Let me introduce myself, I'm Dane and am the partner of Jo, my wife of 15 years and the mother to our wonderful 2 daughters.
I am writing this because I promised myself I would if everything went OK so I could help others in our position even if you are like me the husband just looking for reassurance.
We have just been through the most awful experience during and after a routine smear test and would like to share our experience to those who may be going through the exact same anxious time to give them some reassurance that it's not always bad.
If this sounds like you then please read on and I hope I can help put your mind at ease slightly.
I know this may be difficult because I was in exactly the same place, I'm the worlds biggest worryer and no matter what I read nothing would put my mind at ease because for every good story I read about there was 10 bad ones but please stick with me because not every scare ends in disaster.
So....the day came for Jos routine smear test to be done and just the wait for that was bad enough but it would turn out to be the start of the worst months of our lives.
Jo went into the health centre and I waited outside for her. She said she would only be about 10-15 minutes.
30 minutes passed and I started to get concerned so started to make my way in when I was met by Jo at the exit with eyes full of tears. I asked what was wrong, what has happened? She said they were unable to do the procedure due to a "worrying growth" on her cervix.
My stomach sank, I didn't know what to say or do, this was my 1st ever encounter with what could potentially be cancer. Jo however had unfortunately had experienced it before with her mum dying of it when she was only 15. This of course made us even more anxious and think the worst.
Jo went on to tell me about what happened at the smear test saying the nurse struggled and said she had to get a doctor to take a look which she did and there was a lot of sighing and tutting before confirming the growth. They said they weren't happy with it, they said it could be a polyp but didn't want to say too much. It must have been awful for her. The doctor then told her they were sending her to see a specialist/consultant on an "urgent 2 week referral" which sent us into meltdown!
I was like "urgent? 2 weeks? Why can't they see her now if it's urgent" but as I found out after reading on forums like this it's standard procedure. So if this is you then don't panic please, it doesn't mean bad news.
Of course nothing can make those 2 weeks go quickly, every day dragged, every day getting more anxious, every day making up the worst scenarios in my head. Jo was being so strong, apart from the initial scare at the clinic she wasn't letting it get to her, well at least not showing anybody her concerns/worries/doubts, she was a rock.
I did the usual online research into what polyps were, what experiences other people had had etc and trying to stay on the side of the positive stories and comments but it wasn't always easy and sometimes sent me to a negative dark place once again.
So fast forward a week and the appointment for the consultant came through setting off the anxiety again. I think this was because the letter was so official, obviously it was official but what I mean or worried me more was the fact that the appointment showed the consultant and his team and his support staff, I was like "why do we need all these people? What do they know? What aren't they telling us? Why is our appointment the 1st one at 9am on a Monday?" I'm sure I'm not the 1st to think all this and won't be the last.
So the 2nd week dragged on worse than the 1st. All our focus on what could potentially happen at the appointment, everything else was a blur, work, home, school runs etc. We had done our best to not let the girls know what was going on and to act as normal as possible with this big cloud hanging over us.
Appointment day had arrived, I'd been praying for it to come so quickly for 2 weeks but now it was here I didn't want it to be. Jo had been suffering quite a bit of pain over the last 2 weeks but they said this may be normal after the initial failed smear test.
The 30 minutes drive to the hospital was a blur once again, my mind going through every scenario, what will they find, will they keep her in, will they operate today, how long will she be away from the girls, will she be off work, how will we manage, all the negative stuff again.
We arrived 30 minutes early and found the waiting room and sat with a coffee. There were lots of nurses going backwards and forwards all being very nice, each one taking the time to slow down and ask if we were OK whilst they were passing. I was now at the stage again of why are they being so nice? What do they know? I have honestly never been in such a paranoid state as I had right then.
9am arrived and the nurses explained the doctor hadn't arrived yet. We just wanted this dealt with right now, we needed to know what was going on, we couldn't wait any longer.
Jo was taken to a side room to be weighed and here we go again with the overthinking mind.. .. "Why are they weighing her? Is this normal?" It was driving me insane. I could see and hear Jo laughing with the nurse but I knew it wasn't her normal laugh, it was a nervous laugh, maybe she was thinking the same.
Eventually at 9.10am Jo was called in. I felt so helpless watching her go into a room without being able to do anything to help. She wanted to go in on her own, I totally understood this so sat and waited and paced and sat and paced again for 15 minutes.
The door opened and Jo appeared clutching a piece of paper and no emotion on her face. I asked her whats happened? What have they said? What have they done? What do we have to do? She said ssshhh come with me.
We walked to the stairwell and she stopped and said it was just a polyp and they've just removed it, I didn't believe her, I said you wouldn't lie to me would you? She said no and passed me the paper which at the top said "Polyp removal after care" and basically explained the procedure she had just been through. I cried! Not afraid to admit, I cried. it was a release I think of the 3 weeks of what I can only explain as mental torture we went through. Jo was a lot stronger than I was, she says it was because it was happening to her and she knows her body but I'm sure there were times when she was on her own she was in that very same dark place as what I was.
We left the hospital with the best outcome we could have possibly asked/prayed for. The consultant also took a 360 smear and said we would get the results in 2 weeks but may be inconclusive due her cycle due to start. He sent the polyp off to be tested for cancerous cells. He also commented about the unnecessary comments that have been left on Jo's notes and that he had no major concerns.
2 more weeks passed and the test results came back, the polyp was benign and the smear was inconclusive as predicted so he recommended that she go to the clinic in 3 months for a retest and there was no rush.
So that is our story. I hope somebody has just finished reading this and it has put their mind at ease even if it's just a little and for a short period of time, I know where you are at and it's a horrible place but it's not always bad news, stay positive, I know it's difficult. Come back and read this again if it helps. Stay strong.
Dane & Jo