Feminist Mantra Monday 43: Be Honest
This week's feminist mantra is a little more peronal than most. But since health insurance is consistently on the chopping block this year and women's reproductive health is forever an underfunded area of health services, I wanted to be even more open and honest about something than I normally am around here.
I've had abnormal Pap smears since 2015. In early 2016, that abnormality progressed to Stage Zero cervical cancer, and I had to have outpatient surgery to remove a portion of my cervix. Since then, my Pap smears (I get them every three months) are still consistently abnormal, and my doctor and I have tried a variety of uncomfortable treatments to help my body fight back while maintaining my fertility.
I've had insurance throughout all of this and still spent thousands of dollars (with support from family) to make sure that I don't become one of the 4000 women in the US who die from cervical cancer each year.
I don't say any of this because I particularly want to share it or because I'm seeking pity. I say it because it's FUCKED UP that my doctor had to talk me into surgery to make sure I didn't get cancer because I was worried I couldn't afford it.
If I hadn't had insurance, then I most likely would never had gone to the gynecologist in the first place. I would not have caught my cervical abnormalities early, and, according to my doctor, it's very likely that I would have been diagnosed with advanced cervical cancer at the age of 24.
Insurance is *necessary* no matter how young/old, healthy/sick, rich/poor you are or feel. It's not just about treating illness but about making people feel empowered to prevent it and making sure that pre-existing conditions (I now have one) never keep people from having insurance.
If you or people close to you haven't suffered because of insurance issues it's not because you're better, it's because you're lucky, so when these issues go before congress, CALL YOUR REPS. Make your voice heard. It impacts people closer to you than you imagine in more ways than you imagine.
And if you have your own story, I encourage you to share it when you can. Opening yourself to others can be terrifying but equally empowering. I'm always here to listen if you need me.