Some time ago, I went for my routine cervical smear test and the results came back showing that there were mild changes to some of the cells. This is nothing to worry about as, when you go for regular check-ups, any changes are usually picked up so early that they’re definitely not cancerous, but I was invited back for more regular checks to keep an eye on it and see if things returned to normal. A year later, instead of the usual three, I returned and the result came back the same – mild changes.
I forget the specifics now, as it was quite a while ago, but I think that was when I was first sent to the hospital for a colposcopy. This was something that became a rather regular thing, and often included a small biopsy so that cells could be taken to a lab for further analysis, so I soon became able to shrug off all but the wasted time traipsing to/from the hospital and waiting while I was there. I managed to stay relaxed and mostly worry-free throughout all this, with only a single appointment with a replacement doctor when my usual gynaecologist was away managing to get me down.
When pre-cancerous changes were picked up by these routine checks, LLETZ treatment was recommended to remove the offending cells and so an appointment for that was booked. Although It was quick and painless, I was left feeling sick to my stomach due to my body’s reaction to losing a small unseen chunk of itself, combined with the ever so slight smell of burning flesh. Horrid though it sounds, it was an incredibly minor procedure so recovery was fast, and my annual smears continued until a normal result was confirmed. Now I am back on the 3-year routine.
When this all began I had no idea what to expect but, when I told my friends, I discovered that some of them had been through the same thing. The amazing thing was that they didn’t need to reassure me that it would all be OK, because the calm way they talked about it all told me all I needed to know. The NHS procedures that are in place to check for cervical cancer are amazing and, as long as you go for your regular smear tests when you get the letter through, any problems will be caught so early that they really aren’t problems at all. The fact that I can’t remember many of the details of my own experience says a lot.
So, if the results of your smear come back as anything other than normal, unless the doctors tell you otherwise, there really is nothing to worry about. Just relax and don’t miss an appointment – it’ll be sorted before you know it.
Main image via jostrust.org.uk. Second image by lipsticklori.