The Things We Women Go Through…
- May 26, 2017
I am one of those women. One of those women of a certain age, and it’s only quite recently that I realised it. I’ve just been for my 3 yearly smear test. Ugh. Men don’t know they’re bloody born! Smear tests are one of those things that we women categorise along with the likes of going to the dentist; you know you have to do it, you just don’t want to do it. Although given the choice, I’d take the dentist any day of the week!
12 years ago, having a smear test probably saved my life. Ooh, dramatic I hear you say. I say, not at all. The first I realised that the results from that test had come back as abnormal, was when a letter arrived on my doormat one morning informing me that an appointment had been made for me at the hospital, where I would meet with a Consultant, and a biopsy would be performed if he thought it necessary.
I immediately phoned my Surgery to see if they could shed any light for me, as by now I was at DEFCON 5! I was transferred between the receptionist and the practice nurse for what seemed like an age before one of the doctors came onto the line. He told me that my abnormal cells had been classed as Severe Dyskaryosis, also called CIN3, but “not to worry Ms Taylor, they’ll sort you out at the hospital.” I just thank God we didn’t have a computer at home at that point as I’m sure that if we had, I’d have consulted Dr Google, and would’ve been writing my last will and testament within minutes!
Instead I called my Sister, Lynne (aka Nurse Ratched). She told me she’d talk to some of her colleagues to see if they could put my mind at rest. I told her that the Doctor had told me it was Severe Dyskaryosis, and she dutifully went off and did her research. Later on she called me back, and told me what was likely to happen at my appointment, and that her colleague had said not to worry, it should be quite easily treatable; “Just so long as it’s not CIN3, Jane, you’ll be fine!” It was at that point that I learned that CIN3 is the stage just before Cancer. DEFCON FUCKING 1!!!
The ten days between then and my hospital appointment were the ten longest days of my life. Not a minute went by that I didn’t think that I might have cancer inside me, and if I did, what if it spread really quickly; ten more days for it to eat its way into other parts of my body; ten more days that I was helpless to do anything about it.
Eventually the day of my appointment arrived. It’s a bit of a blur now, but I remember being called into a room, and being told that it was necessary to carry out a procedure, there and then. The next thing I knew, my legs were stirruped up with my lady bits on show for the world to see and as my Mum held my hand as I was anaesthetised (locally), the Consultant set to work, basically surgically removing the end of my cervix. He was confident he’d got every single abnormal cell and told me that as long as nothing sinister showed up from the biopsy, no follow up treatment would be necessary. Nothing sinister, no follow up. 6 monthly smears followed, and then after 3 years they went to annual, and now I’m back to three yearly, thankfully all returned as normal.
Anyhow, I digress. The points I have made and the information I’ve shared, although crucial to raise awareness, are just part of my vociferation. At my recent smear appointment, the Practice Nurse asked me the usual questions; “How’s your general health, Jane? Are you on any medication? When was the first day of your last period?” “Um, I’m well thank you. No, no medication. Um… gosh…. it was the day we went on holiday… 30th May last year.” I’ve actually been bloody (no pun intended) loving the fact that I haven’t been having the monthly curse, and have just put it down to having put on some timber over the last year. “Hmmmm. OK. That’s fine” she said as she wrote “MENOPAUSAL?” on my notes!
Since then, I’ve been feeling REALLY old; I’m sure my joints are stiffer, my back aches a LOT more, I’m suffering from far more night sweats than I ever did before, and I think I might even be growing a beard. Apparently other symptoms include low mood and irritability, but Mr Sunshine reckons that’ll be nothing different to normal! All of this coupled with the realisation that my wedding tackle is now redundant is a sobering thought; I laughingly refer to myself as an ‘ol’ bird’, but for fuck’s sake!? There’s women older than me having their first babies! And here I am, a dried up Old Maid! FML!!
Hold on to your hat, Mr Sunshine, you’re in for a bumpy ride! From now on, for me at least, it’s gonna be ‘Life in the Slow Lane’!
My name is Jane. Lube is the future.