Smear Tests: It’s Time To Acknowledge We’re Not Invincible

Ladies, we have an epidemic on our hands… and the epidemic is that we’re not taking good enough care of our foofs.

Vagina. Nunnie. Va-jay-jay. Flower. Sharon. Whatever you want to call it, we’re not being kind enough to it.

Apparently, according to recent surveys, a stupid amount of young women aren’t booking their smear test appointments when they get the letter through at 24 and 1/2. People’s reason? They’re embarrassed by the idea of a nurse seeing their goodies or are afraid it will hurt.

Ladies, neither of those reasons are worth you not getting checked!

As February 4th is World Cancer Day, I figured now might be the time to hit you with a few statistics in regards to cervical cancer…

Cervical cancer is the most common form of cancer in women under 35.

9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day.

2 women lose their lives to the disease every day.

1 in 3 among those aged 25 to 29 skip their cervical screening. Girls, you’re not indestructible!

We think that because we’re young that it won’t happen to us; cancer only gets people in their 40s and upwards. We think it’s rare for young people to develop cancer, but it really isn’t. It’s less likely, sure, but it’s not impossible.

Just take a look at the amount of children born with cancer. I know a guy in his twenties with cancer riddling his body; he’s been given a death sentence in his twenties. I can’t even begin to imagine what that must feel like; to know that you’re on borrowed time.

I have a friend who has had to have operations to remove cancer from her body and she’s in her twenties too. And I heard a girl on the radio recently who is only 21 and had an early cervical screening only to discover that she has cancer. At 21!

I thought that I was immune to cancer when I was 14. The vaccination to prevent cervical cancer had just come out and it was offered to me, but I didn’t want it. I’d heard that it hurt, so I didn’t particularly want to go through two sets of injections that would leave me with a dead arm. I declared to my friends “well if I get it then that’s just how it was meant to be.”

Now I’m still a believer in everything happening for a reason, but 14 year old me was ignorant. She thought she was going to live forever.

But now as I grow older and see my friends and family members getting ill and hear of people dropping dead for unpredictable reasons, you begin to take note of your own mortality.

When my letter for my cervical screening came through I was pretty sensible about it. I got it booked straight away and had the smear test. (If you haven’t had it before then really don’t worry. It didn’t hurt at all. Sure it is a little bit uncomfortable having your cervix opened up with a plastic vice and a stick poked in you, but it doesn’t hurt.) 

Then I went on my merry way and completely forgot about it.

A couple of weeks later I received my letter back from the doctors. I didn’t even open it straight away because I was so confident that it would be a usual ‘clear’ test result. I’ve been lucky enough to not really have any problems with my health *touch wood*.

When I opened up the letter I had to sit down. I was shaking and I was scared. I wasn’t indestructible.

I had High Grade (severe) dyskaryosis, which meant that I had a whole lot of abnormal cells on my cervix. I had no idea what this meant. All I knew was that I had a colposcopy booked for a week later to remove the abnormal cells and I was given a leaflet with my pack about the odds that I may or may not have cancer. Like, what??

I was 24 and I had a fucked up fanny that maybe wanted to kill me.

With my best friend, my boyfriend and my family ALL on holidays at the same time, I felt totally alone when I got the letter. Luckily I have another best friend who calmed me down and wiped away my tears, but I was mad.

I was mad at myself. I was mad at 14-year-old me for not getting the jab. I was mad at general me for not protecting my nunnie well enough. And I was mad that on my first smear test, I had high levels of abnormal cells. What did that have to say about my future? Was this always going to be a problem until it was a BIG problem?

I had the colposcopy (which was horrible) and I felt like I was dying for a few days (PS. I am a drama queen so don’t freak out), but then I got the all clear. They scheduled me a follow up appointment at the hospital for 6 months later to see how my nun is doing so at least the nurses are looking out for it.

My follow up appointment is in a few weeks and I will likely not have anymore abnormal cells to remove (fingers crossed) but the whole thing made me reassess a lot.

It reminded me that I have no entitlement to life over anyone else, so I could easily have turned out to be one of the rare people who gets cancer young. I’m not invincible and neither are you.

So please, just book your smear test and get it done. It takes 5 minutes and once it’s done, it’s done. You only have to go back every 3 years and it’s to take care of YOU. It’s to give YOU a longer life.

The symptoms of cervical cancer are subtle and it may not even cause any symptoms until it’s at an advanced stage. So please go. Take care of your nunnie, your va-jay-jay, your Sharon, or whatever you want to call it.

It could just save your life.

February 2, 2018
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1 Comment

  • Reply Laurice

    I’ve been through the colposcopy three times… it isn’t fun. But, I’m glad it’s happening to keep an eye on those pesky abnormal cells instead of letting them morph into cancer ones. We all need to be checked out… even if it’s just to be preventative. Thanks, Elisha for telling it like it is. Big hug to you. xoxo

    February 4, 2018 at 5:48 pm
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