National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Crap, there’s a lot going on today. I don’t even know where to begin. Well, I do, but I couldn’t think of a good segue, so I thought I’d just toss it out there. In the United States, we have a lot of National _________ Awareness Months. It’s a little tiresome, but I have to admit, the various issues get a lot of media coverage. I have a ton of ribbons for various causes, given at this or that event (whoever’s giving out free t-shirts and pony rides). I don’t normally observe any particular advocacy month, and this one is no exception–or it would have been, if I hadn’t gotten a pap smear last month.

Among a host of other worthy Awarenesses, January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. I guess you could call me a survivor, but what I went through is nothing like what other cancer victims go through. I was lucky. A number of years ago a positive Pap smear lead to the discovery of cervical cancer. It was a real pain in the ass, to say the least, but I got through it, and have been getting Paps and HPV tests every three months. Actually, I get fully tested for STDs every three months because of my promiscuous lifestyle.

So here’s what I want other people to know this National etc. Month: A Pap test won’t always tell you if you’re at risk for cervical cancer, or even if you have a significant amount of abnormal cells (dysplasia). So get the tests done regularly. HPV tests are something you should also get on a regular basis, probably less often than me. I’m pretty anal (hah) about getting mine as often as possible simply because I’m at a higher risk. My cervical cancer is back. Once again, it’s been caught early enough to be effectively treated. All of my HPV tests have been negative thus far, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I never caught the virus, simply that a) it’s not there anymore, or b) the test doesn’t detect that certain strain.

This isn’t a “feel sorry for Mercy” post. This is a Have Safe Sex post. I say this particularly to my more promiscuous bisexual and lesbian compatriots, because so many of us don’t practice safe sex. You can be sure I’ll be packing extra condoms and surgical gloves in my glove compartment. (No need for dental dams, here’s a tip from Ducky Doolittle: cut a condom open, or cut a flap out of the palm of a surgical glove, finger with the glove on, lick through the flap. Easy as hell, and you’d be surprised at how much sensation you and your partner can actually feel through those things.)

In honor of Cervical Cancer Awareness Month the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation and the Step Up Women’s Network are campaigning to educate women about cervical cancer and HPV. Sign up to make the commitment to talk to your doctor about screening and prevention. You’ll get an awareness bracelet bead kit and a chance to win a special Make the Commitment necklace. More importantly, Merck & Company, Inc. will donate one dollar (up to $100,000) for every online commitment made during January and February. Please pass the word to every woman you know and ask them to commit to getting screened or at least go get that Pap they’ve been putting off!

I’m getting addicted to the awesome little buttons I’m seeing everywhere, so I try to grab some whenever I can. There weren’t any for the Commitment site, so I created my own. I made the basic button with’s Brilliant Button Maker, then sketched up a miniaturized version of the Make the Commitment logo and a tiny ribbon. (Teal and white are the ribbon colors of choice, evidently. I think. That, or it’s for Legalize Marijuana Month. Either way, it’s my favorite button.) If you want to use them, please do. Of course, I prefer that you save them to your own server, but if you have an image limit on your account, you can hotlink (only these images, please) from me. The code’s included.

<a href="" target="_blank"><img title="Make the Commitment" height="15" alt="Make the Commitment" src="" width="80" /></a>


<a href="" target="_blank"><img title="Make the Commitment" height="15" alt="Make the Commitment" src="" width="80" /></a>

Make the Commitment

<a href="" target="_blank"><img title="Make the Commitment" height="15" alt="Make the Commitment" src="" width="80" /></a>

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  • This is where I try to say a bit more than the usuall ” At least it was caught in time”, or “Here’s to getting better”, or Big Hugs across the wires.

    But my words are my only way of expressing the tightness in the chest, or the rush of blood from my head to my stomach, when I got halfway thought your post.


  • Thanks, Shockwave. : ) And like I said, I’m good…this isn’t as dire as any other kind of cancer would be. Plus, I’ve been there before. Don’t worry, I plan on being a cranky ol’ ass for a long, long time!

  • DietProzac wrote:

    Thanks sharing your story and increasing awareness of a health issue in such an honest and open manner.

    Mad Props 2u my friend!

  • Thanks, DietP! I hope that being honest about these kinds of issues will inspire others to do it differently than I have. Of course I’ve always known that I should practice safe sex with *all* of my casual partners, but I was silly enough to think that testing “clean” was as far as my responsibility went. Ah well, safe sex for me from now on. I think I’ve finally learned THAT lesson.

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