02
Nov
09

The All Clear!

This is not one of my usual posts, so apologies for deviation but its something I feel strongly about!

It’s also one the Dudes may want to stop reading here! (Unless you have a sister, partner, female friend, mother!)

Last Thursday I picked a letter up off my wet hall floor! I knew where it had come from! I was anxiously looking forward to it! I opened it … skimmed down the headed paper of The Rotunda Hospital, “… no abnormalities detected …” WOW!

The story began in May 2007, so long ago now! On a small visit to my new GP with a foot complaint she quizzed me on when I last saw a doctor! It had been over 2 years for anything other than repeat pill prescriptions, the usual! She asked when was my last smear test (sorry boys if you are still with us, you are excused now if needed!). *When*! I am only gone 23 I said, sure you don’t need them until you are 25! Her recommendation, and its one I have heard from a number of practitioners since, that all women should have a smear one year after becoming sexually active! I, along with most of my peers, was over that “one year” threshold! So I booked in!

If you have never had a smear, yes it is terrifying! Yes it is awful taking off your pants and lying on the bed! Yes it is a little uncomfortable (but NOT painful!) Yes it feels awful re dressing yourself! But it beats surgery, possible loss of ability to bear children, chemo, losing your hair, worried family members … the list could go on!

Results took two weeks. I turned out to have Grade 1 (Mild) Pre Cancerous Cell changes. Course I panicked at word “cancerous”, but it’s important to know they are cells showing mild changes and may never turn into cancer! I was booked for Colposcopy (a kind of scope in the obvious area to assess actual cells). This was performed 6months later in The Rotunda. I was given choice of laser there and then but was assured as I was a non smoker I could wait 6 months for another check-I wimped out and waited!

Roll on 6 months and off to The Rotunda again. Same procedure. My cells had changed to Grade 2 (Moderate) and it was decided to laser them there and then! A simple procedure. Small injection (again in obvious region!). This was worst part for me! Next day I was fine! A dentist visit has been worse!

What I want to highlight at this stage is I was just gone 24! Still under the “Recommended” 25! One year exactly I had gone from Grade 1 to Grade 2. Next stage is 3 and then it’s possible Cervical Cancer! And all I need to mention at this stage is the very brave 27 year old Jade Goody and the many, many more victims!

One year and six months later of 4 more smears I am finally clear! It seems like a long wait but I always felt safe and secure in the hands of the team in The Rotunda! The midwives are absolutely amazing!

I have since sent a lot of my girlfriends for Smears, and one turned out to have Grade 3 (Severe) Pre Cancerous Cells and was told she was lucky she went then! She had just turned 25!

So,

If you are under 25 and sexually active please speak to your GP!
If you an over 25 chicken please speak to your GP (For you it is now FREE on the Cervical Screening Programme! http://www.cervicalcheck.ie/).
If you are shy, they are lady doctors and nurses and it’s all done with dignity!
If you are a Mammy and too busy looking after your Babies’, take one long hard look at them and go speak to your GP!

Ladies there is nothing to fear! Trust me, I am the biggest baby and moaner and I survived it fine!

Here’s The National Cervical Screening Programme again http://www.cervicalcheck.ie/

(If anyone needs recommendation for amazing female GP’s in Dublin City Centre pop me a line!)

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7 Responses to “The All Clear!”


  1. November 2, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    I kinda wish I had taken your advice and hadn’t read it but I’m glad you’re okay and great advice is shared!

    Congratulations 🙂

  2. November 2, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    Great to hear you got the all clear Amy, so many women avoid smears as though they are the worst thing in the world.
    Yes, they are a bit uncomfortable and maybe a little embarrassing but the doctors have seen it all before and I find are always reassuring.
    I have had borderline results myself before and had to keep going back every 6 months for 2 years but am also all clear now thankfully.

    It can so easily go undetected though-fair play to you for highlighting it like this 🙂

  3. November 2, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Well done on writing the post and that’s great news you got the all clear. There is a certain level of mortification getting the test done, but I think for the doctors and nurses who do them, they see it so often there’s nothing to be really embarrassed about.

  4. 4 Confused
    November 2, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this because it raises an important issue.

    When I was sexually active for a year I actually went to my doctor and asked for an appointment to get a smear test and she told me to wait until I was 25. I thought I was being very pro-active and responsible but came out feeling very confused. Her reasoning was that in your early 20’s your body is still changing and that smear tests often throw up irregularities that are perfectly harmless. Apparently it’s better to wait until 25. Then I read your blog and get even more confused!!

    I have many friends who have gone to get smear tests before the over 25 rule came in but now I can’t get it for another year. Having read your post I now feel that I should go back and insist. But I’ll also have to go through the new process for cervical checks where I need to register in order to get a letter of invitation instead of just going to my doctor.

    I wish I had started to get my testing done before all these different guidelines came in. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with me but I want to be responsible about my health and I feel like there are too many road blocks being put in front of me.

    • 5 mynameisamy
      November 2, 2009 at 2:59 pm

      Yes it is true that some abnormalities that show up are perfectly harmless, but for me I had changed from mild to moderate from 23-24. I was not waiting for severe or worse at 25! My cell changes were not harmless, but were removed easily and fully with small bit of laser! Last time I spoke to my GP over this she said women under 25 can get a smear, but you are not qualified for a free smear-outrageous and frustrating! I would go back and discuss it-it will do no harm! If you are in Dublin area I can recommend my GP!

  5. 6 Al
    November 2, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    glad everything is ok Amy. I’m always harping on about it to everyone! Having watched my mum go through agonising cancer treatment for 5 years and then passing away what’s 2 minutes discomfort and embarassment every few years. Girls…make an appointment today if it’s a while since your last smear – the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

    • 7 mynameisamy
      November 2, 2009 at 3:47 pm

      So very sorry to hear that! I watched someone very close to me suffer and die of cancer too, I understand how difficult that is!


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