Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Girl Talk - Health Anxiety & Smear Tests

This is going to be a long ol' chat, so go grab a tea/coffee and some snack, maybe even a glass of wine and get comfortable, just like a classic girly chat.

Everybody worries about their health but how do you know when to stop the worrying from spiralling into a catastrophic fear? that's the part I struggle with.
I have always been a little bit of a worrier, in my head, it's completely justified, but to others, it can seem pretty irrational which I completely understand. I don't worry about everything. I don't worry about things that have already happened and I have never really worried about peoples opinions but what I do worry is health, my families health and I guess, running out of time.
It's not something I speak about a lot unless it's with people super super close to me, it's not something I feel 100% comfortable about if I'm honest and it has only really effected me in the last couple of years. 



I remember in October 2016 I my vision started going all 'funny'which terrified me and it actually led to my first panic attack. It was super scary at the time and it turned out to be just a migraine but it shook me up and I was so scared to leave the house incase my vision went while I was by myself and had no one to help me. 
I stayed in for a week and my mum said I should try and go out because I had to leave the house because the longer I didn't the harder it would be, I went shopping with my sister and then the same thing happened, as you can imagine it was a huge stepback. The one thing I was worried about had happened, again, so then I was twice as scared to be by myself and twice as worried about my health, was it truly a migraine? was it MS? why did my eyes go funny, what if it's my brain? 
I have quite a vivid imagination and if you have health anxiety you probably do the same thing, I get quite irrational and I start off by thinking 'normally' I guess, and then I overthink and my mind runs wild and before you know it I've diagnosed myself with all sorts and I'm planning my funeral - sounds crazy doesn't it?

Ever since I found out that from the age of 25 that from this age you start to have your regular smear tests or 'pap smears' I dreaded that age, I know that sounds extreme but I did. What if the results came back abnormal? I watched Jade Goody get her life snatched away at such a young age from this awful illness and it honestly scared me.
Back in February, I went for my first ever smear test. I'm 24 (25 in July) and I had to wait 6 weeks for my results, as you can imagine I was pretty anxious and filled with fear. Everybody told me the procedure is fine it's over in minutes it's just slightly 'uncomfortable' and to be honest I wasn't at all worried about the procedure, I've had 14 tattoos and 13 piercings in total and pain or discomfort didn't feel me with dread. The procedure was absolutely fine, it was kind of uncomfortable I guess but it didn't hurt in the slightest and it was over pretty quickly. 

My results finally came back after 6 weeks of waiting! which seemed like forever and I had hoped that if it was bad I would've heard by now right?, I got my letter and I was informed that I had abnormal cells. This was everything I had dreaded from the age of 18 I was honestly beside myself and then I had a long anxious wait to find out when my appointment was going to be, I waited a week for my appointment date and then I had to wait a month for my Colposcopy. 
The name terrified me by itself, I had no idea what it was, if it hurt if it was uncomfortable? because that made me kind of anxious about discomfort and pain which I was originally fairly okay with, I had no idea what to expect and worst of all I didn't know anybody who had been through this before.
The few questions I kept asking myself was 'what if it's cancer?' 'Has anyone else been through this?' I wish I could ask someone with experience.
I did end up talking about it, My Mum, having to reassure me most days was probably pretty draining 
and My aunt - she has honestly been the best being so so patient with me and they had both been through it which I had no Idea, My boyfriend's mum had also been through it which I had no idea either and Sophie which you probably know her Youtube account 'Sopherina' she was super patient too and let me quiz her because she actually went through the same thing and was going for another Colposcopy she did a video about her experience on her Youtube so I contacted her to ask her basically everything and funnily enough our appointments were a day apart.

My appointment was on the 1st of May, It's was exactly a week ago today. I was dreading the date for the past month and everybody kept talking about summer and upcoming events and I couldn't even think of anything past may and to be honest I thought May was going to be rough but now it's here and its gone and I am writing my experience and to be honest it was okay, the sun is shining and I have been out the house every single day since and for the past year I've been a bit of a hermit.

