At Magpie we encourage storytelling, asking those connected to our campaigns to open up and tell us what life is really like for them. It’s Cervical Screening Awareness Week and considering we’re working with West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance on their Cervical Screening campaign I decided to practice what I preach: here’s my story of cervical screening.
We can all agree that 2020 was a tough year, it was the year we learnt to live with a pandemic. For me, it was also the year I learnt a lot about HPV and cervical precancerous cells.
In February 2020, I received a letter telling me it was time to book my cervical screening appointment. And like every other time of receiving that letter, I did. I’ve always been a big advocate of going for your cervical screening. So much so, that I Instagrammed my letter, telling my (modest amount of followers) that I’d booked my appointment and hopefully encouraged a few others to do the same.
I went to the appointment and thought nothing of it, then in April I received a letter telling me I was to be invited for a colposcopy appointment (another new word for me to learn and for those interested it basically means someone taking a closer look at your cervix). I had a phone call from one of the nurses at my dr’s surgery who asked me how I was feeling and clarified that this was actually pretty routine, lots of women get called up for further investigation, but should I have any questions she was there to help.
I’ll be honest, I had no idea what any of it meant. But what I did know was that I was in the best position possible, I’d done all I could: I’d been to all my previous screenings and was following the recommendations set out by the experts. Of course I was worried but I was comforted by the fact that whatever it was we’d caught it early.
A year down the line and pretty much every three months I’ve been for another colposcopy, with a few different treatments along the way. At each appointment, the nurses and colposcopy specialist have been amazing. I’ve felt informed, cared for and totally in control. In April 2021 I was signed off back into the care of my GP. I’ve had treatment and it’s looking very hopeful that all the precancerous cells have been removed. My overall feeling of the last year is of thanks and hope. I feel so lucky to have been through the cervical screening process, these cells were caught early (super early) and have been removed, meaning I can go about my life without any worry.
So at the end of this blog I have two requests:
1) Make sure you, your friends and your family members are booking their cervical screening appointments.
2) Open up and talk about cervical screening, colposcopies and treatment. Back in November my sister had a very similar experience, luckily she went for her colposcopy, had treatment and there’s nothing more to worry about. Friends I’ve spoken to have said similar ‘oh yeah I had that a few years ago’. The more we talk, the more we reduce the worry and the more we realise we’re going through the same.
A few helpful resources:
Written by Louise Hallworth, Magpie’s Campaign Consultant