Before we start, this post isn’t wedding related, this is a personal story that I very much feel the need to share. I’m in no way after sympathy here, I’m writing this to raise awareness, in the hope that it might help even one person.
In September 2019 I went for my routine smear test, I’ve always known these were important to attend so I arranged it soon after I received my letter, yeah they’re not pleasant, but they’re certainly bearable. So my results came back telling me that I had abnormal cells and the HPV virus and I needed to go for further tests. Initially, like most people I felt a sense of panic; oh my god something’s wrong with me! I soon realised this is pretty common, a lot of women get these results, so I went and had a biopsy and the doctor was very reassuring that it wasn’t cancer and I had nothing to worry about, I may just need to have these cells removed so they couldn’t develop into cancer in the future.
A few weeks later the biopsy results showed my abnormal cells were CIN 2/3, which meant it was best to remove them, okay, not looking forward to that but that’s fine, then it’ll be over right? Wrong. Unfortunately following the LLETZ procedure to remove these cells I got an infection, I didn’t feel particularly well and had some antibiotics. I’m not going to go in to detail with the next part because it doesn’t make very nice reading, but long story short, a week later I ended up in hospital having the worst experience, very distressed and being fed more antibiotics through a drip. A lot of strong antibiotics really takes it’s toll on your body and I felt terrible for weeks.
January rolled around and I was starting to feel normal again, thinking it was surely all over now… wrong. When I got a letter asking me to go to the hospital to discuss my results I knew it wasn’t going to be good news and no matter how much people tried to reassure me, I had a feeling that I was going to be having another operation. Call it women’s intuition but I was right, another operation was needed, because at my appointment I was told that the cells were actually cancer and I needed to have a second LLETZ procedure to make sure all the cells were removed…
Cancer, the word everyone dreads hearing, one little word that fills you with fear, you start thinking the worst, that’s totally normal, so my GP told me. I was 28 at the time, the average age women are diagnosed with cervical cancer is 35-44, so I have to say I was a little surprised. You never think it’ll happen to you but sadly it really can.
After a lot of back and forth and arguing with consultants I managed to get my second operation done under general anaesthetic, there wasn’t a chance in hell I was being put through that awake after all the trauma I’d had in that area. Thankfully this second operation went smoothly, no infections or drama and my results came back clear a few weeks later! Oh the relief! Yes, finally I can just get on with my life!
My follow up smear 6 months later had a bit of a scare with a small lump (Jesus Christ will this ever end?!), they took a biopsy and I had an MRI to make sure the cancer hadn’t come back, thankfully all that came back negative! I have my next smear this month and I’m praying that it’ll just be normal for once! Please just let it be normal!!
Now, having this second procedure has taken away quite a lot of my cervix, which so I’m told will affect my ability to conceive… I’m not sure what the odds are but the consultant looked pretty sad when he told me. I wasn’t sad about this part, because I don’t actually want children… I’m one of those “strange” women that doesn’t have any maternal desire to reproduce. So in this respect, I’m glad that it happened to me rather than any of my friends who do want to have children, I’ve taken one for the team here and I’m happy about that.
I’m sharing this story because I really want to stress how important it is to have your smear tests ladies. They’re not enjoyable, but trust me, they’re a walk in the park compared to all the stuff I’ve had done to me now. Had I not gone for that smear test, had I forgotten about it, thought it wasn’t important… well I’d be walking around with cancer right now with no idea it was silently killing me. Because cervical cancer is very much a silent killer, and you might not get any signs until it’s too late, people do still die from it sadly. But, it’s so preventable! We are so lucky in this country to have this free service so please please just take it! Cervical cancer is one of the easiest cancers to treat as long as it’s caught early. I was lucky, mine was caught early, and although I went through a lot of shit with it, I’d take that any day over the alternative…
I’m sorry this has probably been quite depressing to read… you came here to look at exciting wedding photos not listen to me ramble on about this, but, I really hope it helps someone and pushes them to go get their smear if they’ve been putting it off. If any of you lovely people reading this would like someone to talk to in confidence about this subject please feel free to get in touch for a chat, I know it can be hard sometimes to discuss it with people who haven’t been through it.
Thanks for reading.
Love Char xx