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  • - Look at the ceiling, breathe,

  • and it's over in like 10 seconds.

  • (upbeat music)

  • Guys.

  • I got the letter.

  • Okay so the letter is

  • the letter that your doctor automatically sends you

  • when you turn a certain age saying,

  • hey, you might wanna come in for a smear test.

  • They officially don't call them smear tests anymore,

  • it's your cervical screening.

  • So in the UK, on the NHS,

  • from the age of 25 everyone with a cervix

  • gets a cervical screening.

  • And they usually send your letter

  • about six months before your 25th birthday.

  • So that's about right.

  • I turn 25 in February.

  • And now it is my time, it is my time.

  • (groans) God I've heard about smear tests

  • my whole life,

  • and now it's finally time.

  • So the letter basically says

  • you're due a cervical screening,

  • call up your GP and make an appointment.

  • And it also comes with this, NHS cervical screening,

  • helping you decide

  • in this wonderful little leaflet brochure

  • full of information.

  • So here's a wonderful diagram of the insides

  • with the vagina, cervix, uterus, Fallopian tubes,

  • all of that good stuff.

  • So it involves taking a small sample of cells

  • from the surface of your cervix,

  • and the sample is sent to a laboratory

  • and checked under a microscope

  • to see if there are any abnormal cells.

  • Abnormal cells are not cancer,

  • but they could develop into cancer

  • if they're left untreated.

  • That's something that I didn't realize.

  • I kind of thought it was checking if you have cancer,

  • but it's checking for, it's like, preventative.

  • Which I think is really cool.

  • So it says that most cervical cancers are caused by

  • the HPV virus.

  • It also has a little diagram

  • of what happens during your cervical screening test.

  • So it's like a long stick with a brush.

  • And they put, what are these things called, speculum.

  • They put a speculum inside you and open you up.

  • And I'm not too scared about that actually,

  • because the first ever STI test that I had

  • when I was about 16, 17,

  • was before it was all self-done with a swab,

  • and so I had my legs in stirrups with the speculum

  • and then, like, the doctor goes inside.

  • So I'm like, I've had that before

  • and it wasn't traumatizing.

  • So should be fine.

  • It's like a brush and it scrapes your cervix.

  • And that's the bit that everyone says is painful,

  • or uncomfortable.

  • So we shall see.

  • I've got high hopes.

  • I'm kind of just like, I feel like

  • if you just relax and breathe, so that's what I'm gonna do.

  • Just relax and breathe.

  • I'll be fine.

  • And then it kinda gives you a rundown of what happens next.

  • Like what the statistics are of the likelihood

  • of them finding abnormal cells,

  • and then the likelihood of,

  • if you have abnormal cells, if they're cancerous.

  • So 94% of women will have a normal result.

  • Yay!

  • And the 6% who have abnormal cells,

  • two of them will have no HPV,

  • and four will be invited to a colposcopy.

  • Dunno what that is.

  • Oh, next page.

  • What is a colposcopy?

  • I mean I've had a colonoscopy,

  • so can't be worse than that, surely.

  • And then it gives you

  • what the symptoms of cervical cancer are

  • so you can, like, be aware.

  • If you got the letter,

  • do read this cover to cover

  • because there's loads of information there

  • and it's really reassuring and,

  • (clicks tongue) well done NHS.

  • Okay so I need to book my appointment now.

  • (clears throat)

  • (calm elevator music)

  • - [Woman] We are sorry but all our staff

  • are engaged on other calls at the moment.

  • Please hold and you'll be connected as soon as possible.

  • You are currently number two in the queue.

  • We are sorry but you are.

  • You are currently number two in the queue.

  • You are currently number two in the queue.

  • - Hi, I got my letter to book a cervical screening.

  • Thank you, bye.

  • (singing nonsense)

  • Yay!

  • So, 9:00 a.m., 1st of November.

  • Bring it, bring it, bring it.

  • So after I booked that appointment,

  • I realized that there was a very crucial question

  • that I forgot to ask the person on the phone,

  • which was can I have a smear test whilst on my period?

  • And so I looked it up online, and the answer is no.

  • No you can't, according to the Internet.

  • I booked the appointment two weeks in advance,

  • and my boobs were hurting at the time,

  • so I was like, the period is coming any minute now

  • and it will be over by the time I have the appointment.

  • Buffer Festival happened, I was in Toronto,

  • and still no period.

  • And then I got back yesterday, and there she is,

  • the period arrived, right there.

  • Great timing.

  • Because my appointment is next week,

  • so the period will be over

  • by the time I go get my smear test.

  • So my body will be all prepped and ready.

  • So I feel like I need to make this a thing

  • that every time I come on my period, I tell Sammy.

  • But I'm not gonna call him right now

  • because I'm actually seeing him tonight,

  • because he's going to be a guest on my Fubar radio show.

