My first smear test experience – CONTINUED

Oh that was very dramatic wasn’t it? At the beginning of September, I went for my first smear test and I wrote a post about it, which you can read here. This post went down really well and I spoke to lots of bloggery women about theirs; some who have had many and some who haven’t been for one yet. I was thrilled to be a part of the bigger voice that will help women be more open and honest about smear tests which in turn will hopefully, encourage more women to go and get theirs. 

So anyway, I went for mine on 1st September and after the examination nerves were over and done with, it was time to get nervous about receiving my results. Obviously waiting for any type of results is nerve wracking but I was told it could take up to 4 weeks so I went about my life post smear test and even went away on a inpromptu weekend break with my boyfriend’s family – smear test results well in the back of my mind.

It had been 3 weeks since my test when I went away so I wasn’t too concerned about the results by this point. I figured if they’d found something bad they would have contacted me sooner and the test went so well (I mean, no smear test is a fun experience but as medical examinations go, mine was as good as good could be) that I was highly doubtful the results would be anything but normal.

I got back from holiday and there were a few letters sitting on my bed. Two looked like bank statements so I ignored them but one was quite thick so hoping it was an invite to a nice, expensive blog events, I ripped it open and found an appointment letter which had been made for me to attend another test called a colposcopy. They found low-grade dyskaryosis – which is abnormal cell changes and a HPV infection. Great. 

It’s safe to say I was absolutely gutted and I got so upset thinking that I had ruined what could have been a lovely end to our holiday. I re-read my letter over and over again to make sure what I was reading was correct and alas, it was. That taught me to be so naive about my own body and health.

Now thankfully I had another doctors appointment 2 days after I opened my results with the same doctor who did my initial smear so I took my letters along with me and asked her to go through it. She explained that what I have is quite common and there is a huge spectrum of cervical changes between what is considered “normal” and cervical cancer. And along this spectrum things can move and change on their own.

She also explained that HPV is very common and anyone who is sexually active at any point in their life can get it from someone else. Again, that can present itself and disappear of its own accord. She completely put my mind at ease and said that she’s quite confident that with my condition, it’ll be sorted very efficiently at my colposcopy and she’s never seen anyone with low grade dyskaryosis to go on to have any serious problems after treatment (in some cases) in the whole time she’s worked at the surgery.

Since I had my first smear, I’ve been so open and honest about my experience and trying to educate people and encourage someone to go and get theirs who might be too nervous to go. I like to think I’ve become a bit of an advocate for them. But now this has happened, I feel even more passionate about getting people to get their smears. If I hadn’t have got mine and been sent for further tests, it could have got worse and worse.

So… in my first post I shared some tips for nervous first timers. Now it’s time to share some tips for if your smear doesn’t come back with the result you want. 

1. Don’t panic. You’re not going to open your letter and be told you have cancer. That’s not how it works.

2. Read through everything thoroughly. They often send booklets about the examinations you have to have to give you more details. Read them.

3. Make an appointment with the doctor who did your test and ask her to explain everything more thoroughly if you feel that will help.

4. Don’t read horror stories on forums. Everyone’s experiences are entirely different.

5. Rings Jo’s Trust (if you’re in the U.K.) if you feel like you need to speak to someone about how you’re feeling. Their number is: 0808 802 8000

6. Remember that it’s okay to be upset / nervous / worried / sad about your results. Your feelings are valid and nobody can tell you otherwise.

7. If you get super nervous about hospital appointments (like me), your doctor may be able to prescribe you Valium or beta blockers for them if they feel it’s right for you.

So there we go! I thought my smear test experience posts would have ended after my smear test but unfortunately not so I thought I would make it into a “series” to try and help anyone in a similar situation. I’ll be checking back in after my hospital appointment on 17th October.

And please… GO FOR YOUR SMEAR TESTS!

