This time last year, I had my routine smear (cervical screening test, or pap smear for my American readers) as normal....but a few weeks later I had a massive scare. The results were posted through the letterbox and said I had minor changes and I had to go to hospital for a colposcopy. An appointment letter followed, but frustratingly my appointment wasn't scheduled for several weeks.
Waiting for my hospital appointment was nerve-wracking. The smear had picked up minor changes, what else could be wrong? How can I wait weeks for something so important and potentially life-saving? The question every parent dreads - what will happen to Tristan, Scarlett & Lee if the worst happened?
I'm very thankful to my dear husband Lee as he drove me to the hospital, and held my hand through every stage of the appointment. I was okay while filling in a health questionnaire, I was ok in the waiting room, but I broke down as soon as I heard my name being called to see the doctor.
Thankfully the doctor was patient & reassuring. It was not a pleasant experience, having your feet strapped apart and the doctor doing his thing down below. It did hurt at times, I won't lie, and seemed to take hours. The nurse was fantastic - she was chatting to me about anything & everything to keep my body relaxed and my mind focused away from the present.
At the end of the examination, I was bleeding (which is normal after this procedure) and uncomfortable, and in an odd way, a little shell-shocked by the ordeal. Now, there was nothing left but to wait a few awkward weeks for the results to be posted. I was in limbo.
Thankfully, the results confirmed there was only minor changes and nothing that required treatment, and they recommend I attend a smear annually to monitor thoroughly. It was a relief after all the awful worst fears that entered my head in the weeks before.
That leads us to today. Earlier this afternoon, I braved my next smear. My local nurse was lovely and reassuring, and we chatted about what happened last year, and agreed with how important it is for all women to get their smear done when prompted by their GP surgery. Now, to wait for the results....watch this space
If you would like some girly support about smears and cervical cancer, I can recommend the ladies at Facebook group 'Kelly's Mission'. The group was created by 25-year old mum-of-two Kelly who was diagnosed with cervical cancer weeks after her first ever smear. Kelly wants everyone to know that smears are not scary and can save your life.
Having these potentially life-saving medical examinations are so important, and should not be taboo to talk about!
So...Are you up to date with your smear? Contact your GP surgery to double-check!
It truly can save your life xxx