Spread ‘Em: Ladies, it’s time to open up

smearSo my last post was in January. It is now June. Cue a tirade of ‘Where does time go?’, ‘Time has flown’, ‘Gosh, hasn’t time flown’, ‘I don’t know where the time’s gone’, ‘I’ve lost track of time’ and all that bollocks.

I’d love to have the excuse that I’ve been busy saving and/or conquering the world. I have neither saved nor conquered, BUT I am still alive. Which is always a plus.

I will write an update on the last few months/my life/cancer/hilarious medical anecdotes in the very near future (she says), but for now this is just a short (ish) post about CSAW (Cervical Screening Awareness Week) which starts today. 15th-21st June.

If you Google CSAW, add the word ‘vagina’ or ‘cervical’ or something else front-bottom related, as the top search results are for Cyber Security Awareness Week and Colonial Saw – Machinery, Sales & Service, neither of which are particularly related to smear tests.

Ladies, please, please, PLEASE don’t avoid having a smear test. About 22% of us don’t attend our cervical screening appointments. That is not cool. If you get a letter asking you to book a smear test, please make an appointment. If you think you are due a smear test, please make an appointment. If you are worried that there might be something wrong ‘down there’, please make an appointment. It really doesn’t take long at all, (unless you want to skip work for a bit, in which case you definitely need to take a half-day for such an arduous ordeal) and literally saves lives. Cervical cancer is a funny (as in weird, not haha) little shit, because it can be prevented. If the dodgy cells are detected early enough, they can be scraped off, and won’t get the chance to even think about attempting to develop into cancer. This all sounds very morbid, I apologise. Of course not every abnormal test means terminal cancer, or that if left unattended it would turn into cancer. Most people won’t ever get an abnormal test result, which is fabulous, but for goodness sake, isn’t it better to be safe than sorry?

I was experiencing abnormal bleeding, which prompted me to book an examination and consequently to have my first smear test at the tender age of 24. In England the official age for girls to get their first smear test is 25. I will rant about how bloody RIDICULOUS that is another day. Anyway, if I hadn’t been propelled and consumed by the desire to get to the cause of my problem, then of course I would have been nervous at the thought of soberly showing a complete stranger my treasure chest. No one will call you a pussy (pardon the pun) for being hesitant, but I promise it isn’t as bad as you think it’ll be.

After saying hello to the nice person whose job it is to tell you to open wide, you’ll whip your knickers off and lie on the couch with your legs up and dignity temporarily in the waste disposal bin. Jokes. Your dignity will remain intact. A speculum will be inserted and opened up once inside the chamber walls. Don’t worry, it’ll have lube on it, so you don’t need to feign interest. Nudge nudge, wink wink. Then Mr Brush will do a quick sweep of the area, and that’s it. Job done. Below is a picture showing the items in question:

See? Not scary. I promise.

See? Not scary. I promise.

and to counteract:

I want them all.

I want them all.

Do you know what the weirdest part was? Resisting the urge to take the rest of my clothes off. Unless you’re having a quickie in the park, it feels pretty odd being stark naked from the waist down and still wearing a jumper and scarf.

Having a smear test won’t be the highlight of your year, month or even day. Unless you’re having a really bad day or just love a smear. It’s not exciting but it is essential. If I see you, and I ask if you’re due for a smear test and you tell me you ‘can’t be bothered’ or the classic ‘I haven’t got time’, then I will think that you are a silly, silly bitch.

Thank you for reading this. Please spread the word.


P.S. I am crap with websites and things, so if anybody is a WordPress genius and able to help sort out this blog, I’d be very grateful.

3 thoughts on “Spread ‘Em: Ladies, it’s time to open up

  1. Hi Karen,

    Sorry for contacting you this way – I couldn’t find a private way to message you.

    I just came across your blog and it is fantastic! I especially like the above post – we need more bloggers like you! I work for a small cancer charity called Trekstock, and we would love for you to get involved if you would would like to. Trekstock is a charity that aims to support young adults (18-39) to thrive beyond the challenges of cancer. The involvement of young adults is vital in helping Trekstock to design and deliver the online support and information that we aim to provide. We recently launched our online support platform, THRIVE, and we would love you to have a look at the new site and provide us with any feedback or suggestions that you may have – either using the online forms beneath each article, or any general suggestions over an email. The site was only launched in April and it is constantly evolving and growing – and we want to ensure that young adults help guide and shape the information that we provide.

    We have also recently launched our Young Person’s Network and it would be wonderful if you would consider becoming a member. Please take a look at the YP Network page within THRIVE and get in touch if you’d like to know anything more about joining. The (private) YP Network Facebook page is also a great way to keep in contact and hear about upcoming events. If you’d like to join the Facebook page, let me know and I can add you to the group.

    If you have any suggestions regarding other possible ways you could be involved, it would be great to hear those too.

    Best wishes,



  2. Thank you Karen, very important stuff. It was really good to see and catch up with you at or Helen and Rick’s wedding – what a weekend eh!

    Paul xx


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