Recently one of my best friends, Jazz (who is also one of the greatest people you could ever meet) made me proud beyond words. Don’t get me wrong, she makes me proud constantly – she’s a complete babe with a heart of gold and is just one of those people that excels at everything that she puts her mind to. But last week she shared her incredibly brave and inspiring story. A story that opened so many people’s eyes and touched countless people’s hearts. So today I’m sharing her story, in hope of inspiring others to take the time to try and tackle the taboo. This post is all about the ‘C’ word.
The ‘C’ Word
In September I turned 25. Alongside the arrival of the inevitable quarter life crisis came the dreaded arrival of the invitation to my first smear test. After a couple of weeks of drowning my sorrows in Prosecco (which was more important at the time, obviously) the nagging from my Mum to just book it in and get it over and done with became unbearable. And so I booked it in.
2 weeks ago I received a letter to tell me that my smear results showed a severe abnormality. 1 week ago I had an operation to remove precancerous cells from my cervix. After the procedure, the doctor told me that had I not been to my smear test, had I put it off due to embarrassment or the inconvenience of having to take an hour off work, within the year those cells would have turned into cervical cancer and my treatment pathway would be looking very different to the way it looks now.
However frightening this was to hear, more frightening was the fact that she’s seen a sharp decline in the number of women attending their smear test. In fact, attendance numbers are at a 19 year low and it’s our generation that’s to blame.
I had originally planned to keep quiet, but when I stumbled across an article just two days ago detailing the crisis I realised that it’s the silence that’s causing the problem. This is not a post for sympathy (for I am over the worst of it and enjoying my new lease of life eating carbs and enjoying family sized chocolate bars). I’m writing this in the hope that between the cat videos and the #ootd posts you might read this and decide to book in your smear test, or encourage someone you love to (my mum mastered the nagging – so could you).
5 minutes of discomfort could end up saving your life.
We as a generation have grown accustom to keeping a lid on things – be it our thoughts, experiences or emotions. I admit that I’m somewhat naive when it comes to certain situations in life – you just never think anything will happen to you/ to people you know and love.
Taboo words such as the ‘c’ word can barely be uttered and often the thought of a smear test makes many women flushed and embarrassed at the very thought of it, let alone talking about it. And Ladies, this concept of the taboo doesn’t start and end with you, it’s shared with men too. So fellas, this also applies to you.
Shying away from it isn’t going to get it to go away any time soon.
With Jazz’s blessing, I’m sharing her story today, not just because I’m ridiculously proud of her for speaking out. But also to help inspire others, to spread awareness and open as many people’s eyes, minds and hearts as possible. In hope that we can take the time to try and tackle the taboo, together.
“5 minutes of discomfort could end up saving your life.“