Posted by: corozmum | December 1, 2010

Cervical Smears

I am so frustrated I could scream!

To start at the beginning :-

In 1984 I had a C2 cervical smear result. When they rang with the news I had thrush so couldn’t have a retest immediately. After a suitable time I did a retest which was negative. So I went on the programme of monthly, three monthly, six monthly and finally annual smears for 10 years without a whiff of anything remotely abnormal.

My GP and I felt it was unnecessary and expensive to continue with annual smears and reverted to 3 yearly. It also came to light that I wasn’t on the National Screening Register and as I change GP’s regularly I felt I should sign up so my history was in one place.

Things were ok for 5 years, through a move to the South Island and several GP’s as we moved about. Then a new GP bought the practice I was in. Because of the C2 they insisted on on my reverting to annual testing and I refused to. They claimed there was no smear history for me (it was all there when we shifted to the South Island as I carried my records and read it all on the trip). I was continuously harassed by mail and phone by the GP, his nurses and the National Register to the point I threatened to call the police. Finally they left me alone!

10 years on and I move here. C2 raises its head AGAIN! Last year I went in for my three yearly test and was told the C2 could have been caused by HPV which can lie dormant for decades and I had to return to annual tests. I was vehemently opposed. I was then offered an HPV test. The deal was, I had to have 2 smears a year apart, both times have an HPV test done. If both were negative I could return to 3 yearly. If 1 or both were positive it would be annual for life. In those circumstances I am happy to have an annual test as there is a reason to.

A year latter I return. Last year, no HPV was requested or done. I was so angry, and rather than lose my cool with a nurse who hadn’t done my smear last year, I burst into tears. Yet again, I went through my history and had both mine and my husbands fidelity questioned. 30 years with the same man and my belief in his faithfulness to me almost always earns me side ways glances, raised eyebrows and sighs of disbelief (at least this nurse managed to nod in acceptance). Its so humiliating! Am I naive and blind? I hate having my marriage called in to question this way with strangers.

I had the smear. She showed me the print out with the request for the HPV and circled the word ‘yes’ boldly. I will also check that the HPV test has actually been done when I get the results. I’m still on the fence about whether I go back next year again or wait for 3 years. Apparently there is no reason why I can’t leave the HPV test for 3 years, its just preferred that they are done a year apart.

I would cheerfully chuck it in but I always remember an 80 year old retired nun that my sister met while having treatment for Leukemia. The nun had tested positive for cervical cancer the year before, had never been sexually active and having led a devout, pious and healthy religious life was the most unlikely person to have got the cancer. So I’ll just keep doing it but does it have to be such a drama  over a C2 result that occurred over 25 years ago?


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