I had mine. Have you had yours?
11 years ago I had my regular 5 year smear test. I was 29. I was healthy and I had a 13 month old son, Oliver.
Receiving a letter to tell me I needed to visit the doctor regarding the results of my smear lead my mind straight to worst case scenario. I went along and found out I had CIN III cells present in my cervix.
But what did this actually mean?
It meant that left to their own devices these cells would become cancerous. Maybe in 5 years. Maybe in 20 years, maybe next year. What this 5 minute embarrassing yet painless test had given me was the opportunity to avoid cervical cancer. Was I about to grasp this opportunity with both hands? HELL YES!
There was a small problem. I was unknowingly pregnant with my second child.
I was seen with a couple of weeks by a consultant who was matter of fact and sympathetic. He was keen to remove the cells but not at the risk of my unborn child. He was happy to wait 9 months.
I’m not going to lie, the procedure to remove these pesky cells is neither dignified nor comfortable, particularly following a grade 2 tear during labour 3 months previously. But ultimately this was a life lengthening procedure which meant I could go on about my life.
11 years later, I have normal results regularly on my smear tests and I look forward to many years annoying both of my kids!
Ladies, and gentlemen who know ladies…get to your regular smear tests. 5 minutes of embarrassment for a lifetime with your loved ones.
If you would like more information about smear tests visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cervical-screening/
Written by Sam Bramley, Sports Therapist.