I went for cervical screening yesterday. Even after having experienced them a few times, they still make me super uncomfortable. But NHS sent me an invitation, the pamphlet sounded so proper I couldn’t not do it! They cordially invited me, it felt like a party invitation, I didn’t want to be rude.
The wait for the appointment is always the worst part. I was definitely dreading it all day. I was feeling as anxious as if it were a school exam I hadn’t prepared for.
The nurse who performed the exam was very nice, very professional. I always find myself unnecessarily chatty at pelvic exams – the nervous kind of chatty in the attempt to cover up the awkwardness of showing my lady parts to a complete stranger.
Without the comfort of the usual exam room I was used to, I was glad the nurse gave instructions for how I should lie down. But when she asked me to keep my heels together, I was knocked into a state of confusion. How on Earth was she going to check me with my legs closed??
She chuckles and says “ah, you must be used to stirrups in North America – here we just keep the heels together and the knees apart.
Breathe in, breathe out.
And magic! It was less shocking than usual and the swab (smear?) was done in less than a minute.
I get my results the mail in two weeks… Fingers crossed they don’t find anything unusual. The pamphlet says 1 in 20 require a repeat test from abnormal results, but it’s very unlikely to be the cancer.
Just as a public service announcement if you are 25 or older, it’s worth getting yourself checked out once every 3 years. For more information – see the NHS page on cervical screening. The world needs more women!