it’s been a while since I wrote, life’s been flying by. I’ll write another post soon but today I wanna talk a bit about something that is rather important really, and I’ll tell you about my experience of it. Smear tests.
Today I have been so nervous! Back in January I went for my regular smear test which here in Sweden women do every 3 years from the age of 23 to 70 (well every woman should and is offered, it is voluntary and I am aware that not everyone does it) and after a month-ish I got a letter saying there were cell changes, although they also pointed out that it wasn’t cancer. None the less I have been a bit worried, not out right worried but it’s been bubbling deep in my subconscious and I have felt an underlying worry anyway. After receiving the letter I had to wait for another couple of months before receiving my second letter with the appointment time to the gynaecologist. Oh how I wish I could have got the appointment with the first letter but hey ho, I guess thats just how they do things, however I do think it’s very stupid as it can really stress some people (me) out. And guess what!: today was the day!
You would think that with all the hospital appointments, stays and examinations this would be a piece of cake but sitting in that waiting room feeling so nervous that I just wanted to lock myself in the toilet brought back all the old memories of my dentist fear and how as a child I would lock myself in the toilet every time we got to the dentists. Yes I still have a tremendous dentist fright but it is a lot better now, but today was nerve raking. I have never had any cell changes in the past so this step of the process was new and I had no idea what to expect! Oh how I wished I had someone with me but sometimes we just have to be grown up and brave! Although I feel like I’m having to be grown up and brave a lot nowadays and I’m not totally happy about that..
I found it calming that the doctor I was seeing shared my name and thought that it could be a great talking point if she was a bit stiff, however as soon as she called for me I saw by her smile that she would be lovely. And she really was. She sat me down and talked through everything. Apparently my first smear showed that there were cell changes of the HPV virus, and normally they class the virus in 3 stages, however with mine they weren’t able to put it into a stage and that was why I had to have a second screening and more thorough check up.
As always I told her straight away that I was very nervous as I had never had cell changes before and she totally understood. We talked through my experiences and how my health has been and she explained to me that my UC combined with taking cortisone based medicines increase my risk of cell changes and that it makes it more difficult for the body to kick the virus. After explaining everything to me it was time to jump up on the table and get it over and done with. I won’t go into detail of what was done, but I just made sure to take deep breaths throughout the full process and keep my eyes closed; there was noooo waaay I was going to see what tools she was going to use. She was lovely and pre warned me about each part, things that could sting, or hurt a bit, she even warned me before having a look in the microscope, that made me giggle and of course I had to say “I hope that I won’t feel anything”. My way of coping with difficult and nerve raking situations is by laughing, well either that or crying, so I was giggling away most of the time, and like most doctors she said it was so nice. She understood I was nervous but said how much easier it was that I was laughing than it was with the patients that are dead quiet when nervous, I bet, I feel the same if the doctor is dead quiet! She saw the infected area and said it wasn’t very big, which was positive but we still won’t know anything until the results are back. Once all my deep breathing was over and the tools were out of me she said I had been great and asked how it was, and you know what, in all honesty I couldn’t remember any pain or awfulness, my brain had just pushed it away to the side, not that there was much of anything really, mainly a bit of uncomfortableness. Oh how I have been exhausted after this examination. I went back to work after it but once I got home I have not been able to leave the sofa! Once all those built up nerves and anxiety dropped off my body just went into sleep mode! I am very proud of myself for sitting down with her after the examination and going over all the information one more time, I have learnt that I am not good at taking in info when nervous so going over it again really helped! Now it’s a case of waiting 4-6 weeks for the 3 different tests to come back and see if I just need another check up or if it will be a minor surgery that is needed. Oh and also, she said that due to my UC she wants me to have a check up once a year instead of every three, and I am more than fine with that! Better safe than sorry I’d say, I don’t need any more shit! So keep your fingers crossed that my virus isn’t anything bad!
I will finish off my little essay by saying: Please all of my female friends, go for a smear! It really isn’t that bad, and it is sooo important to keep a check on everything!
So what is the HPV virus?
HPV, human papilloma virus, is the name of a group of viruses which affects the skin and moist membranes in our bodys. There are over 100 different types of HPV infections, around 30 of them can affect the genital area, and only 13 can lead to cervical cancer. Genital HPV infections are very contagious and common, and are spread during sex. So for each new sexual partner we increase the risk of getting the HPV virus. HPV in the cervix are usually symptom free and can only really be found through a smear test. In most cases the virus disappears on its own accord, however sometimes it can take quite a while, and sometimes a minor surgery is needed to remove the infection. This surgery is done under local anaesthetic and you are free to go home after it.
Oh and also, HPV virus is NOT to be confused with HIV or HSV (herpes) as these are different viruses.
P.S. if you haven’t booked your smear, then DO IT!!!😘😘😘