Okay, if you clicked through to this article I am sure you are well aware of what I will be discussing but if for some reason you aren’t familiar with Pap Smears let me be clear, we will be discussing all things “lady parts” in this article. Click away if you aren’t prepared! I am writing about my Smear Fear in hopes of helping another woman tackle that fear because I know I am not alone! Honestly, I didn’t even know “Smear Fear” was a thing until I talked to my doctor about the emotions I was feeling.
Smear Fear – I Know I Am Not Alone
I have been talking a lot about 2019 being the year of ME. That has included a lot of areas of my life like my reading goal, fitness goals, nutritional goals and even my mental health goal. One of the areas that I have really forgotten to focus on when looking at ME in the big picture is my yearly wellness exams.
Hi, my name is Censie and I have Smear Fear. No really, I do and maybe you do as well. The last time I had a pap smear was when Teagan was born…she will be 7 in October. I am no youngster anymore and with a handful of friends who are my age dealing with terrible breast, ovarian and cervical cancer you better believe I know I should be going in for these exams. But I never made those appointments. I was terrified to go in and with every year that passed the fear just grew.
The last few months have been full of ups and downs but for now I am focusing on the ups and that includes me hitting a 50 pound weight loss! Amazing! Now, I have a goal of NEVER seeing that number on the scale again just like I have a goal of never letting my pap smear appointments lapse for nearly 7 years!!
Oh goodness…I made it through but I was so nervous. Afterwards I started thinking about my anxiety over going to this appointment and I really do not know why I am so triggered by it. But after talking to my doctor I know I am not alone. There is something so exposing about this appointment but in the long run it can be life saving.
I have not gotten my test results back so I am still a little on edge but feeling accomplished in finally getting over that fear and walking into that office with a goal of my health! While it is a good idea to go in for a wellness exam every year, my doctor said if my tests come back normal I will not need a pap smear for 3 years. That is a relief. So, even if you are like me and FEAR THE SMEAR, keep in mind that it is only every 3 years, that is a lot better than having to worry about cancer.
This experience and accomplishment has me rethinking the way I look at my yearly appointments in general. Getting older is not always fun and one way to prevent those “not so fun things” from getting you is by being proactive in your health. I am proud of the work I have done in 2019 and we still have 4 months to go!!
Tips For Your Next Pap Smear
Find A Doctor You Like
This is key. If you are not comfortable with the doctor at the other end of the table you will feel terrible the entire appointment. Find a doctor that is willing to discuss the procedures and helps you find the right preventative measures.
Be Honest With Your Doctor
Tell the doctor you are anxious and nervous about this appointment. This is the perfect time to discuss anything that might be worrying you about this appointment and let him or her know that you have Smear Fear.
Go Pee First
If you are like me, you get nervous pees…always try to go before the pap smear procedure is done so you can release any extra pressure in the pelvic area.
Try To Relax
I know, that is such a dumb thing to say to someone who is anxious or nervous. Using some breathing exercises to help you relax before, during and after the procedure.
That silence in the room during the pap smear is the WORST! Keep talking to your doctor. Tell them that you would like to be talked to during this appointment in order to help you with your anxiety.
Get Encouragement From A Friend Or Family Member
Have a friend or family member take you to the appointment. This is a good way to keep you accountable for this appointment if you have been putting it off for a while. They do not have to join you in the exam room but just having them there in the waiting area might ease your nerves.
Okay, there you have it. I confessed one of my fears and even conquered that fear for this year. Now as I wait for my results I am still anxious but very proud of the accomplishment I made by finally getting over that Smear Fear for the year!!