I’m not a very scheduled blogger. I tend to write when I feel compelled to. I find myself micro-blogging a lot on Instagram (traceysblog over there if you’re not following me) and yes I did shudder a little bit at the term micro-blogging but that literally is what I do. I’ve taken a step back from You Tube for now and I just love documenting our lives on Instagram. Does anyone else have a fear that someday Instagram will spontaneously combust and all of our photographs will be lost? I realize there are probably more of you rolling your eyes than relating to that but sure look.
Anyway, I’m here to tell you about my smear. Or future smear as it were. I’m basically having one on Friday and I wanted to talk about it because I was a bit overwhelmed by the response it got when I talked about it on my Snapchat today and giving it another platform just felt like the right thing to do. I’ve received five messages this evening from people who have literally booked their smear test today having watched my Snapchat story and its an example of some of the really good stuff that social media brings. It can be easy to forget that sometimes.
I don’t have a remarkable story to tell you all. I’m just a normal girl who booked a smear test today but I know how common it is for women (and men, for support reasons) to fear all things smear and if this encourages a couple of women to book theirs then it will have been worth a little blog post won’t it?
I’ll start by saying that I’ve never really thought much about smear tests. I remember reading a story in a glossy magazine one time about a girl who was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer. It was a really tough read and the main point was that women do not get a free smear test until the age of twenty five however this girl was younger and therefore the abnormal cells were never detected. Until then I had never thought much about it. And I must admit that I didn’t think much more about it afterwards either.
I was twenty five having Billy. At one of my post-natal appointments my GP suggested my first smear and I think at that stage I was so used to “being examined” and had just given birth so I didn’t even really feel anxious. It just so happened that I was twenty five and had just qualified for my first free smear test.
This time round it feels different. I’ve known for about six months that my smear test was looming. I had put my PPSN and DOB in to the tab on cervicalcheck.ie and it told me that I was due a smear in February 2018. I made a mental note and vowed to book it as soon as February arrived.
And then it was the middle of February followed by the end of February (funnily enough). March arrived, did it’s thing and now we are knee-deep in April. I’d say at least ten times since the beginning of February I’ve thought about booking the test. I even thought about posting a photograph here of the last few weeks of my diary/planner because every single week on one of the days I’ve written “book smear”. And here I am on the 9th of April having finally booked the bloody thing.
It’s not a huge deal and the main thing is it’s booked now. I know that. But I wanted to stress that I felt anxious and nervous about the whole thing even though I know that it is 1. so important 2. actually totally fine and not even painful and 3. over in a couple of seconds. I just chose to avoid it because let’s face it, it’s an internal exam type situation and it just isn’t exciting is it?
But it’s important.
I sat down today and started staring at the ever-growing to-do list that was looking back at me. I mentioned on Instagram that today was one of those days that escaped me. It was a weirdly stressful day because I just had (have) a lot of stuff to do. Errand-running, paper-work, house-work and work work. The day has been a bit pear shaped and there may or may not have even been an incident where I realized I left the house without enough money for the food shop and had to potter around ALDI for a good ten minutes returning about €30 worth of food before we queued at the check-out (and watched the price intensely ready to say stop when it hit a certain number!). But I found myself scratching my head at about 5pm considering how busy and quick the day had been and at the same time how none of my planned bits had actually been done. I scanned the list in front of me and I just had a bit of an epiphany I suppose. I had writing work to do, documents to scan, phone calls to make and clothes to sort out. I tossed up which was most important and which I should prioritise. And then I saw it…
Book Smear Test.
Those three words that I had willingly written day after day and just as willingly scribbled out as it remained a “to-do”.
Well let me tell you, today it was to done and I feel so much better for it. I picked up the phone, called my GP (you can check on the website if they’re registered or where your closest venue is) and made the appointment.
If you haven’t read Grace’s (or Frilly Flossy as you may know her) blog post then I would strongly urge you to take a few minutes to read it now. I first met Grace when I started following her on Snapchat and she has since become a good friend in “real life”. Her first blog post shook me to the core and had a huge affect on me. Sadly Grace lost her mother to Cervical Cancer and her blog post chronicles the difficulty of both that experience and finding herself pregnant and becoming a first time mother without her own mother by her side. Grace regularly campaigns and promotes the importance of getting your smear test and I think she is amazing for it.
Tears flooded down my cheeks as I read Grace’s blog post. I remember vowing to always prioritize my health and at the very least to book my smear test when it was due.
And here I was, on the 9th of April 2018 wondering whether the clothes washing or the phone-call to the tax office was more important.
There is nothing to fear when it comes to your smear test. It is over in a couple of seconds and it could actually save your life. Nobody likes to imagine something so scary or serious happening to them but as a person whose family have been massively affected by Cancer I would urge you to take nothing for granted and always ALWAYS prioritize your health.