Editor’s Note — This article is part of a series of op-eds about women’s health and wellness, featuring varied voices on the topics of menstruation, breast cancer, miscarriage, pregnancy, infertility, breast cancer and other topics.
By Jasmine Cason
Hi, my name is Jasmine Cason and I’m a student at Lakehead University’s College of Natural Science and Technology. And I just want to make something very clear, due to the serious issue of sexism in medicine, I do not wish to be name-dropped here as a student at Lakehead University.
I also want to say that this email was definitely sent out by a professor, or two professors, who I had hoped would support women in medicine, but clearly they did not.
Menstruation is such a sensitive topic that has been my whole life. It’s how I grew up, and although it’s socially shameful, I don’t care. I have had friends with periods and don’t notice anything wrong with my friends’ bodies, so I don’t care about it.
And I’m a woman, so I’m already on an even playing field in regards to the subject of menstruation.
My menstrual cycle was private, because periods have never been kept or kept secret from me, I don’t have any issues with that. I knew nothing about my cervical cancer until the older sister told me about it, and then, she died a couple of years later. So every time I got a pain or a pain in my hips, I knew that I should check myself and see if there was something wrong.
Because of this, I choose to check myself first before making any decisions or going into treatment for any thing, so as I got older, I started trying to check my periods. I used to not even check them at all, thinking, “You know what? You’re fine, you’re a very small woman and what if it affects your mobility?”
But then, because of hormones I was taking in my thyroid medication, that I was taking for depression (not to take hormones, and I was taking them to calm down and increase my mood), and the doctors weren’t given the time to do a proper test of my period in the first place, I discovered that my periods were irregular.
So when my periods started to go irregular and I thought maybe my thyroid was being inflamed, I was told by my doctor that I had a cervical cancer. I am actually having not only one cervical cancer, but two since I’m 21. I just found out three days ago that one of them is non-operable, but I’m waiting until after my 12 month scan to see what kind.
Needless to say, I feel terrified.
I’m only 21, and to know what’s happened to my friends and family is horrifying. And it’s scary when you’re an adult like me and someone says, “That’s an inconvenience.”
That’s the last thing I expected to hear in regards to my health.
I think at this point, my doctors are not great, and in addition to my cycle having irregular periods, I have also developed a real sensitivity to heat in my cells. I have constant contractions around my periods which have increased my signs of strep throat, and even though I’ve gone to the doctor to be treated for them, I haven’t yet had them checked.
Now I have a new fear – every time I have to go to the doctor, or the doctor told me, “Maybe this is an infection in your cervix.” I just wanted to go in a sweat because I don’t want to have to go back to the doctor’s again because of my irregular period, but every time I go I’m like, “But not necessarily your cervix.”
I get so stressed out because of my periods being abnormal that even when I start to feel the stigmas of having them and having this type of cancer – I don’t even tell myself I have a uterus.
Because of this, I’m really looking to get some medical help, and