#SmearForSmear | 22nd-28th January is Cervical Cancer Prevention Week, and the theme this year is ‘Reduce Your Risk’. This is my story of my experience

Cervical Cancer Prevention

In all the years I have been blogging I have wrote a post about this subject 3 previous times but I have never posted them, until now. This is my story of my experience with abnormal cells and now I feel ready to share the experience.

There is one simple answer to ‘Reduce Your Risk’ which is make sure you keep up to date with your smear tests and knowing the symptoms. Cervical Cancer can be prevented and you can reduce your risk by calling your local surgery and booking in.

When I was pregnant with Josie, I became friends with a girl from Nottingham who was also pregnant but with her second child. We met on a forum page on facebook about our babies being due in August. There was three of us that started chatting and comparing our pregnancies. All three of us had girls within a few weeks of each other. I was actually due first but gave birth last out of us. We even met up around the girls 1st birthdays. Sadly three years later in 2012, she lost her life to cervical cancer, leaving behind two small children and husband.

This made me think about the smear test reminder that came through a few months previously, and in November 2012 booked in for my smear. It is one of those things that you mean to book, but taking the time to do this can be an inconvenience, but it can also save your life. I was told I would have the results back in a few weeks. I was surprised when they came back in less than a week, and in shock to see I had abnormal pre-cancerous cells which if left untreated can result in cervical cancer. Even now writing this, I remember the worry, the feeling of not knowing what was going to happen.

Just under two weeks later I went to the Colposcopy Unit at our local hospital. The colposcopy showed I had CIN 1 -Mild Changes. During the colposcopy I found this very invasive, as any one would but was put at ease by the team. You see your cervix on the screen as they insert the camera. I was shown where the abnormal cells was located and you could see a mild whiter change from the rest. A biopsy was took and then quaterized which was similar to period pain. The Nurse was very friendly and throughout my time I always saw the same nurse. She confirmed the cells wasn’t cancerous and explained about if left untreated they can form into cancerous cells. I was checked for the HPV Virus which was clear around this time.

Cervical Cancer

I was asked to go back again to keep an eye on these changes and maybe we would look at a LLETZ treatment, which involves burning the cells away. To cut a long story short I had this go on every 6 months until in June 2014 I went for my colposcopy and by this time I even knew the routine, cough when they take the biopsy etc. This time before the nurse even said I could see how different the cells looked. She said it looked like it has got worse, and to prepare for a Cone Biopsy. She had sent the biopsy and met with the consultants to discuss my results which was done each time to confirm the treatment plan. The results come back and as the Nurse thought the changes had gone to CIN 3 -Severe changes which is called High Grade Dyskaryosis, treatment was needed soon as the time for the cells changing to cancerous had halved. Within 2 weeks I was having my operation to have a cone biopsy. This is were a section of your cervix is removed to ensure the cells are no longer there.

After the operation the consultant explained they removed the cells successfully and I had lost a large part of my cervix. The Consultant stated we can have a baby but advised after the 6 month smear test to check if all clear. I did get the all clear and had a few compl;citations with delivery, mainly due to incompetence on the ward previously. It was noticed during labour that I couldn’t dilate due to scarring and on the second consultant trying, she was able to stretch the cervix and I went straight from 0.5cm to 8cm dilated. I had been having the urge to push and at 0.5cm dilated which was where Rowan wanted to come but couldn’t. I managed to give birth naturally and Rowan was absolutely fine.

The recovery was 2 weeks of me being bed bound, I also had issues with bad side effects to one of the tablets and getting numerous infections. Plus being bed bound and on your own was hard as I was feeling sorry for myself. Antony and mum was excellent helping with Josie and if I needed anything. The pain was bad for a week or so and similar to after having a baby. Again I was worrying of another 6 month wait, and then was when I realised how much the previous 2 years since I first received the letter had taken a toll on myself. That smear 6 months on was the longest wait for the results it seemed, I was ecstatic the results was clear.

Even now this still plays a part in my life. You still worry, I had my 3 year smear check in December since the all clear, which was the beginning of December. It wasn’t until after Christmas that I found I had the all clear this time. I was over the moon at the results as the same feelings previously had come flooding back. Panicking each time the post arrives, worrying over Christmas. In between the 3 year check, every year around December I used to think 2 years to go, next year to go. I am glad this is out the way and I don’t think I will be as bad worrying in the lead up to the next one, well not yearly. But it is the waiting game that is extremely difficult. Either way the best thing to do is get yourself checked. I am so thankful I did, and that even after the not so pleasant experience and long time waiting, the fact of knowing if these cells were left they could have resulted in cervical cancer is overwhelming. I am in the statistic of reducing the chance of having cervical cancer by 95% since having treatment. It is important that I keep up my routine checks, for anyone this is important. Even if you have not had any symptoms, which I hadn’t, you still need to get checked.

