Monday was the start of this weeks Cervical Cancer Awareness Week and loads of people are doing their bit to raise awareness. I thought I’d do the same only with a blog post.
How many women reading this post have avoided going to have a smear? How many were sent letters and threw them away because you don’t see a point? How many just didn’t bother making the appointment? I’m one of them.
Now I could write up all the facts for about this disease first, but if you’re like me, then I’m guessing the facts are scary so I’m going to try and make it as friendly as possible. The truth is, this disease can affect anyone with a cervix which means it could be you. But according to my research, 75% of cervical cancers can be prevented by cervical smears
I know how horrendous it is to have a smear done. A few months before my 25th birthday I got my first letter inviting me to have it done, I made the appointment and couldn’t go. My anxiety and fear of what if prevented me. What if it hurts? What if they do it wrong? What if it comes back inconclusive and I spend months worrying? What if the cells are cancerous? Looking back, I know there was no point worrying about the what ifs until I had got the smear done. But the fear of the possibility was enough to keep me away.
My mum had a smear done when she was pregnant with me and they found potentially cancerous cells that they wanted removed… meaning no me. Well we know how that turned out because I’m writing this. I’m here and she had the laser treatment after I was born. That was too close to home to even contemplate finding out if I had it.
Within two weeks of having Luna, I was told there was a lump on my cervix and they wanted me to see a specialist about it. Now this was before my 25th birthday. Before I got my letter. I gave birth to Luna two months after I turned 24, I was seeing a specialist a month later and I wasn’t set to get my testing letter until I was 24 and a half. I went to the specialist and I was in excruciating pain that he couldn’t see my cervix. He told me that he would refer me to one in Stoke that was apparently the best at this sort of thing.
When I returned home to Stoke, I made the appointment to go and see the doctor and I cried my eyes out waiting. All I knew at this point was that there was lumps on my cervix and they needed to be checked out. I was paranoid that history was repeating itself in a way. I cried because I was sit in this waiting room alone, finding out if i could have cancer. I was petrified. My family were over 100 miles away and it wasn’t fair to bring a three month old to a place where they’re treating the sick so Kieran stayed at home with her.
The doctor was amazing and he could completely understand my fears and he spoke to me the whole time and kept me calm. He said that he couldn’t see the legions that they described and that he had seen cancer on the cervix so many times that he thought it was highly unlikely. He asked if I wanted a smear done to put my mind at ease and I refused. He understood and discharged me with no further action required.
After having failed to attend the first appointment, I got another letter shortly after my 25 birthday inviting me once again for a smear. I made the appointment, wrote it on the chalkboard and mum wiped it off. So I missed it another time. I could have rang the doctors and found out again but I was scared and avoided it. I didn’t want to feel that fear again.
I got the letter the third time and I wanted to just avoid it. I wanted to just pretend I never got it and not think about it again. But I’m lucky because I have such amazing friends. Now, I spoke to a couple of people about how scared I was and that I didn’t want to do it. And two of them refused to let me go through it alone. Although neither were there physically, one of them sent so many messages and memes that I couldn’t help but be distracted and the other was the reason I went. They explained that even if the worst was to happen, that catching early would mean I could still live my life and they were right. And a few weeks ago, I got it done. I made the appointment and went there to have my smear. They were with me 100% of the way and I couldn’t have done it without them. Because they took my fear away.
The other day, I got a letter from the NHS regarding my cervical smear. And that’s the only lines that matter. Thankfully, I am okay. But I took the chance of finding out.
Cancer is a horrible disease that destroys so many lives. Not only those of that cancer attacks so viciously but also those of the lives around them. But cervical cancer can have a lesser effect if you regularly have smears done. It’s recommended every 3-5 years pending on your age and circumstances. One scrape, every few years that could potentially save your life.
Smears aren’t the only thing that can prevent the effects of cervical cancers, awareness care. Know the symptoms and seek medical help if you experience any!
Go and check out jostrust.org.uk for more information regarding cervical cancer. Thank you for reading and please book your smears. I did because I know I want to be around for my daughter, and if this is one way I can prevent it, then I’ll find my strength for her. Ferrari❤️