“Don’t fear the smear”
Kimmi Vincent was diagnosed with cervical CIN 2 & 3 after she noticed something was not going right in her body. As per her experience, she now recommends every woman to go out for the smear test if they notice something abnormal in their body.
“I was diagnosed with cervical CIN 2 &3 in the summer of 2018. I was notified by letter from the hospital”.
“I started to bleed (down there) when I wasn’t even due on my period. I Thought it could have just been stress. But the bleeding wouldn’t let up and lasted 19 days long. I also noticed the blood was very dark and was I passing blood clots, some the size of a penny. At the same time my left armpit became very sore and all I wanted to do was sleep. My body was aching and I had no energy. I knew something was wrong and made an emergency appointment with my doctor.
He rushed me for an array of tests the very next day, including bloods and 2 smear tests a week apart from each other. My blood results came back a week later which showed there was a virus attacking my body, but the other blood results didn’t say what kind of virus it was. My doctor told me to wait for my smear results before discussing anything further.
2 weeks later a letter from the hospital arrived and my heart sank as I read it. It told me to make an appointment with my doctor immediately to discuss my results as the smear had found pre-cancerous cells. I started to cry with overwhelming fear. I kept saying ‘I don’t want to die’.
My doctor saw me sharpish and I was referred for a cervical biopsy for a more accurate diagnosis. The biopsy was performed without any pain relief, and I was so scared. Having chunks of your cervix cut off whilst awake and no numbing is not a pleasant experience. I would take a smear test over that any day!
About another week or 2 later I received another hospital letter in the post. I was diagnosed with CIN 2&3 and a referral had been made for surgery to remove the affected area. I had to wait roughly 6 weeks to have the op and the waiting was overwhelming. Every day you wake up you feel like the cancer has spread and got worse!
Surgery day arrived and I was so eager to get it over with because I wanted this awful disease out of me. I was nervous but actually more excited. I could be free of these nasty cells by the time i go to bed! I welcomed the surgery but the day seemed to drag as I watched the clock for my surgery time.
When I came around after the op the surgeons said all went well, and that the affected area was very widespread and they had to take the whole bottom part of my cervix away, but were pretty confident that they removed it all. I felt so relieved. I had to wait 6-12 weeks for a check up to see if indeed it was all removed, so again the waiting game was on.
On checkup I received great news that all of the cells had indeed been removed. I was so relieved and felt like a huge dark cloud had been blown away from over me. I wanted to tell the world I was cancer free! But I was warned that I am now very high risk (of cervical cancer) and I now have to have smear tests every 3-6 months for the next 5 years. I now welcome the smear exam as the alternative is so much worse.
The doctor congratulated me for listening to my body and getting checked when I did, and said if I hadn’t then I could have been looking at a much more serious stage of cervical cancer and would be undergoing radiation, chemo and hysterectomy. I now want to shout at every woman to go get checked if something is out of the ordinary! If a woman randomly bleeds and it lasts longer than it should, then get to your doctor immediately! It could literally save your life!”
“The waiting for results after each test and treatment. The anticipation can almost be unbearable and your mind goes to dark places. ‘has the cancer spread?’ ‘has the cancer evolved to a riskier stage?’ ‘did they remove it all this time?’. These questions can swirl around your thoughts as you wait for answers. I wish test results were immediate, but they are not.”
Motivation to fight cancer
“My kids. I am lucky to have 3 of them, and they are my reason for living and breathing. My youngest is 4 and autistic, and he shows me how to enjoy life despite of a disability. As long as my kids are around, I intend to be around too.”
Message to other Fighters
“It’s OK to cry – it’s not weakness. Once you let the tears out, put that smile back on, look in the mirror and tell yourself ‘you got this’ 💪”