Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Nurx, but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Just because Cervical Cancer Awareness Month (January) is over, doesn't mean self-care can't happen right now. Our health is always in season, and I've become more acutely aware of that over the past year.
I'm 46-years-old. I have had a lot of scares when it comes to cancer. Currently, I have 7 benign lumps in my breasts, thyroid, and liver that have been detected over the past couple of years. I've had three out of four parathyroid glands removed due to them being 'riddled with adenomas'. I had a lump removed from my breast when I was around 19, and then when I was 20 or 21 I had a pap smear return with abnormal results. I don't remember all of the fine details (my memory isn't great anymore), but what I do remember was seeing a Colposcopist, something about Stage 2 being thrown around, that there were abnormal cells in my cervix, and I needed to have a cone biopsy. After a second abnormal test shortly after that, I went through it all again. I remember feeling terrified about the chance of cervical cancer. Thankfully, that second time seemed to catch all of those abnormal cells and *fingers crossed, knock on wood* I haven't received an abnormal test since ... although I did just have my regular pap test earlier this week, so I'm nervously waiting on those results to come back. With every test, I'm on edge. Is this going to be the one? I feel like I've been dodging bullets for almost 28 years ... and I hope that continues.
There was a period of time though I was without health insurance. I had just gone through a divorce, had immediately lost my healthcare coverage through the military and had just found out about the adenomas in my parathyroid glands. I quickly got health insurance, had a plethora of tests and appointments, along with surgery, and a couple of days recovering in hospital. Suddenly my co-pays had added up to a few thousand dollars. I couldn't afford to keep up my healthcare coverage and continue to keep making payments on the medical bills, and insurance companies are not very understanding when it comes to that. I found myself without health insurance for a couple of years as I tried desperately to pay off those medical bills, then there was an emergency room visit, and another couple of thousand dollars later ... all of a sudden I wasn't taking care of me anymore. I couldn't afford to get insurance or go for my annual mammogram or pap smear. It was hard, but eventually, I did pay off those medical bills and got coverage again and was able to get back in charge of taking care of me again.