So first, let me get this out of the way.
When you have a chronic illness/are immunosuppressed (lupus/kidney transplant, for example), it is absolutely a good idea to get your pap smears on an annual basis. Do as I say and not as I do, with the "as I do" being that it has been about 4-5 years since my last pap.
Well, I had one just a few weeks ago.
So, why did it take me so freaking long to get another pap??! Good question! I'll tell you.
Let me be clear when I say that my first 1-2 paps were the things nightmares are made of. They were the most uncomfortable experiences EVER. I prepared myself well before going to see my gyenecologist to have my first and second paps done. I did everything that google told me to do-I took a tylenol or two about 45 minutes-an hour before my appointment. I practiced taking deep and calm breaths in the waiting room before I got called in. I did all of that. But, once I got called in, dis-robed from the waist down, and put my feet into those stirrups, I was a ball of tense-ness, and all of the relaxation techniques I did in the waiting room did absolutely nothing for me.
And this was BEFORE the pap even started. Once it did start..man. I got as tense as tense can be. And some advice-don't "get tense" while getting a pap. It's definitely one of the things you don't want to do. What should have lasted less than a minute lasted much longer through my screams and cries (so embarrassing). For my second pap, the doctor had to use the "mini callipers" to do my pap. Trust-it still hurt.
We're not even going to get into how uncomfortable a transvaginal ultrasound is. Google it. I'm afraid that the pain and discomfort might come back if I blog about it.
Anyhow, fast forward to two weeks ago. After having to cancel and reschedule my appointments a couple of times due to my knee surgery, I finally made it to my appointment to have my pap done.
I checked in with the receptionist, sat down, and began to do the crossword in my free newspaper. Then, about 20 minutes later, it hit me. I hadn't done ANY prep. No tylenol, no breathing exercises...nothing! I tossed my crossword aside in a panic and grabbed a tylenol from my purse and gobbled it down. Oh man, oh man...I've been sitting here for 20 minutes..they're going to call me any second...how could I forget to PREPARE MYSELF!!?
After about 10 minutes, I was called in to see the doctor before the doctor. She was a pleasant doctor, and made me feel at ease. We went over my history, and she asked me why it had been so long since my last pap. I was honest. "Searing pain" was my response. Welp, speaking of searing pain...time for your pap!
I got prepared and got into the stirrups. I felt more comfortable this time-I'm not sure why. When the doctor came back, she told me what she was doing as she did it, and reassured me throughout. This time, what google told me was true. I felt pressure. Not pain per se, just a bit of pressure. No where near the nightmare I remembered from years back. When it was all over in about a minute or less, I was actually surprised at myself. What the heck was MY problem the last few times?!?
My "doctor after the doctor" came to talk to me and reiterate the importance of having a pap done once a year due to my condition. Based on my most recent experience, I will have no problem in maintaining this schedule for the good of my health.
So that was my most recent experience with having had my pap smear.
The moral of this story is this; stop being a baby and go get your damned pap done. It's important!