If you Google “Smear Test” or “Pap Smear”, you will be surrounded by horror stories – I know I was!
Here in the UK, once you reach 25, you are invited to get a smear test and my time was up.
Between 2012-13, 4.24 million women were invited to a cervical screening – out of those, 3.32 million were tested. That is nearly 1 million women that do not get tested. I was almost one of those women.
The thought absolutely terrified me. Firstly, I did not want to show my privates to a stranger. Secondly, I had heard that it hurts. Thirdly, I was so scared that it would be bad news!
I received my letter in October 2014 – I finally booked an appointment in May 2015 all because of a blog post I read – find it here
Honestly, I almost cancelled. The day of the test, I went out shopping and for lunch with my best friend – that calmed my nerves a bit. As soon as she went home and my appointment was in an hours time, I freaked out!
I was shaking and I was almost sick. Literally, never in my life have I ever been this scared of anything! In the car on the way, I was running through in my head how much this was going to hurt and how embarrassing this was going to be. I am surprised I even made it there. After parking up, it took me 5-10 minutes to get out of the car.
I was about 20 minutes early, so I thought I had 20 minutes to calm myself down. WRONG! My name was called almost straight away. I went down to the nurses room, where I was greeted by an older woman with a smile.
Straight away, I said how scared I was. She asked me exactly what I was scared of and I told her. Her first advice was that every woman was different and it does hurt for some people – she said the calmer and more relaxed you are, the less discomfort you will be in. She said not to be embarrassed as not only does she have a vagina, but she has seen hundreds!
To calm me down, she said that I had a few extra questions that she could ask me about my general health to complete some records on the computer. We did that and then we got on with it.
I wore a skirt with no underwear because I wanted it to be as quick as possible! She said that I was amazingly prepared with this.
Now without going into too much detail, the next 30 seconds were quick and painless. Honestly, the second I felt a little discomfort, the whole experience was over. No pain at all (please remember – although I had no pain, as my nurse said – everyone is different – I don’t want to give you false promises, but seriously – I felt no pain). She said everything looked visibly normal. For me, the worst part was the jelly lubricant and how messy it was! Maybe underwear would have been a good idea!
After the test, she said my results would be with me in 2-3 weeks. Now that was the bit I was worrying about too – but she said that whatever they were, they couldn’t be rushed and at least I had started the process. This meant that if something was wrong, the ball was rolling!
When I got home, I felt so proud of myself for doing this – but I definitely felt a bit odd. Almost like I had prepared myself for torture and when it didn’t happen, my body was a still waiting for it! Honestly, my test was at 5pm and until I went to bed, I felt a bit wobbly – almost in shock. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I felt like I just needed endless cups of tea and cuddles – but I am the biggest wimp known to man!
Personally, I would recommend taking the day off work (sounds dramatic doesn’t it?! It really did not hurt!). Why? Because as a woman, this is the thing you are doing to keep yourself safe. YOU made the decision to do this and it is a massive step – it also throws you out of your comfort zone. I think the whole day should be made about you. I am a sensitive soul so having the evening of relaxing was really important to me. I am sure that you are probably more sturdy than me and don’t need it 🙂
I was very nervous waiting for these results to come through – and I am so happy that they were normal. My next test will be 2018 providing I have no symptoms in the mean time.
If your results were not normal – thank GOD you got the test done and you are in the right hands. It is nothing to be scared about.
Life is for living and we shouldn’t let anything get in our way!
No Fear, Go Smear.