It has nearly been a year since I received the awful smear test results through the post, I say awful as that is what it felt like at the time but really it is a lifesaver. I had gone for my routine screening on December 19th and then carried on with my day as normal not thinking anything of my appointment, my previous screenings had all been normal so why would this one be any different?
2 days later on December 21st, I was out with my 12-year-old son for the day shopping and we had just nipped home quickly to check my mail, I saw 3 letters addressed to me that looked like they were all from the hospital so my first thought was that was really quick.
I opened the thickest letter first and I pulled out some booklets which had the words Cervical Cancer, colposcopy and a treatment booklet and then panic set in. I opened the other 2 letters as quickly as I could, literally trying not to throw up or faint with worry as my son was in the car, another letter said I had a colposcopy appointment booked for the end of January 2017 with possible treatment at the same time depending on the severity, I was very confused by this point, what the F**K was a colposcopy? and then I ripped open THE letter that made me feel sick to the pit of my stomach.
It was just horrible and not what I was expecting at all, I didn’t have any symptoms or anything to make me question why it would come back abnormal. I was hysterical and my poor boy in the car was looking at me thinking what on earth had gone on. I tried to call my partner but he was driving so couldn’t answer so I called my mum, I was too hysterical and she couldn’t understand what I was saying so she tried to calm me down so I could tell her what had happened. Once I managed to tell her she tried to comfort me but all I wanted was my mum to come and give me a cuddle and tell me its all right and I knew that’s what she wanted to do but she was at work.
Once I had calmed a little tiny bit I called the hospital and begged for them to bring the colposcopy forward but they had nothing until the end of January and there was no way I could wait that long, I was having my double jaw surgery on the 17th January and needed a clear head for that. I feel like an idiot now but I was so scared at the time telling her I didn’t want to die. I begged her to find something sooner and she prevailed, what a godsend. She had found me an appointment for the next day December 22nd in the next town from us and I said yes! Travelling was the least of my worries right now, I wanted this over.
When David returned home very shortly after I had tried to contact him I was sat in my car and he just cuddled me so tight, I showed him all the booklets I had got sent and he made me a cuppa T and sat down and read through them all (which I hadn’t) and then explained to me what the letter actually meant and what they needed to do now to ensure it doesn’t progress into cancerous cells. I didn’t listen to him at all and was just fixating on what if I have cancer, Emily and Lydia would be at an age where they wouldn’t remember me and my little Leo, my warrior my right-hand man. This did nothing for my health anxiety.
That night I didn’t sleep much and I was just counting down the hours to this appointment so I could get it over and done with, the day went very slowly and I tried my hardest to forget about it but I couldn’t it was all I could think about. It was my sisters birthday that day and I couldn’t be there and spend time with her like we usually would on one of our birthdays, instead she was looking after my kids which I know she didn’t mind doing at all whilst I had gone for my colposcopy.
I remember the car journey there, I was silent, overthinking things like what if they had got the results wrong from my last test and I have been sitting here with cancer all this time? What if I am dying? I had been googling the night before and I found a website called Jo’s cervical cancertrust which had a forum so I registered and I felt a slight bit of relief when I saw quite a lot of women were going through the same thing. I thought I was the only one but in fact, it is very common but no-one talks about it and I found myself on that forum all the time looking through posts and supporting each other through our journey.
As we were waiting all I could think was I wonder if that woman is here for the same reason as me? everyone was silent and it really panicked me, then they called my name.
SHITTTTTTTTTTTTTT I jumped up and went through to a consultant’s room with David. A really lovely Doctor went through all my details and explained why I was there and what was going to happen next, the treatment is called an LLETZ. I can’t really describe how I was feeling next, calmer because I was there getting the abnormal cells removed but anxious in case it’s worse than what she thought and I would need to come back and be put to sleep.
As I entered the room there was 2 very lovely, calming, funny nurses. There was a chair behind the chair I had to sit on for David and a screen to the side of you so if you wanted to look then you could. I did glimpse but didn’t know what I was really looking for so I just looked up at the ceiling whilst the nurses made me laugh, Then it was over.
The Doctor said she was 99.9% sure she had removed all the abnormal cells but I would need another screening to make sure in 6-months time. I asked her what CIN it was and she said CIN3 and that she took a sample for a biopsy and I should receive the results in 4-6 weeks as it was Christmas and the new year. When she left I asked the nurses how good she was and they reassured me she’s very thorough and very few people have to come back for a 2nd treatment, I held on to that with everything.
When I got home I had to take it easy and do nothing so David ordered us a Chinese and I posted about how my experience was having a colposcopy which wasn’t half as bad as I thought it was going to be, now I had to get through Christmas without it playing on my mind but to be honest i felt so much better about it all after the treatment so tried my hardest to not think about it.
My double jaw surgery was imminent now and with all this going on I didn’t have a second to worry or panic about it like I know I would have done if I hadn’t of recently gone through this.
On January the 9th after stalking the post lady for the last few weeks I received a letter which looked like it was from the hospital. IT WAS I felt like I could hear my heart beating so loud and I felt sick to the pit of my stomach. Why had I got my results this quickly she said 4-6 weeks and it had been 3.
I took a deep breath and opened the envelope, which can I add was thin so no leaflets which was a positive. I slowly pulled the letter out and the first word I noticed was ‘Pleased’ I instantly felt relieved and pulled the letter out quickly… Here is what it said
The nightmare was over for now and I felt like a huge weight had been lifted, Now I could start to look to my Jaw surgery which you can read about here (edit link)
I then received my invitation for my test of cure screening in June and I booked it straight away. It was again straightforward and I would receive my results through the post and if all is normal then I would be back to 3-yearly screenings.
A week later I received my results and surprisingly I felt calm, the envelope was thin again so it could only mean one thing.
YEP, I had got the all clear, the abnormal cells had all been removed and I had no HPV virus, back to 3-yearly smears.
I cannot even explain to you how important your routine screening is, I know it is embarrassing but would you rather miss it and have to deal with the possibility of cancer for a few minutes sake.
It can take up to 10 years for precancerous cells to turn cancerous and your screening is there for early detection so god forbid It was cancer you would have a much higher survival rate.
Please please do not miss your smears ladies I cannot stress how important they are, I never want to go through that again. However, if I did I think I would be much calmer. When I have been speaking to women I was actually surprised at how common abnormal tests are and how many people had gone through the same thing as me, I was also shocked at how many women don’t bother.