Don't Be a Pussy

Feb 03, 2015

Last November, I sat in the doctor’s surgery awaiting the results of my pap smear. I’d already had the phone call from the receptionist earlier that day asking if I could pop in on my way home from work, which is never a good sign.

I waited anxiously, reflecting on the last time I was here... a couple of weeks earlier. I’d sat in that same room in the same doctor’s surgery, watching ambulance after ambulance roar past, sirens blazing. The doctor and I chatted about how there must have been a terrible accident. Little did I know that they were going to a fatal head on collision, which sadly my brother was involved in.

Not long after this, my friend lost her battle with Leukaemia and as I sat and waited I couldn’t help but think that this was the worst timing ever. It was the final blow of what seemed like a long string of heartbreak and grief.

How could this result have come back problematic? I had never missed a pap smear for as long as I could remember. How could a problem arise within just 2 short years? It didn’t make much sense to me considering what a short amount of time that was. But apparently two years is plenty of time.

The doctor revealed that I had a high grade lesion, also known as CIN3 which are a higher grade of abnormal cells. This is the stage prior to cancer, although only 0% - 3% of women who return a higher grade abnormality may actually have cervical cancer. Left untreated, high grade abnormalities may develop into cancer at a later stage. This was pretty much enough to scare the bejeezus out of me. Back in 2007 I’d had an abnormal result as well, but that was a low grade lesion (or CIN1) and it did not require any treatment and it cleared by itself. This time was going to be a little different.

Considering the timing of my diagnosis and series of personal trauma I’d had over the previous few weeks, my GP agreed to ensure I was seen by my gynaecologist sooner rather than later. I was quite nervous about the next round of tests because for some reason, I have a very sensitive cervix. Although most women don’t usually feel a thing during a pap smear, I need to take pain relief afterwards. This time I would be having a both a colposcopy and biopsy, which is more invasive than a pap smear.

To be sure, I took two panadeine fortes beforehand and felt fabulous and fuss-free as the procedures went ahead. Unfortunately those drugs wore off after a while and I felt fairly crappy for the next 24 hours, but I was prepared for that. The tests confirmed the high grade lesion, with glandular involvement.

Time went fairly quickly after this. My surgery was scheduled for early February and the aim was to remove the high grade, abnormal cells. As the date approached, I didn’t feel many nerves or worries. It was simply just another thing in my schedule that needed to be taken care of. I didn’t get too bogged down with it. I’m a busy lady! I have shit to do!! But the thing that really stuck in my mind was not knowing which procedure I’d end up having (see below). We haven’t decided on whether or not we will have another baby, but one of the things my gynaecologist spoke to me about was the potential weakening of the cervix, should a larger amount need to be taken once in theatre. Of course, this may have an impact on a pregnancy later on.

There were two procedures that I was possibly going to have, dependent of course of the depth of the abnormal cells. I would either be having a Wire Loop Excision or a Cone Biopsy. Fortunately, I only needed a Wire Loop Excision and as I sit here writing this (the day after) I have recovered very well and have minimal pain in comparison to the biopsy. I will know more after my follow up appointment about all the ins and outs and the conclusive results.

So why am I writing this?

I’m writing this because I imagine what might have happened if I’d not gone for that Pap Smear. If I’d been too busy, too broke or too fearful – Those cells would have had a field day and potentially cost me a lot more than just some of my time and a doctor’s fee.

I’m worth far more than this. My little girl is worth far more than this.

When was your last Pap Smear?

If you’re not sure, phone your doctor and ask, and while you’re on the phone, book it in. Don’t be a pussy. It can SAVE YOUR LIFE.

So where to next for me? My gynaecologist will have my full results available in a fortnight and I’ll need to have more frequent pap smears from now on in order to monitor everything.

So what about you? Where to now?

Book in your pap smear

Help get the message out to women everywhere about how important this is by sharing a status or Tweet “I’m booked in” with the Hashtag #dontbeapussy

Share this blog on social media so we can help to spread the word and save women’s lives!

Bless
Tash xx

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