Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

LEEP With Joylessness

I was so naive last September when I had my first physical in six years and was told that I had highly abnormal cervical cells. I thought Oh crap, I've got these nasty cells and it could mean cancer, oh fuck, I guess they'll have to burn them off. I thought that now that the medical world knew what they did of my cells that I would quickly be whisked onto some table upholstered in vinyl and there would be this gun-like, soldering iron thingy that they would use to zap my cervix into submission. It turns out, though, that this is not how it goes in Cityville.

After I was given the delightful news that I was carrying a virulent case of slowly deforming cervical tissue and possibly cancer, I was referred to a gynecologist for another pap smear in late November, because if one pap smear is questionable, two will unnecessarily extend your wait for treatment by another month-and-a-half. Of course, the second test showed the same results, and I was given an appointment for a colposcopy in March. That's right, MARCH, because it's awesome to wait for months on end for anything close to an actual diagnosis.

By that time, I had wound myself up to the point where I was imagining my cervix had descended into a sticky, black state of rot. I was almost hoping that the gynecologist would take one look at it and say This thing has to go! Off with it!, much like the Queen who yelled Off with her head! in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland". I wanted something final and decisive. Instead, I was told to go home after the colposcopy and wait for yet another appointment a month away on April 12th to find out the results. I went home, cramped and bled for several days, and tried not to think of myself as slowly putrefying from the inside out. I thought of those highly abnormal cells as sinister little cankers that were too stupid to realize they were destroying the host they required to live.

I know that I sound terribly melodramatic about the whole thing, but you have to understand that by the time I had my colposcopy a couple of weeks ago, I had had this knowledge of a possibly deadly blight festering in my imagination for nearly six months. A diagnosis pushed into some indeterminate future was the carrot that kept me trudging through this miserable winter. It was difficult to be sunny.

Today, five months and one week after first hearing of what my doctor referred to as my "condition", I had the follow-up appointment with the gynecologist to discuss the results of the colposcopy. I thought This is it. I'll finally find out where this whole thing stands. We can discuss treatment. I obviously have not learned much since the fall, because I was still naive enough to think this was the second last stop to the end of the road.

The next step that will lead to several more steps is called a loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP, for short), in which they will use "... a thin, low-voltage electrified wire loop to cut out abnormal tissue". I thought that this step might be it, but no, my gynecologist assured me. This is the part where, if they find that all the edges of the specimens are not free of abnormal cells, it might turn out that I have invasive cancer! In which case they will remove chunks of me! And if it's not invasive cancer, then I will still get to come back for more colposcoping, not once but twice!

LEEP handout

She asked me what I thought about that. Hmm, what did I think about that? I stared at the photocopied handout she was pointing at and wondered if I could just have them take the whole thing. Rip that fucker out with an apple corer and be done with it. Why bother with this piecemeal process of removing a bit here and another bit there and then maybe shaving off some more again and then, hell, why don't I come back every six months so that I can be colposcoped but good again and again? I love the abrasive brush and the wooden stick and the brown dye and the cramping. I eat that shit right up.

latex glove

I made myself feel better by stealing crap from her office while I waited for over twenty-five minutes to hear the good news. This turquoise glove really caught my eye. It's a nice one, no? I would have stolen more, but I didn't know what the lube would do to my vinyl bag, and I couldn't think of any uses off hand for those tiny bristly sticks with which they take samples of your mucus plug.

So, mark your calendars, folks. May 2nd at 10:30 in the a.m. is when I get LEEPed. I have put red stars on my calendar at work to mark the day, I've already ordered chocolates and balloons to be delivered to the LEEPer, and I am going to schedule a portait sitting so that I can always look back on this fondly. I can't wait.

I Could Do Anything