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Hendersonville, NC
I have no underlying health conditions and was and am a generally healthy woman. Why didn't my immune system kill the HPV virus off in my 20s like most people's do? Maybe I didn't sleep enough. Maybe I was stressed. Maybe I didn't eat right. I did have a Pap in 2014, I was tested for HPV for the first time. I received a call from my gynecologist reporting that my Pap was normal but that she had found HPV 16. My provider decided to act prudently and do a colposcopy to confirm no further abnormalities were present. I will never forget the phone call I received from my doctor with the results of the pathology/cytology. She told me, "I have to say, I was really surprised to see this come across my desk today but we did find cancer." Once the CIN III and carcinoma in situ was identified, I was referred to an oncologist to begin the process of what would eventually result in a modified radical hysterectomy due to stage 0 cancer. The whole process involved agonizing periods of waiting for results from different pathology reports, during the period of preparation before the actual hysterectomy and after the surgery. I have become very comfortable discussing my story and I will never take the road of shame when it comes to HPV, considering its prevalence. As a registered nurse in the field of public health and vaccine preventable disease, I now have a very personal source of experience when it comes to conveying the importance of immunizations. I am a survivor of a vaccine preventable cancer. I share my story daily with adolescents and parents when there seems to be a disconnect with how the virus relates to them or their child. I had the chance to prevent my cancer. Please don't miss your chance. Vaccinate yourself and your children.
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