Can we talk about pap smears?

 
You know those people who have like giant tumor things growing on them but they never go to the doctor? And then they FINALLY go when they are literally gasping for air / at-deaths-door and the doctor is all like How long has this been bothering you? And the patient is all like EIGHT YEARS. And the TV audience at home is all like WHAT THE WHAT?

I am that tumor person.

The soup.

The pap smears.

Let me explain.

I’ve never had a pap smear. Like in my whole life.

I have TRIED to get a pap smear – before my wedding – but the doctor said she “couldn’t do it” and “it won’t work” or WHATEVER THAT means.

So I never went again. And I’ve been married almost three years.

And can we just talk about the WORD “pap smear” for a second? Who came up with that little gem of a phrase? You KNOW nothing good comes from combining PAP and SMEAR. SMEAR. I don’t want anything SMEAR-related going on down there.

But still it’s been on my list. But it keeps getting bumped to next month’s to-do list. It just doesn’t seem urgent. Or for obvious reasons, appealing.

Is that bad? Is that like 8 year tumor bad?

And you know this soup I made?

It’s been in my fridge for 13 days.

Just sitting in the fridge in 4 tupperwares.

It just doesn’t seem like a pressing matter. It just gets away from me. Someday I’ll do it.

Yes.
Yes.
I know.

I am a crazy, lazy soup hoarder / pap smear avoider.

And there’s no big take-away from this.

Perhaps this is a public cry for help, in which case, YOU SHOULD GIVE ME SOME ADVICE.

Here are some topics I’d love to have addressed:

1. Why haven’t I gotten a pap smear?
2. Why haven’t I thrown out the soup?
3. What is the deeper issue going on here?

You are also welcome to yell

THROW THE SOUP OUT

and

GET A PAP SMEAR

at me.

But I need you to know that approach hasn’t worked yet.

Regardless, please help me.

Within the next 8 years.

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  • Sarah Varadi Miller

    SOUP: At this point, you will also have to toss the Tupperware bowls because the soup has soured and you’ll never get the yuksmell out of the bowls.

    PAP SMEAR TEST: Trust me on this, a female Doc is best for the smear because she has been through it and will be very gentle. Every time a male gyno did it, I walked away bleeding and hurting. OUCH!!!!!! Good luck and GET IT DONE!

    • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

      AH! Yes, ok, need to be on the hunt for a female doctor! You’d think in NYC it’d be easy but there are almost TOO many options I don’t know where to start. Maybe I’m picky. Probably just a compulsive procrastinator.

  • Mikayla

    You have sentimental attachment to the soup. You made it from scratch. What if you find a great recipe on pinterest that calls for 2-week-old soup and you threw it out the day before? You’re screwed.

    About the pap… daunting, yet very necessary. Its really not that big of a deal, take the power of fear away and get a pap. Ask for a pediatric scope. I know it is sad that they have pediatric scopes out there, but they do, so ask for one. If that still doesn’t work… get a digital exam. The cervix is at the end of the vagina every single doctor knows that, its simple anatomy. If there is something going on, they will know from that. The psychological aspect of getting a pap is worse than actually getting one. Take a hot bath. Relax those muscles down there. Do some Kegels. Have a glass of wine. The more tense you are, the harder it is to do the exam. The satisfaction of overcoming this fear and receiving normal results > eternally pushing it back and feeling anxious.

    • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

      NURSE MIKAYLA TO THE RESCUE!

      Oh and I just found a recipe that requires 2 week old soup!

  • Emily

    I think of pap smears the way i think of the dentist. I put it off, dread it, make excuses, then I FINALLY go, and of course no one likes being poked and proded and its not a comfortable experience, but afterwards I always think “that really wasn’t THAT bad, why did i put if off for so long?” Becuase at this point you’ve spent a considerable amount of time and energy thinking/worrying/wondering about it so really, if you do it, it will SAVE time, right? does that logic work? LOL.
    Should you have had a pap by now? Yes. BUT in my book its not “8 year tumor” serious if you haven’t had any odd or unpleasant symptoms. If you feel/look/smell fine down there, its not a disaster, but in the words of Nike, “just do it”

    • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

      Thank you, Emily. Seriously. Every encouraging and sane word helps. SO TRUE about how the worrying/putting it off part is SO much worse than the thing itself. I’m a worrier and a procrastinator. A bad bad combo when it comes to the gyno!

  • Deborah S.

    I just had my first pap a few weeks ago after avoiding it for years. It was a much smaller deal than I had built up in my head! I had also created a “phantom tumor” and was so relieved to find everything was fine! Pro tip: my gyno told me to wiggle/flex my toes in the stirrups while she did the exam and it completely distracted me. Highly recommended. THROW OUT THE SOUP ANDREA.

    • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

      And oh my oh the fact that you gave me a GYNO PRO TIP makes my life. And it’s a great tip! Noted. And yes yes I know about the soup….. …. … .. .

