Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles - 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.