Public Cervix Announcement

So those of you who know me, know I like to share but those of you who don’t, will know I like to keep things private. This particular private thing however, I feel must be shared.
A few weeks ago I received an abnormal smear result. ‘Borderline changes’ to be exact. Before I’d made it up upstairs to tell my husband, I’d started planning my funeral. Having kids takes you to that place pretty quickly I find.
On speaking to a doctor and my dear friend ‘Google’, (or Bing, Yahoo, all work) my nerves are calmed a bit. I see that ‘Borderline’ is the best word you can hope to see on one of those letters and although it tells me a ‘Colposcopy’ has been booked for me, it’s almost certainly going to need no further investigation past that point.
The lovely doctor puts me at ease instantly, confirms the positive mention of ‘borderline’ and I’m sent behind a screen to disrobe and pop on the obligatory blue negligee. Legs in stirrups, dye applied to my cervix the said lovely Doctor is just visible between my legs. When he starts asking me about my work I know something is amiss. This is confirmed when he mouths ‘subtly’ the word ‘biopsy’ to his nervous looking assistant. She is unfortunately unrehearsed in this art and it needs repeating by which point I’m like a 7 year old who’s mother is spelling out the work ‘cake’. He takes the biopsy. Man that hurt! But I now realize I’m in a slightly different world. I can’t tell whether it’s this or the smarting cervix but I start to cry. ‘It’s not cancer’ he says. ‘But neither is it borderline’ Ok so it’s not cancer. That’s great! What everyone wants to hear, surely? So why am I crying?!
Clothed again I sit in front of him. He tells me how terribly hard it is for a woman when something goes wrong in the area which makes her a woman. That’s it! My brilliantly reliable cervix, which has helped make four beautiful humans has let me down. Gone a bit wrong. Not sticking to the perfect narrative that it was supposed to.
So I wait. My results finally come through. I have what’s called CIN 2. ‘Pre-Cancer’. (I remember watching a brilliant episode of ‘Catastrophe’ about that very thing)
So today I’ve had what’s called a ‘Cervical excision’. This removes a section of the affected cervix which should in the 97% of all cases, solve the problem. Fingers crossed, I’m fixed. Sorted.

But, what if I hadn’t made that appointment? What if I hadn’t responded to the 2 letters I received from our NHS telling me I was due a smear? What if I’d read ‘borderline’ and believed Yahoo? This story may have had a different ending.
So I needed to tell this story to you not because I like the idea of talking publicly about something so private or everyone knowing I’ll be wearing a nappy sized sanitary towel for the next 4 weeks but because I want that one person who has been putting off making that appointment, to make it. That partner of that woman who has been to scared to go, to encourage her. Those parents of teenagers, to look into the HPV vaccine. Or just to know when you see ‘borderline changes’ on your piece of paper that, whilst it’s not necessarily the whole story, it’s ok and this has happened before. Many times to many people and now you’ve got a first hand story that ends ok. Don’t be scared. Please get checked. Just, please.

gt x

 

UPDATE- 2 WEEKS LATER

The lovely doctor called yesterday. Results are back. It was cancer. They’ve got it all but it was cancer. My betraying little cervix had begun an attempt to kill me off and by a stroke of baffling luck I had stopped it, beat it, cut it out before it had a chance to make it out of the starting gates (that’s dog racing speak for ‘hadn’t spread beyond the layers they’d already removed’). Survived cancer without ever realizing I had it. As you can tell I’m still processing this, it’s quite a thing to get your head round. The swirling storm cloud of ‘what ifs?’. I’m currently half terrified child, half superhero. But my first thought was to those people who have messaged and texted and tweeted and emailed. For those who have told me their stories, some talked about for the first time, I felt obliged to update them on my final chapter. And if the first part of the story didn’t hit home, I hope this bit does. From borderline changes to cancer to cancer free in mere months. It really could have been a different story. One I will be forever grateful i didn’t have to tell.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. Again.

 

gt x

 

19 thoughts on “Public Cervix Announcement

  1. The same thing happened to me. I had had a normal pap at my last OBGYN appointment. Not a month later I started having abnormal periods. I went in and wanted a uterine ablation but had to trend it for a few months so insurance would pay for it. So January 2016 comes and I’m going for the ablation the next day when the Dr’s office calls and tells me that I will have to bring $500 for my deductible. I didn’t have that much money available. I cried and called to cancel but my husband said no. He said we’d find a way. Well, we did and I had the ablation. Not even a week later my Dr calls me personally after office hours to tell me “it’s not cancer. Not yet.” As an oncology nurse you can imagine what was going through my mind. So a month later I had a hysterectomy at 32 years old. They took my uterus, Fallopian tubes and cervix. At my two week post op check he told me that not only was my uterus affected but the changes were starting on my cervix as well. So we stopped two cancers from happening. I almost didn’t go because I didn’t have the money. Don’t let that stop you. Don’t let not having the time stop you. Make time! I’m so glad my husband said not to cancel. I look at my two kids and I am so grateful to be here for them. PLEASE get yourself checked!

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  2. Thank you Georgia for sharing this. I have been putting off going to the gyn, but now will make that appointment. Wishing you a speedy and successful recovery.

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  3. Wish everyone in the US had access to services like that, we can get basic stuff for relatively cheap at planned parent hood but any other tests are expensive so I never get them. On the bright side any cancer I get will surely be so advanced by the time I find out about it that it should kill me quickly.

