Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Biennial/annual Pap Smear weekend of vagina fabulousness.

Once upon a time, I ran away, for a whole weekend with my best friend.
In the middle of the winter school holidays, the most loathed and annoying of all the school holidays.

After a pleasant journey that contained no threatening to turn the car around and eighties music, we had arrived.
Note to children- look closely...

This is exactly how much crap we need when we go away. This is really difficult to take (all of our much needed crap) with all of the stuff you usually require.....And yes! That coles bag does indicate that We stopped in at Coles..and we bought things. Chocolate things and no, we did not save you any, and yes, it is so fair. I sleep soundly.....And get off my blog.

When we saw the kitchen we laughed and laughed... As if.

This rather blurry shot is of my best friend doing the dance of runaway mums everywhere called the 'we arrived at our destination with enough energy to dance after not having to break apart fights in the back seat the whole way there'

We then snooped around a bit right.... and we noticed a strange shadowy figure doing something in an a room a few floors up, so we grabbed a wine and stared for a was then that we noticed that it was a man, folding several pairs of pants.

We laughed and figured that we very rarely saw men folding in our respective houses so that accounted for the earlier confusion.

We were suddenly very thirsty...

I then listened to a live Bruno Mars tribute concert, sung into a champagne flute.

At some point during the night my handbag took this picture, I like it. It would make a great print, I plan on holding an exhibition of works called, photos my handbag took, It will be closely followed by "phone calls my face makes" the musical.....

This is all that I care to divulge of the said weekend.

Aaaand What was this weekend in aid of I hear you ask?? ..and if you didn't, then too bad because I am telling you anyway..

This was the Biennial/annual Pap Smear weekend of vagina fabulousness.
We decided to hold it after my beautiful best friend had a recent cervical cancer scare.
After her unexpected results and subsequent treatments, and whilst recovering from several surgeries, we were bewildered, as my friend had only ever skipped one pap test. We were also very grateful that it was only one, another twelve months would have made an enormous difference.

I don't know what I'd do without my best friend.

We kept going through our reasons for putting off our pap's and in all honesty, it boiled down to the fact that they were uncomfortable, inconvenient and not entirely pleasant, with added -time just creeps away. I mean...Having a Vagina is hard fucking work!
Also! Who's idea was it to call it a smear?
Do you think you would get as many people willing to give a stool sample if you called it a poo sifting??
Does it have to be SCHMEEERE for the love of all things good?!?

Pap tests are a pain in the 'front' bum and nothing is really going to change that, so we had to change the way we were thinking about the test, and decided that if a regular pap test involved a sleep in, a whole weekend, a night out with a dear friend, wine, a hot bath, champagne, great food and 80s ballads..then just how marvelous would that be?! I would make a fucking advent calendar for that!

And so it became....The Biennial Pap Smear weekend of vagina fabulousness...see you barely even notice the smear bit do you? Not in amongst all of that awesomeness.
I am so pumped for my next pap test.

I don't know what I'd do without my best friend, so grab yours, and join us.
You just have to think about what it is for you that would make a pap test more pleasant and do it!...then do it every two years after that!

What would be your ideal pap test?


All women over 18 who have ever had sex are advised to have a Pap smear every two years, even if they no longer have sex.

As the most common type of cervical cancer usually takes up to 10 years to develop, there is little advantage in having a Pap smear more frequently than every two years.

Your general practitioner may recommend more frequent Pap smears if a previous smear showed significant cell changes or you experience problems, such as bleeding or pain after sex.


River said...

I schedule mine to coincide with every "even" birthday, so I don't forget.

Alannah said...

I nearly wet myself when you said about the stool sifting! Bahaha. You make me laugh. DD17 just had her first at my insistence and it didn't even hurt! I will have to go to that same doctor next time. I am old enough to have breast screens now and had my first at the same time as my mum did, so she will be reminding me, even though I do believe I will get a notification in the mail. smiles and thanks for your post.

Miss Pink said...

I am a year overdue for mine. I need a friend to drag me to it because I'd like to say I am making my appointment for tomorrow but the truth is I'm not, and I won't.

Debyl said...

Great idea.Anything to make it an experience to look forward to instead of dread.
Wonderful point to remind us all how important regular tests are.
As an old nurse I can not tell you how many sad cases I saw all because women missed a test.Heartbreaking for all involved.
I like to pick September (spring cleaning time)for my ME month and have all my tests and check ups like mammagrams,dentist,pap smears etc.That way I dont forget any.I always have a lady doctor and so dont feel so bad and make my appointment in early morning so not nervous waiting all day.
Thanks for such an important post written in a very entertaining way.
You may just save a life.xx

Eliz52 said...

I think many women would prefer the new Dutch program, especially women in countries that still over-screen with the pap test, which does nothing more than worry and harm just produce huge numbers of false positives which can lead to potentially harmful over-treatment and excess biopsies. These procedures can damage the cervix and lead to cervical stenosis, cervical incompetence, infertility, high risk pregnancy, premature babies, c-sections, miscarriages etc
The most harmful programs are found in Germany (annual screening from teens) the States and Australia...In other words, the most risk for no additional benefit.

The Finns have had a 6-7 pap test program since the 60s, 5 yearly from age 30 to 60, they have not only the lowest rate for cc in the world, they send FAR fewer women for unnecessary biopsies and treatments. Ever noticed how many American and Aussie women get abnormal pap tests and need treatments? This is the direct result of serious over-screening and early screening. Women under 25 produce the most false positives....sadly, not one country has shown a benefit pap testing those under 30, but all have evidence of harm. There is no difference in the tiny incidence rate in those under 30 between countries who screen young women and those who don't...the same rare cases occur despite screening. Sadly, HPV testing is not recommended before age 30 either, as 40% would test positive when most have harmless and transient infections that will disappear within a year or so. By age 30 only 5% are HPV positive.
The Dutch have the same program as the Finns, but will move with the evidence and shortly introduce a new program...women will be offered 5 hrHPV primary triage tests at ages 30,35,40,50 and 60 and only the roughly 5% who are HPV positive and at risk will be offered a 5 yearly pap test. Those negative, the vast majority, will be offered the remaining 4 HPV primary tests over their lifetime. Those HPV negative and no longer sexually active can forget further testing. The self-test option with the reliable Delphi Screener is already in use in the Netherlands, Singapore, Italy and elsewhere. This program will take most women out of pap testing, that means FAR fewer excess biopsies and over-treatment and it's more likely to prevent these rare cancers by identifying the small group at risk, those HPV positive, these are the only women who have a small chance of benefiting from pap testing. This program will save more lives, HPV testing is more reliable than pap testing and should stand alone, doing a pap test and HPV test on all women is unhelpful and unnecessary.
The lifetime risk from cc is 0.65%, the lifetime risk of referral after an "abnormal" pap test here in Australia is a whopping 77%...huge over-treatment. The States would be even higher...
There was never a need to worry and harm so many as Finland and the Netherlands have shown, but now there is no excuse, HPV negative women cannot benefit from pap testing, biopsies, laser treatments etc...we're wasting money and doing nothing more than worrying and harming women.
Refs: HPV Today Newsletter No 24 or No 26 sets out the new Dutch program, you have to register, but it's free and an excellent source of real
Information. The Delphi Bioscience website contains more info on the self-test device. The Health Council of the Netherlands sets out the new program under prevention/programs 2011

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