Get Your Smears!!
H P V
It’s not a fun topic, but it’s an important one. So here I am talking about something that leaves me feeling pretty vulnerable (again), but I hope it serves as a reminder that getting regular smears for HPV is crucial.
When I was travelling around I never had a regular doctor so I never kept up to date with my smears, even after hearing I had low grade abnormal cells I let it naively wash over me like something I would deal with when I returned home.
Fast forward 5 years down the track I finally had one booked in, to which I was told I had high grade cells and needed them dealt with fairly urgently.
After a Colposcopy and biopsy it confirmed I needed to book in a LLETZ procedure (loop electrosurgical excision procedure) to have the cells removed from my cervix.
Because the cells were so wide spread on my cervix they needed to put me under a general anesthetic.
I remember being wheeled into the room ready to be put under with a bunch of young surgeons and the anesthetist (who was actually pretty cute) but when did they get so young? They had Katy Perry ‘Last Friday Night’ playing and as she was chanting “TGIF, TGIF” I started to drift off thinking about how everyone was about to have front row seats to my snatch.
After the procedure the surgeon told me she thought it was successful, however she had accidentally sliced my Vagina (woop woop), I almost choked on my lemonade ice block.
A few weeks later from memory I had another biopsy to which the results had come back clear, so I was sitting pretty hearing this wonderful news.
When I fell pregnant with Harry, I needed to be monitored closely having had the LLETZ procedure done, with a large amount of cervix having being removed it meant it was a potential risk for premature birth, lots of internal scans and regular biopsies had to happen throughout.
Then a few months into the pregnancy I received the soul destroying news that had sent me into full blown anxiety, the test results had come back positive again, not high grade this time, low grade but with the virus still there meaning the last test results had been incorrect.
I’d been assured it wasn’t going to affect baby in any way but that I needed to deal with it promptly after giving birth and continue to be monitored throughout pregnancy.
The thought of having another procedure done or what that could mean for a second child down the track had me so stressed.
Luckily Harry wasn’t premature, in fact he was a bit over cooked and 6 weeks post birth I had to have another colposcopy and biopsy.
Let me tell you that was WAY too soon having something poking around inside my cervix... it started to bring back the small early labor pains which had me wanting to vomit from how fresh it was.
It was a long few weeks to wait for my results but when they came back and said they were completely clear of HPV and abnormal cells I had the biggest sigh of relief.
Turns out pregnancy actually cleared it! How amazing is that!
I have since had more tests to ensure it’s come back as negative three times, to which it has.
Just remember, while this is an incredibly common thing, it’s not one to be ignored. This journey was far more anxiety ridden then I can explain in a few paragraphs but it didn't have to be if I hadn't left it so late. We have enough to deal with during pregnancy and you don't want to add anything more to your plate, look after yourself!
Keep getting checks, even though no one likes a big metal contraption up the vag, it’s imperative to minimize the risk for cervical cancer in the future.
Keep talking about it too, people only opened up to me when I told them my story. Someone has to go first right?