If you’re anything like me, you probably have a list of things that you know you have to do but keep putting off. I really need to edit some videos to kickstart my Youtube channel, but my final PT exam is in two weeks so I need to revise; I should really go for a dental checkup, but I just would really rather stare at the wall; and I really, really must go for a smear test, but I’m scared.
That last one is pretty important. I am a 29-year-old, health-conscious, fitness-savvy woman, and I’ve been avoiding getting a cervical smear test since I first received a letter at 25. How ridiculous is that?! The trouble is, when I was in my early twenties, I had a bit of gynae-scare and had the most horrific first-meeting with a speculum and a very unsympathetic nurse. I mean, the woman actually laughed at how much discomfort I was in. And so, add some anxiety into the mix, and I’ve never been able to bring myself to go back.
I got close once… I joined a new doctor’s surgery and they gave me a stern talking to about not having had one. So, very chastened, I booked an appointment for two weeks after my period like a good girl. Except my period didn’t play ball, ended up being two weeks late and I skipped the appointment. And never re-booked. That was nearly two years ago.
Now, like I said. I am a fit and healthy young woman and I constantly encourage others to be the same. I eat healthily. I floss. I check my damn boobs every day in the shower. Yet I put off this one, single thing you’re supposed to do once a year, that could save your life. And you know what? It’s bad enough that 9 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every day and is the most common cancer in women under 35, but cancer runs on my mother’s side of the family. So what on earth am I doing?!
So enough is enough. I’ve been following the #SmearForSmear campaign on Instagram, and some of my favourite blogs, and that cervical smear test has been creeping up the rankings on my procrastination list. Then this morning, I received a text reminder from my surgery to book in for my smear. Did I do what I usually do, which is look at the text, make a weird ugh noise and ignore? No. I worked out when my period is due, I picked up the phone and I made an appointment for February. Am I still scared? I mean, yes. A speculum up your nunnie is uncomfortable. But do you know what else is uncomfortable? Cervical cancer.
So isn’t it time you got a smear test too?