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70 thoughts on “My first smear test experience – CONTINUED

  1. This is such an important post! I haven’t gotten the letter yet to go and get a smear test, I’m not old enough yet I don’t think! It’s so important to raise awareness on things like this! Xx

  2. I think this is such a helpful post, Jenny. I’m lucky in that I’ve not had an abnormal result for any of my smears yet – although I’m probably tempting fate to have written that! I did get a call back once because the lab had dropped my test on the floor so I had to have it done again 😦 But you’re right, really bad news is never communicated via letter and I think this post goes a very long way to setting minds at rest. Thank you for your honesty. X

    Lisa | http://www.lisasnotebook.com

  3. This is so helpful and so insightful. Although my first smear test is a few years away I think this is so helpful for when I have my own. Thankyou so much for sharing Jenny! X

    Kayleigh Zara 🌿www.kayleighzaraa.com

  4. Thank you for sharing your experiences! I think it’s so important for us blogger gals to share our smear test experiences, in the hope that it will convince other women who are too nervous to go. I had exactly the same as you – low grade changes and HPV. I worked myself up into such a state before my colposcopy, read all kinds of horror stories on the internet and generally became a nervous wreck! But the procedure itself was really quite good – there were three nurses and they were all so friendly and talkative, reassuring me and keeping me distracted. You could even watch on a little screen as they examined your cervix, which I found quite fascinating! It was a little uncomfortable – pinchy, a little sharp. But nothing major. And it was over really quite quickly. Be prepared, though, they may take a biopsy from you. They advised me in the letter that they might, and even though the nurse told me there and then she had no cause for concern that it was cancer, she took a biopsy anyway just to be sure. Again, just a sharp, pinching feeling! Look forward to hearing how you got on your appointment and crossing my fingers for you that your results are the same as mine, and all will be fine. I’m sure it will 🙂 xx

    • Awh Aimee I remember seeing on Twitter when you went for yours and how upset and scared you were about it. I wasn’t 25 then so I didn’t really understand but it wasn’t nice to see how worried you were! (Especially someone as lovely as you!) I’m so glad your results were okay after and your experience with the procedure was good – I hope mine is the same! I’m sure it will be. My mums been for a colposcopy before and she said the same as you that the nurses were so lovely. I am nervous about it but I’m trying not to think about it, it’s still a week away. I’ve read all my letters to say they may or may not do treatment which is fine. Just taking it one step at a time (: it doesn’t sound like it’s painful though and that’s the main thing! Think I’ll probably do another of these posts after the next step (: xxx

  5. I can imagine that was a bit of a shock opening it but I’m really grateful you’re writing about it as I’ve never had an abnormal result and it will be good to be prepared for the idea in case it happens. I’m actually waiting for my latest smear results right now and I’m kind of nervous as I don’t think the nurse got a very good sample as it was very painful for me but I’m crossing everything hoping it will be ok. And I know it’s all in the spirit of keeping me healthy so I don’t begrudge them their tests despite them being rather unpleasant for me.
    Thank you so much for writing these posts!

    • Oh absolutely I’m so glad you have such a good attitude towards them (: all they do is prevent things happening later in life and why wouldn’t you want that? Good luck for your latest results, I hope they come back normal for you (: there could be a load of reasons why it was a little painful for you this time, unlikely anything bad though. Keep me posted! (: xxx

  6. This is such an important post and a great reminder that we need to take care of ourselves and be proactive. I go every year and honestly can’t stand it, but I force myself to go. I’ve had abnormal cells once or twice and it’s good to catch it early so they can investigate and prevent cancer from starting in the first place. I’m always uncomfortable, but the procedure is easy and over before you know it.

    Thanks for this post. I hope more will head in to have their tests as well. 😊💜❤💖

    • Thank you 💚 I’m glad all is well with you and your results have always been okay in the end. What’s the better alternative, having a small test now or cancer in 20 years? It’s a no brainier isn’t it? I don’t know why more people aren’t talking openly about these things. They’re not taboo & completely normal xxx

  7. Pingback: My first smear test experience – CONTINUED | Campbells World

  8. I really look up to your ability to be so open about something you were so anxious about beforehand. Even though my smear test is years away (I totally think the age should be lowered as a bunch of my friends are sexually active & have children, but that’s a story for another day), I have a fear of the doctors, so I know I’m going to find attending a smear test even more difficult. I’m really sorry the results came back where not as you had hoped, but it sounds positive that it’s a pretty common outcome of a smear test! I hope the colonoscopy goes well and you don’t have any further problems in the future!

