TW: Vaginas and speculums, oh my!
I’ve seen a couple of people I follow on social media talking about this and I wanted to get involved. So today, friends, we’re talking about smear tests.
As you’re aware I said goodbye to my thirties a while back. I’m now 41 and therefore so together in life that you can be sure I’m completely on top of my cervical smear appointments. NOT. The last test I had, according to my lovely nurse from this morning, was in 2010. This is totally unacceptable and I know that. But life gets in the way so I can’t beat myself up about it too much.
I have been getting lectured heavily by my husband recently though and he was part of the reason I finally booked the appointment. Along with a lot of press about how the number of women attending them has diminished over the years. I know this isn’t good but I’ve done it now and it was so unobtrusive that I thought it was worth sharing my experience. Reading other women’s stories helped me to be less nervous about everything so why not, eh?
My appointment by the way took just ten minutes. That’s ten minutes of my day to get a potentially life-saving procedure. My nurse, Natalie, was reassuring and professional – and although I say I wasn’t thay nervous, that’s a bit of a lie. The first thing I told her as I entered her room was how scared I was feeling. She asked me what I was most worried about – my responses: having to get my bits out, the pain, the results – weren’t very helpful. But she still addressed each one of them.
“I’ve seen it all before.”
“It can be uncomfortable but shouldn’t hurt. Tell me straight away if it does.”
“Whatever happens, we will deal with it.”
And then I was lying bottomless on the bed with my feet together and my legs angled like a frog’s. Not the most glamourous of positions and no stirrups in sight but it wasn’t uncomfortable. It’s a little bit odd when the spectulum slips in (after it’s been generously lubed up, thank you very much) but not painful. We talked about veganism, work and Jade Goody while she rummaged around.
In the end, I has to have an extra long speculum which made me laugh (and then wonder if I should be worried) but according to Natalie – and many of the articles I have read recently – “One size does not fit all”.
Did I mention I was in and out within ten minutes, with no pain, not much discomfort and a huge sense of pride? Like, I’ve ticked something off my “Sensible Woman” list for another three years. The results will be posted to me in 4-6 weeks and hopefully, that will be that.
So if, like me you’re several tests behind and putting things off, don’t. You’ll be okay.