  • Dear viewers of The Hormone Diaries

  • will know that Sammy has had a few cameos

  • in The Hormone Diaries.

  • And so I just thought I needed to tell you

  • that I came on my period yesterday.

  • - Fantastic.

  • How's it been?

  • - Not great.

  • - Not great in what sense?

  • - I've been in a lot of pain, lot of cramps.

  • And actually since I started drinking this cider,

  • it's surprisingly subsided. (laughs)

  • - [Sammy] How many days has it been now?

  • - This is day two, so we're in heavy flow.

  • - Heavy flow.

  • - Good morning, today is the day.

  • It's time for my cervical screening.

  • My period ended a few days ago, so perfect timing.

  • My vagina and cervix are now fully prepared

  • and ready for the screening.

  • I'm not nervous right now,

  • but I think it's because I've not been thinking about it.

  • And I'm kind of still not really thinking about it.

  • I'm just like, oh I'm just going for a doctor's appointment,

  • which I go for a lot of.

  • It will hit me once my legs are up in the stirrups.

  • Alright I'm back, I have had my first smear test.

  • It happened.

  • Okay let me talk you through it.

  • First of all, it was fine, it really was fine.

  • But now let's get into the nitty gritty details, shall we?

  • So it was a nurse practitioner that did my smear test

  • and she brought me into the room

  • and was very lovely,

  • quite loud and bubbly,

  • which is a personality that I bounce off really well,

  • so she completely put me at ease, which was great.

  • She asked me things like

  • if I'd had a smear test before,

  • which is, no, this is my first one.

  • And also like what the date of my last period was,

  • and then like if I was on the pill or anything like that.

  • So just that kind of general history.

  • She then talked me through what was gonna happen.

  • I was gonna take all of my bottom clothes off

  • and lie on the bed and put just like this sheet over me,

  • for modesty reasons, obviously.

  • And then she was gonna use a speculum,

  • and she was gonna put jelly on it,

  • or, as I like to call it, lube.

  • And then they, (clicks tongue), take the little swab.

  • You have to bend your knees up,

  • and then put your feet right up towards your bottom

  • and then just like fold your legs down.

  • And luckily I'm quite flexible

  • so it was just like, boom, wide open.

  • I didn't look at the speculum.

  • I did not want to know how big it was.

  • It was just a interesting surprise.

  • I kind of think of it as like,

  • if you're hooking up with someone

  • and then, like, the clothes come off,

  • and you're like, hoo, that's not,

  • that's not going in me, mm-mm.

  • And then you get more anxious, and then more nervous,

  • and that makes you tense up more,

  • and it's just not gonna work.

  • And so I was just like, I'm not gonna look at it,

  • and I'm just gonna breathe and relax.

  • It was uncomfortable, I will admit.

  • The feeling of it, like, going in,

  • is a sensation that I'm familiar with,

  • but just not in that context.

  • And so that was fine, but then the bit that

  • was quite uncomfortable

  • was when she was just like,

  • "Okay now I'm gonna open you further

  • "so I can see the cervix."

  • And I don't think anything's ever gone that far up before.

  • So that was kinda like, oo, okay.

  • And I just had to remind myself to breathe.

  • And then when she actually got the,

  • the brush thing that goes in

  • to take the samples from your cervix,

  • that I didn't even feel.

  • I was kind of like, too concentrated on the fact that

  • everything was just being pushed open.

  • So the actual scraping of the cervix,

  • didn't feel that at all, like that was nothing.

  • And then it was done, in like a few seconds,

  • and the brush came out and then the speculum came out,

  • and then it was over.

  • She did say that I might experience some bleeding,

  • so like some spotting.

  • I can tell you right now I've not actually checked,

  • but everything just feels a bit wet right now.

  • But I think that also might be the jelly, slash lube.

  • And also I feel like I've got cramps right now.

  • Other than that, I'm fine.

  • And then she said in two weeks I'll get a letter

  • from the lab that does the screenings,

  • and whether it's normal or abnormal,

  • I'll still get a letter.

  • Hannah from the future here.

  • I just got my letter about my cervical screening.

  • And it says, thank you for coming

  • to your cervical screening test.

  • The cells in the sample from your cervix look normal.

  • This means your risk of cervical cancer

  • is very low at this time.

  • So, we're good.

  • Go get tested, guys.

  • Back to past Hannah.

  • I'm gonna go to the toilet now.

  • Because I just feel like

  • I need to figure out what's going on down there.

  • 'Cause I do have like, cramps.

  • If you haven't had a smear test yet,

  • or you're gonna get one soon,

  • then my advice would be to try not to think about it before,

  • because the anticipation is probably a lot worse

  • than the actual thing itself.

  • And just breathe through it.