On the day of my Colposcopy I arrived at the hospital with my mum she was with me for moral support (she even came into the room with me cos I'm a big baby! haha) I arrived super early which was a bit silly because I then had to wait for what felt like a lifetime. 
Entering the room scared the hell out of me, the nurses were so kind and could see how anxious I was and gave me every reassurance and explained everything to me, broke it all down so it was easy to understand and told me that it was not in fact cancer which was a huge relief and even if I had advanced cells, it still wouldn't be cancer. I had no idea that this was the case, I thought abnormal cells = cancer and the thing I was fearing the most is hearing them use the C word. I was petrified of having cancer which is normal but when you already suffer from health anxiety it can genuinely feel like its taking over all your thought. I was so scared to plan anything in advance because I didn't know if I'd have to have more procedures or treatments it was so horrible, and the fact that we can actually prevent it just by having our cervical screenings makes me so baffled as to why a woman at any age would miss such an important thing. 

The procedure itself wasn't amazing, it was fairly uncomfortable but that was due to me being so tense it was harder to do and once I'd chilled out, breather and stopped being so tense it was actually fine and I barely felt anything. It's similar to a smear except its a couple minutes longer because they put some 'dye' inside to see if there are any abnormal cells or any problems/changes. This just felt like cold air if anything it didn't feel like liquid or anything weird it was fine, I chose not to look at the screen and see my cervix but you can have a look so they can explain things more in depth I just listened to her explanation instead.

I have learnt that these smear tests we have are not scary at all, they shouldn't be feared at all. It isn't cancer, it isn't life threatening as long as we have our screenings, they grow so slowly before they turn into cancer but if you miss your screening you could potentially put your life at risk which of course is scary BUT these screenings will prevent you from getting to the point of cancer so they are so so important.

So please girls GO FOR YOUR SCREENING
Don't leave it please, as soon as you receive your letter inviting you for your screening just book it there and then and it could save your life. 
If you're worried about yours, or you need any questions or would like a little Q&A on this subject just comment and ask or message any of my social media platforms or email me! It's all on my contact me page!


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17 comments

  1. This is a really good post and important to talk about these kinda things. I'm not old enough for my smear yet but as soon as I'm able to - I'm going to get my smear!

    Katie x
    www.katie-middleton.co.uk

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    1. Thank you, definitely go! don't leave it, my friend did but I've convinced her to go, I'll be going with her tomorrow - Alicia Xo

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  2. Preach girl! Someone put me off the test by saying it was soon traumatic. But after some health issues I was told to get it done. Glad I did as it wasn't as bad as I was told and the test was negative. More girls need to go, it's not as horrific as some people think x

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    1. yes! I know soooo many girls who are scared so put it off but it really is fine! - Alicia Xo

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  3. After my mum battled cervical cancer 3 years ago I've been fighting with my doctors to let me have a smear test early (I'm only 21) since my mum had cancer (she had abnormal cells every smear test since I was born) and both my sisters have regularly abnormal cells. Yet that doesn't seem to be enough for them to actually lower the age.

    Alicia x
    Aesthetic Obsessed

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    1. I'm sorry to hear you mum had to deal with that and your sisters, I know it can be frustrating although I think up until the age of 25 they are quite abnormal regularly - Alicia Xo

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  4. This is such a great post. I think it's so important for people to talk about these sort of health issues and not be scared to go get tested. No matter the outcome, it's always better to check. x

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    1. Thank you! I completely agree - Alicia Xo

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  5. I had my first smear last year and to be honest it went alot better than I thought. It's so important to talk about this sort of thing! xx

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    1. Oh I'm so glad! Yes I feel it is important too - Alicia Xo

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  6. such an honest post! I always try and avoid the doctors because of my anxiety but it's so important to talk about it!

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    1. Thank you, It's best to just do it but I agree it can be so scary! - Alicia Xo

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  7. This is such an honest post but it's something that needs to be spoken about more. Sending lots of love xx

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad you think so - Alicia Xo

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  8. I had to have pre cancerous cells removed last year and had some severe complications from this but to this day it's made me more firm on getting regular smears. It's just not worth the risk x

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    1. Oh really? I had no idea. I hope everything's okay now, it's so important to have the tests - Alicia Xo

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  9. It's good to talk about these things. Too many people ignore the appointments xx

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