The following blog has been written by Rebecca Jafrate and is all about raising awareness for cervical screening (smear test) and their story.
It’s true, my first ever smear potentially saved my life. Being in your 20s carefree, living your life you don’t think about these ‘routine’ things the doctors encourage you to go to. I put off my smear, not due to any fears. Life just got in the way of getting round to booking the appointment.
It wasn’t until my friends were talking about theirs, I finally booked it with them telling me off for not doing it sooner. It was over in a couple of minutes, didn’t hurt. Felt a bit silly for not doing it sooner.
3 weeks later I got a call saying I had to attend a hospital appointment at a colposcopy clinic. Id never heard of that word before, so I googled a lot, I didn’t get a results letter through by the time the appointment came, so I didn’t know what to expect.
It wasn’t until this appointment they told me they found grade 3 cells and needed to do a biopsy. It was all a bit of a blur after that. I was given a LLETZ procedure there and then.
A couple of weeks later I was called back for the results. They told me it was cancer and my world fell apart. Why didn’t I go to the smear earlier? I felt so angry with myself.
We had discussions about having children, I might need a hysterectomy, cancer treatments. We formed a plan, and I had a further LLETZ procedure under general anaesthetic to remove all the cancer cells and a further operation to remove my lymph nodes to stop the spread via keyhole surgery. Again, all I could think about was why didn’t I go for my smear earlier.
My consultant did everything she could so I could still have children. I became pregnant after my 1st year milestone of being cancer free. Although it wasn’t straight forward as half my cervix had been removed. I had scans every 2 weeks and at 24 weeks pregnant I had to have an emergency stitch placed in theatre as my cervix couldn’t hold my pregnancy. At 36 weeks pregnant my stitch was removed. A week later I went into labour 3 weeks early. I had trouble labouring as I didn’t have enough cervix to dilate properly. I was rushed to theatre again….
But I now have a healthy cheeky little 9 month old girl.
Moral of the story… get your smear. Book it the second you get the letter. Don’t put it off. Don’t delay it. It will save your life.
I am now 3 years cancer free but will be under consultant care for 10 years before I’m discharged. For the sake of 2 minutes its 100% worth your life.
Here we are, me and my little girl healthy and happy thanks to the doctors and nurses in the NHS.
Thank you to our guest blogger, Rebecca Jafrate for writing this blog.
The content of this blog has been written by Rebecca Jafrate and is representative of their views not the views of Leeds Cancer Awareness. If you would like to reproduce any aspect of this blog please seek the permission of the blog author.
To read another guest blog about their first cervical screening experience during the pandemic, visit Leeds Cancer.