*Trigger warning for gynecology*

My body has been doing this weird and crazy-seeming thing (although not totally crazy, I’ll explain). My period has been totally irregular for the past six months or so, which I have attributed to my partner going on the pill and messing up my cycle. I went about three months without a period, and then got it right when I was scheduled for my physical at the beginning of September. Then I got it again on the first of October, and tonight I woke up to a surprise when I went to get ready for work. Yup, my period…again. I’m over a week early. And guess what I have on Thursday? An appointment with my doctor.

I also had my period at my physical last year. The year before, my doctor had tried to do a pap smear and it was a disaster. It resulted in a flood of memories and nightmares and flashbacks and bodily sensations. I had always had vaginismus and had tried to have pelvic exams before, but to no avail. That was the first time anyone tried to do a pap, and my body completely shut down. My doctor literally could not get anything in, she said it was like a brick wall.

It would seem that my body has decided to defend against a pap smear or any sort of gynecological examination by having a period every time I have to go to the doctor. It is frustrating and weird, but also amazing and I am thankful for it. My doctor is great, and we have discussed my history and what to do about a pap several times, and I know that she will never try to make me do one. She seemed traumatized when she tried to do one two years ago, after seeing how I reacted and knowing that just putting her finger in there before I shut down was excruciatingly painful for me. When we were talking about it last month, she said, “I’m trying to think of a solution that is less traumatic for everyone involved.” My body, though, doesn’t trust so easily and is defending itself.

The purpose of my appointment this week is just to follow up on some labs (my thyroid meds needed to be adjusted last month), but my doctor was also going to talk to a gynecologist about putting me under in order to have an exam and pap smear. So I think we will talk about that, too. I would like to have a pap if possible, because my grandmother has had uterine cancer, and my mother has had abnormal paps in the past. I’m hoping that I’ll be able to be totally put under and that my insurance would cover it. I would also like to know if there is any scar tissue or evidence of the abuse. I know it happened, but I think concrete evidence would help.

Today I am thankful for both my wonderful doctor and my body, for believing and protecting me.