It all began in early 2019, when I received the letter. The term ‘smear test’ is something that I hadn’t heard off before I read it, but every other woman above 25 already knew.
So I read the booklet the NHS gave me and asked around women I knew. Sure, I was nervous about it but it was something that women have to go through. I gathered the courage to book an appointment and the date was set. Only a few days before my appointment, the doctors phoned to reschedule. I tried not to think too much, and I hadn’t lined up my period properly so I let it go and changed the appointment.
A few weeks later, the second date is here. I have hormonally messed up my body to line up with the test. Since I can remember, I have suffered with my periods and therefore I have both the implant and the pill to control it. It’s very uncomfortable and dangerous but that’s for another topic.
I get ready for the second date of the test, and I groomed to try and make myself feel comfortable. I finally get to the doctors a bag of nerves, but reassure myself that every woman goes through this. Finally got called in, and the nurse said she couldn’t do the test as I’m not old enough. Despite receiving the letter and getting the okay.
Naturally, I was quite pissed off but it wasn’t her fault. I said fine, and I’ll come back near my birthday later in the year. Months go by, and I receive another two letters reminding me but I wait until the nurse says to come back.
I rebooked for the fourth time. I was ready to have it done. The waiting and anticipation was the worst. My mind drew up horror scenarios and that I’d be embarrassed or the nurse would say how weird my vagina was. I did the usual prep of taking the pill in advance, grooming and to wear something loose.
Then came the phone call. My appointment was cancelled because I’m not old enough, despite being reassured it wasn’t. I had to reschedule for the fifth time. I felt so many emotions, but mainly anger. Finally, I decided to wait until my birthday had gone and was fully clear.
Birthday went, had fun. Now I had to re-book for the test. Did it, and they gave me a 7am slot which felt like another joke. I took it and got up at 6am on my day off to wait outside in the cold. It was a month before Christmas, so it was dark and eerie in the morning. It honestly felt like a horror film waiting to happen.
Then I went in, sat down. Eventually got called in, and I survived. It wasn’t painful and I didn’t really feel anything. The nurse was kind and at least attempted to get to know me before prodding my insides.
The whole ordeal of it all was scarier than the actual test. My own build up of stress made it a lot worse. It took about 10 minutes, and then it was over. I was given an evaluation slip and got sent on my way.
In summary, the wait was hell. It made me get horrific ideas of what could happen. The whole staff looked at my lady bits and filmed it. In reality, it’s not like that. The actual test isn’t bad, and it’s to help. The waiting and cancelling for me was horrible.So whilst mine was a nightmare to set up, hopefully yours won’t be! Make sure to have your Smear test as it’s a valuable way to check the health of your cervix. According to Jo’s Cervical Cancer trust, 1 in 5 women miss their test. Don’t miss yours, if you’re 25 and over, book your test!
Words Charlie Vogelsang.