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Exactly a year ago, I was dealing with the frightening reality that I had “precancerous” lesions due to HPV. I wrote about my conclusions here, explaining that despite the fact that the doctors recommended I get an LEEP procedure to snip things into normalcy (I was diagnosed with CIN II, basically two steps removed from cancer), I preferred to wait and see, improving my nutrition, trying not to stress out, and generally giving my immune system as much support as I could give it. Because HPV is a virus, its lesions could be cured by my own body, at least in theory.

So I did it. I cut out gluten and more or less went organic, grass-fed paleo. I ate a lot of kale. After my not-yet-boyfriend left bone broth on my doorstep, I made bone broth and drank it like tea. I ate grass-fed beef and wild salmon. In the summer, I picked myself blueberries. I ate local grass-fed yogurt for the live probiotics, which have been linked to HPV suppression. I slept — I made sure I slept eight hours a night, even if it meant I slept in. I got a panel of blood tests to make sure everything was in balance — my vitamin D was low, so I started taking that. I still drank some and had treats, but my sugar and alcohol intake were naturally curtailed due to the fact that I was avoiding gluten. The stress of eating that specifically sometimes tended to give me pause, but I hoped that it would more than balance out.

And then it was time to face the music. I’d had a lingering cough for three months, which didn’t seem like a good sign in terms of the efficacy of my immune system. I had a nagging fear that I’d made the wrong choice and would go in to find that I had cancer. With this happy thought, I visited my gynecologist. I half-expected her to give me a lecture about not following her surgical recommendations and basically falling off the face of the earth for a year, but she didn’t. She was polite, upbeat, gave me the world’s fastest pap smear, and then I was out of there.

I was thinking that what would probably happen would be that I would get a call that I needed to come in for a colposcopy, just like last year. In a last-ditch attempt to send my lesions into regression, I supplemented for a week with folic acid, vitamin C (which my well-beloved pomegranates contain), CoQ10, indole-3-carbinol (which kale contains), green tea extract, and coriolus versicolor mushrooms, which have all been linked to regression of dysplasia in clinical trials. The mushrooms made me feel nauseated and a bit out of it, so I stopped taking them.

And then today, I got the call. You’re clear, she said. No HPV, she said. And just like that, this nagging weight at the back of my mind is lifted. I have conquered this on my own terms, and my body remains whole and intact.

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