HPV Tests Make a VA Appointment Awkward

Had my 3 month Dr. appointment today at the VA ID Clinic in Salisbury at the VA Hospital. I got to discuss some great topics with my doctor and got some really good news.

First we went over my lab results from March. Still have an undetectable viral load and my CD4 count is still up around 1000 but my % went from 35% to 40%, which is great. That is the highest percent it has been in years. Usually it stays around 33-35%. Also my liver enzymes, which have been elevated for years, are back to normal levels. The doc said they were the best he has ever seen them. And on top of that I am still losing weight. I am down another 5 lbs. since January, which may not seem like a lot, but for me it is awesome.

Second I asked my doctor about PrEP. My main question was if the VA would cover it for vets who are at higher risk of contracting HIV. He told me that he has only seen one patient who wanted to start it and that the VA asked no questions when he wrote the prescription. This is great news in my opinion. My doc fully supports PrEP which is important to me. He did say that it could only be a vet who they can prescribe it to, which I understand.

***Disclaimer*** This is where the awkwardness comes in and I apologize if it may be a little graphic, but I am giving you fair warning.***

So some of the back story ... In January I had my doc do a full work up on me. He tested for all STD/STIs because I wanted to start the new year out with a clean bill of health. Well for the past year or so he has been encouraging me to get an anal pap-smear to test for abnormal cells in the rectum. I finally agreed to it in January because I figured why the hell not, he was already testing for everything else. All it included was taking a swab sample from inside the rectum, which was no big deal. He did it and if a few days I forgot all about it.

That was until I got a call from him saying that the test showed that I did indeed have a presence of abnormal cells which would be linked to HPV. Now I was a little worried but he said they would schedule an appointment with my next regular appointment to have a procedure to go and look. OK really worried but once again I forgot about it in a few days.

Get there today and he starts to tell me what all this procedure would include and I was like "excuse me, you want to do what with my ass?"

Here is the most awkward part ... To make a long story short, this procedure meant that he would go in with a scope and "look" around with a big magnifying glass. He used vinegar and iodine to be able to pick the "trouble" looking spots out. On top of this the nurse who I have always loved, she was also in the room helping with this all. So I laid on my side on a table for close to 30 min while my doc had a scope up my ass looking around. The "best" part was that everything he was seeing was displayed on the big TV screen right in front of me. Not only was I embarrassed to be laying there with two people I hardly know looking in a very private place but damn did they have to put it on the TV so I could watch, too? So the doc saw a few areas that made him worry so he decided he needed to take a biopsy of 3 different places inside my rectum. So now I have a scope shoved in there and he is ripping pieces out so that they can send them to the lab and determine if they are cancer or what.

As you can imagine it has been a very long and awkward day. After all that I still had to drive 1.5 hours back to Charlotte and had a meeting this afternoon that I had to go to, all with a very sore ass. I am not allowed to lift anything over 20 lbs. for a week and not allowed to have any "fun" if you get my drift.

Today was a mix of emotions, I was so happy to find out all my labs look so great but I am still on wit's end worried about what these biopsies are going to determine. Tonight I am going to try and not worry about it; I am going to listen to some Garth Brooks and drink some damn good bourbon.


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