All adventurous women do

14 Aug


Anyone who watches Girls will know exactly what this post is about.

I’ve ummed and ummed some more over whether to post about this at all. Does it cross a line into the too-much-information zone? But it’s certainly been on my mind for the last 24 hours. And frankly the more people who know about this stuff the better. Also, I think I might have jumped over that too-much-information line some time ago.

So. Yesterday I was off work with a migraine. Sick. Sore. Dosed up on painkillers. The whole works.

I went downstairs to get some fresh air and checked my mail. And there were the results of my smear test. I started opening them there and then, fully expecting them to say that everything was normal.

In fact, they were “abnormal”.

That’s quite a scary moment.

When I finally sat down and read everything in full I was less scared, but still worried. Here’s the deal: my results are borderline abnormal, so they tested for HPV and it came back as positive for high-risk HPV. I didn’t know what this meant and was too migrainey to Google anything so I read all the pamphlets the good old NHS had sent through.

For anyone who doesn’t know, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection around. 75% of us will get it at some point in our lives. There’s no test for it in men, and no symptoms. With women, certain strains will show up in a smear test. While the HPV itself is not cancer, it is linked to nearly all cervical cancers. Here’s the kicker: condoms cannot fully protect against it. You can read more here.

So what happens now? I wait eight weeks for another letter, which will give me an appointment to go for a colposcopy. Then they’ll decide if I need treatment.

No big deal, really. And great that it’s all been identified and there’s a course of action to sort things out. But – yes – unknown and a bit of a worry.

Also, it’s not a great feeling lying on your sofa in so much pain that you are struggling not to be sick, wondering what on earth HPV is and why you have it (and – let’s face it – whether my ex gave it to me), and having nobody there to tell you it’s going to be OK or to give you a cuddle.

But all adventurous women do.

11 Responses to “All adventurous women do”

  1. plf1990 August 14, 2014 at 9:59 am #

    I am supporting you, lovely girl xx

  2. luciddream85 August 14, 2014 at 12:23 pm #

    I hope you get to feeling better! I’m sorry about this HPV business. I know many women that have had it. In the earlier days of diagnosis, they were given pills to take. One woman I know had an series of shots to clear it up. It’s no big deal.

    Just put it on your list of reasons your ex is an ass. We will all just assume he gave it to you.

    • aprileb August 14, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      Thanks, buddy. It was just kind of a shock. And you’re right. It’s exactly the kind of thing that ass would do!

  3. elizabethhiggins August 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Sending you lots of positive and safe vibes! I’m also reading this as I’m sitting in the waiting room of the OBGYN..weird.

    • aprileb August 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

      Well paws crossed for you too, buddy. Hope it’s quick and painless x

      • elizabethhiggins August 14, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

        Me too! I hope you start to feel better April!

  4. halfpastthirty August 15, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

    For what it’s worth, I went through this myself about 3 years ago. I freaked out (you sound remarkably calm) and called my dad, an MD. He told me that HPV is so ubiquitous that nearly all sexually active people will get it, or have it, as you pointed out. He had zero concern. My colposcopy turned up nothing requiring treatment. My paps have been normal ever since. The good news is that you’re getting regular test. Where people get into trouble is when they don’t get tested, and then end up getting cervical cancer. To look on the “bright side”, the high-risk strains of HPV are NOT the ones that cause warts.

    Unfortunately for us, the vaccine was developed too late to take advantage of, but hopefully younger folks (boys included) are getting it.

    As far as your ex, there’s no way of knowing he was the carrier. It can take years to manifest a bad smear test, so it could have been any of your ex partners who transmitted it to you. Unknowingly, because as you mention men have no symptoms. So, while it’s fun to call your ex an ass, I think this time it’s off the mark.

    I promise you’re going to be ok – consider this a virtual cuddle from a strange lady on the internet 😉

    • aprileb August 16, 2014 at 7:35 am #

      Thank you! That does make me feel a lot better. It’s just such a shock when that letter arrives, but now it has sunk in and I have more context i feel OK about it.

      Thanks for sharing your own experience – it really does make me feel better and also like I’m not an idiot for completely freaking out at first. They need to explain this stuff in school. Or at least when they are doing the fricking tests.

      And of course you’re right re my ex. It might not even have been him. How would he know? Most guys probably have it anyway.

      But he is an ass.


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    […] I received surprising smear test results. […]

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    […] was the follow up from my “abnormal” smear test. I went over to Homerton Hospital for a […]

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