So today I went for mine (after 8 years of receiving letters that I am overdue).Have only been for 1 before but it was enough to put me off for life…never thought I’d go again.
But I wanted to write about it here as I know a lot of people who have had a bad experience, and wanted to comfort anyone who might have had similar experiences on here…today was completely different to my last one. My last one, the nurse was very cold, not reassuring, she used a metal implement which she needed to wind a bolt to open it once inside me (talk about frankenstein!), and she used the wrong size implement which consequently caused me to bleed (as in, she actually cut me). She also gave me a manky blanket to cover myself with, which was not clean and had obviously been used on other ladies, which I really objected to.
Today…the nurse was lovely, but they have also revamped the implements which are much more friendly, and it didn’t hurt a bit…uncomfortable for a second maybe but definitely manageable - and I hate pain!
The other reason I wanted to write was to ask your views on the test itself. I booked the appointment a week ago as I felt irresponsible not going, with having a son and husband, and with wanting more children….if ever something did happen to me which could have been prevented had I gone for my tests I would be so upset, well, that’s putting it lightly. However, I have been feeling since booking the appointment that it really is an invasive procedure and I’m not sure that it is necessary - does it interfere with our feminine energies, does it cause imbalance?
Yes it is invasive, but having seen people go through illnesses that rely on detection by invasive procedures I think that it is more our responsibility to have checks regulary than just hope that we will be ok. Often by the time symptoms of anything untoward arise things are quite serious. Having spent the last 6 months wondering what was the reason for me have a scare with the C word, I have come to the conclusion that these things happen, even when you are not in a high risk group. And looking after ourselves means being conscious of what we eat, being aware of our bodies, and as we are living in the 21st Century, taking advantage of the screening tests that are available.
I need to book mine actually. I got a reminder last month. I’ve only had 2. The first one was fine, despite the nurse not being able to find my cervix at first!! The second one was more uncomfortable, but it was OK. My second was after I’d had DS, but he was born via c-section, so I don’t know if that had any bearing on it. Probably not. A friend of mine who is around my age (36) had pre cancerous cells discovered when she had a routine smear test done, so it was definitely a life saver for her. I don’t know about unbalancing energies, but I’m sure they can be rebalanced if you feel you’ve been affected. x
I had a similar first experience to you but as you say, it has changed quite a lot since then. Smear tests aren’t “nice” but as Aisling says its much better that we have these screening tests than just hope for the best. Glad you went in the end. x x x Hugs x x x
Oh, you have reminded me to book mine too! I haven’t had one since 2008 and I also had pre-cancerous cells in 2002, so yes, although invasive I need to go. So pleased though that your experience was much better this time, it makes all the difference, doesn’t it
invasive yes. life saving - possibly yes. I think it is a minor inconvenience imo to test that all is well. As you say, we have loved ones to think of too.
My only bad experience didnt affect me- it affected my son. I had no option other than to take the kids with me (1 and 2 at the time). I set them up on the floor with toys + books +requested that the curtain wasnt pulled round so that I could watch them whilst she was doing the examination.
As I bent down to pull my trousers up my ds ran to the corner of the room & put his hands in some water. I ran over to him only to see a instrument used for smear tests in there. I questioned the nurse & basically all equipment used that morning went on the bottom of that trolley. I was mortified. I went to register a complaint at reception & ask for ds to be checked over as his hands had been in water with a used speculum to be told that the accident book was in a meeting with the practice manager. I asked them to interrupt the meeting & they refused!!! I told them I wasnt moving until ds was checked over, the accident book was filled in & I had spoke to practice manager.
The upshot of this was that they did register my complaint, they got the accident book & ds was washed & checked for cuts etc. I’m no longer a patient of that practice but was advised a week after that they have changed to plastic disposable equipment which is more hygienic, is disposed of straight away + isnt cold.
Please be careful when taking lo’s to an appointment with you. I’m sure there are others who have no option than to take them with you.
I had my first one last week. It was awful, I was crying. I was relaxed when she put the thing in, but then I lost that relaxed state and I was wriggling about and my legs were closing and I was lifting my bottom up, I just couldn’t stand having the thing wedged inside me. I got the results this morning though, so luckily I don’t have to go back now for 5(?) years.
The nurse said, “how did you manage to have your baby?” But I had a very quick labour and she was out in a couple of pushes. And she has a small head! This felt like something there that shouldn’t have been there that needed to come out.
I hand on heart would not miss mine, despite it being invasive and me breaking in a sweat every time I go.
I have had borderline / pre cancerous cells since I was 21, and believe me, its not what you want to hear. I dreaded going to my one after having Roo, as I stupidly read that giving birth can progress things…and I was given the all clear! Rather than going every year, I now don’t have to go until 2014!