I cannot stress enough how important this is to have your smear and also look on Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust as they state the further symptoms to keep an eye out for. I hope one day they lower the smear test ages from minimum 25 years old as this is such an important preventive test. Please go ahead and book in for that smear, yes it is not the most pleasant procedure, but it can save your life. I know I was extremely lucky and there is a huge number who suffer from cervical cancer which is much worse than pre cancerous cells, but I wanted to share my story of how this can hopefully be prevented and hope it will encourage yourselves to book in if you haven’t already.

Stacey

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I have been blogging since 2015, yet still this has took me this long to find myself and to start achieving my goals regarding my blog. Read below for how I have got past The Blogging Blues

Blogging Blues Simply Stacey Blog

I am finally more confident to stand up and say…

I LOVE BLOGGING

I started blogging in 2015 and at first this was a blur of hashtags. There was so much to learn as a new blogger; setting up the blog, going self hosted, templates, blogging styles, hashtags, social media, branding, no follow links, alt tags to name a few. I was lucky as I can work my way round pretty easy anything technology based, plus with the help of good old Google and YouTube you can research help in an instant. I also have a Social Media Marketing Diploma and update the work website which helped when I first set up my blog.

As stated in previous posts I have changed names 3 times, mainly due to the learning curve from blogging. Finding my path I wish to take has been tricky… do I go Parenting, do I go Lifestyle. I have been both and now decided I am just going to do both. Why limit yourself to one genre. There is no rule book about what subject you should blog about. This is your space to say what you want to say or show.

Re branding before Christmas, which you can see more of here, has made a dramatic difference to my blog. Not just my blog name has changed, but also my layout, blog colours and more importantly my blogging routine. I have never had a routine and this has been the ultimate aid to helping my blog grow. Already 22 days into 2018, I am just under 50 views for beating my total views for the whole of 2017. For me, when I saw how much I have improved looking at my statistics, this gave me an almighty boost and made me see that I have got a passion for blogging.

I have always liked blogging, and at times it has seemed more of a chore. Since I made my blog my own by using my name, something has given me a drive to start really pushing myself to achieve set goals in where I want to take my blog. Now I have 100% got a passion for this and building up my YouTube channel. I got given a Blog Planner for Christmas, which I will be going in depth to show you in the next couple of weeks. This has helped tremendously, keeping this separate to my everyday planner means I can focus on my blog and channel solely.

I am sure most bloggers can relate to the blogging blues and most of us have thought about quitting at some point or having low morale.I nearly have closed my blog a couple of times and last year I got to the point that it was really getting me down being unable to fit this in, but last summer I gave myself a break. I say a break but I was only doing about 1 or 2 uploads a month at the time. This helped me take the time to decide I am going to try one last change and really take my blog seriously and that is when I decided to re brand. Blogging can produce such a love and hate relationship. From the moments you get writers block, to where you don’t seem to be growing any new followers. You notice other bloggers that have made themselves a large following and a success and feel you can’t live up to that level then start to doubt yourself.

The biggest advice I can give, is don’t compare yourself to others. Yes, you can research editing in videos, research writing styles. But be your own person, don’t feel you are not good enough and when you stop worrying and plan at your own pace. I am sure you will notice a difference, not only in views, but more importantly for how you feel.  I am still trying to implement this to my way of thinking but so far this has helped enormously. I do have the slight wobble thinking I am not good enough, but with support from the blog community and pushing myself, I am good enough. My personal battle is being a perfectionist, I over criticise myself and this is a personal hurdle to overcome. But I am getting there. For once I can actually feel proud of my blog and feel now is the time to push myself to regular uploads.

I am pleased my YouTube channel is slowly growing, and I am learning so much each video. My new lighting has made a complete difference to the quality of my videos. I will be shortly trying my first ‘Day In The Life’ vlog. But in the meantime, I am really enjoying building both this and my blog.

