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Sharing My Story

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My Story is a section of the Resource Center’s Web pages where visitors discuss how HPV has affected them personally.

Thanks for the opportunity to tell “my story,” and thanks also to those of you who have shared your experiences.  My OB/GYN told me I had “genital warts” in 1994 after about two abnormal Pap Tests.  He recommended cryosurgery and they were frozen.  I had normal Pap tests for some time until 2002, when a different physician found that I had mild dysplasia. He explained that I could have gotten HPV from any sexual partner, including my very first one.  He also told me about the statistics that say most people have HPV.

I continued to have follow-up Pap tests, and eventually underwent a cold-knife conization following colposcopy (I also had laser vaporization of the affected vaginal area). My Pap remained abnormal so I was referred me to a gynecologic oncologist.  She determined  that I had vaginal cancer--all of this as a result of HPV.  

I am now 38 yrs old and three years cancer free.  I had to undergo five weeks of radiation therapy and also brachytherapy [brachytherapy is a type of radiation therapy that places radioactive material directly into or close to the tumor]. As a result of the radiation I am now going through menopause.   I too, wish that my first doctor would have taken the time to talk with me about how HPV caused my genital warts and that I was one of many people to either have had HPV or been a carrier of HPV.  I am certainly appreciative of the fact that my current OB/GYN cared enough to refer me to a specialist also keeping in mind that I wanted a chance at having another child.  I just wanted to thank ASHA for sharing information.  At least we know that we are not alone.    

--- You have been through quite an ordeal, to say the least, and we very much appreciate hearing your story. The types of HPV that most often cause genital warts are usually not the same that are associated with gynecologic cancers, so it could be that you didn’t have “high risk” HPV at the time the warts were detected or if you did, perhaps no abnormal cells were present yet. One of the most difficult and frustrating aspects of HPV is it’s usually impossible to know exactly how long one might have had the virus before any diagnosis is made. We’re very happy to hear you’re free of cancer for a full three years now! Good luck, take care, and please feel free to keep in touch – ed.