***I've uploaded these pieces that I wrote for The Stick as a thank you to those who generously donated to my Sydney Harbour 5km effort, which was raising money for Love Your Sister. If you can spare a few dollars, please take a minute to go to my donation page***
My penis was benign! I got the all-clear and although people expected me to be jubilant, I actually just felt significantly lighter, like the cement shoes I’d been wearing for years were finally off, which is great because it was a pain in the arse trying to put pants on.
I should probably rewind and fill you in on how this whole vaginal rollercoaster began. Two years ago I left a miserable relationship, which was shortly after he attempted to take his own life. The following nine months went a little something like this: Colleague committed suicide, aunt diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, assaulted on a tram on my way home from work, started seeing a psychologist for PTSD, aunt passed away, car accident landed me in hospital, emergency wisdom teeth extraction, stress from all of that leads to me clenching my jaw so hard in my sleep that I crack two molars that then also have to be extracted and finally, my doctor thought I might have coeliac disease. I was a complete mess of a human being, physically and mentally at that point. But I put my head down and worked as many hours as I possibly could in a job that made me stabby but it was still a better place than where my mind was at when I wasn’t at work. Each morning for about six months, when the alarm would go off at 3am, my first thought would be ‘Is today going to be the day I smash my car into a tree and just end this shit?’.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t.
In February, I took my Mum to Bali because she’d been full time carer for my aunt since she was diagnosed with brain cancer, so we both really needed the break. I booked us a luxury villa and planned all kinds of wonderful, relaxing and fun things to do. I even arranged for my niece to join us as a surprise for her eighteenth birthday.
This was my first holiday in eleven years. On the second day, I developed an ear infection; on the third day I thought I had Bali Belly. By the fourth day, I was spending quantity time in the bathroom and it got worse each day to the point that I could have won The Biggest Loser in a week. So the staff at the villa sent me to the medical centre where I was examined and given all sorts of medications but they only cleared up the ear infection, I still had The Other Problem and on our second last day there, on my seventy fifth visit to the bathroom that day, the strain caused a very odd ‘popping’ sensation in my vagina. So I did a self-examination and discovered a bulge that I assumed was a prolapse. There was nothing I could do until I got home and I still had to do that with the most chronic diarrhoea you can imagine. So bad that I had to wear an adult diaper on the plane home. I challenge you to clear Bali security checks, sweating profusely, unable to maintain eye contact, whilst looking jittery as all fuck and about to erupt like Mt Vesuvius. I would have appeared less suspicious if I’d swallowed twenty coke-filled condoms. When they gave me a pat down before boarding, I honestly thought it was all over for the people in line behind me. For the record, the diaper remained clean thanks to extreme clenching and positive thinking. But mostly clenching.
When I returned, I saw my doctor who examined me and confirmed my guess of a prolapse then gave me a referral to see a gynaecologist. I was also about to start a series of tests to work out what the fuck was going on with my health. I have had more blood tests in the past six months than I have had in my entire life. I’ve also had an iron infusion, B12 injections, gastroscopy, colonoscopy, pill camera endoscopy and several biopsies.
I tell you all of this because as you can see, my life was bat shit crazy for years, especially the last two and with all of those medical appointments and procedures I was having, you know what vital one I neglected to get? A Pap test and pelvic examination.
That popping sensation I felt in Bali was actually a huge polyp dropping through my cervix. If I’d been getting regular pelvic exams, they perhaps could have found the growths much earlier and I could have avoided the whole penis situation. But I shall not bewail my previous health transgressions; all I can do is make a promise to myself that I will put my health and happiness first. Tomorrow I meet my personal trainer for the first time, so they can take this 1971 Datsun 1600 and transform it into a 2016 Aston Martin Vanquish, Actually, I’d be more than happy with becoming a 2003 Toyota Corolla.