Good evening everyone.
Ive received an invitation for my first smear which is now a year overdue (No registered GP until Jan) Im now booked in but I'm petrified. I've been ill on and off for 3-4 months have had abnormal bleeding etc, I was prescribed medication that didn't work and on returning saw a locum who prescribed medication for longer. To be honest I'd been working myself up to tell my GP I have lumps on my cervix but when I saw the locum she was really awful, didn't read my notes, commented on my weight and I left feeling like a child and without admitting the lumps. I gave up after the medication didn't work and haven't returned since (2months). So now my smear is next week I have 3 lumps now instead of 2, one is big, one is small and the other is like a rough extended lump. I don't know how to bring this up when I go in, I'm hoping there just cysts which is what I have been telling myself for months but I'm genuinely petrified. I'm overweight and the idea of having anyone look between my legs unnerves me let alone some I don't know. I suppose I feel irresponsible for not doing something sooner. I went to a walk in centre a few weeks ago for groin pain and was prescribed antibiotics for a suspected UTI ( blood/protein was found in my urine) but the pain hasn't gone and again I didnt followed up with my GP and I didn't mention the lumps, wouldn't believe I'm 26 I know!
Any advice for my appointment would be greatly appreciated, what should I expect?
Hi Claire, just try and relax the evening before and in the morning remind yourself it's got to be done, then it will be out of the way. They will try and make you feel comfortable or distract your attention by chatting to you, I'm sure they are aware how embarassing this is. Best of luck! x
I find smears/colposcopys very embarassing too, I think everyone does, before I have one though I tell myself that's what they do all the time its just another part of the body to a nurse or doctor. And please don't worry about your weight because I'm sure they won't even think twice about that. If you have lumps on your cervix they will make a note of that and probably mention it to you because they can see your cervix when they do the smear but do say it yourself to be sure. Like Joanna said they do their best to make you feel relaxed. Good luck :)
Hi Claire, try not to worry yourself too much, I had extreme anxietry about having a smear done and stupidly put it off for well over 10 years. Now I am having treatment for abnormalities I deeply regret that my own stupidity meant that things werent caught earlier. I can identify with a lot of what you have said, being embarassed about my weight and thinking I was some kind of freak as things didnt feel right.
the whole week before my appintment I didnt sleep, the first thing I did when I got into the nurses room was burst into tears! She was brilliant though, spent ages talking to me and calming me down, talking me through the process that would happen and reassuring me. She even said she would stop at any point if I needed her too. I layed there with tears in my eyes and bit the bullet, waiting for some comment about the 'state of affairs' down there as I had told her about things not feeling right, but that didnt happen 'oh its just a prolapse' was all she siad about that! But the prolapse made it difficult for her to find my cervix, 20 minutes of rummaging around, a change of speculum and a condom (dont ask!) later it was all done and the pair of us were in stitches laughing. I was determined that I wasnt leaving until it had been done and the nurse was great despite it not being the easiest smear she had ever done, all the time she made sure she wasnt hurting me and that I was happy to carry on.
By the time it was all over I wondered what I had made such a fuss over, I know not all nurses are as caring and understanding but she really did make the whole thing a lot easier to cope with. When you go for your appontment tell the nurse you are anxious and would like to chat about how you feel before you begin. I know I had imagined the nurse passing comment about all kinds of things, but honestly all they are interested in is getting that smear done. The procedure itself is really simple, you undress behind the curtain or if you wear a skirt or a dress you just have to slip your pants off which is a lot easier, normally you are given a bit of dignity with some paper roll stuff so you dont feel too exposed while you lay on the couch and normally within ten minutes its all over. Yes it is a little embarassing and maybe a little uncomfortable but nothing to worry over, given your circumstances it really is important that you get this done. Not knowing what is going on must be causing you worry and getting it sorted and taking positve steps to take care of your health will help.
Please dont be a silly as I was and leave it wayyyyy to long.
Thanks everyone. I'm going to bite the bullet and go into my own GPs walk in tomorrow and confess all. I know I'll still need to go for my smear next week but I cant stop thinking about these damn lumps and the pain I keep getting. Strange how I can go months putting it to the back of my mind but now I know their going to be found anyway I can't wait any longer after spending the past two days worrying! My mind is playing damn tricks on me.
I doubt he will do an internal tomorrow( walk ins are supposed to be for the ill) but one night of worrying is better than worrying for the next 6!
Thank you all for your advice its so comforting to know there are people I can talk to. I'll keep you posted on whether my GP has me sectioned for overreacting or I'm just being silly.
