Friday, November 4, 2011

Saving Our Own Lives

Gorgeous Flowers from Mr Butterfly after a tough few days
I've ummed and ahhhed this week as to whether I should share this story with you or not. I then realized I have made a commitment to you to be honest and a commitment to contribute to your health and happiness.

Back in April I realized that I was behind on getting my PAP test. The usual stuff of a busy life (not least getting Butterfly Collection up and running) meant that I was late getting tested. I've been going for PAP tests (or smear tests as they're known in the UK) for over a decade and even though it's not the most fun you can have in an afternoon I've never dreaded it. I simply forgot that this isn't a test you don't want to miss.

My results came back showing signs of pre-cancerous cells, a very common diagnosis, one which a few of my girlfriends had experienced and explained that the treatment was very straightforward. I was chastising myself for not going earlier but concentrated my mind on getting the biopsy done. The biopsy results came back and showed that there were pre-cancerous and unfortunately cancerous cells too. This came to light on Monday and my stomach did a very big flip.

I've just spent the last month writing about breast cancer and here I was hearing my health discussed in relation to cervical cancer, that's the wrong end - I don't know anything about that end! I was able to speak to the gynecologist and find out that there were very few cancerous cells and the doctor is confident he got them all out. This made me feel a million times better, this isn't cervical cancer, this is a bloody big warning! They are giving me follow up treatment to make sure I'm spotless which is great. By this end of the week I feel very relieved and very fortunate. Thank goodness I finally made time to have the PAP test done especially knowing that leaving it much longer could have been very bad news for me.

I am sharing this story with you because being an independent, happy and healthy woman starts on the inside; in this case, literally! I am asking each of you to mark down when your next test should be, and if you're behind on getting one done, book it today, it could save your life. xx

4 comments:

  1. Had exactly the same thing happen to me a few years ago. Going through a colposcopy etc was enough to make me realise that I should be more aware than I had been. I am now back to routine screening dates after five years of having to have them yearly. To be honest, I would rather continue with the yearly checks. I see it as a very worthwhile MOT (one that doesn't cost the earth although, admittedly, still makes you wince!).

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  2. It really is a wake up call that you need to be aware of your own health and maintenance. Screenings are annual here in Canada which I think should be universal. Thanks for commenting :) xx

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  3. I almost 2 years ago went through the same with but i had to have over half my cervix removed i went through a longer process it was may i went in had a paps got the call came back in for my first bioposy they said it was at CIN 1 ( stage one ) abnormal cells. they told me it would clear up on its own but we would need to do a follow up in 4 months. 3 months came i had another paps then the call i didn't want it was still there back in for a second biopsy found out it was stage 2 and it was growing so in for surgery with in 2 months. when we got the results back they informed me it had grew to cancerous stage with in this 2 months. and that they had to remove far more then expected. i have no tip to my cervix i was told that if i was to become pregnant now, i would not be able to carry past 5 months. this is a shocker for a 21 year old. its a good thing i had already had my children grace of god i was a young mother.... i go in every 3 months for fallow ups. so far I've been clear... but its that time. needless to say cervical cancer is not something to play around with, its not something i personally think you should ignore. in 6 months i went from abnormal cells. to a dangerous stage of cancerous cells. if i would have waited longer who knows where i would be... screening is so important.
    -Cara

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    1. Thank you for sharing your experience Cara. I'm so sorry you had to go through such a frightening time. I hope your regular PAPs are coming back clear and you are healthy. Regular tests are so important and you story can remind women that they need to keep on top of their cervical health. xx

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