“In the summer of 2016, I entered my sixth year of medicine in Concepción. I had just studied gynecology, so I received a lot of fresh information about the sexually transmitted diseases but on top of that, I have always been very concerned about my health in general: every year, I have blood tests, an appointment with the dentist and, above all, I did the PAP religiously in December.
At this time I had returned to a relationship in which a year prior they had been unfaithful to me with numerous women. We broke up for four months and saw each other again because he came back for me. He did merit, he spoke to my whole family, he told us all that he was going to change, that he was going to go to therapy. For my part, I tried, even though I didn’t feel safe.
Months passed, and that summer, I was selected to do a surgical internship in France. I left in January and with peace of mind, because the month before, I had already done my PAP like every year, and everything indicated that I could leave to study in complete peace of mind. It was only three months of long-distance relationship, but when I returned, I realized that he had resumed the same practices as before: he turned on his cell phone when we were together. he would go out partying and disappear all night, or women would appear on his social media that I had never heard were his friends.
I didn’t want to go through that again and I put an end to it. Two weeks later, he started dating another woman. Naturally, I was very sorry, but from that moment on, nothing happened between us.
Six months later I found out this relationship started while he was with me. I thought that perhaps this was not the only infidelity; Maybe how many times he was with other women at the same time as me. And not only that, I also thought – perhaps because I was always reading about it – about all the possible diseases she could have contracted from her promiscuity.
I had already learned in class that STDs are extremely common, that many are asymptomatic and that many can have long-term consequences on the fertility of women and men. I also knew that whatever his infidelity was, he could have been infected long before our relationship, at any time in his life in fact, but at that moment I felt paranoid that I might have been infected and because of infidelity.
I brought my PAP forward to October and it turned out to be atypical , which means you had to continue your studies. I did it again six months later, and it went wrong again. I had to have a “colposcopy,” a test that involves examining the cervix with a high-power magnifying glass to find where the lesion detected by the PAP is and taking a biopsy of that area. When the results came in, I discovered I had a high-grade NIE 3, the previous – and most dangerous – stage of cervical cancer. It was enough for this lesion to penetrate a single layer to constitute cancer.
He had been my only sexual partner during those years, A mutual friend had confirmed the infidelity, but I could only think that it was obvious that he had infected me. After everything she had suffered during this relationship, she was now suffering from a sexually transmitted disease that she had been unable to prevent.
I remember after the diagnosis I felt calm because I already understood what it was. In March, they would perform an outpatient, minimally invasive surgical procedure, during which they would remove a small layer of the affected area, study it, and if there was still an injury, the procedure would be repeated until for her to return to normal.
If we say all this to a patient who has not studied medicine, the diagnosis of “pre-cancer” obviously seems fatal. But I knew that with this, I wasn’t going to die. That’s why I focused on my emotions, and I kept thinking, “I don’t deserve this.” I felt disgusted, dirty and couldn’t believe that on top of the process of accepting infidelity, all of this was happening to me.
Every time I went to the gynecologist, I left crying with helplessness and anger. Furthermore, he knew perfectly well that men biologically heal quickly from this wound and that the most he could have developed was a wart. I thought it was all unfair, because in the case of the sexually transmitted human papilloma virus, real women were the ones who bore the brunt.
It wasn’t until two years later, when I was released, that I was finally able to begin to let go of the anger, resentment, and everything else that had caused me. I ran into him sometime later at a party and told him. I don’t think he ever understood it. “How am I going to give you cancer? It’s not contagious,” he told me. But I didn’t continue this conversation. At that time, I didn’t even intend to receive an apology because the damage had already been done, but telling him helped me get rid of the anger I had inside me.
I look at it with perspective and with sadness, because After this experience, it was difficult for me to rebuild my life. I finally healed, was able to marry someone I trust, have a daughter with, and moved on. But it was a long process.
We must install in our society a culture of information and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. If you don’t do a PAP, you have no way of knowing if you have a lesion, until it starts showing symptoms, which means the disease is already very advanced, which is more dangerous and more difficult to treat. We’re talking about chemotherapy, very invasive surgeries, treatments that don’t always work and where patients can die, even if they are very young.
So if I could now share one lesson from all of this, it would be that we women We must be very clear that our sexual health does not only depend on us, but also on our partner, and therefore, there is no way to live in peace except by actively taking care of STD research.
And if we’re talking about our emotional health, let’s never let it carry us away.
*Eloisa Pérez (31 years old) is a general practitioner and mother of a daughter.
I am David Jack and I have been working in the news industry for over 10 years. As an experienced journalist, I specialize in covering sports news with a focus on golf. My articles have been published by some of the most respected publications in the world including The New York Times and Sports Illustrated.