I finally plucked up the courage to visit my GP this morning, except it turned out to a locum again! After talking about my recent UTI and still the same pain I told him about the lumps I could feel and I didn't expect his responses, I literally wanted to crawl away and hide!
'You can't feel your cervix and you can't just go feeling around! How do you even know you have lumps?'( I lied and said my partner noticed) by this time I was bright red and shaking, he said I just needed to wait for my smear next week and he was sure I didn't know what I feeling as it was not possible to feel the cervix.
I left so upset and angry and was close to trying to find another GP that actually does their appointments rather than having different locums all the time. He was so bad he asked me to take my urine sample away to dispose of it and threw the dip stick thing he used in the normal trash can under the desk! I left with yet more antibiotics for a uti (still blood and protein present) You should have seen my partners face as I got into the car with a sample pot of urine!
I feel ridiculous, its taken me over 6 months to tell anyone face to face about these damn lumps and that's the response I got. I genuinely don't know if I can cope with this smear next week, I was petrified before but know I'm mortified and the thought of someone else being the same with me makes me want to cry! Arrrghh sorry for ranting, my partner has no idea about most of this just thinks I have a UTI so I could only half ramble to him about how crap this locum was!
Hope your all ok, best wishes Claire x
What an ass that doctor was, who does he think he his telling you what you can and can't do. I think you have been unlucky it was him you met when you went in. Don't let it put you off, a doctor should never make you feel bad about bringing up something that is worrying you. You won't have the same experience when you go for your smear don't worry and at least you've only a few days left to wait. Tell whoever does your smear about what that doctor said as well and how he made you feel. Good luck, by this time next week you should be feeling a bit better about it all and at least like it's being dealt with at last.
I'm so sorry to see your most recent post and read about how you were treated by the locum (I agree with Sunnyday - he is an ASS) THIS is why women are scared to go to the doctors and talk about things. Thinking you might have a problem with your body is bad enough, then it's an intimate part which makes it worse - you just don't need attitude on top of it! As far as I'm aware (totally open to being corrected lol) you CAN feel your cervix, I guess this changes woman to woman and on how you're built on the inside but I can feel mine (in your face doctor). It's your body and you know when something doesnt feel right (even if it turns out to be perfectly normal you have every right to worry and raise it with a professional - imagine going to the dentist and saying you had a pain in your tooth and the dentist going 'nope' without even looking).
Sunnyday has given you brilliant advice - tell the person who does your smear (usually a nurse I think, and they have to be trained specially to do them) about how scared you are and they should talk you through everything and make you as comfortable as possible. I've only ever seen the same nurse for a smear test but she was really nice and didn't mind when I had a fainting spell despide being laid down on the bed. She also said that once you find a person you're comfortable with talking to about these things and taking your tests etc that you should stick with them and I totally agree with this. When Iwent for my checkup smear I asked for her and the receptionist didnt look at me like I'd grown two heads, which was nice!
Please still go for your smear - it's not the nicest thing but it's better to be over and done with :) and also ,complain to someone about the locum! Regardless of whether he's trained/experienced in smears/lady problems etc he should have been nice, calmed you down, advised you to seek a smear or speak to the nurse - given you some direction rather than just leaving you on your own.
x x x x x
It REALLY annoys me when things like this happen and you cant be taken seriously. We know our own bodies and what is right or wrong or different to normal. What an idiot!
The nurse who took my smear when I got a moderate result - I now refuse to go back to, as a) she scared the crap out of me and b) was very rough and not very sensitive.
However you can always request to go back to see someone else, I have on a couple of occassions, until you find the right doc who WILL listen. Whatever you do make sure you do go for your smear - as uncomfortable as these things can be!
Pretty sure most people can feel their cervix, especially as it drops lower at certain times of the month. I cant feel mine but apparently mine is quite far back (!!)
Good luck with everything
Your posts have made me furious - I wish I'd been with you in that doctor's surgery - he has absolutely no right to speak to you that way or make you feel the way he did. As Becky said, for many women it is hard enough to go and speak to a doctor about these kinds of intimate things, but to then be met by that kind of patronising and disrespectful treatment is appalling. I want to reassure you that none of that is your fault and you did not deserve any of it - that locum is clearly an idiot who needs to feel like he's the big important doctor and you're the stupid little patient and, it's completely unacceptable for him to allow his ego to get in the way like that. To be honest, if he spoke to me like that, I would have no hesitation in putting in a formal complaint. The practice manager won't find out that he is being like this with patients unless someone tells him/her, and in actual fact, the other things that you mention such as you being expected to dispose of the urine sample and him not disposing of the PH stick in the proper disposal bin are clear breaches of standard practice which should be reported. Bear in mind that even though doctors like this would like us to think otherwise, a doctor is not some sort of authority figure who has rights over your body - a doctor is someone who is equal to you but who happens to be trained to do a different job, that's all - and has no more rights over your body than your next door neighbour! He/She has no more right than anyone else does to dismiss your fears as unimportant or belittle your anxieties. Their salaries are also paid by us, and it can be worth bringing that to mind when you're not being treated fairly, as it can give you a bit of a push mentally to stand up for yourself.
