Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Estronaut: or "ASCUS, we have a problem."

Apparently sensing the turmoil broiling in other areas of my life, the squamous cells of my more womanly parts have decided to join the party.

Upon returning home last night, I noted my cell phone blinking. A quick scan of the call log revealed a voice message from an unknown number, believing it to be a telemarketer I set the phone back down and rushed off to begin my evening plans as I was running late. An eerie feeling set over me as I was locking my front door, and I turned back inside to retrieve the message. It was the Women's Clinic (thus, the non-traceable number), they needed me to call them back at my earliest convenience.

For those not in the know, clinics do not call with good news. If they call about a test, there is most certainly something amiss. One very unrestful night was spent wondering what they had found or not found and how topsy-turvy my life could very well become.

After an excruciatingly slow train ride in to work this morning, I crept to my desk, steeled myself against the worst case scenario and dialed the number. I was transfered to "Katie" (name changed of course), the counselor who had called. She was disarmingly perky, as she informed me that my Pap Test had come back flagged from the lab and the rundown on what had been found. I was running on autopilot through most of the conversation, jotting things down for future googling....no offense to "Katie", but I wanted to know what to prepare for from the glaring cold and clinical eye of the Internet, not scraping the sugar-coating off her easily digested version. (ie: "diagnostic procedure" is more like "evasive procedure, surgical both in nature and pain.)

Much extensive and exhaustive searching has monopolized my afternoon, and in the end, while having some really great new vocabulary words for Scrabble, I have culled very few hard answers. The definition of the condition is:

ASCUS (ASCUS: An acronym for Atypical Squamous Cells of Undetermined Significance. This term is used in the Bethesda System for reporting Pap smear findings and indicates that some flat (squamous) cells look unusual and may or may not be pre-malignant or malignant.

While being the cold and clinical definition I had sought, it's exasperatingly vague and cannot be confirmed or denied until more samples are taken and processed. Here is a nice image of what they might look like, it seems odd that malevolence could lurk in such a pastoral scene.

So, that's all for now folks! Armed with enigmas, I'm hunkering down for really long February.


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