Guess whose back back, back again, ABNORMAL CELLS are back back, tell a friend friend. Yep. That’s right. They’re back.
In the words of Catherine Tate’s Nan, “what a load of old *BEEEEEEEEEEEP!*“
BUT on the up side, hello! I’m back too ! Slim Shady Sophie is the name, vagina problems seem to be my game. This isn’t quite the entrance I had in mind after taking a 2 month hiatus but life has a funny way of pushing you towards the things you’ve neglected. I’m taking this recent piece of particularly crappy news as a chance to fall back in love with writing about fanny and come back to my beloved Gash Gossip.
If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that I’ve been hinting at a possible podcast with episodes specifically for Gash Gossip. That will still be happening (along with some more writing bits) so just hold on to your panties, I’m working on it! But before that kicks off, this girl is marching her cervix back to the hospital for further inspection in its own one off episode, “Cells Are Taking Over My Life – Part II.”
I received my smear test results this weekend and the results show more abnormal cells. I also tested positive for the HPV virus. Double whammy. Huzzah, hooray, many congratulations to my vagina for passing the test with flying colours! I managed to tick all of the boxes available: abnormal cells AND HPV.
I feel like before I begin properly, a quick run down on HPV would be good (although I do plan on writing something separate about it too as it’s a bit of a minefield and different for men and women.)
“Human papilloma virus (HPV) is the name for a group of viruses that affect your skin and the moist membranes lining your body. There are more than 100 types of HPV. Around 40 types of HPV infection can affect the genital area. Genital HPV infections are common and highly contagious. They’re spread during sexual intercourse and skin-to-skin contact of the genital areas. The virus can cause abnormal tissue growth and for women, changes to cells within the cervix – this can sometimes lead to cervical cancer. About 80% of sexually active people are infected with HPV at some point in their lives, but most people never know they have the virus.”
And yes, I was vaccinated when I was 14. And yes, a strain has still found its way into my system. Now back to the blog!
Just imagine a crisp, sunny afternoon back in February. Sophie and her cervix turn up for their first smear test together. Yes, this is their first real one. How exciting! Feeling light, refreshed and full of hope they lie down in the familiar sticky leather seat, legs akimbo and await the familiar sensation of a stranger crawling into their nether regions. They’ve been here before, this is not their first rodeo but it feels like a monumental moment given last years dramatic events. *Swish swoosh* and the swab is done, the knickers are back on and the nurse cheerily says as the door opens, “let’s hope everything is better this time around!“
Cut to a drizzly, grey Sunday in March. Sophie and her cervix are full of roast potatoes and Pinot Grigiot – they are both feeling very happy and content.
SMACK. The letter arrives. (‘Smack‘ for dramatic effect, as if it landed on the door mat unexpectedly and full of impact… But everyone knows post doesn’t arrive on Sunday and actually it was just handed over to me, gracefully.)
Sophie already knew as she was opening it that it was not going to be the news she hoped for. It’s true about that gut instinct thing.
“The laboratory found some slightly abnormal, ‘low grade’ cells.”
“The laboratory also tested your sample for HPV and found that you have the HPV infection.”
“A colposcopy referral has been made for you.“
“Sucks to be you, babe.”
Since opening the letter I have cried on and off hourly. Twice on the train, once on the tube and a lot on my sofa whilst eating grapes sandwiched between chocolate buttons because I’m trying to maintain a healthy balanced diet, obviously.
What does this all mean you ask? Truth is, I have absolutely no idea. But I can tell you it feels like I’m back in 2018 when my life first became about vaginas, cells, blood, doctors, clinics and massive sanitary pads. I don’t want to be back there, it wasn’t fun. I want to be here in 2019 with my chocolate grape sarnies.
Safe to say I’m feeling pretty pants. More than pants.
Right now I’m awaiting an appointment at the colposcopy clinic. I’m guessing this is where I’ll get more of an idea of what my next step is and just how badly HPV is effecting my cervix. I’m hoping for a bit of reassurance too, please.
(Now I’ve cried a total of 12 times. Dang it.)
I’ll also be able to ask all of my questions! Is this HPV going to kill me eventually? Can I still eat cheese? Why hasn’t my body fought off the virus already? Will I have it forever? How long have I had it for? Is this all because I had a bout of smoking in my teens? I thought it was cool!! Are these abnormal cells new or old? Little bits left over from last time? Are they changing quickly? Are they changing right now?! Are they everywhere?!
Will you have to cut out another chunk of my cervix?
Will I still be able to have children?
I’m scared. And I’m embarrassed. HPV feels shameful. Why is that? It makes me feel like an unhealthy, greasy…. ball of bad. Apparently your immune system is the front-line soldier that should be fighting the virus off, but mine hasn’t so far. I’ll have to start drinking green tea, which I hate, make broccoli smoothies for breakfast and do yoga 6 times a day.
But I don’t think HPV is as simple as just being able to “fight it off”. It’s not a cold, it’s a bit nastier than that. Creeping about in your body mostly undetected and causing havoc.
I’ve probably just got a bad case of the ‘unluckies’ (yes that’s a thing, I’m making it a thing.)
(Oh man, 15 times.)
Right snap out of it, dry your eyes and quickly come up with some positives Sophie. When life gives you lemons, make a gin and tonic for goodness sake, girl!
1. Last year they found moderate abnormal cells in my cervix, which are effectively in the middle of the ‘good to bad scale’. Now I have mild abnormal cells, which are at the bottom of the scale. So at least it’s not as bad as last time.
2. I am only aware of these changes because I went for my routine smear test. It’s a big reminder that the smear is one of the most important tests a woman will take in her life. It could save a life and that isn’t me being over dramatic for once.
3. The wonderful BAE brought me chocolate buttons… and then ginger, mangoes and spinach to make morning smoothies (no broccoli in sight) to try and boost my immune system by 100!
4. I am going to be an expert in abnormal cells and HPV when this is all over and it will be over. You hear me HPV? I’m coming for you, don’t get too comfy down there!
Okay, that feels a bit better. I needed to write all of that. Clear my head a bit.
This will not make me miserable like it did before. 2019 wasn’t going too badly and I refuse to let a repeat of 2018 happen, I REFUSE!
I really hope all of you that received your test results failed miserably. In other words I hope you got 0 marks! If you haven’t had one yet, get one. I’m serious. And if you’re a person that doesn’t need a smear test, I hope you’re holding someone’s hand that might need it after having one.
Throwing a lot of pussy positivity at you. I’m sprinkling it all over myself today too, it’s sparkly.
Be back soon,
Soph and her formidable cervix.