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We have had a terrible amount of tragedy here in Ireland in relation to the Cervical Smear Scandal. Tragedies, which could have and should have been avoided. Women who have or are dying of cervical cancer, which needn’t have and shouldn’t have. Human error. Human mistake. It has and is costing lives. Taking women away from their families, husbands, children, friends, THEIR life, THEIR future.
If anything has come out of the ‘massive blunder’, it is that more women are heading to their G.P surgery for the dreaded smear test. Others are still waiting in anxious anticipation that their results will be good news. My own adult children have attended recently to get their smear test done. There is a 5 MONTH wait on expected results. That is a long long time to be worried, particularly if you have any sort of ‘symptoms’ going on ‘down there’
Symptoms can include, spotting, soreness, painful intercourse, increased discharge, unexplained back pain……. My personal experience, years ago, when I did indeed have ‘symptoms’ and begged for a smear, was told I was too young. Too Young…. I was 23. I was planning my wedding. I experienced painful intercourse. I was told to go to a sex therapist, that there was nothing wrong with me, it was all in my head…. I was too young.
Long story short, I went to the sex therapist…. It was still sore…… I badgered my G.P again and again to do more smears…. I wanted a baby once I was married, but thought if I can’t get anything in, how the hell can I get anything out!
I changed my status from single to married, endured painful intercourse and also changed G.P. after several ‘clear’ smear test results. Roll on a couple of years I finally found a G.P that LISTENED to me. Sent me to see a Gynaecologist. As he was about to examine me, and I was totally mortified with embarrassment, he asked ‘Do you smoke’. My first reaction was to look where he was probing, to see how could he tell. Were there tell tale signs down there!! I felt doubly embarrassed then.
Finally, after listening to my tale of clear smears for the last couple of years, sex therapist sessions and still painful intercourse, he arranged for me to have a colposcopy, where a scan of the ‘area’ is done and a biopsy is taken.
‘Oh yes my dear, there is definitely something wrong here’ were his exact words as he was ‘scanning’. Relief, was my first emotion, that I was not indeed mad or frigid! Terrified was my next emotion. I had to wait 2 weeks for the results and I can tell you it was 2 weeks of hell on earth.
My cells were at precancerous stage. Any longer and it would have developed into cervical cancer proper and I would not be here to tell the tale. My point is this. Had I not insisted and badgered and kept going back to my G.P by the time I had other ‘ symptoms’ it would probably have been too late. It took me several clear smears, over 2 years and a colposcopy and all the embarrassment that went with it to find out, there was indeed a problem.
I was treated almost immediately in hospital and stayed 5 days for them to blast and burn the cells, in 2 areas ‘down there’ and was followed up every 6 months thereafter for a couple of years.. At age 30 I had a hysterectomy due to other reasons, but the fear of Cervical Cancer had now been totally eliminated.
I still have no idea why the gynaecologist asked ‘Do you smoke’. I’m still hoping there is no way of telling by looking at said region, but I was too embarrassed to ask him, why did he ask me that, so I will never know!
So for all females out there, get over the embarrassment and get the test done. If you are not totally happy, even with a clear result, go badger your doctor for a Colposcopy…. it may just save your life. Lets not have any more Mistakes!