I have always worked in the profession where my GP also happens to be a work colleague. You might think this ‘ups’ your chance of keeping yourself in tip-top condition, however, for an anxious betty like myself, the thought of spreading my legs for the person I’ll probably be sharing my coffee break with is one of those reasons the head goes into the sand… deep into the sand!
The word ‘Cancer’ is something I’ve always hated… it really does scare me, and being an idiot, I convince myself it’s because it wants me.
So, luckily after the foof doctor at my practice retired, I felt ready to take the plunge and book in the 5 years overdue PAP test… That happened, then the anxiety kicked in good and proper, that topped up with a house move and… there goes my head! So done in, in fact, I completely forget to change my address with the GP.
A month passed before I receive the voicemail saying I’d missed my coloscopy surgery and it was advised for me to call them back ASAP.
I immediately contacted the hospital, panic-stricken and mentally begging for it to be nothing too serious. I knew how my mind worked and prayed for it to be over thinking this…
The nurse explained my PAP smear had high-grade abnormalities showing CIN3. Another appointment was made there and then for as soon as they could fit me in… the following week. In the meantime, I was advised to seek support from Jo’s Cancer Trust.
As you can imagine my mind was already shitting the bed at this point… and that’s before I Google ‘CIN3’…
Here’s what Google said:
“CIN III is considered the same as carcinoma in situ (CIS) or Stage 0 cervical cancer. The Cancer has not yet invaded deeper tissues. However, if not surgically removed, there is a high chance it can progress to invasive cancer.”
Within fifteen minutes of getting home from work, I was convinced I was going to die, and I had a week to go before seeing anyone about it.
Living was tough, especially when you feared you were going to die; I couldn’t tell my children why I was a trainwreck, my heart was breaking at the thought of leaving them… I just physically, and mentally couldn’t handle this thing life was throwing at me.
I managed two nights and half a day before work sent me home after having the fourth panic attack… I drove straight to the hospital begging them to help me. How could anyone be expected to… manage life… after being smacked in the face with this??? Luckily, they took me straight in and carried out the treatment there and then.
They performed a LLETZ procedure, which stands for large loop excision of the transformation zone which is also known as loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP) uses a small wire loop with an electrical current running through it to cut away the affected area of tissue and seal the wound at the same time. I didn’t feel much of the procedure and frankly didn’t care what it felt like… I just wanted it OUT!
The hospital staff were so understanding and supportive, making me then worry about being ‘over-the-top’ and ‘a bit pathetic’… but, hey ho.
Luckily, I’ve now had my third clear PAP test and I will NEVER miss another.
I don’t ever want to go through that level of panic again, it was almost too much and I definitely think it’s left a scar on my mental health.
We’re so lucky to have an amazing NHS service here in England, I could not have asked for a more supportive team that day I fell into the Gynaecology department on my knees.
If you are between ages 21 and 29, you should get a Pap test every 3 years. If you are between ages 30 and 64, you should get a Pap test and human papillomavirus (HPV) test together every 5 years or a Pap test alone every 3 years. If you are 65 or older, you can then ask your doctor if you can stop having Pap tests.
It’s so important to keep a regular check of your lady bits, so book your Pap smear now if yours is due.