Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Serious One: Smear Tests

My posts have been a bit thin on the ground again lately, which makes me rather sad as it's completely unintentional and I just seem to keep getting obstacles in the way of photo taking etc.  On top of this the light seems to be rapidly disappearing now that October is here, so I find myself getting home from work, walking the dog and by the time I get back and get my camera ready it is pretty much dark!  Before I go on with this post, I have to apologise for the totally irrelevant photo - but I really didn't know what kind of image to put with this post!  

However, I have to mention something that is never mentioned enough:  smear tests.  I recently went for mine after putting it off for various reasons since last December when I turned 25.  As someone who spends around 70% of my day worrying about something or other, I can honestly say that I was anxious about my smear test for about two years before I'd even got a letter about it.  The word 'anxiety' quite often thrown around in the blogging world, and while it's amazing that it has helped people understand and come to terms with their own forms of anxiety, it's also made someone like me feel even less like talking about it because I felt like the subject was already more than covered.  I'm a natural worrier but this usually comes out in the form of health anxiety, which quite often can become a kind of running joke - like the time I got a builder at work to check a wall for asbestos - and that's ok because I actually find it helpful when I can laugh at myself about it, but at the end of the day it's still a real thing and it can be exhausting and ruin so much.  For some people, health anxiety can take the form of booking yourself in for numerous doctors' appointments over little things that you think are something deadly, for others (like me) it can make you scared to book an appointment at all because you've already convinced yourself that the worst is going to happen.  So this, in part, was why I was putting off booking my smear test - I was 100% sure that something was wrong and that the test would only confirm my worst fear.  It didn't help that the beginning of this year wasn't the best health wise, including a complicated miscarriage that only convinced me further that something was badly wrong.  Anyway, that's another story for maybe another time, but basically it took until late summer to start feeling happier again, and I realised that the final weight off my shoulders wouldn't lift until I'd had my smear test that I'd been dreading for so long.  
I finally booked it a few weeks ago, and less than two weeks later I got my results - which came back 'normal' and meant that I wouldn't need to go back for another 3 years.  The relief that I felt when I read the letter is literally indescribable and it took a lot of re-reading for it actually to sink in that I had been wrong and that everything was ok.  
The health anxiety obviously won't go away overnight, but I now feel better about things than I have in a very long time so I hope that this is the start of the end of it - or at least the start of managing it and not letting it take over. 

SO, my main point that I wanted to get across because I started rambling on (I can't believe how long this post is - well done if you made it this far) is to BOOK YOUR SMEAR TEST.  Cervical Cancer can be both prevented from even developing and treated thanks to this test, so there really is no good reason not to get it done.  Abnormal results hardly ever mean cancer and if pre cancerous cells are detected then you are sent to have them treated straight away.  It is far far better to find out this way than to have symptoms develop.  I'm obviously   no expert, but this is all what the lovely nurse explained t me on the day.  The test lasts no longer than a couple of minutes, and despite how it sounds and what is done, it doesn't hurt at all.  Yeah, I guess there's more comfortable situations that you could be in, but when it's about something as important as this it is more than worth getting some of your kit off behind the curtain for a nurse who's seen it all before.

I hope this post was helpful - I can't really believe I'm publishing a post this personal as it's very unlike me, but normal service will resume from now on! xx


  1. I'm only 18 so I can't have a smear test for a good while yet, I almost wish they'd lower the age as people my age can develop cancer, even if it is a rare chance I still feel it's better to be safe than sorry!
    Jodie, xo // Jodie Loue

  2. I know exactly what you feel like with health anxiety, I've had anxiety since I was 11 (now 24) and I have gone through so many worries about things being wrong with me. A few years ago I was so worried (for no real reason) that I had heart problems and couldn't let the worry go until I went for a CT scan and everything came back clear. I also have a major phobia of getting a stomach bug and have to check hygiene ratings and reviews before I eat at places. I've also had one child but because I was only 22 when I had him I've not had a smear yet and I'm not due one until next July! My friend went to uni in Wales and the age for smears there is lower, she had one and it came back abnormal and whilst she is fine, it's still worrying to think that she still wouldn't have one until next year and if anything could have changed in those few years. xx

  3. I completely get your anxiety, as it is such a horrible test to take. The uncomfortableness of it makes me cringe, like having you legs spread and an instrument inserted. Eeek! however, It is so worth it, to get the letter in the post afterwards, whether it is good, or bad, at least we're tackling the problem head on, and I really think it should spoken about more. Great post, to get awareness out there, and at least it's 3 years until your next! Yay!

  4. Such a important issue for all girls alike, so glad to see that someone is actually speaking out about this!

    Sara - She Who Is Short

  5. Thank you for such a inspiring and thought-provoking post! It's so important to book your smear test and make sure you're always aware of any symptoms of cancer too x

    Everything But The Kitchen Sink

  6. I had my first one this year. I booked it as soon as I got the letter through. I find it a pain that they send your letter through and then you have to wait 3 months or so for it! It was also over in a flash when I had mine - straight in and out (please ignore the pun there!)
    Jess @ JuicyyyJesss*


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