Also planning my routine further to include any home matters, such as cleaning, homework, cooking dinner etc. Plus then there is also mine and Estelle’s venture of The Blog Network, growing, which we have our first Twitter chat on Wednesday 31st January. Plus then you have the background work as a Blogger, scheduling social posts, photography, planning, joining twitter chats and threads etc. I am trying to improve my photography which I am happy with the results so far, to even take some self portraits of myself shows how much my confidence has grown. Part of this is from some great people from the blogging and vlogging community.

Another change I have implemented is, I have given myself set days for uploads. This has made me push myself and made me be organised. There is going to be times this will be impossible, like last week I was struck down with a nasty cold and then toothache and it threw all plans out. But if I can get ahead and plan, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue … I am hoping.

BLOG UPDATES : Every Monday and Thursday

YOUTUBE UPLOADS : Every Sunday and Wednesday

I know I am not the best writer out there, I never have been and never will be. I am not one for gargantuan words (yes I googled big words for ‘huge’). Yes I get excited over a new notepad of a fluffy cushion makes me do jazz hands, but I am also not ashamed of this and am not letting this stop me producing more posts and documenting on my channel. In a way I have started to think if people get to know the real you, your writing style, the way you produce uploads then they will warm to that person if they choose too. I am pleased to say this moment in time I have beaten the blogging blues and am thoroughly enjoying my journey. I hope this doesn’t wear off and change, but for now I am happy and content with how I have progressed, even if this has took me 3 years to find my blogging passion. I am in no way a blogging expert, but this is what I have found that has helped myself. I really hope this post helps boost yourself if you are suffering from the blogging blues.

Stacey

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So today is 18th January, today is also my Birthday….here goes to being officially in my mid thirties. To celebrate this occasion I have complied a list of Birthday Goals

Birthday Goals Simply Stacey Blog Wiltshire

My Birthday is a funny old day, one it is a pain a few weeks after Christmas as money is always tight from the festivities. I can’t get anything in between Christmas and my birthday in case I have been brought it. Quite often it will snow on my birthday and is always freezing cold. Your birthday is always (apart for the few days before) next year.

I do struggle on the day emotionally sometimes, as I used to share my birthday with my Bampi (Grandad) who I very much adored. I loved phoning and comparing how many birthday cards we had received, he always beat me as was a social butterfly down the Royal British Legion. Every year we would always have a birthday cake together that mum would have crafted. Every year I do find myself emotional, though it is getting easier as time passes and now rather than being sad, I remind myself of happy times and my childhood as they are some of the best birthdays I had.

I remember the year I got a pilot pen set for my birthday, being obsessed with stationery from a young age, meant I thought I was the dogs doodahs that birthday whilst at school. I even had a new pencil case to parade the mixture of colored pens, highlighters and ball-pens. For many years I always had the surprise of a big present after school. Then the parties, oh my days the parties…the year of the picnic in the lounge with Ali Du Lali the magician was a birthday to remember. I even remember watching Land of The Giants beforehand, being so excited at the thought of my friends and cousins coming round to tuck into a splendid spread put on by Mum in Happy Meal style boxes.

Birthday GoalsTo make myself happy and positive on reaching the age of 35, I have decided to make a delayed New Years Resolution list, but this instead will be my classed as my Birthday Goals which I am going to try and achieve before I am 36. To make this tricker I am going to have 35 goals, to celebrate my new age…

  1.   PRODUCE A BLOGGING ROUTINE
  2.   SCHEDULE A ROUTINE FOR BLOG PHOTOS, SCHEDULED SOCIAL POSTS, TWITTER CHATS
  3.   PUSH FOR SUBSCRIBERS TO MY BLOG | Goal at 50 Subscribers
  4.   LOSE WEIGHT | Goal at losing 4 stone
  5.   BECOME FITTER
  6.   BETTER MY PHOTOGRAPHY
  7.   DO MORE AS A FAMILY
  8.   BE MORE CONFIDENT
  9.   READ MORE | Goal on my GoodReads is 20 books
  10.   GO TO NEW AND DIFFERENT PLACES
  11.   PRODUCE A YOUTUBE ROUTINE
  12.   STOP COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHERS
  13.   PUSH FOR SUBSCRIBERS TO MY CHANNEL | Goal at 1000 Subscribers
  14.   DO MORE ON DAYS OFF WITH ROWAN | Don’t feel guilty that Josie is at school
  15.   TWITTER | Goal at 5000
  16.   INSTAGRAM | Goal at 2500
  17.   HAVE MORE ME TIME
  18.   SORT HOME ROUTINES
  19.   LEARN SOMETHING NEW
  20.   LOOK AT BOOKING A BIG HOLIDAY IN 2019
  21.   MAKE MORE TIME WITH ANTONY
  22.   SPEND MORE TIME WITH FRIENDS
  23.   GET MY TATTOO COVER UP
  24.   PAMPER MYSELF ONCE IN A WHILE
  25.   DECORATE DOWNSTAIRS
  26.   SORT FINANCES | Goal at save £1000
  27.   DECORATE KIDS ROOMS
  28.   GARDEN MAKEOVER
  29.   FILM DAY IN THE LIFE VLOGS
  30.   STOP BEING SENSITIVE
  31.   DELEGATE MORE | Not everything has to be perfect and done by me
  32.   STOP BEING ANXIOUS
  33.   STAND UP FOR MYSELF
  34.   TAKE TIME TO WATCH NETFLIX OR FILMS
  35.   THE BLOG NETWORK | Goal of 500 Followers