As far as the technical stuff goes - of course you can feel your cervix!! I don't know which school of medicine he trained at but he's clearly never fitted a coil if he thinks you can't feel your cervix!! I actually think you've done really well to go back - lots of people wouldn't have had the courage to do that - and if you can feel bumps on your cervix then obviously there are bumps on your cervix. Exactly WHY there are bumps on your cervix is another matter, but there is no question whatsoever that you are correct in getting it investigated. You're doing really well - it's so important to look after yourself in the way that you're doing.
I don't know if you've had your smear appointment yet but if not, how about taking a friend with you for moral support and to hold your hand? Obviously it would need to be someone you trust enough to be able to talk openly with the nurse in their presence, but you're not unusual in getting nervous and anxious about this kind of procedure and you certainly wouldn't be the first person to take someone in with you. Also, I would fully inform the nurse about all of your symptoms and about the bumps that you can feel and ask her to do the smear but to take extra swabs as well. The overwhelming likelihood is that you have NOT got cancer, but that doesn't mean whatever is causing it shouldn't be sorted out!
I really do understand how hard it is when you're in there - I promise you I do - and how easily the first sniff of someone behaving in an unhelpful way can send you straight into that place of feeling like a vulnerable little girl who has no rights, and that's a horrible feeling when it's something like this, so it might help to try and keep at the front of your mind that you are a 26 year old woman who is in charge of her own body and you have a right to appropriate and respectful medical attention when there is something wrong. You are not being silly and you have a right to appropriate treatment.
Do let us know how you get on.
Love, Annabel. x
Thank you for all your advice It really is nice to be able to share experiences and gain great advice.
I did go back for my smear, I hardly slept the night before and my heart was in my mouth by the time I was in the waiting room but I knew it had be done.
When I went in the nurse asked why I had made the appointment, after advising her I was here for a smear she said the reason she had asked was because my notes showed I was waiting for smear results. Turns out the locum I saw in February entered the wrong notes! I explained about my visit the week before and she apologised profusely for the locums ignorance. She advised that most women can feel their cervix at some time or another and when women have a coil fitted they are asked to check it periodically. She advised me that she would report the incident but I could also do the same. I ended up up tears (out of nowhere and for no particular reason) and she was so patient, she listened to me and explained the procedure in detail and asked if she could talk further swabs to check for infection. I think her calmess made me relax and once on the table I was fine. She asked me if id had surgery which threw me a bit but she explained it was because she could see 2 cysts and large polyp, in a way relief washed over me that I hadn't imagined the lumps, she explained that they were both quite common but the polyp would need to be investigated further as it might be the reason for my abnormal bleeding.
My GP is away from the practice again (I really need another one) and she acknowleged my reluctance to book in and see another locum so we agreed I would go on his first day back which will be a in week. Im a little worried that hes going to be doing the internal exam but im feeling much better about it than I was about the smear and my results should be back then too.
I really want to say thank you to everyone that replied, you really have put my mind at ease.
I hope your all well.
Oh Claire I am so pleased for you :) (if that makes sense lol) I am SO glad you saw someone patient and supportive and your experience was better and has hopefully put your mind at ease :) let us know how you get on with your results and everything x x x x
I am sitting at my desk blinking back tears after reading your story. You have been so brave to go back and get this sorted out. You should be very proud of yourself.
I think we need a Jo's Trust hit squad to catch up with ignorant and insensitive medics and explain a few things to them. Now, where did I put my 'explaining stick'....
Good luck sweetheart and do change GPs is yours isn't meeting your needs. xxx
I’m so so sorry and like the others furious you’ve been treated this way. Very well done for going back and making yourself heard.
Sending you a massive hug xxx
Thank you all for your kind words and support.
My results came back as normal including the extra swabs taken. I finally saw my own GP and he's referred me for a scan to identify further cysts and then a colposcopy in order to exam the polyp. Hopefully they'll be able to identify what's going on.
Again thank you for your support, you all have given me the strength to carry on with the investigations.
YEY!!! That is brilliant news!!! I hope you feel a bit better now :) I'm glad you've also managed to see your own GP and not a locum too and that you've been referred for more investigations to check on everything.
Come back and let us know how you get on. So pleased for you :) x