Ive noticed there’s this fear when it comes to pap smears and going to the gynea. As though you’re gonna feel the pain. Like they’re gonna take a whole chunk of your cervix. When in actual fact the only thing you feel is the small pain from speculum used to open you up a bit.
Anyway Im not an OBGYN. Im not qualified in the medical field but I am a female who has been through 2 gynaechologically related surgeries within the 60 something days of this year. That was not a rosey journey for me, so I feel like I should share what was wrong with me to begin with. Maybe someone out there could be saved by reading this because gynaechological problems are sometimes fatal.
I started having menstrual problems in my matric year, 2010.(Yes I’m old!). I’d have my forever period. Thats what I used to call them…cause they went on for forever! Literally 2 months of bleeding. People would say I’m getting lighter when in actual fact I was becoming pale from so much blood loss. I remember being in Mr Kumar’s English class, 1st period and I remember feeling blood dripping down between my legs down to stain my white socks. See it wasnt 1 of those 3-4 pads a day type of period. It was the whole pack of pads a day kind.
I started using contraceptives which normalised my flow for a bit till the tap would be opened again. So for years on end, I hopped from 1 contraceptive to another, from Dr to Dr, specialists, clinics….the works! But nothing. I even got to a point where after I was hospitalized from fainting due to severe blood loss- prescribed MENOPAUSE MEDICATION!! Yes! At 24, my mother and I were on the same medication but my dose was stronger. I wont lie, the medication helped abit…until 1 Dr told me that just a few days prior to my appointment, he had seen a woman who had cancer because of the chronic use of this medication. Because my mom and my cousin suffered from the same problem in their youth, I decided to just let it go. Maybe it would go away by itself as I grew. But no….
So I rang into 2017 with backpain and cramps. I just thought it was the effects of the busride from Mthatha to Joburg then a taxi to Mafikeng. Little did I know what was happening inside of me. My period started on the 4th of January 2017. When it didnt stop after a week, I decided to take contraceptives again thinking my forever period is back. 2days later, the flow was getting worse, the cramps, when I urinated I felt like screaming from the immense pain. Being a soldier’s girl, I decided to be strong and ride it out. The night of the 30th of January I could not sleep because of the pain I was in. So at 4am I took a bath and at 5am I headed out to the nearby Gynaecological Hospital.
That day, my life would change. I spoke to an OBGYN about all my symptoms and basically laid out my life story. Ultrasound found I had fibroids and endometriosis. Pap smear results a week later found that I had cancer indicators. Imagine hearing those kind of news and you’re so far away from home. I felt myself becoming cold. I cried soooo much. I remember the emptiness I felt when I had to let my mother and partner know that I needed surgery to remove the parts of my cervix that showed I could develop cancer.
Anyway, fast foward to 4weeks- post both my surgeries- I have no indicators of cancer, no more fibroids and all the endometrioma have been burned off. Currently recovering from all that.
So here’s what I’ve learned:
•GO FOR A PAP SMEAR EVERY YEAR!! Some people wont feel anything and never develop symptoms but you never know whats going on inside of you.
•Don’t ignore your symptoms or any pain. It wont just go away by itself.
•Be honest with your Gynaecologist. That person doesnt know whats going on so its up to you to give the full story.
•Ask questions! Dont sit there and be a sponge. Its your body. You have to know whats going on with you.
I hope my story will make you see the importance of pap smears and gynaecologic visits. If I had not gone that day, maybe in a year or so I would have cervical cancer.