I’m not sure why I felt the need to write this post considering I’ve spent the past few weeks not even wanting to tell close family how I feel, where I’d been to friends or what was actually happening.
Maybe I’m writing this because the letter that arrived through my door today finally hit me, finally caught up with me and made me cry. Made me feel uneasy.
Maybe I’m writing this because people are praising me for being so brave, and so strong, coping well, when really, right now, in this moment, I feel like I’m nowhere near that.
Maybe I’m writing this because it’s the honest thing to do. Nobody wants to hear of people being sad and having a hard time, but equally, we’re all normal people. We all have dark times.
Or maybe I’m writing this because I shouldn’t be like a lot of people in the world, hiding things, bottling things up and dealing with them alone. Because really, we should never feel alone.
But equally, saying that. I don’t want sympathy. I’m not quite prepared for the people to tell me “that they’re here for me” that “they’re sorry I’m going through this alone” or that “it’s a difficult time right now”. I don’t want that.
And I know people are just trying to help..
Jesus, I would be totally the same, and the first at the door with flowers and a shoulder to cry on.
But because I’m essentially ‘alone’, my mind has told me that I have to do things alone.
Which in a word, is total BULLSHIT.
And so maybe that’s why I’m writing this. Because I’m telling myself that it’s OK to share things. That it’s OK to be honest, and that it’s OK for people to want to be there for you. And help you.
Because actually, that’s part of life.
But then, I also tell myself that in fact, what is happening right now, is only a small issue.
A small issue compared to what some people are going through.
And that really I should be grateful to be here.
Which hell, I am.
I could sit here all day and tell you of the things I’m thankful for. I am incredibly lucky to be here.
But I suppose in a sense, I’m OK to have MY issues.
And I’m OK to cry about it.
That’s what I’m trying to tell myself.
When I moved out at the end of March, I felt a little distant from life. I kept myself busy (I still do), and I threw myself into seeing friends, and doing things that I hadn’t done in some time. I pushed the thought of selling our house to the back of my mind, and told myself this was a fresh start. We’d made our choice, for the right reasons and that was a part of life I shall remember, but it wasn’t my forever story. I have things to do, for me.
And with a fresh start, came a small panic of everything. Now I’m nowhere near ready to start a relationship, or even meet anyone, (OK, here’s being totally honest with you) but the thought of having sex with someone terrified me. With sex previously hurting me on occasions, and finding myself putting it off at times, I realised that maybe it was time to have my smear test.
The smear test that I’d put off for two years.
Because here I was starting again. I didn’t want to feel like this forever.
I didn’t want to be ‘abnormal’, as I felt. I wanted to just be a normal 26 year old.
So I took a very nervous self to the doctors, and you know what? People tell you it honestly is no big deal, and that it doesn’t hurt and is over within minutes.
Well mine wasn’t.
Mine really hurt. It took 25 minutes to do. And it was so painful, that she had to go and find a smaller instrument to ease my pain for the little vagina I had.
There I said my honest truth. And I’m probably the minority here, but after half hour with one of the loveliest and kindest nurses I’ve possibly ever met, I left feeling like my invasion of privacy had been broken.
The nurse had mentioned how my cervix seemed raw and erosive, and softly reassured me that maybe this was why sex sometimes hurt, however I had a normal looking vagina. The words I longed to hear, had been spoken. I put this all to the back of my mind, and carried on my day. My week. My life.
A week and a half later, a letter came through my door as I was heading out. I opened it, and read those words that I didn’t want to see. ‘High Grade Dyskaryosis’. Within seconds of opening the letter, I threw it in my bag and ignored it. I spent the night laughing with my friends as though nothing mattered. Nothing was different.
The following night however when another letter appeared with a date for a Colposcopy and a Biopsy, I researched it. And then I called my mum. And she cried a little. I didn’t. I kind of blocked it out, and kept telling myself that ‘everything happens for a reason’ and that it’ll be fine. I didn’t feel any different.
And I knew it would be fine. But actually, I didn’t. I just didn’t really want to think about it.
So I didn’t. Until that day came, and I walked into the hospital room, wearing my gown, holding my box of clothes.
And I was shaking.
Boy, I freaked out. I really freaked out.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I cried. And I shook. And quite honestly, it was one of the hardest things I had to do. I can’t deal with pain one bit. I just wanted it to be over and I just wanted to take my legs out of the stirrups. I didn’t want to hold my mum’s hand anymore, and I didn’t want the kind nurse to try and chat to me. I just wanted it to be over. I wanted to be anywhere but there.
