The C Word.
This isn’t going to be your normal beauty or travel post, but it’s a post about cervical cancer and smears. A topic that needs to be mentioned more and unfortunately it’s something I actually hid for a while. I want to use my blog to be 100% myself and maybe just help one person feel like they have a friend with them.
There are around 3,200 new cervical cancer cases in the UK every year, that’s nearly 9 every day. In females in the UK, cervical cancer is the 14th most common cancer, and It takes 5 years for cells to fully develop into cancer.
Common symptoms with cervical cancer include:
• abnormal bleeding
• discharge that’s unusual in amount, colour, consistency
• having to go to toilet more often
• pelvic pain
I had just received my letter in the post requesting to go to the doctors for my smear test. I’ll be honest, it took me a couple of weeks to actually pick up the phone and book my smear as I just didn’t think it was important. This would be something I would later regret.
When the day came of my smear I had no idea what to expect, you learn so much at school about growing up but important situations like this was just never mentioned and because everyone is so scared to talk about it, it only takes one google search to see the c word and you expect the worse. The time came to visit my doctor and I got asked to lay down on the bed and choose a comfortable position.
The nurse gently put an instrument called a speculum inside me, this holds the walls of the vagina open so the cervix can be seen. A small brush will be used to gently collect a sample of cells from the cervix. I found this really uncomfortable and painful but this is different for everyone, some people aren’t phased at all by this.
This smear sample is then sent to the lab where experts will check it. My doctor informed me the results could take 4-6 weeks to come back.
A week or so went passed and I hadn’t heard any information regarding my smear results. To be honest I had put it to the back of my mind again now as it was Christmas, so was just focusing on that and spending time with family and friends.
A couple of weeks went by and I finally received a letter and it wasn’t what I expected. The letter said that my scan had come back abnormal and that I would need to have a colposcopy test.
I went to my local hospital for this, on the day I just had to fill in a form and wait to be seen. I got taken into a room with a seat and a screen next to it. They asked me to undress from waist down again and I got given a cover so that I could feel comfortable.
The colposcopy is basically a camera that is used to see the walls of your cervix. This is so they can determine how far the abnormal cells had spread and which CIN grade you are.
Again this scan didn’t take too long, about 15 minutes maximum, but I was in terrible pain and discomfort. The doctor told me it was best for me to have a diagnostic laparoscopy test during my operation and to also test for endometriosis because of the pain I was in. He suggested it was best I go under general anaesthetic so I don’t feel the pain during the procedure too.
They found large areas suggesting CIN 3 and they also found a mild iodine negative area on my wall.
My Operation Day.
The day of the operation came and this was the first time I was put under anaesthetic, so obviously I was worried. As mentioned previously they decided to put me under due to the bad pain I was in during the colposcopy. The wait in the ward to go down to theatre felt like forever. I remember being taken down and slowly drifting off to sleep.
Next thing I woke up in a strange room. That’s it, done. I just needed to make sure I ate, went to the toilet and didn’t feel sick before I would be allowed home. It was mentioned that I wasn’t allowed to have a bath or swim for 6 weeks after and I wasn’t allowed to lift heavy objects for a week or so either. I felt so proud of myself for going through with it, and getting myself sorted.
Six months after my operation I was asked to have another smear to check that the cells were all gone. This came back normal and was told my next smear will be in three years as usual.
I urge any female reading this now to go get their smear done as soon as you receive the letter. It takes five years for the cells to develop into cervical cancer, five years you have to get checked and to spread the word to your friends and family. I won’t lie, I cried, I hid myself away, I felt scared and my anxiety was at a bad low, but through it all I learnt that it’s ok and normal. The sooner you get seen to, the sooner you can get treated and live your life. Let’s beat cancer.
For more information on cervical cancer and smear tests, click here: More information.
For some self-care tips, click here: Top Self-Care Tips To Help You.