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WHAT I HAVE LEARNED ABOUT HPV AND THE GARDASIL VACCINE

Yes, I am very aware that the Gardasil vaccine is a very controversial, hot button topic. And YES, I just received my first vaccination two days ago for the HPV virus, and I am almost 49 years old. I have had the same sexual partner for 8 years, do not require birth control, and was married for 21 years prior to my current partner, and for medical reasons, I haven’t had a menstrual cycle for over 8 years. In other words, I do not fit into any of the “categories” that the vaccination is recommended for…

So, WHY did I need to be vaccinated at my age, when the age that it was created for is 9 years old to 45 years old? I have asked my doctors the very same question.

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The HPV virus is a high risk for cervical cancer cells to form. I was recently diagnosed with Stage 1 cervical cancer and as part of my treatment, I was given the prescription for the 3 sessions of needles. Apparently, your body can carry this horrible strain (HPV Virus) throughout your entire life and can reveal itself at any given time. Mine showed up during a routine Pap last August, and believe me, it has not been a fun ride. The Colposcopy sucked. There is no other word to describe it. It was a biopsy of my cervical cells that is done, by literally taking small chunks of your lady parts out and sending them away for testing. There is no local freezing and just for fun, you can watch it all happen on a TV monitor magnified at 1000 X just to envision what is happening down south.

PS. It looks like a blood bath on the monitor, even though they are tiny pieces of cells that they are removing, but magnified to that degree….well lets just say, its not pretty.

The cells came back “Abnormal” during my pap, but once they sent the biopsy cells in, they came back as cancerous. The next step was having a LEEP procedure done. Loop Electrosurgical Excision Procedure.

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LADIES! This is NOT fun! It was described to me colorfully, prior to the procedure, as a “hot knife cutting through butter”. This is NOT a pretty description when they are talking about the interior of your vagina. And guess what? They “attempt” to freeze you, WITH NEEDLES inside your cervix! The needles were hell. The procedure, also HELL. They repeatedly ask you to “just relax” as their LOOP cuts away parts of your interiors with no anesthetic and nothing to help you relax.

I asked the doctor who performed the procedure why they cannot put women under, so it would be easier to tolerate, and she said that if you go under anesthesetic, it becomes a “surgery” and in Alberta, the wait list is over a year long! So, in order for you to be seen and treated sooner, they ask you to “suck it up, and just try and relax” as they carve away with their electric knife, going through your “butter”.

Once the procedure was done, the doctor told me, no lifting anything for at least a week, no bathing or sex for 6–8 weeks and you will have a “funny” discharge for about 4–6 weeks. Oh, and you will experience “some” cramping. SOME cramping, turned into pain that was not unlike labor contractions for about 48 hours and the feeling of being kicked in the lady balls for another week. They gave me a note to be off work for the day of my procedure, and I had to go see my family doctor for a note for the week off.

Had I taken the vaccine, chances are I would never have had my pap come back as “abnormal” and probably could have avoided all of this. The reason I am now being vaccinated, is because there is evidence that the cells will stop growing back, by taking the drug. I am still uncertain about the after effects of the vaccine, but my daughter was advised to take the vaccine as it can be hereditary and she fits ALL the categories of why the vaccine should be taken:

> 24 years old

>Sexually active

> Genetic background

My daughter has her prescription and is now waiting for her Health insurance to see if any of the costly vaccine will be covered.

My doctor said that they have extended the age of the vaccine for children of preschool age to women who are 50 years old, as of last year. It has been determined that all females will, at one point in their lives, be affected by the HPV virus, not because of their own bodies and lifestyle, but because of the MEN who carry the virus.

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Oddly enough, the vaccine is FREE OF CHARGE for MALES under the age of 26! Females, on the other hand, in Alberta pay up to $200.00 per shot, totalling a whopping $600.00 fee for something that is out of our control. I have 2 Health insurance plans and still had to pay $40.00 out of pocket, because some Health Insurance companies will not cover it! How does this make any sense? Why are the females, who actually GET the cancer cells, forced to pay this much money for a vaccination that could be life saving, while the males, who actually spread the virus, get off for free? (see what I did there?) It seems highly sexist and very wrong, especially in the culture and age we live in, with all of the “equality” and whatnot.

Honestly, I hope that the males who are sexually active are having these FREE vaccinations done, so our daughters are protected. When I spoke to the nurse who vaccinated me, we discussed how the flu shot is given out for no charge all over Canada, but the Gardasil vaccination which could literally save lives, costs as much as 3 car payments for young ladies. It is completely unfair and unjustified. I strongly encourage young ladies who need to be vaccinated to write a harshly worded letter to their local MP’s, MLA’s or whatever government body will listen to them.

I am the first one to say that not all vaccines are for everyone, however, I am a firm believer in vaccinations if they can prevent widespread, life threatening viruses and diseases, and they should NOT be a money grab.

If I could have saved myself from enduring the entire cancer scare, the LEEP and a bad pap, by tolerating 3 needles in the arm, I would go back in time, and just have the vaccination done.

DISCLAIMER: Please note that this article is based on opinion and personal experience only. The Gardasil vaccine information provided is solely based on discussions with health care providers, and not by medical research or studies.

Writer of relationships / early childhood and mental health . Poetry and fiction dabbler

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