After half an hour, I was given a sanitary towel (bigger than my vagina – that’s the only funny part about this!) and felt faint at the sight of blood. Now (sorry for the honesty again!), I’m not a heavy bleeder, but this was awful. I had bled a huge amount. I felt sick, and uncomfortable. And had unbearable stomach pain.
I spent that week curling up in bed at any opportunity, going to the toilet every hour to clean myself up because I felt dirty. And trying hard to hide my sweating that had appeared. I felt disgusting, and disorientated and how having a simple biopsy on something like this, could make my body feel all over the place.
But as awful as I felt, I picked myself up, and carried on. I laughed about the size of the sanitary towel, I laughed about the fact I was sweating as though I had the menopause early, and I just got on with things. I told everyone it was fine, and that these things happen. I didn’t really think about it anymore. I planned a weekend with my friend, and after dropping my car off at the garage I hopped on a train to London.
That following morning, I was told that my car wasn’t doing great and that it needed fixing. It would cost nearly £1000 to sort. I couldn’t believe it. Why was this happening to me? I don’t have that kind of money, but I also couldn’t live without a car. I spent that weekend and the following week thinking up ways on whether to sell the car, or pay to have it fixed. After deciding to sell it, my mum and I headed out on the road (in said car) to part exchange it for something new.
And we broke down.
The car started smoking. And the water was dripping through the bonnet.
And my mum and I were scared.
And that. That was the moment, that made me cry. That made me wonder why life was testing me. Why life was pushing my buttons whilst I was facing these things alone.
Until my mum told me “that it was just a piece of metal. It’s no big deal”.
And she was so right. It is nothing in the scheme of things.
Cut a long story short, RAC saved my life and within hours I’d managed to part exchange the car for a new one. It was a bitter sweet story, but one thing ticked off the box.
It was only going to get better from here now.
And I put my smile on my face, I had friends for dinner, I went shopping with family and I spent time on my own enjoying the calmness of a night alone. I felt alright. Weekend’s away were booked back in, and my place was coming together. Life was picking up. Life is picking up. Things happen for a reason.
So when a letter came through my postbox this weekend telling me I have pre cancerous cells, I kind of crumbled. The letter had briefly explained that I’m to go under general anesthetic for an LLETZ procedure (I’m not even going to explain it, because reality is, I don’t know. I kind of don’t want to read about it), and that I’m to wait for my hospital date.
And how do I feel? Right now, I feel a little like I’m watching myself from another room. I feel like I’ve stepped out of my body, as though I’m not really sure this is happening to me. I’m constantly having backwards and forwards with myself, one minute feeling slightly sad that this is happening to me, happening to me when I almost need someone the most, but then telling myself that I need to grow a pair. This happens to people daily, so many others are faced with this – AND MUCH WORSE. And that actually, this really is no big deal.
And I guess it really isn’t a big deal.
I don’t have cancer. I have pre cancerous cells. And I’m going to get them removed. Because I can. Because it’s not too late, and I’m incredibly lucky. I’m still here.
Do I feel stupid for putting this off for two years? I honestly couldn’t tell you. This is the reason I put it off. That doesn’t mean that it’s right for doing that, but I was scared. I still am scared. If this has taught me anything, and as I’ve said to the few people around me who know, it’s proved a hell of a lot to myself that I’m stronger than I think.
It’s made me have this attitude of brushing everything off, and taking it within my stride. And it HAS made me stronger. It’s made me realise that being alone has meant I’ve had to get on with it, because there’s noone to come home to everynight and get reassurance from. So I’ve had to reassure myself, and well, that’s tiring. So it’s simply been easier to ignore it. To not think about it, until those moments happen.
But I’m still just a normal person. A normal person with feelings, and concerns.
And the want for someone to just tell me that everything will be OK.
I know it will. It’s part of my life story.
And with that, I wanted my life story to be as honest as possible.
So there you go, I guess now knowing that I have a small vagina, makes us all really good friends now right? But please, promise me one thing… I don’t want your sympathy, instead offer it to someone who needs it a lot more than I do. Just be there to laugh and share with me our embarrassing stories, and the simple pleasures that life gives us.
They’re the important things right now.