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  4. Thank you for posting this. I went through the same thing a few years ago, and it is very scary.! Hopefully your post will encourage all woman to go and not be frightened. If it helps just one woman saves one life then this is a very important message. So glad you’re ok xx

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  5. As someone who doesn’t have a mum to tell her this stuff, I so greatly appreciate this. Granted, I’m just 18 and my first gyno appointment was nothing but her telling me how I shouldn’t have sex in uni because of all the diseases I’d get but still. It’s easier to learn about “that part of a woman that makes me a woman” from a woman with a story rather than an anatomy textbook or preachy gyno. Take care and I wish you all the best.

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  6. GT thank you for being so honest and frank about this, which is scary and embarrassing and yucky – so we don’t talk about it. By being brave and funny you have I hope made a difference to someone ignoring the letter. I’m not going to ignore it.
    Im sure your husband and children appreciate what a gem you are, but feel free to show them this testimonial….

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  7. Women get a subliminal message that reproductive issues are not something to talk about, sort of shameful. When I was young, many decades ago, my Mom never talked about anything or even took me for a gyn exam. By speaking openly you dispell those negative attitudes. You may very well save a woman’s life. Thank you Georgia, funny, brilliant young woman 🌷🌷

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  8. Such a selfless, brave and inspiring response to an extremely private matter. I have much admiration and respect for you. Wishing you a speedy recovery and a happy, healthy life filled with love.

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  9. Hope you feel better soon. You are right people should get checked. Especially those who have access to the NHS. I echo selah above in the states its much harder. If you have access to free or affordable care youd be a fool not to take advantage of it.

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  10. When I was a young nurse, my mother came to me to “talk”. She wanted to tell me something, but she was not acting normsl. Then it came…”Honey, I have to tell you something. I have Cervical Cancer.” I was a nurse, but I cried. This is mom, after all. We couldn’t afford all the medical tests growing up. She put off ‘Small Things’. My dad had major medical issues, & at 5yrs old, He had Emergency surgery. And it went on as I had medical problems & eventual surgery. My mom also. So she put off basics EVERY WOMAN SHOULD NOT LET GO! SO, I took off work, was nearly fired. Her Doctor wrote to my Supervisor. I needed to help her know I was trained & ready to be there. She by that time was disabled, needing me, cause I had been caringgor her since Jr High, Anyway, She had major surgery, Complete, total Hysterectomy. Mom was tough, but as a woman, she felt & dealt with sudden super menopausal, fierce hot flashed etc. Our Joy, they got everything, & eventually lived her life well, despite disability.
    PLEASE, let me say this. Don’t put off your exams, no matter what. Loving uour family means Taking Care of YOURSELF, not just them. Georgia Tnnant has done women everywhere, a great service. God bless her & all who read this.

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  11. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I hope your story makes people reach for the phone and make that appointment. Cancer stole my soul mate in Nov 2015. It was Bowel Cancer on this occasion but again a cancer which can be picked up with a simple test. My husband didn’t do the test. He’s not here to see his five children making their way through the world. Cancer broke my heart. It doesn’t have to break yours or your family. Thank you again GT for sharing your experience and encouraging others to get checked. xx

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  12. I am so very, very glad to hear that you caught this early enough! And that all is now well. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m sure it will be of benefit to many, many women.

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  13. I am literally going through this at
    at the moment and waiting for my treatment appointment after my biopsy so this was really reassuring to read as I felt I was being quite dramatic for feeling so worried. Thanks

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  14. Thank you for sharing what I know was an intensely terrifying experience.

    Mine was endometrial cancer. I had rolled the dice with my health for most of my adult life because I simply couldn’t afford the insurance. When I finally found employment that provided coverage, I went for a long overdue and thorough check-up. I was in my late forties, my periods were changing, and long story short, within three months I was having a complete hysterectomy because my insides were, as you say, trying to kill me.

    I am twelve years post-surgery and the nasty wee beastie hasn’t made a re-appearance, thank God. I look back on it now and feel a momentary chill at just how close that particular shot came. But unless I read something like your brave story, I don’t think about it. I am sixty-one, my son is grown, time and life march on. I see my doctor annually and we check over the other minefields that make up the body of a woman my age. Still, it’s nice to roll up the map labelled “reproductive system” and file it away.

    Watch your health carefully. Guard it jealously. Do it for you and your family. Your daughters, especially, need to learn from observing you just how important it is that they never take for granted their physical well-being.

    You are a brilliant young woman, with a platform that gives force to important messages like this. Thank you, again.

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  15. So very pleased at this happy outcome. Bless you for sharing your story and yes, I have made an appointment to get checked out. Wonderful news that you are now healthy.

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  16. So glad that you shared this story and that the outcome was good. You are funny and talented with a message that when shared may save a life. Thank you.

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  17. You are brave warrior Mum and have no doubt you will rock on through this with the support of your amazing family darling! I am currently awaiting results of a tumour on my boob which doesn’t look good so I feel and understand your angst and fear. It is so small and was only picked up through a general check up with an ultrasound so again, ladies out there please don’t be afraid to get checked out even though it seems far down on the to do list, after getting kids to school, feeding said kids or running mundane daily chores. Our bodies are strong but sacred and should be listened to! From my boobs to your cervix, we salute you G xxxx love me x

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  18. Thankyou for your honest post. I too sit here, 5 days post excision treatment. Abnormal smear turned out to be more than that and now I wait to find out if that’s enough. Brave to tell your story and so rightfully done as so many of us are unaware of how quickly these things can change your direction but equally how efficient the system of screening is. Very pleased to hear that they have removed all of those b****** cells.

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