In January I went to the doctor for my routine “annual” exam – pap smear, lump checks, STD tests… routine physical stuff. I received a letter in the mail from the doctor a few weeks later saying that everything was fine except that my pap smear showed some abnormal cell growth and that I should come back for another test in a few months. I was a bit disconcerted but the informality and lack of urgency in the letter led me to believe that I had nothing to worry about.
So, a few weeks ago I went to the student health center on campus to get my re-test. I decided not to return to my doctor’s office because 1) the student health center is less expensive 2) I suspected the original test was bunk and 3) I wanted a second opinion. After explaining my situation to the nurse, I was satisfied that I’d made the right decision. She suggested I take the more accurate liquid form of the pap (more expensive but more accurate) and explained to me that a positive pap smear means one of several situations/paths of action exist:
Negative (Normal)/None. Repeat in one year.
Mild Dysplasia/Repeat Pap smear in 3-6 months.
Severe Dysplasia/Colposcopy with or without cone biopsy.
Class V - Cancer cells/Several types of surgical techniques are used depending upon severity.
My results showed abnormal cell growth (dysplasia) again so I’ve now received a referral for a colposcopy – a procedure where a doctor looks at your cervix through a microscope (use your imagination!) and often takes a biopsy for additional tests.
I received the results on Monday and spent the entire day going through an oh-my-God-I-have-cancer freak out and swearing I’d make a kazillion lifestyle changes to take better care of myself. After I calmed down a bit I realized the latter was a good idea but the former was overly dramatic.
So, why am I telling this very personal information to you? Because I’ve realized how truly important getting a pap smear is. It’s pure luck that I had my pap smear and followed up. In all honesty, I chose to believe the first positive result was a lab error and didn’t really worry because I don’t think I ever fully realized why a pap smear is so important, it was just something I did because my mother insisted it was important during my pubescent years. The fact of the matter is that early detection has potentially saved my life. Cervical cancer was once the NUMBER ONE killer of American women but the pap smear has allowed doctors to identify pre-cancerous conditions like my own (especially in women in their 20’s and 30’s) that are almost always curable and sometimes even correct themselves. It takes several years for cervical cancer to develop but the majority of women that do get it have skipped pap smears and missed the window of opportunity for correcting the pre-cancerous stages. Cervical cancer typically has no noticeable symptoms so if you or your girlfriend or your mom or your co-worker hasn’t had a pap smear lately, make a point to have it taken care of right away and follow up on any positive results. Time is of the essence.
HB1911, Tarlton - Ban on gays serving as foster parents
HB945, King - Requiring Parental Consent for Abortion
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HB1911, Tarlton - Ban on gays serving as foster parents
(posted by Travis County Court Appointed Family Advocates)
The following is an eyewitness report regarding last nights' State Affairs hearing and a plea for help from one of CAFA's former clients (he and his partner had adopted a child).
Dear Friends and Family,
Please read this entire email. I desparately need your help.
Last night I testified before the House Committee On State Affairs about a bill that would ban all single adults from the foster care system. Moments before my testimony, the author of this bill, Representative Talton, submitted a change to the bill so that now HB 1911 will only ban gay people from being foster parents. When asked why he wanted to make the change he said that the earlier version would cost too much. When asked why he wanted to ban gays he said this: “They are like sex offenders and child molesters. They learn these behaviors and teach them to their children. “ Representative Talton went on to say that he would rather see Samantha in an orphanage than in my home. When questioned further, Representative Talton let it be known that his church and his God believe this too.
You can imagine my shock and surprise. All my life I’ve received support…from my family…from my friends…from my employers. I’ve never really known discrimination or the fear that comes from being targeted and singled out by someone who openly hates you. I barely made it through my testimony, but when I finished telling the story, over 100 people gave me a standing ovation and then I looked at the Committee Members and was terrified to see that most of them didn’t care. I was a gay man and in their minds, Samantha should be in an orphanage.
At approximately 3:00 a.m., the committee adjourned. Public testimony on HB 1911 was not finished (it was last of about 11 bills). It is expected that they will call the bill back up when they meet again this Thursday (4/25). You can:
1. If possible, please go to the meeting, sign a card in opposition or even testify. They meet in Room JHR350 upon adjournment of the House. Check www.capitol.state.tx.us to confirm they are meeting - this bill does not have to be listed since it already has been on the agenda.
