The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Women
Michelle Lopez Alora Gale Precious Jackson Nina Martinez Gracia Violeta Ross Quiroga Loreen Willenberg  
Michelle Alora Precious Nina Gracia Loreen  

You're in My Stuff

July 26, 2013

About two weeks ago, I spent the whole day with someone at the VA (Veterans Administration) Hospital. He confided to me that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and needed support for his first visit. The visit was at least 3 hours long. They very slowly and thoroughly explained his prognosis, and his treatment plan. It was so informative ... by the end of the visit, I was on information overload! I can't imagine how he or anyone else can process all that information at once.

Turned out, I was glad I went with him.

He is 55 years old, and has never had his prostate checked.

Not cool. And now he is diagnosed with prostate cancer. And once treatment begins ... it will be an aggressive treatment process.

Fellas, please get your prostate checked. You should begin getting it checked at age 50. Talk to your doctor about it ... I know most men don't like going to the doctor, let alone -- having an invasive procedure like that done ... but having it done can save your life! African-American men, who have a history of prostate cancer in their family (as this person has: father, uncle) ... they should begin their exams at age 45.

As for us ladies, we should have a pap smear beginning at 21 every 2 years. After age 30 & three normal paps -- perhaps every 3 years. (talk to your doctor).

If you are living with HIV or have some sort of auto-immune issues, "we" should get a pap more often depending upon what your doctor recommends. I have them every year. About 15 years ago, the test came back abnormal, and I had to have the second procedure done ... *called a Colposcopy*.

Having regular paps can be life saving as well. Sometimes a pap smear can come back with a reading of ‘abnormal cells'; at which point further testing needs to be done. If caught early, the abnormal cells can be ‘burned off' ... preventing cancer of the cervix.

In both instances: early exam > early diagnosis > early treatment! Get yourselves checked out!!!

Okay ... that's the back story ... you know the drill!

you know the drill!

I had my yearly pap, and it came back showing some abnormal cells. I was referred to a place to have further examination done. Having it done before, I understood the procedure. The doctor does an examination, washes the cervix off with vinegar (to get a better look) ... and depending upon what the doctor sees, decides whether or not a colposcopy is needed -- they pinch a piece of your cervix and look at the abnormal cells -- ouch! Thankfully, the doctor did not see anything requiring a colposcopy, so I was in the clear ... but I was very upset about the doctor ... and his brusque manner and insensitivity.

Before the doctor came in, I was told to unrobe ... ladies, you know the drill!

Did as I was told, the door opened and in walked this male doctor ... he put me in mind of a grandfatherly figure from down south. I was rather taken aback. I haven't had a male doctor in AGES!!! I asked him: "are there women gynecologists here?" He said: "certainly! You are welcome to make another appointment to have one."

I just wanted to get it over and I said: "Never mind, I'll work this out with my therapist". I was really trying to (in the matter of seconds) understand this visceral feeling I was having towards this man. And so laid back and propped appropriately, the uncomfortable examination began. He poking and such, but not before the assistant ‘gloved his hands', and then passed him this and that.

And then I hear him 'mumbling something', and the assistant nodding in assent.

I said: "Excuse me?"

He said: "I was talking to the nurses assistant" ... and that was it.

I raised up and shouted: "But, you are IN MY stuff"! "I would like to hear what is going on as well!" He repeated what he told the assistant ... and did it again one more time ... and I had to say "Excuse Me" again. It was the (one of the) most bizarre experiences I have ever had. To lay there on that table, and practically feel ‘invisible', like I wasn't even there. Afterwards, he asked me ... (standing over me), if I had any questions. I thought to myself ... Hell No! But rather said, "I will address them with my primary doctor." (who sent me to that place).

Trust your gut feelings with those who are working on/in your bodies ... .if necessary change doctors, make another appointment ... you don't have to settle.

Just get the test done. Take care of "your stuff".

Send Pastor Andrena an email.

Read Pastor Andrena's blog Is the Ribbon Enough?.

More From This Resource Center

Newly Diagnosed? Words of Encouragement from HIV-Positive Women

What Every HIV-Positive Woman Should Know About GYN Care and Prevention

This article was provided by TheBody.
See Also
HIV Medications: When to Start and What to Take -- A Guide From
More Viewpoints and Personal Accounts on Choosing and Working With HIV Specialists

No comments have been made.

Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:

The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our advertising policy.

See Also
Newly Diagnosed? Words of Encouragement from HIV-Positive Women
What Did You Expect While You Were Expecting?
HIV Tools You Can Use