I was doing the usual start of year diary update - birthdays, dinner dates, parties etc - when I realised that 2012 meant something less exciting.
The dreaded smear test is due ...
Yes, three years have flown by and it’s time to assume the embarrassing position again. At least with childbirth, we have something lovely to show for it after the indignity - but with a smear test we’re left with nothing but an agonisingly long wait for the results.
I was lucky enough to have a gynaecologist for many years, who was the spitting image of Father Christmas. It was all I could do to stop myself sitting on his lap and telling him I wanted a new bike! I never felt uncomfortable or uneasy with him; he just had the knack of putting his patients at ease. He had me chuckling once when he told me how he would often sympathise with his wife on the hardships endured by womanhood. Thinking he was referring to the procedure, I was surprised when he continued, “Oh yes,” the burden of having to match all those shoes with all those handbags!”
Sadly, he’s now retired and quite possibly gone to Gynaecology Heaven (not an image I want to entertain) but I will always have a little soft spot for him - that sounds ever so slightly wrong, but you get my drift I hope.
So do I get the deadly deed over and done with ASAP or do I put it off until the last minute? It’s not like childbirth - I didn’t have the choice as to when I’d be legs akimbo, it just happened and there was no putting it off. Smear tests can be avoided, though.
But I’m too sensible for that. I’ll gird my loins (!) take a good book, sit and wait for what seems an eternity (this is the worst part) and get it over and done with.
I’m normally a firm believer of ‘If it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ but cervical cancer is a silent killer and can so easily be prevented. For the sake of a few minutes in the stirrups, lives can be saved. I was never a huge fan of Jade Goody but, through her misfortune and subsequent campaigning, she helped to encourage thousands of women to take themselves off for this free and painless test.
Because, let’s face it ladies, it is painless isn’t it? It’s just the thought of it and the fact that we have to reveal our lady-bits. But we need to bear in mind that these professionals spend the majority of their time performing this procedure and they’ve seen it all - hairy ones, shaved ones and vajazzled ones and I dare say some that look like the labial equivalent of the trout pout - there is nothing to fear.
So here are Mummy Misfit’s top tips for surviving a smear test:
- Aim to reward yourself in some way when it’s over and done with. Then you have something to look forward to.
- Take a good book for while you’re waiting - one of the Misfits should help to give you a giggle and take your mind off things!!
- Wear a long skirt and not jeans or leggings - that way you won’t feel quite so exposed.
- Breath, relax and breath again - it really is super-quick and should never be painful.
- If you’re really nervous, tell the practitioner - they’ll feel better for knowing and will be able to put you at ease.
- Imagine you’re a famous person - they all have to go through it you know! Even the Queen at some point in her life!
- And if you really need a giggle to get through it, think about the gynaecologist who decorated his hallway … through the letter-box! (boom boom)
- Give yourself a happy pat on the back when it’s over. You’ve been a responsible woman, taking control of your own health.
- Remember to make a note of your next test date as some surgeries don’t send reminders.
There, I’ve done my women’s health good deed for the year. Now go and check out if your test is due and, if it is, you have me to thank! Sorry but you know it makes sense.