At the time of writing this post, it has been revealed that cervical screenings (smear tests) are at an all-time low. It’s a statistic I don’t even want to think about. I turned 25 last September and as predicted, was invited for my first smear test – which I had done 4 days before my 25th birthday (I wrote about my experience here). I suffer with anxiety – GAD to be specific (Generalised Anxiety Disorder) but I suffer extra anxiety when it comes to medical related things.
If you follow my blog or follow me on Twitter, you will be aware that quite suddenly, over the course of the last 2 months, I’ve quickly become a bit of a smear test advocate. I had my very first test at the beginning of September, just 3 days before my 25th birthday and since then, I’ve been pushing an pushing for more open dialogue and awareness about the importance of having your cervical screenings done. Unfortunately for me, my smear experience didn’t stop after my first test because I got called back to the hospital for a colposcopy because my smear results were abnormal.And that’s what I want to talk about today because I was terrified but I really didn’t need to be and I think if we spoke more openly about these things, women wouldn’t be afraid to get their smears done nor would they be as worried if their smears come back abnormal.
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.
At approximately 24 and a half years old, I received the letter in the post that I had been dreading, ever since I knew what a smear test was. The fact that the letter used words like “invited” didn’t make it any more cutesy or appealing. The fact of the matter was, I was at the age where a doctor needed me to spread my legs on a table and look into my fanny. There’s no beating around the bush (pun intended) and no sugar coating it really. It was time for my very first smear test.
I’m not sure if I believe in fate or “signs” from the universe but there’s no doubt that things happen sometimes that make you ponder. Receiving an email from Fab Little Bag for me, was one of those things. There I was, PMS’ing like cray cray; my boobs felt like bags of sand, my skin resembled that of a 13 year old boy and I had heartburn galore when up pops an email from this company. On the cusp of my period, I received an email from a period-related-company who want to send me a period-related-product? If that’s not a sign, then I don’t know what is.
When we’re young and going through the big P (puberty, for those who glossed over that one), we’re given so much information about what is happening to us and our bodies and it’s a lot to take in. There’s also a lot of things that we don’t get taught or even made aware of at such a young age and only when we start getting older and more knowledgeable do we even start to learn about these essential parts of growing up and more importantly, womanhood. Most of the things I know now I actually researched and found out about myself. The only thing I remember being shown at school was a tampon in a glass of water so we could see how it expands (what?). But if I had a girl, I’d like to think I would teach her everything – so when she turns into a young woman, she wouldn’t have to spend hours on Google, reading leaflets or asking for advice on Twitter.