Check-up Smear

Hi Ladies,

It's been a while since I started off a post but I have been lurking around (if I'm having a flighty moment Jo's keeps me grounded lol) I've got my third smear test today (test 1 - August 12 - colposcopy and LLETZ, test 2 - March 2013 6 month check-up, test 3 - today - 1 (although technically 1 1/2) year anniversary smear) and I just wanted to say hi! I'm feeling surprisingly calm, although I felt calm last year and burst into tears as soon as the nurse said 'so you're here for a smear test?' In my reminder they'd changed the Cervical Screening leaflet for Leeds and I believe I'll now be HPV tested as well as general smear testing. Which is both nice (reassuring to know what's going on with my body, might not have to go back for 3 years etc) and also scary (if HPV is there I'll have to go for another colposcopy, even if no bad cells detected, much as colposcopy was fine it's not the nicest experience lol). 

I also wanted to mention that at my pill check up last week (I can't have a smear and my blood pressure taken at the same time - it goes through the roof becuase I'm terrified lol) I saw a leaflet for Jo's on the table with magazines etc - I thought this was fantastic as back in 2012 I'd never heard of Jo's (and neither had my colposcopy team!) but I found it so useful and helpful and I swear it kept me sane, so to have advertising and leaflets at the first point of call was brilliant to see!

Wish me luck for 4pm! I am going to attempt to 1) not cry and 2) not panic so much I feel like I might pass out lol.

Becky x x x

Hi Becky!

Nice to see you - although obviously, I'd rather not see any of you here again at all, if you know what I mean! You were so very supportive when I was going through my first colp and treatment.

I hope all goes well at 4pm. I was like that during my six month follow up last September, thought I was calm until I got to the hospital early and practically had a panic attack in the grounds! 

I’m also facing a follow up smear. At my six month check-up, my smear was normal but HPV is still hanging around my system, refusing to bugger off out of it. Joy. What made it more annoying was how I found out. I’d told the nurse I was worried about it coming back and how much it affected me last time. Yet I still got the standard ‘you have changes to your cervix’ letter referring me to colp, with all the leaflets. So I had no idea what was going on. Did I have changes? Or was the HPV still there? Called my surgery to find out – it was closed. Called the next day – ‘oh, the nurse who does the smears isn’t working today’. And I was due to go on holiday the following day!! I made a conscious effort to shut it all out, and enjoy my holiday. It worked, but I’m weary at the thought of going through it all again.

That said, I read somewhere that it can take some people’s bodies a while to get rid of HPV. I figure that it’s out of my control and if it’s still there, so be it. I get that I am lucky, and that being in the system means I am being closely monitored, thank god. I just wish I didn’t have to be monitored at all!

If they do find HPV, yes, it’s another colp but mine was fine – honestly, I was in and out of the chair and stirrups within what felt like under a minute! Nobody seemed at all concerned.


Anyway, I could ramble on but I don’t think that’s too helpful! I hope it all goes fine, remember it’s all standard procedure and they are taking pains to be ultra-cautious. Will have my fingers crossed for you xx

Hi Charlotte! Lovely to speak to you again (as you said, it's a bit weird saying that!) That's definitely reassuring to hear that even if I do still have HPV that the colposcopy isnt as bad as the first one :) honestly speaking (after 1 colposcopy and 2 smears) the experience in the colposcopy was better than either smear I had (my mum helpfully added that as they do that all day every day and nurses who do smears only do them once a week/occasionally that the colp. team can make it easier on you, which I guess is true).

I also agree that there is a total lack of support (apart from here on Jo's!!) for when you get 'the letter' and it's clinical and you can't intepret it. I was the same after my first smear - I didn't even get a letter to find out something was wrong, I had a phone call from the 'urgent referral appointment' team at the hospital who wouldn't tell me anyting and just game a date, time and consultant (it turned out I saw a nurse colposcopist which if I'd have known I'd have panicked a bit less) and I tried to call my surgery, in a right state, and the nurse was busy, all the doctors were busy, noone could help and I was terrified! Luckily my friends mum is a nurse and managed to talk (a bit of) sense into me but there is nothing that can describe how scary and lonely it is! *rant over* lol.

Will report back on how it goes!! Having a cup of tea to calm down before hand! x

So, the test was fine - I didnt cry (well, no tears rolled down my face, although I did have a few wipes of my eyes!) and I didn't pass out/feel faint. I only stayed lying down for a minute or so after! However... how on earth did I ever have a colpsocopy done? I was trying my best to relax, the nurse was chatting awway to me, she slides the speculum in, I'm still relatively relaxed, she opens it up and BOOM my body goes nuts, I start arching my back, I forget to breathe, I have to lock my inner thigh muscles to stop my legs flying shut... how the poor nurse managed to take a sample is beyond me! 

My nurse was lovely too, we had a chat about 'test of cure' testing (HPV) and about what an inadequate result was (she mentioned TZ cells - is this transformation zone? and how they HAVE to get them in ladies who've had previous abnormal smears) and not to panic if I needed a repeat test because of an inadequate result (we also discussed not panicking generally lol). I aked her how 'it' looked despite me not really giving her much time with my freaking out, and she said she tried really hard to get a good sample to avioid the inadequate result, everything looked ok to the naked eye although I did bleed a bit but I tend to bleed at these things so that's not worried me too much lol.

The only thing that gave me a bit of pause for thought, when I asked her how it looked, she said she could see where I had a bit removed with the LLETZ (she said this looked fine) but it almost made me a bit sad(?!) to think that I've had a little bit of me taken away. I know this is ridiculous and noone else EVER sees my cervix (it's not like my chicken pox scar on my forehead or a big chunk out of my arm or anything) and it doesnt affect my daily life in ANY way, but... I don't know... it just makes me a bit... sad! Also - if it's visible to the naked (albeit well trained) eye HOW BIG WAS IT?! lol. 

Anyway I will stop waffling now. Bring on 'The Wait' (hoping to avioid the spiral of doom). x x x 

Hey just a quick reply as on train,  but just wanted to say well done you!! That's over now, phew. You're so right about the smear being worse than the colp. My nurse was clumsy and it hurt a bit, which it doesn't normally. Whereas the colp - barely felt a thing (although was it really necessary for the doctor to wear a plastic coverall, she looked like she was going into major surgery lol)!

I totally had the same reaction about my scar! Felt emotional and sad. I've tried not to give that bit of it any thought, out of sight and all that, so I guess having my attention drawn to it was..weird and a bit upsetting. 

Anyway. Hope you have a lovely relaxing evening planned now that's done xxx

Today is R day... I spent yesterday actively not looking (/secretly checking) at my phone and no calls (which can only be a good thing... I hope!!) and checked the post when I got in last night - nothing. Hopefully there will be something there tonight... I feel a bit sick! (not sick enough not to have a cuppa and biscuits though lol). 

On a side note - my boyfriend hasn't asked about anything to do with my test/my results etc. Nothing. Which I am slightly grumpy about. I would think that he just doesnt want to upset me but I'd rather he said something about them!! grrrrr. x x x

Aargh no results waiting yesterday - post doesnt come until after I go to work... hopefully will get something today! Aargh!! Day 2 of feeling sick and panicky lol x

Just in from work - the dreaded letter in the postbox - somehow I managed to contain myself, wait for the lift, get inside my flat, and even take off my coat and shoes before ripping into it! 1st Yearly Check-up smear - normal. No evidence of high-risk HPV :) oddly enough I've just had a little cry (a happy cry, but still a good British 5 minute cry) very relieved :) x