January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month
January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month around the world. I’m working on a series to promote the awareness of the deadly disease. This post has some points, including personal experiences and research that you might need to know before taking precautions against the disease.
Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. As at 2010, Cervical cancer ranked as the 2nd most frequent cancer among women in Nigeria (Vanguard Online, 2010). However, the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening (Pap and HPV tests), It is usually advised that the vaccine is taken before the woman becomes sexually active.
Know Anyone Who Has Had Side Effects from Using HPV? Read this to learn about my experience! Click To Tweet
How I Almost Lost my Limbs to HPV
Somewhere around 2013/2014, I took a stroll to a clinic to get the HPV. The mistake I probably made was not doing enough research before heading to the clinic. If I had, I most likely would have been able to ask the doctors/nurses some questions that would have informed my decision of taking the vaccine at that particular clinic. On getting to the clinic, my basic information was collected – name, age and so on. I was also given a bill of #20,000 for the three doses of vaccines I would be receiving over a couple of months.
I’m assuming those nurses didn’t know or forgot to tell me but I started noticing side effects right from the first dose of the vaccine. Some minutes after the first shot, I felt a sudden dizziness, weakness and numbness in my limbs. I immediately found my way to a nearby restaurant to eat and went home to sleep afterwards because that was all I had the strength for. I had classes I couldn’t attend that day due to the weakness.
In my head, maybe the vaccine just made you sleep off so it could work well (smh). Some weeks later, I started to notice a change in the colour of my lips. They were getting darker and I had no idea why. After the second dose ( which was about a month after), the lips became darker and everyone in school was starting to ask me if I had started smoking.
At this point, I became worried and went back to the clinic to complain, only to be welcomed by the most insensitive set of responses. “There’s nothing like that. No one has ever complained of such side effects. maybe there was something inside you before that the vaccine is pushing out. Just rub Vaseline on the lips, you’ll be fine”. Really? Something inside me that it’s pushing out? So, I kept ‘rubbing’ Vaseline like my father had some shares in the company that made Vaseline. Yet, the colour didn’t go back to normal.
I started asking questions; doctor friends and family and I later learnt that the dosages I was given were too much for my body weight and was advised to discontinue the vaccine to prevent worsening symptoms. Recently, I did some research again and discovered that there was a specific brand of the vaccine that has been complained about in other countries. Some women’s side effects went as bad as headaches, stomach spasms, joint pains, and even permanent limb paralysis. This is the part where I’m dancing shaku shaku and thanking God I didn’t lose my legs.
I’ve been told I’d have to start the vaccine all over again to prevent the disease so I’m making sure to ask as many questions as possible before taking it again.
This is not to scare you from taking the Vaccine. It’s, in fact, spurring you to but from an informed position!
This is the beginning of a 2/3-part series I’m working on to promote awareness this month. You can read a press release on this by NCCC HERE.Here are 10 Facts You Should Know about HPV and Cervical Cancer. Click To Tweet