  9. This is such an eye opening post. I haven’t yet had a smear test and the Thought of it instantly puts me off ! But you have eased my mind xxx

    • You simply can’t let the thought of being unpleasant put you off. They’re so necessary and literally life saving tests. No, they’re not pleasant, nobody WANTS a smear test but think about the potential alternative years in the future. But, each to their own xx

  10. I was so scared when I first got my abnormal cells letter, even though they were only borderline it worried me but after my colposcopy I only had to go back a few times for check ups and everything fine. The colposcopy isn’t pleasant but I’ve had two children so next to that it wasn’t anything to bad, and well worth having to check everything ok, great informative post 💕

  11. This is such an important topic, thanks for sharing your experiences! I actually went to my first smear test when I was like 17. Not sure if it’s a different policy here in Finland but our doctors pretty much require us to have one if we want to use birth control pills. I used to go about once every two years. I’ve had abnormal changes a couple times, the first time they just told me to come do another test in 6 months because often the cells can heal themselves and that’s exactly what happened to me. The second time (couple years later) I got another abnormal test result and again waited the 6 months and went to get the follow-up test. That time the changes had gotten worse though so they wanted to do the colposcopy. I remember being very shocked about the letter and crying to my husband on the phone about it. My letter from the doctor said that they might have to use a laser to remove the abnormal cells. I was also very nervous about the colposcopy procedure but it was not really that much worse than a regular smear test. They did take a biopsy as well so there was a little bit of bleeding but almost nothing. After a few weeks I got my results saying everything was ok, no abnormal changes or pre-cancerous cells were found and so no laser removal of cells was needed. What a relief! After that I have not had any changes and fingers crossed there will not be any. I go get the test once a year just to be on the safe side. It’s much better to know sooner than later if there is something to treat!

    • It is DEFINITELY a different policy in Finland. In England we have to be 25 which is absolutely shocking. It can be a shock but after we’ve calmed down and actually read our letters and found out what’s actually going on, it’s not THAT bad and it gets treated super easily! If it needs treatment at all, like your first one didn’t (: xxx

  12. Jenny, I’m so so pleased that you’ve been brave enough to talk about this! While I’m not quite at the age where i need to go for a smear test, I’m glad there’s lovely ladies like you encouraging women to go and get one done. It’s incredibly important! Xx

  13. Thank you so much for speaking so openly and honestly about your experiences, Jenny, it truly is so valuable to read! I’m sorry that your results weren’t what you’d hoped for but it sounds like the doctor who went through all the results with you was very kind and reassuring! Hearing about how your results and appointments have been progressing step by step and reading your helpful advice is really putting my mind at ease about going for my smear test once I’m old enough! Thank you again for talking about this!

    Abbey 🌈 http://www.abbeylouisarose.co.uk

  14. You’ve actually just reminded me that I need to book my first smear. I think its amazing you’ve written this post. Theres so much stigma to smears and to be honest its a little bit unfounded,
    Em
    Emmajaderamselll.wordpress.com xxx

  15. I think it is absolutely wonderful that you’ve been so open and honest about this whole process Jenny because it is SUCH an important topic. My smear test is overdue so I’ll be booking it ASAP, I’ve had one before (they start earlier in Scotland) but of course, I had some nerves about going again. Your posts have reassured me though, so thank you for all the helpful advice. And I hope everything goes well with your hospital appointment even though it sounds like nothing to worry about really!
    Beth x Adventure & Anxiety

  16. Such a brilliant important post! I have been having them since I was 16 and Iv’e had three.. the joy! I hope everything goes okay for you, I’m 100% sure it will! Thanks for creating awareness regarding this, some people just don’t get there is nothing to be scared of and it’s so important!

  17. This is such an important post and I’m so glad you shared it, I hope everything goes well with your next appointment (which it will). I’m definitely with you on how important it is to get your smear test, but even with that mindset, it took me a few months to book my appointment, which was completely stupid. People definitely need to be more aware. xx

  18. Bravo for talking so openly about such an important subject. You’re approaching it so sensibly as well, which I’m so impressed by 🙂 You’ve also reminded me that I really am overdue for mine…calling the doc this week! x

  19. This is such an important post! I’ not due mine for another couple of years but i think the age should be brought forwards to 18 as i think it’s really important! x

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