Alex and I had only just walked through the door after arriving back from our honeymoon when I spotted a letter addressed to me sitting on the kitchen side. After I had opened the letter and read the first line I had a huge knot in my stomach.
The letter explained that I was at the age that I needed to have my first smear test….
I have always feared hospitals and GP’s and I will try my very hardest to avoid the doctors at all costs, unless I am very poorly – which I think most people feel the same, who likes going to the doctors?.
A few months had passed and I still hadn’t booked my appointment, despite having a follow up letter from my GP explaining how important it was that I came in for my smear test. I put it to the back of my mind for a while but would think about it regularly. I had very mixed feelings about the test, I felt embarrassed, nervous, and scared, I didn’t know what to expect because it wasn’t something that I had discussed with anyone before.
I would tell my friends at work that I needed to book my smear and I was met with negative comments and a lot of my friends that were younger than me said how they were dreading getting their letter. I decided that enough was enough and that I needed to get it done, so I rang my GP to book my appointment which was booked in for a few days’ time.
Those few days before my appointment were filled with nervous butterflies and a huge feeling of the “unknown” but on the actual day of the appointment I felt strangely calm. I made a video of myself talking about how I felt and that I wanted to document my experience to help other women who were feeling very nervous about their test.
I walked to my GP which was a 5-minute walk and checked in at the desk, I took a seat and waited at least 20 minutes before my name was called – that 20-minute wait was horrible because it made me more nervous, as always, the anticipation makes things a lot worse than the actual thing you are waiting for.
After a wait that felt like FOREVER my name was called and I followed the nurse into the room who closed the door behind me. The nurse was very lovely and explained everything to me – what she needed do, what she would use, what it would feel like, how long it would take etc… this eased those nervous feelings for me and I was very thankful that she had taken the time to explain things fully to me. *I am not going to go in to too much detail in this post but I will leave some useful links at the bottom if you would like to do some research.
It was time for me to get undressed and lie on the bed, the nurse gave me privacy to do this and asked me to let her know when I was ready. One piece of advice that I would give is to wear a dress and tights/leggings, this made it a lot less awkward and easier.
The test only lasted a few minutes and then it was done. I got dressed again and sat on the chair for a chat with the nurse. The nurse told me that she had found two lumps on my cervix and that she wanted to get a second opinion on them – the nerves were back, and my stomach sank.
The test itself had been a positive experience, it didn’t hurt – yes it was a little awkward and embarrassing but you must remember the nurses carry out multiple smear tests daily. I wanted to follow up my video with all the positivity but after this news I didn’t feel that I could.
I was booked in for a follow up appointment with the doctor which was set a few days after my smear test and was told not to worry too much it was just to be sure with a doctor’s opinion.
A few days passed, and I was back at the GP, waiting on the sofa with magazines scattered about me – trying to keep my mind off having to have this done for a second time in two days. I was called and followed the doctor to the same room as my last appointment. The doctor explained that the nurse had booked me in for a second appointment as she had found the lumps and wanted to be sure that they were nothing serious, so I would have the same procedure as the smear test to check that everything was ok.
I lay on the bed and the doctor had a look, again, this only took a couple of minutes and I was back sat in the chair chatting to the doctor who explained that everything was fine, it is quite common for women to have lumps on their cervix but it is always important to contact the GP if you notice any lumps or growths on your body. The doctor was happy that the lumps were nothing serious and that was that.
I wanted to make this post initially to explain how easy and simple it is to get a smear test done, as it was my first it was understandable that I had my concerns but now that I have had one done I will not feel as nervous next time.
I received a letter a few weeks later letting me know that I had no signs of cervical cancer and that the test came back with no need for further investigation – that was it, I had done my first smear test and I waved goodbye to the Doctor for another 3 years for the next one.
I got my initial letter in May and didn’t actually have my test until October which I now regret, I put it off for that long because I was too scared and embarrassed to do anything about it, but I would like to say to you all – book it, get it done because you never know what could happen. The lumps that the nurse found on my cervix were not dangerous, but they could have been. Don’t be afraid, the nurses and doctors who carry out the tests have seen it all before – a thousand times, they are there to make sure you are healthy, not to judge you or make you feel embarrassed.
A smear test is not compulsory, at the end of the day it is your choice whether you have it done or not, but I would highly suggest that everyone books their appointment when their letter comes through because in my experience it was no where near as bad than I thought it would be.
*If you would like more information about smear tests, please follow the links provided bellow