First routine smear after CIN2 treatment

I was signed off over a year ago by a consultant to go back in the pool for routine smears after spending more than a year going back and forth to the colposcopy clinic following an abnormal smear that turned out to be HPV and CIN2 changes and resulted in cold coagulation treatment. That was my first experience of an abnormal smear and it left me with quite bad anxiety - i also had a six-month period of losing my hair due to stress after my result.

Now it’s time for my first routine smear since all that and the anxiety is ramped up 1000%. I’ve been poked and prodded so much, I’m not overly bothered about physically having the test - apart from a little concern I’ll make it more difficult than it has to be by not being able to relax, or that I’ll embarrass myself by getting upset. But I am absolutely beside myself at the thought of another abnormal result. I just don’t feel like I’d be able to cope again. I know I’m getting ahead of myself, but I can’t help it. The anxiety has me constantly focusing on the worst possible outcomes.

It doesn’t help that in the last few months I had a red flag referral to a breast clinic after finding a lump. Thankfully that turned out to be a cyst and not sinister, but it was the not knowing and the waiting for appointments that was the worst part.

I keep feeling guilty for reacting so badly because I know there are people facing far worse who would probably see my outcomes as quite lucky, all things considered, but I can’t help feeling like why me, why all this stuff that causes so much fear and uncertainty. And the lump was probably even more difficult because at least once I knew the smear abnormalities were just abnormalities and not cancer, I knew there was a lot that could be done in terms of intervention. With the lump, I knew it might be nothing, but if it had been sinister, it would immediately be much more serious than the cell changes.

But yeah, the not knowing is excruciating. And I think with the backlog in this area, the wait for smear test results is 6-8 weeks. I know the health service in general is in serious need of help, but I really don’t think enough emphasis is placed on the impact on mental health of just … waiting, you know? I’m not trying to rank who has it better or worse or underestimate anyone else’s pain or suffering, but in a probably clumsily expressed way, I’m just thinking that we know the negative effect of people stuck on waiting lists for ops etc, in pain, deteriorating. But how many extra mental health issues are being caused for the NHS to ultimately have to deal with further down the line because of waiting for people who may turn out to be fine?! I’m already struggling with mental health over the result of a test I haven’t even had and that may find I’m perfectly healthy and yet I know I won’t get any resolution until well into August - most of the summer lost to anxiety.

Ugh, sorry for the rambling rant, I just had to get it off my chest. Family and friends have been so supportive, but I feel like there’s always something wrong with me, so I don’t want to always be banging on about these things to them.