Today is a crazy day for me! My story is in three national papers currently. Little old me, thanks to this blog and my post of my pills that went utterly viral and is still being posted on to this day. I want to thank everyone who shared that post because it led to the lovely Hannah Smith finding me and going through my blog, Hannah heard my story from the beginning and was keen to help me get my story out there, and for that I am so thankful. So, thank you Hannah – if you are reading this – you are really a heroine to me. Thank you for giving me a bigger platform to get my story out to.
Now, you can read my story and see some of what I’ve been through on The Daily Mail, The Sun or The Mirror’s websites (I will link them below). There are images there I wouldn’t have considered sharing before, ones of me after major surgery, in a hospice and having chemotherapy, because I look like a sick person in them, I look dreadful and it’s not how I think of myself. But the thing is, I am a sick person, at times that’s what I look like.
So here’s the thing, I got to thinking about adverts and campaigns that are designed to get women to take up their smears and all of them mention cervical cancer but none of them really tell you what that is.
We all have heard of it, we all know what it is sort of, we probably know someone that has experienced it, survived it or lost someone to it but yet it just kind of floats around these ads as an abstract thing. Plus, it’s never going to happen to you right?
I wish I could make you that promise. But, sadly I can’t.
I don’t want to scare anyone, that isn’t my aim. I wanted to make cervical cancer a tangible thing, something that could be understood, the reason to get up and go and get that smear.
You see, I wanted to tell my story because I am anyone, I am any woman, I’m a mum of two from Berkshire. I’m not a celebrity or special particularly, just another member of society. A member of society who fell through the three year testing net. Because of that I wanted to spread awareness and knowledge of the symptoms of cervical cancer, and share my journey in the bid it might just save one life or prompt someone to go and get their smear.
Cancer doesn’t discriminate, and it doesn’t care if you have two kids, if you are too young, if you have been through enough in life. Cancer is horrific. Not just for the patient but their family too.
So make yourself a promise ladies to make sure you get your smears, and gents, promise yourself you will remind the women in your life to look after themselves. Help them by demanding more regular smear testing.
I am, of course, unbelievably thankful for all of the NHS staff that have helped me so far, and for the NHS to help me at all. I just cannot help but find the decision for three yearly testing crazy. Now because of the HPV vaccine they are considering possibly extending that to five years seems crazy. Public Health England are playing with statistics and that always leaves someone to fall through the net, someone like me.
No one deserves to fall through the net.
I feel like I have a duty of care to my daughters to make sure they don’t grow up into a healthcare system that would allow them to fall through the net like this. I feel like women suffer in our healthcare system because we still have a weird stigma about periods and vagina’s and all things gynaecological health when we shouldn’t. It should be as normal as anything else.
It’s time to smash that stigma once and for all. It’s 2019 and women and doctors need to work together to make sure we get the health care we need, and deserve.
Anyway, as promised here are my press links if you’d like to take a look: