It’s Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, so here’s our contribution to help raise awareness. Please be aware that if you continue reading this post, I will be discussing the beautiful female form, cervical smear tests, childbirth, vaginas (including mine!) profiteroles and Gethin Jones
So, you ready?
Okay, let’s go….
“…and how are you feeling?” asked my very lovely, empathetic GP.
“Oh, I’m okay, really” I said (EXACTLY like all us SEND mummies often do, when we’re actually the complete opposite. Only a few weeks into to this journey and I was learning quickly, wasn’t I?)
“…although I’ve now got a vagina that looks like a dog’s chewed it!”
OH, HOW WE LAUGHED!
(True story!…except a dog hadn’t, honest!)
Though this (i.e. laughing) probably isn’t recommended when your doctor is in the throes of giving you an internal examination a few weeks after you’ve given birth!
…I could’ve chopped her hand off! (Slight exaggeration perhaps?)
That would’ve been a new one to put in The Lancet though, eh?
(That’s a UK Medical Journal, btw).
So, why am I telling you this, something SO personal?
Well, ladies (Gents, I’ll be coming to you in a bit. Don’t go anywhere please, okay?) I’m telling you because we need to be able to talk openly and completely unashamedly about our vaginas and vulvas and all the other clever associated internal bits…like our cervix…because recently I found out that a HUGE percentage of us girlies aren’t getting our foof’s checked out – I’m referring to a smear test, btw. Just so you know.
Why aren’t we? WHY GIRLS? WHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYY? *pulls at own hair*
Ladies, if you are one of these people, I’m looking you with a very disappointed look on my face.
Apparently, according to Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust who surveyed 2,017 British women, we’re embarrassed, we’ve got issues with our bodies. And that’s possibly why at least 1 in 4 women (aged 25 – 64) don’t attend their smear test appointment – some prioritising the gym or a wax instead.
That’s just BONKERS!
Forty five minutes on the stepper or a Brazilian – I mean wax, not person – isn’t, IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER, going to save your life!
My loves, I have no intention of trying to scare you, but 220, 000 women are diagnosed with cervical abnormalities each year and cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35. (Source: Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust)
…a smear test takes minutes, literally. And it could save your life!
Now, if you think those female ‘celebs’ you avidly read about in those glossy magazines or see on the telly haven’t got vaginas or vulvas or wobbly bits of all wonderful shapes and sizes, then you’re sadly mistaken. You’re being conned or brainwashed or whatever. Stop comparing yourself. Stop feeling inadequate or ‘imperfect’. Because no matter our age or size, we’re all gloriously unique (and perfect and beautiful!) and we all have similarities….like having vaginas!…yay, go us!
My Sisters, if you’ve never had a smear test before, let me tell you this…
Some of you may be hoping to have a baby in the future, so at some point you’ll need to get over your embarrassment, because trust me, when you’re in the throes of childbirth you don’t care who’s staring at or rummaging around in your undercarriage:
Whilst giving birth, you wouldn’t protest even if someone wheeled you on a trolley, legs akimbo, into the busiest food aisle at Marks and Spencer’s on a Saturday afternoon (I’d recommend the £10 Dine In For Two area) and you REALLY WOULDN’T GIVE TWO HOOTS who was looking at your Lady Garden, and EVEN if Gethin Jones (Ding Dong!) reached over you to grab some profiteroles!
YOU. WON’T. CARE!
TRUST ME ON THAT ONE!
(Btw, I have no idea whether Gethin Jones likes profiteroles…but if I manage to get to The Baps Awards later this year then I’ll make sure to ask him! *winks*)
…and even if you don’t intend on having a baby, this is important.
YOU are important!
Darling, YOU are precious…and those that love you, would be even more devastated if they lost you as a result of something that could’ve been detected and treated if only you’d have gone and got that smear test.
Also, from what I’ve learned over the years since Hannah arrived, you SEND mummies *points* (admittedly, me included at times *holds hands up in acknowledgement*) are THE WORST at looking after yourself. I know you probably won’t be remotely bothered or embarrassed about exposing your bits to someone – you’ve gone waaayyyyy past that point! – but really, I know you’re crazily busy, but prioritise YOU. Please?
…and anyway, it gives you a good excuse to buy some nice new knickers, instead of going to your appointment in those old (once white, now grey) ones lurking in your undies drawer (despite them being your comfiest). DON’T DENY IT, I KNOW YOU HAVE THEM!
So, how is this relevant to My Kid Loves Broccoli: a blog about life with Hannah, who has a rare genetic syndrome and other stuff?
Well, gentle reader, it’s got a lot to do with MKLB.
You see, whilst Hannah’s only a little girl right now, hopefully, someday, she’ll become a young woman and if you’re over 25 years old, you’re (currently) eligible for a free smear test in the UK. So Hannah too ought to have the same rights to get checked out, don’t you think?
I’ll be honest with you, whilst I’ve worried about issues surrounding menstruation and puberty in general, future smear tests weren’t on my radar for Hannah and I only gave this some thought whilst writing this post.
But unfortunately it won’t be that simple for Hannah (rarely is!) as not only is she affected by a rare genetic syndrome, she has a whole host of other things which would impact on her ability to be tested; predominantly her profound learning disabilities, her inability to communicate effectively, her perception of the world around her and that we possibly won’t be able to explain to her (and her understand) what a smear test entailed.
Plus, given that it took five people -THAT’S FIVE PEOPLE – to take a simple blood test last year, I envisage an equally quick and simple procedure – like a smear test – to be nigh on impossible for Hannah.
…and that makes me sad…and more fearful for her, in equal measures.
It’s a procedure that we women may take for granted and choose not to go. It’s quick and painless. But unlike you, Hannah, through no fault of her own, may be denied something that could potentially save her life.
Am I trying to make you feel guilty for not going and pluck at your heartstrings? HELL, YES I AM!
In this respect, by having that choice to have it or not, YOU are lucky.
Others aren’t so.
So, get your big girls pants on and just do it. It’ll only take a little time out of your day and again, it could be a life saver. YOUR life saver.
To conclude this post, we come to you lovely gentlemen who read my blatherings (thank you!)
Whilst you may not have the necessary ‘accoutrements’ to go for a smear test yourself, you can gently encourage the love of your life to get checked. You could even offer to go with her and hold her hand if they’re really nervous (just don’t make her laugh OR leer down at the ‘coal face’ whilst it’s being done…that’s just a bit wrong…and you might get a slap!).
Oh, and maybe, whilst you’re there, you could get yourself checked out too: Crown Jewels, prostate, the lot!
Badda Bing, Badda Boom!
So, do we have a deal? Have I pestered you enough? Have I convinced you to get yourself checked out?
If you’re currently overdue for a test, as soon as the GP surgery is open tomorrow, pick up that phone, dial that number and make an appointment for a smear test. Oh, and please check with your girly friends when they last had a smear test too…and then badger them if they’re overdue!
Here endeth the lesson.
and…if you need more info, here’s some links to Jo’s Trust:
For women with a learning disability (some great resources here!): https://www.jostrust.org.uk/about-cervical-cancer/cervical-screening-smear-test-and-abnormal-cells/women-learning-disabilities
So, I guess that’s all for now my lovelies.
Thanks, as always, for stopping by.
Until next time