I am planning a check in of how this is going in halfway through, and then a full catch up to compare when I am about to turn 36 next year. The majority of my goals are about self care and myself which is something I always tend to leave, to the point it is non existent. I am going to try and change this in the coming year.

Have you made a list of goals? Can you relate to any of mine?

Stacey

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I hope you all had an excellent Christmas and New Year. I am entering 2018 with a mission….to make 2018 My Year

My Year 2018

As soon as January rolls round everyone starts creating New Year’s Resolutions. This year I am going to be no different to most of the population on Earth. I want to start 2018 as a new canvas for myself and my blogging, and New Years Resolutions seems an excellent time to put this in effect. The difference from the other years goals is I WILL try my hardest to accomplish this years goals. Since rebranding my blog, I have had a huge boost to make this a success. I really want to take my blog and push it as much as I possibly can.

I received a fabulous Blog Planner by Dot Creates from Antony for Christmas, I have already started using this and it has helped so much for me to be organised. I will be showing more of this in an upcoming post. I have a new separate planner for personal use. Using both simultaneously has made it much easier for me to plan like a pro. I am going to try and keep to a schedule as much as I possibly can whilst being a working mummy.

SimplyStacey

I am trying to join more of the blogging community and entering some regular linkies on my blog and YouTube channel. I am going to try and do more photography and these will be included in the linkies I am joining. I got a new camera for Christmas from my awesome mum, which I wanted for vlogging originally. But playing with it I have really enjoyed taking photos and want to improve my non existent skills.

This week I have teamed up with my best friend Estelle at Estellosaurus and we have launched our idea which has been in the pipeline for a while. We have discussed a few times setting up our own group and finally 2018 we have launched The Blog Network. We hope to grow a collective blogging community group and help promote bloggers and make some new friends along the way. With my marketing experience and Estelle’s excellent writing skills and creativity I am positive this will be a success. Be sure to join us on Twitter every last Wednesday of the month for a monthly chat.

The Blog nETWORK

I also have finally launched my YouTube Channel. This is a goal I have wanted to do for a while but have not had the confidence, I still don’t entirely but I have pushed myself to do this. I uploaded my first vlog with a post ‘Get To Know Me’ and now I have uploaded my face chatting away to the world, I feel pretty damn proud of myself. I worry about how I look and am not confident about myself but I am trying to get past this. Now I have done an upload and received some lovely messages of support from fellow bloggers, I am already feeling my confidence slowly being boosted. I really enjoy being creative and making family memories and I know I will enjoy making YouTube videos. I know with my hectic schedule this is the one I wont be able to do as often as I like, but hopefully I will work a way of achieving a successful channel.

The most used New Years Resolution of ‘Go On A Diet’ is as always on my list. This time I really need to do this, for my own health and confidence. I feel like doing this and I determined to be a yummy mummy. I also want to be fitter and healthier and am looking in to the most achievable and affordable ways to help me. I am really interested to try yoga, I have never tried it before nor been interested but for some reason recently I have really fancied to have a go. I also want to do more self help for myself this year. I don’t take enough time for me, I am constantly putting everyone else first. I actually took the day off work to myself today and this has totally rejuvenated my morale. I also want to take more time for pampering, wether a facial or massage, having my hair done today has made me feel so relaxed and like I have made an effort with myself. I have been suffering with my anxiety rearing it’s ugly head again and this causes me to go in overdrive worrying. Estelle has been super awesome listening to me rant on. This year I am determined to put this at bay and stand up for myself more.

I am determined to make 2018 a productive and positive year. Have you any plans for 2018?

Stacey

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