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Dealing with the unexpected

A few of you that follow me on Instagram know I’ve had a procedure done this week. I thought it was something I would share that is personal and not food or travel related, after asking the twitterverse what they thought. Some of the bloggers I follow said I should share.

Courtesy of Pinterest.com

Courtesy of Pinterest.com

A couple of weeks ago after a standard annual pap smear, my Dr called to tell me abnormal cells had been picked up in my cervix and I needed to come in to discuss. My immediate fatalist self exclaimed “F**k, it’s the Big C I’m going to have a hysterectomy” My life partner (he doesn’t like to be called boyfie) Bradley turned to me and said “Is this your way of coping? Think the worst”. My response “I have never had an abnormal result and now as I tip into my 30s the wheels start coming off”. After a day agonizing, researching whether there’s any history of the Big C in my family I asked if I could have an earlier appointment because my mind was filled with negativity.

As it turned out the abnormal cells were HPV 16 cells, which in itself doesn’t sound like much. But a stat quoted to me was that HPV 16&18 are prevalent in 70% of women with cervical cancer. 70%!!!! So after some consultation I decided that it would be best to have the cells removed. A precautionary procedure should these cells indeed evolve into cancerous cells.

I decided to only tell my family, closest friends about the procedure, because I believe in positive energy, the power of thought & the strength of having positive people in your corner near or far.

On Tuesday I went in for a LLETZ (Long Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone) procedure, the procedure had me in Parklane for the entire day but I was in and out of theatre in an hour and discharged a couple of hours later after a pain complication. Felt like the worst period pain in life, I even threw up…tmi sorry. I’m not sure I’m cut out for contractions and natural birth, but that’s a story for another day.

What really hit me is the emotional impact of this and it highlighted my fatalistic default. My mind jumped straight to the worst case scenario: Immediately thinking that multiple procedures may be needed and that it may compromise the ease with which I could carry a foetus/baby to full term. Hoping the Dr would get all the cells. Wondering if I could’ve done more than my annual to detect this. And now seriously thinking about taking the HPV 18 vaccine as a further preventative measure.

My family and closest friends said I need to maintain a positive outlook and focus on the fact that it’s been picked up early. This was extremely helpful, that and keeping myself busy.

The night before was the most daunting and I was quite anxious which I haven’t been in a while, I struggled with anxiety when I was younger. So having friends send positive messages, a couple that dropped by my apartment with a recovery package who then stayed to share a G+T, was a wonderful way to calm the nerves and a much needed distraction. I spent most of the night in tears just so overwhelmed that so many people cared and remembered my big day.

I’ve moved back to my parents house to recover for the week. Bradley has a big exam on Thursday (tomorrow) and plus my mum is in the country so I thought being back at home would be best. Although I do miss Bradley’s tea, he makes the best cuppa. Now we wait the week to find out whether all the abnormal cells were removed.

A few after thoughts, as I recover on the couch in front of the telly.
I’m a believer in nurture over nature and not someone who’s committed to the idea of birthing a child but potentially not being able to do it as easily as my grans, mum and aunts has thrown me for a loop. Mostly because being with Bradley has made me want us to at least try for one biological child. You know, see what he or she would look like. But my intention is to also adopt, there are too many people in this world with finite resources to have more than 2 biological children.

When they say it rains it pours, coinciding with this I’ve been dealing with loss of friendships, which I take pretty badly because I have to consciously open myself up to make new friends. Nothing like a big life event to put it all into perspective.

Then I have recently had a business opportunity come up that made me reflect on my career choices over the past two years, the moves that I’ve made out of consulting into entrepreneurship, heading up Operations for a non South African start up, and food writing.

So I think I’m going to take this opportunity to press the reset button, reflect on everything, why it all happened now and just focus on the most important. The most important being health and spending time on things that are rewarding. I use the word reward to highlight that I don’t mean immediately gratifying but sowing seeds for the rich harvest. Being positive and grateful everyday!

Thank you to everyone who had me in their thoughts, checked in, sent messages, dropped off recovery kits & baked cake, I appreciate you! I can’t express how much it helped me stay positive and feel joy!

I have to borrow a few words, that encapsulate my feelings, from my good friend who has always made me feel welcome, whom I look up to and turn to for sage career & life advice Sam Woulidge, see her full blog post here.


“I understood that you can be grateful and angry at the same time; be both distraught and comforted; that you can hold both joy and sorrow in your heart. But only when you are surrounded by the love and strength of others…” – Sam Woulidge

Courtesy of Leanne Callanan via Etsy

Courtesy of Leanne Callanan via Etsy

About thando

Hi I'm Thando Creator of the Jozi Foodie Fix, traveller, foodwriter, ramen lover, strategist, entrepreneur and follower of the Cool based in Johannesburg, South Africa.
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