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Interview 24

Age at interview: 30
Age at diagnosis: 21
Brief Outline: Abnormal smear in 1992 (1st smear test) Referred for colposcopy. No treatment needed. Normal smears 1993-2000. Abnormal smear in 2001. Referred to colposcopy clinic. Diagnosed with abnormal cervical cells (CIN1/2). Awaiting results of biopsy for decision to be made about treatment.
Background: Teacher; single, no children.

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She would have liked to have spoken to a doctor immediately after receiving her abnormal result.

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Yes, because it comes with a little leaflet as well, talking about dyskariosis and this and that and great. I think when you do, I really do think people should be able to as soon as they get that book in with the doctor, talk about those changes because I don't know it's just so difficult. When you want to make the appointment you can't meet with the person you want to meet at the relative time, you can't take time off work. It is so difficult so it would be nice to have someone there to talk you through it. I was lucky because there are people at work whose relatives are doctors, nurses whatever so you can talk about what the terms mean and what could be happening.

 
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Having a biopsy taken was painful.

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Oh it's so difficult because you're trying to remain relaxed because you've got to be relaxed. At the same time you feel so wound up and tense and you know that it could hurt, you don't know whether it's going to hurt. And I just thought, I just want to grab somebody and hang onto them, so she was just sort of holding onto my hands sort of looking up at the ceiling. 

But you can just feel, you know things inside you sort of, it was like a really bad period pain but not, because my usual period pains seem to go sort of across the abdomen, this seemed to go right through you, you know right up you. And I think oh it was just not nice. Yeah it was just, and even though the colposcopist had said you know "It won't hurt because the cervix area doesn't really have that many nerve endings," you still can feel that sort of part of you is being taken out. Well I was quite sensitive and oh that hurts. And she said "Oh well I can't do another one then, if that hurt then it would hurt even more to do another one." 

Yes and then you sort of, and everything then taken out and you feel quite tender because you've been held open really and that was uncomfortable. But at least they give you time sort of, and it only took 10 minutes but it just felt forever.

 
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She felt drained physically and emotionally for a few hours after her colposcopy examination.

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Apart from weak, you know I'd been sort of so on edge for so long and that sudden rush of emotion I came home, had a cup of tea, I mean the pain just continued for so, it was like you know just a period pain that just went on for an incredibly long time. So a couple of Neurofen and I just felt so tired so I just went to sleep, slept for four hours, woke up and felt really drained physically, emotionally. So I just watched TV, It was so dull you know Ready, Steady, Cook that kind of, and I thought I really must eat something. And that was the other thing there was no sort of, you just, I didn't want to eat, didn't really want to drink anything, wanted to just vegetate and not thinking about anything else.

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