Tag Archives: smear test

Very little can happen in a month

23 Oct

So, just what has been going on in life that has been keeping me so busy? Oh, I’m sure you are expecting tales of amazingness. I’ve no doubt been to exotic locations and done loads of amazing work and met amazing people and been on amazing dates and done amazing snogging and maybe even had some sex.

Nope.

I’ve mostly been working. Travelling to places like Nottingham. Keeping myself busy with yoga and swimming. Doing handstands. Hell yeah.

Let me try and make my life sound marginally more interesting by breaking things into three categories: The Good News, The Bad News, and the News I Am Yet to Write.

The Good News

The good news is I don’t have cancer or any pre-cancerous cells. Yayyyy for my cervix. I need to go back every six months until my body proves that we’re planning on staying that way. But it was a massive relief. And I want to say a big “thank you, you lovely people” to all the buddies who messaged me with best wishes and to tell me everything would be OK. I was scared, and it helped.

The Bad News

Yup, pretty sure I’ll never get over my ex. I haven’t been on any dates since the incredibly boring man. I’ve been mulling a lot. Thinking about a future alone. Scaring myself. And then I just say, “screw it” and focus on work, or making my flat feel autumnal and lovely. Both of which are marvellous distractions, but don’t actually stop the deep down uncertainty and fear of never meeting someone.

The News I Am Yet to Write

So, I figure, I need to change. I need to do something that will take me out of myself and shift me one way or another. It’s been 14 long months since the Pizza of Doom and I still cry over him. Not. OK. Which is why I’m planning on taking a month off work next year and going to Japan. On my own. Scary? Yes. Exciting? For sure. And hopefully I’ll come back a changed woman and able to actually move on with life.

I’m not going ’til May next year. But hang on til then, and I can assure you this blog is going to get a lot more exciting.

In the meantime, I’ve missed you all very much. Thanks for bearing with me. I am trying.

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A very peculiar Tuesday (and let me remind you again to go for your smear test)

16 Sep

Today was weird. Apologies if a fairly weird post follows.

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

The last time I was in Homerton Hospital was just days before the pizza of doom. When I came back from New York, peeing blood with terrible cystitis, and had to haul myself over to ‘accident and emergency’. I remember not feeling that my ex was particularly empathetic. I had no idea he was planning the break up. But that’s another story.

The colposcopy wasn’t nearly as bad as I had worried it would be. Honestly, not even as bad as the smear test itself. Once I was positioned right with my legs up in the air, I relaxed. It felt like a yoga pose. I like yoga. I could do this.

Bonus, I got to watch it all on a big screen and the doctor talked me through what she could see. All was looking fine and dandy ’til she put in the dye. And then my cervix started to resemble my throat when I had tonsillitis. It wasn’t too pretty a sight.

So what does it mean? There are abnormal cells there that could be pre-cancerous. They took a biopsy (which felt quite unpleasant). Those cells will go off to get tested and in four to six weeks I’ll find out what’s going on down there. Then, I might need treatment. Or all might be OK for now.

If this all sounds a little disjointed and unsure, it’s probably because that’s how I feel. Suddenly, a lot of information comes your way. Terms you’ve never heard of. Things you’ve never considered (can I go swimming after my biopsy?). And I have every reason to believe that everything will be fine. But who knows.

I came out of my appointment today, got on the bus, got off outside my flat, came upstairs, and cried for about an hour.

I emailed my friend, who emailed back with words of absolute sense and reassurance.

I went to a restorative yoga class (which mostly involves lying on the floor, relaxing).

I came home, made pasta, watched the news.

And my ex was front-of-mind the entire time. If we were still together, what would he be telling me? What would he be doing? Would he show the same lack of empathy he did back in July last year, that morning that I found myself at the hospital, in agony?

In so many ways I love living on my own. But I’d really like somebody to talk to tonight. Even a cat.

Like I said, it was a weird day.

Ramblings of a single thirtysomething

16 Aug

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Apologies in advance that this post is as grumbly as an angry bear. Apologies also that it doesn’t really come to a point. But if you want to read on, I thank you in advance.

I’ve been feeling pretty down this week. I don’t like being a miserable cat, and so I find myself asking, “Why? Why? Why must I be on a downer in this beautiful month of August?”

In fact, there are many reasons:

  • I had a three-day migraine that made me want to rip my own head off. And beat it with a stick. 
  • The run-up to the migraine made me tired and moody.
  • I received surprising smear test results.
  • I had too much work to do, too little time, and lost an entire day to the aforementioned migraine.
  • Oh, and I got my period. Awesome.

My ex has been on my mind too. I don’t know why. Maybe my brain is doing its whole going-back-in-time thing. Last year this weekend was my best friend’s hen party in Scotland. Two weeks after the pizza of doom. I went. I organised, in fact. I dressed up and cooked food and made cocktails and danced and drank. On the second day we went to Go Ape (a massive obstacle course in the trees in a national park). I literally threw myself into it. I remember thinking, “Oh well, no big deal if I die.” And after Go Ape I came over all shaky, left the cabins we were staying at and drove 40 minutes to my parents’ house where they ran me a bath, made me ginger tea, and put on a DVD of Modern Family. No questions asked.

Yes, I’ve come a long way since then. In no small part thanks to the cast of Modern Family. But I find myself a year on wondering what I have to look forward to.

I was out for dinner on Tuesday night with a group of friends who range in age from 24 to 35. Everyone except me in relationships. Two of them married. One planning a wedding. They were all talking about their plans for the immediate future – weddings, babies, holidays. I found myself zoning out. (In part because migraine aura had set in, admittedly. Also I was terribly busy eating olives.)

So, when I started to tell them about my most recent trip to the psychic and they had the audacity to suggest she might not be right(!), I lost my sh**. I’m not an idiot. I know the psychic might not be right. But I don’t have a wedding or a baby or even some mediocre sex in my immediate future. I need someone to tell me that stuff is going to happen. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. But I need someone to let me look forward to it.

I definitely feel like I have things together. I even spent today fixing my own shower (how’s that for a powerful, independent woman?). And of course there are things to look forward to. I’m going to Florida in 12 weeks. I’m going up to Edinburgh in October. I have some fun things on at work. I have five days off work starting this coming Thursday.

I guess I just thought things would be, well, different by now. That I wouldn’t be spending Saturday night watching Modern Family and drinking Diet Coke.

And that I wouldn’t think about him. Or, at least, wouldn’t care.

All adventurous women do

14 Aug

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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.

Go for a smear test (just expect some awkward conversation)

31 Jul

Ladies, please make sure you have regular smear tests. They might just save your life.

That said, I went for mine this morning. Not the greatest experience at the best of times, but picture the scene:

I am on the table, half naked, legs akimbo, trying not to clench my fists because I find this test so extremely unpleasant.

The Nurse (a truly lovely lady called Dora who has spent the past ten minutes remarking on how beautiful my name and my face are) is down there, light on for examination purposes, doing her thing.

And just as I’m squeezing my eyes shut and trying not to squirm, she asks me:

“Are you married?”