So, it’s a taboo topic but something us girls HAVE to go through.
I’m going to be completely honest and head down a pretty personal route now…
6 months before I turned 25 I got a letter telling me to book my swear. But did I? No. I put it off for around 9 months before I built up the courage to book it and that was after a lot of encouragement from my friends and family to do so.
I was scared. Not only because it sounds horrendous and scary but also I didn’t want a complete stranger looking at my vagina!
Yes. I said vagina!
So the day of my smear came and I made Tom come with me but he wasn’t allowed in the room. I cried, a lot. I just didn’t want to open my legs and have this random lady look at me or to carry out the smear test at all. Lucky for me though, the nurse was SO patient and made me feel more comfortable for every minute I was in there.
The actual procedure isn’t as a bad as you might think, although it is uncomfortable, but it is over pretty quickly.
I waited a few weeks for my results and they came back abnormal. I cried and was so scared that I then had to go for what’s called a colposcopy. I didn’t know anyone who had needed one of these and so it was a completely unknown thing to me. The appointment was sent through pretty quickly and was at my local hospital.
Again, I made Tom come with me but he was actually allowed in this time.
When I got called into the room, I filled with absolute dread to find a male gynaecologist there who was set to carry out my colposcopy which just made my anxiety so much worse!
So for you that don’t know what a colposcopy is, it’s basically a closer look at your cervix so they can see the abnormal cells. They use the same speculum as in a smear, but tend to use an iodine solution on the cells so they are clear enough see and if necessary, they carry out a biopsy too. There is a camera involved too as they take pictures of your cells for your record and the whole thing is on a screen, which you can watch if you want to…but I declined that offer as that was the last thing I wanted to see!
Anyway, after more tears and refusal to put my legs up on the stirrup things, the colposcopy was carried out. Unfortunately for me, I needed a biopsy too. Well, three actually. They’re what’s called a ‘punch biopsy’, so think of a hole punch…
It doesn’t hurt but it is uncomfortable.
I also bled a lot from having the biopsies taken and they couldn’t let me leave until it had stopped. So I was there a bit longer than usual.
At the end, I was given a pad to wear and was told not to have sex or use a tampon for 7 days because there was basically an open wound now on my cervix. Gross huh?
Anyway, afterwards I felt sick and strange inside, but I can’t describe the strange feeling! I had to wear a pad for a couple of days after because of the bleeding, but I was absolutely fine and pain free.
Because of having an abnormal result, it means that I need to have a smear test every year until I have 3 normal smear results.
So at the end of last year, I had my other smear and again the result was abnormal.
I needed another colposcopy which I had last week and luckily for me, my cells hadn’t got much worse and so I didn’t need another biopsy.
I was advised though that they should have changed back to normal and so I need to take better care of myself in order to build my immune system, by eating better and exercising…which is my current task!
So anyway, that’s my story.
And the moral of it? Don’t be scared girls. For a short time of being uncomfortable, you can be cervical cancer free.
In the UK, we have one of the best cervical cancer screening programmes in the world, so make the most of that. Especially because it’s free. The government/NHS care for us in that way, so we should care for ourselves in that way too.
If there was a free test to check for any other cancer we would all take it right? So take this one too. And don’t be afraid, you’ll be ok ❤️