14.10.13

REAL LIFE

I've been umming and ahhing about writing this post but I think it's such an important subject that more women should be talking about in a more open way that I decided I can't not say anything about it.

Back in June I turned 25 which not only meant that I had made it to a quarter of a century old, or even that I get the indulgent treat of ice cream at Fortnum and Mason but that I was now officially old enough to have my first smear test, finally.

The smear was ok, certainly not the nicest thing in the world but it's free due to our nhs so I can get over the uncomfortableness, and you know, it's pretty important. 
A couple of weeks later I got a letter saying I had severe dyskariosis (huh?!) and would need to go to the hospital to have my cells looked at and see what the best form of treatment would be. Naturally (stupidly), I started looking up all the terms that they use in the leaflet and trying to understand that if I have severe/high grade cells, does this mean I have, like...cancer?! I mean, the leaflet and letter didn't say I don't have it soo...
Obviously nothing on the internet made me feel relaxed or positive about it and I ended working myself up into a bit of a mess the morning of my appointment and I cried my eyes out in Peckham's Superdrug as I was buying sanitary towels because the leaflet said I might need them - just incase (actually, the kind nurse at the hospital gave me one).
At the appointment, the doctor and nurse were so kind and put my mind at ease right away, I had a little cry to the doctor and told her that I had didn't really understand what was wrong and how bad it is, this is when she said I absolutely did not have cancer, they are just pre-cancer cells (in my head I was thinking...you still said cancer though!) So she had a look at my cervix with this big machine with binocular things on the end and then put iodine all over it to see the extent of the bad cells and she also took a little biopsy with this grabber contraption to have tested and said I would hear back soon.
The rest of the day I was feeling pretty sorry for myself and because of the biopsy I had stomach cramps but Steven made me nice food and took care of me so it was fine really.

A couple of weeks later I got the confirmation that I had CIN 3 and would need to go back for LLETZ treatment, which is basically when they zap the cells with an electric loop device. Yay.
To be honest, I was feeling ok about the whole thing, I knew I didn't have cancer and that it was a procedure they do everyday for so many women and I'm not a special case, I've just got some shitty cells that need taking care of.
So I had the procedure today and it all went fine and I'm on the mend. This appointment was less painful then the last one because she gave me local anaesthetic on the effected areas so I couldn't feel when she was burning away the cells that had no right to be there. Steven was watching it all on the screen next to me whilst I was thinking about what treat I wanted for my tea and he described it to me after, it sounds really gross and I think I would have passed out if I knew what she was doing when but I'm glad he was there to see.
I'm just resting in bed at the minute with pretty bad stomach cramps that just won't go away or even calm down but if that's all I get after what she was doing to my cervix then I can put up with that.

SO many women go through this everyday, its really quite scary, I'm sure you know someone who has had it done. I just know that when I found out after my initial smear, I felt alone and that I had this awful thing in me that I didn't even know how well it could be treated, so I've been openly telling people and really praising the NHS for doing all this for free, FREE! We are very lucky to have this available to us.

And if you're putting off your smear test, just do it.


15 comments :

  1. Glad to hear all is ok with you Jo ! Definitely a very important post - thank you for sharing that!

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  2. Oh gosh that sounds so scary, you poor thing. I hope the cramps have stopped and everything is a-ok now xx

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    1. Thanks Christina, everything is a-ok now (except the bloated stomach from all the biscuits, ha!) x

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  3. That does sound really scary, I can't imagine how it must of felt receiving that letter and then having the procedure. I would have done exactly what you did and googled everything! Thank you for sharing, I'd never heard of dyskariosis before. Glad to hear you're on the mend - hope the stomach cramps have stopped! take care x

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    1. Yeah it was pretty scary, it was such a long process too, i think from start to finish it was about 3/4 months! Glad its over with though :) x

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  4. Oh my gosh, how scary for you. I'm so glad you wrote this - I don't see enough like this out there and it will help lots of girls if they get the same news. I've not had a smear yet as I'm too young, but I know how important they are. I hope that you feel totally better now and your boyfriend sounds like a gem! xx

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    1. Thanks Becca, I totally agree - my boyfriend is a gem, I'm very lucky that he was by my side the whole time.
      I'm really glad you're glad I wrote it! I deliberated over it a lot but its too important not to mention it, its something so common its ridiculous. Make sure you go when you are old enough! :)

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  5. Isn't it wonderful that the doctors take such good care of us? We have so much to be grateful for. I'm glad you had your smear, and they reacted so quickly to zap those cells. That's great news. X Jane http://janeheinrichs.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Jane! Unbelievable the service we get really and all for free, I dread to think what it is like for many others :(

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  6. Well done for writing about this. When it happened to me a few years ago it seemed that no-one talked about this experience but when I did, I discovered lots of other women I knew had been through it but didn't like to break the taboo of talking about it.
    I even watch my procedure on the screen so I understood what was happening.
    If there was more chat it wouldn't be so scary - we'd be thinking more like wart removal and less about cancer.

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    1. Exactly! That's how I feel, so many women go through this and only when its happening to you and you mention it do you realise that its so common. We just need to be more open and willing to discuss it

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  7. Well done for sharing - I bet you'll make someone else feel way better about going through it if they read this.

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing, Jo! I have my first one due in April and while I'm not nervous about the procedure itself, I'll admit to being anxious about what they might come up with!

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