My point - if I hadn’t gone to them the cells may or may not of changed, but if they had progressed then I would never forgive myself for not going. Thats just where I stand anyway.
Ok, any ideas to help me cope with having a smear done?
I can not cope with internals due to having things done without my consent while I was in labour with Leni. Checking me after the births of Fliss and Miri is the only bit of their births I had gas and air for. It takes two people to hold me down so I don’t kick the person doing the internal, and I scream the whole way through and spend several hours crying afterwards. Even the thought of them makes me cry.
My Health visitors’ response to this was the very helpful ‘well, you need to have it done, think of your children’ (great, so now I feel guilty!) so I have no idea how to cope with it! Chris would have to have a day off work to look after the bigger ones, but then I’d have to make it home on my own…
Personally I don’t go for smear tests or any kind of screening tests any more, and neither do most of my friends. The reason is that if, god forbid, it turned out that that I had cancer, I would not want to have the kind of treatment that the NHS would offer me i.e. chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy. No way would I have either of them in a million years.
So if you have their screening tests they can try to railroad you into having their treatment. So it really does require careful thought. And is obviously a very personal decision, I realise most people wouldn’t share my views on cancer treatment, it’s just that I’ve seen the damage it wreaks on the body and have learnt lots about very successful alternative cancer therapies over the past few years.
Playing devils advocate here sjpereira, if you don’t know the cancer is there until symptoms appear, which can sometimes be at the point where chemo, radiotherapy and surgery are not going to rid you of it, so you are just looking at palliative care, would the alternative therapies cope with that? I would rather know earlier and be able to make an informed decision as to treatment.
Frowsypink, I don’t know how you would feel about it, but I have a similar reaction to the dentist, and my lovely dentist offered me a mild sedative to help me cope - is that something you would consider?
Another thing that might help long term, but obviously not for the first time is something we did at my internal during Jude’s birth. We had read a study suggesting that during a painful procedure (I think they used anal exams, but the principle still applied), if the person doing the exam remained in position for 50% longer than they needed to, but not moving (so giving you a chance to relax I guess) people’s perception of the exam afterwards was that it was less painful than normal. It really worked for me - even though I knew that’s what was happening.
I think cancer would upset your feminine energies and imbalance a lot more than having a smear test done. Smear tests are essential to saving womens lives. I see a lot of the replies have been told that they don’t need to be checked until the five year point as their most recent smear was clear which is great news but what happens if cells develop six months later, these changes won’t be picked up for five years and by which time it could be too late. I’m not sure if you are aware that depending on where you live in the UK depends on how often they recommend that you have a smear test….basically it comes down to a trusts available funds and budget - if the funds are available, women are checked yearly if they’re not, it increases to three years and five years and having moved around the UK over the last few years, I too have had experience of this treatment. Just because you are told you are clear in year one, does not mean you will be clear in say year two, three, four etc so for me smear tests should be conducted annually….but I’m going off subject. Smear tests save womens lives, it really is as simple as that.
On the subject of womens healthcare, the same principle applies to mammograms. The UK start testing (if my memory serves me correctly) when women are in their fifties (unless there is history) - I currently live in Belgium and here they start checking every woman from the age of 35 and then you are checked every five years afterwards. When I arrived here my doctor was appalled at the fact that women are not checked in their 30’s in the UK as he feels this could also save countless lives - again it comes down to costs (when I told him about the timeline on womens smear tests he was even more shocked that the NHS is more a reactive service than a proactive one.
Apologies for getting on my high horse on this one but it’s something I feel very strongly about. I’m not into have medical ‘procedures, taking tablets etc’ just for the sake of it or because a medical professional has said so but in this case having someone have a ‘poke around’ for ten minutes to check you are healthy in the scheme of things really isn’t a big deal when it can save your life. I would tell all women to be checked every year and then afterwards treat yourself to a nice slab of chocolate cake (because you’ve earnt it) x
I really agree with you Jen, about the cervical smears. Can’t believe there is anything that can harm you about from the fact that it isn’t the most pleasant of procedures, but both myself and my sister have had abnormalities found and have had to have colposcopies and I am glad that they exist so that something could be caught early, having said that I am supposed to be having mine annually and haven’t been back for 6 months so I understand the desire to put it off. Am going to go next week. Thanks for reminder ....
But on the mammograms there is some evidence that the low level radiation associated with mammograms could actually be a contributory factor to breast cancer, so certainly if you are a woman under 50 I think the best way is to self check your breasts, feeling for any changes rather than having a mammogram.
Re the mammogram check as I understand it, it’s the same risk ass having an x-ray and as long as you go to a reputable place, there is no cause for concern. Also on a humerous note, I was given a CD of the inside of my breasts so that it could be compared to the next check up in five years time - imagine the humour this causde when I bought it home and put it on the computer