I consider myself to be a pretty healthy person. Definitely not all the time – some may call me a pizza connoisseur and French fry enthusiast – but I’m also vegetarian 90% of the time (still eat a little fish here and there), normal body weight, normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol, normal blood glucose, work out occasionally (this needs improvement), etc. As stated, I consider myself pretty normal, except now I am part of a new normal that doesn’t seem so normal – I am now 1 of 79 million Americans who have HPV (source here). I normally wouldn’t share such a personal and upsetting story with the world, but because it is so common but I feel rarely talked about, I hope others can relate to what I’m going through and maybe my story can help someone, somewhere, because it’s a lonely place to find out you have an “incurable viral infection”.
- According to the CDC, HPV will affect nearly every man and woman who is sexually active at some point in their life (source here). I’m 26, probably among the most sexually active demographic, so why am I so in the dark about this disease that apparently everyone has, has had, or will have? (Side note – I just talked to my mom who just now informed me she had it twice, my grandmother had it, and my great grandmother had it – what the heck! Why didn’t I know this?)
- There is no test for guys to find out if they have it and women find out during their pap smears.
- There’s no test to find out what type of HPV you have (there are literally HUNDREDS), meaning you can’t see if you have the cancer-causing kind, the herpes-causing kind (except the obvious clue), or the kind that goes away on its own.
- Only a handful of types cause cancer.
- The vaccine only protects against 3 of the most prevalent cancer-causing types and doesn’t mean you won’t get HPV (I had the vaccine at age 18 and still got HPV now at 26).
- According to western medicine, there is no cure – DON’T LOST HOPE just yet! Stay tuned for more information on my research from the web and naturopathic doctors I am now working with 🙂
This has been such an emotional time full of questions, mood swings, and a search for enlightenment. Please continue reading to hear my story, and maybe it will be similar to yours or someone you know.
2015, age 24…
When I first found out about this incurable virus that I had from an OBGYN, I was devastated. It was a little over a year ago when I went in for a routine pap smear and the results came back abnormal. At this time, she called me back in for a biopsy, after which the results showed I had low grade HPV. I had already had HPV before when I was about 19, but shortly after I got the vaccine and my body healed itself within 3 months. Now here I was 24 going on 25 hearing that I have the virus again. My doctor said it could be stress induced, sometimes peoples HPV just comes back, I could’ve been reinfected since there are so many strains, and countless other things. Overall, she told me not to worry, it’s just mild grade and my body will probably fight it off so she’ll see me in a year for another routine pap.
2016, age 25 (almost 26)…
Here we are in 2016 and I go back in for my yearly exam expecting things to be better. Not only did I not get better, but my HPV progressed from Mild to High Grade, skipping the Intermediate level. It did exactly the opposite of what she said would happen and now I’m in the predicament I’m in now. I wish I had listened to my gut and done something, ANYTHING last year when I found out about the mild grade to help support my body to fight it off. I was devastated. I haven’t cried this much consistently in a long time. To be honest, I thought i was doing fine. I follow a blog called Organic Olivia and constantly educate myself about organic foods, vegetarian & vegan diets, exercise, etc. I am truly passionate about natural cures and a healthy, earth-conscious lifestyle (just ask anyone who knows me). I can’t help but think “Why me? Of all people. I am not perfect, but I consider myself pretty healthy when you compare me to the average American.”
The immune system…
When I think about it, my immune system has always been questionable. I was born with asthma, had mono when I was 15 and was nearly dying 3 months in (I’ll share that story another time), had shingles at age 22 (yes, THE shingles), and was hit by a drunk driver the same year in December 2012 where I was left with 2 herniated discs and a pinched sciatica nerve, pain that I still deal with everyday. The body is always trying to heal itself, but I realize my body has been subjected to major stress throughout my life and this definitely plays a role in holistic health.
So, what to do?…
According to my OBGYN, I have one option: the LEEP surgery where I get put under anesthesia and they cut off 1 cm of my cervix. Apparently this is a very common and routine procedure, but I couldn’t get over the fact that when I asked her if there is anything else I can do to try and help the cells return to normal, her answer was always no. According to Western Medicine, this is my only option – get put out and cut it off. She then tells me that there’s no guarantee that she’ll get it all or that it won’t come back. Why would I #1 subject myself to this surgery if it it’s not even for sure going to solve the problem? In fact, I spoke with my mom who I just found out had this exact thing happen to her and she had to get the procedure twice because hers came back. I don’t think this surgery is going to treat the real problem, it will just get rid of the cells but I want to heal myself and get to the root of why my body can’t fight off this virus.
I’ve since made several appointments with a few naturopathic doctors in the area and have spoken to two women who told me I DO have other options. It’s a holistic treatment that takes dedication and hard work for a longer period of time than just a quick surgery, but I am willing to do what it takes to heal myself for the long run.
This will be my story of my journey trying to heal myself. I don’t agree that there is no cure – there is always a way to help your body heal. I have to believe in that. I’ve believed in it with small things like curing warts on my skin with apple cider vinegar, using oregano oil and ginger, lemon tea when I’m sick, coconut oil for oral health…there are so many things out there and I think this is another one of those things. I have this gut feeling that through healing my body as a whole and using local treatments, I can get rid of the bad cells and replace them with good ones, thus solving the problem in a sustainable way.
This is my story. What’s yours?
Feel free to message me or comment below. I want to help anyone with the knowledge I gain from this experience, and would love to hear how others have battled this virus as well. Any advice, experience, questions, or comments are welcome.