2. Please call the bill sponsor:
HB 1911 Author
Rep. Robert Talton
3. If you are a constituent, call one of the committee members below (see bottom of email).
4. If you are not, PLEASE forward this and/or contact people you know in Carrolton, Plano, Houston, Corsicana, Georgetown, Arlington, Ft. Worth, or San Antonio, and ask that they contact committee members below.
HB945 (King) Requiring Parental Consent for Abortion
(posted by Texas Campaign for Women's Health)
Existing law requires that a minor notify her parent, managing conservator or legal guardian (“parent”) if she wishes to have an abortion. She may obtain a confidential judicial bypass waving notification if she demonstrates to the court that she is mature and well-informed and that notification would not be in her best interests or that it may lead to her physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
HB 945, pending in House State Affairs Committee, would:
1. require parental consent, not merely notification
2. require the parent or guardian to swear out an affidavit concerning their consent and present governmental identification showing they are the parent or guardian
3. the judicial bypass proceeding would
- only occur in the minor’s county of residence,
- the burden of proof for the minor would be raised to “clear and convincing evidence” rather than “preponderance of the evidence”
- dramatically up the standard for showing that notification may lead to physical, sexual or emotional abuse
- delete a method for the physician to give constructive notice when the parent cannot be contacted in person
What You Can Do:
1. If you are a constituent, call one of the committee members below.
2. If you are not, PLEASE forward this and/or contact people you know in Carrolton, Plano, Houston, Corsicana, Georgetown, Arlington, Ft. Worth, or San Antonio, and ask that they contact committee members below.
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON STATE AFFAIRS
Chair -- Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Carrolton) HD-115
Vice-Chair -- Rep. Jerry Madden (R-Plano) HD-67
Rep. John Davis (R-Houston) HD-129
Rep. Byron Cook (R-Corsicana) HD-8
Rep. Gary Elkins (R-Houston) HD-135
Rep. Dan Gattis (R-Georgetown) HD-20
Rep. Toby Goodman (R-Arlington) HD-93
Rep. Glenn Lewis (D-Fort Worth) HD-95
Rep. Mike Villarreal (D-San Antonio) HD-123
To find out who your Representative is, simply enter your zip code at: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/fyi/fyi.htm.
Remember the scene where thousands of Iraqis took to the streets and cheered when US soldiers toppled the statue of Saddam? Check out these photos:
I wasn't there so I can't speak to the authenticity for these pictures. Nevertheless, I don't think the world got the full picture on what occurred. I think that's really unfortunate, especially since the statue image was hand-picked by the press to symbolize the end of the war and will, almost certainly, appear in school textbooks a few years down the road.
The Washington Post reports about Representative Barbara Cubin's assumption that all Black folks use drugs - and the Republican House's refusal to acknowledge the offensive implications of her comment.
An excellent piece on the outcomes of the Iraq war:
I've been too busy with school to do much writing on my own lately. Thus, for no better reason than to avoid getting out of the habit of blogging regularly, I present you with the following:
*Independent Kurdish State? I suppose everyone is thinking about the reconstruction of Iraq these days. After all our talk about "liberating" the people of Iraq, I can't help but wonder if we shouldn't give the Kurds, a people that don't have a home of their own and don't seem to be particularly well treated wherever they go, a state in northern Iraq. On the one hand, it seems like the just, democratic thing to do. On the other, it seems like a potential nightmare - Turkey, Syria, and Iran won't be happy and it could turn into another situation like Israel. So, what's it to be? I need to read more to make up my mind...for the time being, I'm leaning slightly towards a loose federation of Iraqi states and a home for the Kurds.
*Greed I've also been thinking a lot about how greedy we Americans are. I work on Lake Austin Blvd and spend my morning commute jammed between Mercedes SUVs and Land Rovers and moms with big Chanel sunglasses and, frankly, it reaches a point where it just becomes nauseating. Isn't there a point where people say enough is enough?
If I believed that America was a true meritocracy where wealth was earned rather than inherited I might be less disturbed (well, slightly less disturbed) by our societal values but I don't think there's any dispute that isn't the case. I do, however, think that people with wealth choose to believe that's true to comfort their consciences.
Sometimes I also wonder how much Protestantism helps alay guilt. After all, if God forgives you just for professing belief and saying sorry, why get tripped up over your human weaknesses? Not to say that Protestants are the sole guilty party, but I personally think there's something to this.
*Movies The weather can't seem to make up it's mind between warm and chill yet but at least the late spring/early summer movie barrage has begun. Films I hope to see:
City of God
Head of State
That Frieda Kahlo movie...