I have to say that I was an avoider of the smear test. Unfortunately for me this avoidance lasted for a few years. I know from the statistics that many women are also doing the same thing...which knowing what I now know really saddens me! As we know Cervical Cancer is the most common cancer in women under 35 years.
I eventually got myself in check as we were thinking of having a baby so I felt like I wanted to be in tip top health or at least get rid of this nagging feeling that needed to be addressed. I had no symptoms. But there was as I say this nagging.....I guess it was an intuitive feeling in my subconscious that pricked up every now and then that I should go for a smear test. Which I pushed back down and keep striding on with my everyday life in a complete head in the sand way. Any letters were put straight into the bin! Looking back I really think why did I try and avoid it so strongly. I think there was some fear for sure, I think I just made ALL the excuses to not have time.
I have to say I feel like I was so fortunate to have caught my cancer early enough to not need any chemo or radiation and that surgeries were able to take away the cancerous cells in my cervix. I now have to have check ups & smear tests every six months at the amazing Royal Marsden Hospital to which I owe so much to the consultants & nurses! It isn't a pleasant experience of course but it is life saving. Having faced the consequence of ignoring when my smears were due, I now embrace any checks that are offered and welcome them. I strongly believe that the smear test should be available to people under the age of 25, and I have signed many petitions, but unfortunately we are not there yet!
When I was diagnosed, I felt totally lost, bewildered about the journey I would be on. I suddenly felt like my body was no longer my own, I called the cancer a 'shadow creeper,' this thing that was silently growing in my body. I became fierce and driven to face this challenge head on full fucking force! I managed many of my surgeries and facing the unknown with humour and positivity, for me this was what took off the edge, what took away the power from the 'shadow creeper' I was held and lifted up by my husband and closest friends, for which I'm eternally grateful. This time in my life also deepened my interest in spirituality, meditation and yoga. I continued my love of movement and danced through the moments where I was challenged with my feelings and the moments where I questioned everything....I danced to shift the feelings. the stickiness, the darkness that had settled in my womb space. I held my womb space, I moved with a sense of wanting to heal myself, of self love & the deepest of reverence for myself as a woman.
I am also incredibly thankful to have found Jo's Trust at this time it was so helpful with so much support and literature to read in my own time. I was being told many things by consultants that I could not digest, and language that was loaded and coded in medical terminology so having the resources online and also the support groups that are ran by Jo's Trust was fantastic.
I think we should be encouraging women from a young age to empower themselves to understand there bodies, to discuss feelings, to understand body boundaries & embody and feel a deep respect for the female body. I certainly feel there is a rising in the divine feminine, we are taking a stand, we are rising and standing shoulder to shoulder with each other. There is a swelling in our consciousness that is growing as we embrace our bodies, periods, sex, women's health issues. The taboo is slipping away as we embrace the messy, as we embrace what it means to speak out without fear! Growing up I personally felt a deep shame and lack of respect for my body and what it meant to be a female. I guess for me there was a distinct lack of female role models. I now have so many female powerhouses in my life that I feel we mutually support & empower each other, many of these beauties I have found through social media. Hold these people close, the ones who love you unconditionally, the ones who are always championing you and raise you up!
I take the approach now of living more in the moment and not worrying as much about the things I cannot control or that are adding to my stress levels. Being a survivor of Cervical Cancer, has certainly changed my approach to all things health, wellbeing and living life to the full I think when you are faced with your own mortality and being on a journey where you don't know the destination... you see things very differently and I feel such overwhelming gratitude for each and every moment I know it is all a blessing.
This is definitely some of what has led me to want to explore women's health supporting other women in empowering themselves, through pregnancy, postnatally and beyond. I really hope to start a yoga/movement/meditation group for survivors of cancer for women in the future, so watch this space! I just love spending time in circle with women, sharing stories, encouraging and supporting each other.
I would love to connect with you, to hear YOUR embodied stories, feel free to make contact. Deepest gratitude for reading this, Please share, lets make a stand against Cancer, lets keep raising awareness, WE are a force for change to happen.
Cervical Cancer Awareness week 12-18 June 2017 is fast approaching lets do this! lets raise awareness and get support if you need it loves, you are not alone!
Namaste lovelies x