” like a New Yorker would say it (my family is from New York and we laugh about how people talk about other people by whispering things like “Did you hear she had The Caaansuhhhh?”) and by telling way too much information on my blog about things like the Pee Bag. Please feel free to email me any time with questions about the surgery or the recovery – I can help a little in that area. I have a section on my blog called “The Cansuh” and that’s what it’s in reference to. I wish you all the luck in the world and quick healing vibes! I know it’s scary but you have such a wonderful community here and it will help so much. xoxoxoxox

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christieo April 17, 2013 at 10:38 am

ps. sorry for the long comment and i echo the sentiment GET YOUR PARTS CHECKED!

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Tara April 29, 2013 at 12:41 pm

Hi Meagan, I just wanted to give you some reassurance about “going under.” I had my gallbladder removed last year, which required anesthesia, and I was terrified! I think it was a fear of losing control mixed with a fear of experiencing a sudden “lights out!” feeling. In my experience, the “going under” part was a lot more like falling asleep than it seems like it would be. It felt like taking a heavy nap at a weird time of day, and I definitely woke up a little confused, but it wasn’t as bad of an experience as I pyched myself up for! Anyway, I hope this helps… even if just a little!

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Elisa June 3, 2013 at 9:19 pm

I’m thinking of you! You are going to be ok!!

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Sangeetha June 3, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I missed this post completely. I was wondering why you’re going in for a hysterectomy and came to figure it out. I just had a d&c to remove incomplete miscarriage remnants. I’ll get myself tested for everything possible that can cause repeat miscarriages and that will include testing for autoimmune disorders, thyroid function, clotting disorder. But not in 2 weeks as I have to be far enough out from a pregnancy, for this testing. In 2 weeks? I have to make sure hcg returns to baseline, the uterus is clear, and that bleeding stops. It is a wait and watch game really, but I’ll go to see the GYN on Wednesday.

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Suebob June 3, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Sending you every good healthy thought.

I quit drinking recently – is that good enough self-care? No? Ok, I’ll make my girly appointment too.

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Jenni June 5, 2013 at 7:04 pm

I’m a first-time reader from Kelle’s site, and I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story and giving me the nudge to go take care of myself. I used to be fantastic about going every year for my “girly doctor” visit, but it’s been almost two years since I went in after the birth of my second son, and I need to get myself in gear.

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Claire @ Claire Ever After June 5, 2013 at 9:34 pm

WOW. THANK YOU Meagan. Thank you for sharing your story and helping others through your words and experience.
I am facing this exact ‘health issue’ right now and am SO glad I clicked on the link to this post via Kelle’s site.
Best of luck to you in this journey. Much love x

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Meagan Francis June 5, 2013 at 10:34 pm

Claire, I’m so sorry to read this but really glad you were helped by this post! Let me know if you have any questions about surgery, recovery or anything else. Thanks for stopping by The Happiest Home!

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Shelley June 6, 2013 at 11:37 am

WOW! I turned 50 in December. Went for my a (couple years overdue) mammogram in January and lo and behold they saw something. I have always had to have repeats for one reason or another that always turned out to be nothing, so i wasn’t nervous at all. Then, 2 biopsies, 1 breast MRI, a wire insertion and 2 lumpectomies in 2 months and I am back to “normal”. They found LCIS on my mammo which is a precancer that left untreated will become cancer. No chemo, no radiation but they want me to take tamoxifen as a precaution. I wrestled with the decision of taking a med that immediately sends you into menopause when I am so close to getting there naturally. (I opted not to.) Anyway today i went to the GYN and had my first pap in 5 years. Long overdue I know, but now all my “lady parts” have been throughly checked out. The doctor even chuckled as he did my breast exam and I told him my girls hadn’t seen so much sunlight since I was 5 and thought shirts were optional!

Good luck, and take care of yourself. Let the range of emotions come and go and most of all remember your many blessings are such a good reason to go on.
I felt like you, i am lucky to have completed my family before any of this, but it still took away my feeling of being invincible and I miss that.

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Katrina June 6, 2013 at 4:51 pm

I just had my 10th baby 4 days ago. I promised myself that just as soon as I’m up and about again after delivery that I would make an appointment with my dermatologist. I have very light, freckled skin and during this pregnancy three dark spots have appeared on my chest. They are practically black in color. I typically take care of everyone else’s needs when it comes to health, but I am on the waaaay back of the list. Which is crazy, when I really think about it. I mean, without ME in this family…things would completely fall apart! My kids and my husband depend on me so much. I run this family, and I need to stay healthy. But yet….my kids will have their dental exams twice a year, but mine will get cancelled due to a school play, a soccer game, a baseball game, or maybe even just an “extremely busy day” where I just “had no time to get there” — this happens to my OBGYN appointments, to my mammogram appointments; my stuff gets cancelled, rescheduled, or just plain put off due to the other commitments that I have for my family. But that’s something I need to change! MY health is important, too!
–Thank you for sharing your story.

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Malena June 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm

Hi, I read your post and that move me to set an appointment for a mmmogram and a pap, thank you. I’ve been postponing these tests for years since my son ISmael was born. Ismael was born with Down syndrome and I have been only focusing on his needs, when I read your post I decided I should do this immediately…..

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Erin June 20, 2013 at 1:38 am

My youngest will be 5 in September, I have not had my parts check since 6 week post-birth. I am calling tomorrow! Thank you!

By the way, good luck for your surgery. Rest. and rest some more.

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Angela June 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm

I just found your site after catching up on my Kelle reading. I just got out of the hospital from having an emergency appendectomy….thank you for my reminder, I am overdue for a follow up breast ultrasound to check on a lump….it has been checked out before, we are just keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t grow. One thing that I have let slip through the cracks of everyday living with 4 young kids, taking care of my own health always gets put down to the bottom of the to-do list. Thank you, I am scheduling it today

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Jenn October 14, 2013 at 7:38 pm

I know this is a bit late, but I just found your blog today and I also had the same procedure toward the beginning of the year. Luckily, nothing was found, but between that and the nasty breakup with the previous boyfriend I realized I needed to become healthier in a lot of ways.

So I started exercising again, eating better, and trying to get more sleep (always difficult with shift work).

I really hope you’re feeling better and that everything is fine now.

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pedicure chair October 15, 2013 at 1:14 am

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