Dear Wendy Updates: “You’re A Know-It-All”

Yesterday, I posted an open call for emails from people I’ve given (published) advice to here in the past to let me know whether they followed my advice and/or the advice from commenters, and how they’re doing today. I expected I might hear from people who didn’t like what I had to say, as well as from those who did. I’ve gotten a lot of grief for some of the advice I’ve given, and occasionally — not very often, but sometimes — I’ll have second thoughts about something I’ve said … or the way I’ve said it. Never has this been more the case than with the person you’ll hear from after the jump. She hated my “advice,” and rightfully so. We had some back-and-forth email exchanges afterward in which I said some more things I now regret. I ended up apologizing, but judging from the email she sent yesterday, she’s still pissed. Anyway, it was a learning lesson for me and for that I thank her. I’ve tried to be less presumptuous while still telling it like I see it and doling out “tough love” when it seems necessary, but sometimes I make mistakes. I’m human; it happens. After the jump, check out one of my biggest missteps.

I wrote Wendy asking for advice about whether I should come clean to my boyfriend about my sexual history. I didn’t think it was a particularly big deal since I had actually lied my number up and moved the age that I lost my virginity down, but there was the complicating factor that I had developed cervical cancer, caused by HPV. My boyfriend assumed I’d gotten the HPV way before him, but if I told the truth he would know there was a good chance I got it from him. Wendy told me to tell him if it was weighing on my mind, and to leave the HPV part out of it. Then she told me this wasn’t a real problem.

First of all, I don’t have to bring up the HPV, that’s automatically where his mind is going to go. Secondly, maybe this isn’t on par with the Gulf oil spill, but it is a problem for me. I don’t want to lie, and I don’t want to make my boyfriend feel guilty. I was pretty mad when I read Wendy’s comment that it wasn’t a real problem.

I emailed Wendy back to call her out on her labeling this issue as not a real problem. Wendy emailed me back and told me, “Quit being a drama queen.” Apparently, Wendy thinks she is a cervical cancer expert. She told me that I couldn’t have developed cervical cancer in the time frame I gave (about a year and a half). Wendy explained to me all about cervical cancer, and its slow progression from dysplasia. She told me that I only had precancer. She also didn’t believe that I could have recovered as quickly as I did because I would have ongoing chemotherapy and radiation.

Wendy does seem to know some things about what is typical of cervical carcinoma. Too bad I had cervical adenocarcinoma. You know, the faster moving, more aggressive kind of cervical cancer. Luckily it was caught early so I didn’t have chemo or radiation, just a radical trachelectomy which I didn’t specifically name in my letter because no one knows what a radical trachelectomy is anyway. Wendy did apologize to me after I explained this to her.

So what happened? A friend gave me some good advice. She basically just said that I shouldn’t bring it up myself, but that if it happened to come up in conversation that I should go ahead and tell him the truth. It hasn’t come up yet, and I do worry about it, but I’m pretty at peace with just letting things be for the moment. I figure the further away we are from the cancer, the less emotional he will feel about it.

So, there you go. I screwed up, and I feel bad about it. I’m definitely not perfect and if there’s one universal piece of advice I can share with everyone it’s to acknowledge your mistakes, learn from them, and try to do and be better in the future. Fortunately, the other updates I’ve received (so far) have been much more positive and I’ll be posting them as part of a regular “Dear Wendy Updates” series.

*If you are someone I’ve given advice to in the past, I’d love to hear from you, too (whether you liked my advice or hated it). Email me at {encode=”” title=””} with a link to the post where your letter originally ran, and let me know whether you followed the advice and how you’re doing now.