It’s Cervical Cancer Awareness week this week, and I thought I would throw my two cents in. I wanted to write about this last year, but I hadn’t even launched the blog and was scrambling to get everything ready for launch day. (Still not a clue on why I wanted to launch in the busiest month of the year).
10 years ago, we were all shocked as Jade Goody died aged 27. Her death sparked an extra 500,000 women attending their smears. Fast forward to today, and we are now at a record low attendance rate.
I can sort of understand the fear and not wanting to go. Nearly three years ago, I was confronted with the dreaded letter. I was outraged, especially as I wasn’t even 25 yet. It doesn’t help that the so-called ‘helpful’ leaflet is infuriatingly vague. Typing this has made me laugh as I remember screeching at it, ‘WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘YOUNG AGE’?! DEFINE YOUNG FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE’. I was very tempted to chuck the letter in the drawer and forget about it, but I booked my appointment anyway.
On the day (I booked the whole day off work, if I’m having a stranger have a look up my nunny, there’s no way I’m going back to the office) I sat in the waiting room frantically texting my friend. I can’t remember exactly what was said, but I have a feeling it was along the lines of please come and rescue me, this is the complete opposite of a relaxing day off. My name was called, I went white and went in.
My nurse was frankly, a hero. She took one look at me, sat me down and explained in layman terms exactly what was about to happen and when I could expect my results. Now, I wouldn’t recommend a smear test as a fun afternoon out, but it really doesn’t hurt. The tool reminds me of the brush that they use when you’re having glitter nails. Needless to say, I haven’t had glitter nails since. It honestly took about 30 seconds. Undressing for the test took longer. Top tip, don’t wear skinny jeans when you go. It just makes things a tad awkward. I still got a sweet for being brave though.
Frankly, I thank God that I booked my appointment. My results showed that my cervix had been having a whale of a time behind my back, and pre-cancerous cells had been detected. Treatment wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs, however it’s over now and I don’t have to worry about it. If I hadn’t gone, I have no idea what could have been. The friend I was texting in the waiting room, she booked her appointment after I went, and she had the same. We’re both happy, healthy and she now has a gorgeous baby boy.
So, the point of this rather long and rambling blog post, please book your appointment. The nurse isn’t going to take one look at your foof and recoil in horror, you’re not going to be ripped apart by the speculum (which I’ve renamed Donald, as speculum is a vile word), and they’re not going to have to get a full team of nurses in to get your sample. More importantly, it really could save your life.