      • Sarah Varadi Miller

        Just have BJ sample the soup before you try it! ;-)

  • Zoe Manolas

    Andrea, I don’t have anything very helpful to say, but I just need to let you know: I’m totally one of those people that reads blogs but doesn’t ever say anything and is a total ghost reader but I’m breaking the silence now because you’re just so dear and I’ve been following your life on FB for what seems like forever (whatevs its 21st century normal now) and I love reading your blog. You make me literally lol. I laugh. And I read them to my roommate. And we laugh together. And one day I want to be like you.

    BUT REALLY GIRL, I agree. You might have to throw the bowls out with it. Its probably really difficult to throw it all out because you had the intention of making a really awesome, wholesome, think ahead set of meals in your fun convenient crockpot. And now its probably ruined the bowls which makes it extra worse but girl you gotta make some more room in that fridge and get rid of the yucky reminder!

    Remember when Kathy Griffith got a pap smear on TV?!

    (I just think you are so great.)

    • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

      Zoe I’m smiling. BECAUSE I STALK YOU TOO. You’re a vegan MT after my own heart. <3 Thanks for un-ghosting yourself and leaving a message.

      I am so so so so glad you read and you laugh and you like it and that you let me know. It helps me keep doing it.

      And OMG you have a roommate and you're in COLLEGE?!?!? When did we all get so grown up?

      And NO I DON'T remember Kathy's pap smear and that DEVASTATES ME. Frantically googling it now because I NEED to see that.

      • Zoe Manolas

        AAAAWWW I’M SMILIN’ BACK.

        I don’t feel very grown up! (PS I still have my long red socks!) And I hope to see you in something in NYC someday when I finally take a trip! It was in an episode of the show she had, My Life on the D List, I think.

        I’ll keep commenting, as I am no longer a ghost. <3

        • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

          LOVE My Life on The D List but somehow missed that episode…

          UNTIL NOW: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cKlIdLBlcM

          And wow, after all the rational, well constructed thoughts from my friends, I have to say Kathy might have just convinced me.

        • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

          AND COME TO NYC! I would love to see you!

  • Tippity McChicken McIntire

    It’s very important to make sure there aren’t crazy cells building up in there. If you are worried about Male doctors, you can have a female nurse or secretary present for the check up. Deff get one ASAP

    • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

      Tippity, I can always count on you. Also, please yell/belt at me until I finally get one!

      Love ya, Tips.

  • Holly McMolly

    My best friend just sent me a link to this post to make me feel better because I seriously just revealed to her yesterday that THIS IS ME!! I’m 31 married 3 years and never been to the “lady doctor” …. I’m self employed and didn’t feel a strong need for health insurance either then we started trying to get pregnant (well not avoiding it anyway) and when it didn’t immediately take I was mortally wounded that I’m not the picture of fertility. After 6+ months I realized… the logical thing to do is see a lady doc BUT oh how big the mental block… I still have not been and for me I don’t think its a fear of pain, its a bizarre form of modesty maybe related to not always being treated with the utmost respect (a teenage trauma) or maybe leftover from my mom always telling me “Its private” “no body wants to see it” “close the bathroom door” and other OVERLY modest English things from youth. I still haven’t been but I AM gearing up A close friends recommended a doctor from the muslim community (we live near Dearborn Detroit so this is easy to find) I guess they have real systems in place to preserve modesty. It is a good idea but didn’t have me running out the door I can’t imagine how they could do the job without making me feel completely vulnerable. I’m a little hot under the collar just typing this. My sister is quiting smoking so my new strategy is if she can do THAT I can do this. Don’t throw away those nice Tupperware’s nothing leaches into glass IN BOTH CASES LETS HOLD OUR NOSE AND JUST DO IT (says the complete hypocrite)

    • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

      I’m laughing SO much. WHAT IS WRONG WITH US? We are intelligent, independent women. WE CAN DO THIS! I totally hear you on the modesty stuff. I think that’s a bigger factor for me than the potential “pain.” Ultimately for me I think it comes down to PROCRASTINATION. It just lacks immediacy. I think the best thing we can do for ourselves is talk about it, which we’ve done. We need to let our friends and family know and ask them to help hold us accountable.

      It would have been WAY harder to avoid a pap smear for 3 years if I had been as open about it then. If I asked friends to support me and encourage me and help me do it 3 years wouldn’t have passed. I think maybe God uses our irrational fears/laziness to remind us that we need each other. We need support and encouragement and accountability. We can’t do everything on our own.

      So go text your friend and ask her to keep bothering you.

      And my friends who are reading this, PLEASE keep bothering me until I do it. I need you.

      Oh and Holly, GET A PAP SMEAR. DO IT. TODAY. DON’T PUT IT OFF FOR ANOTHER SECOND! EACH PASSING DAY HYPES IT UP EVEN MORE SO LET THE AVOIDANCE END HERE. TODAY.

      (says the complete hypocrite)

  • Karen Mallory

    Andrea you should probably start planning for your colonoscopy now since you are supposed to do that when you turn 50. If it’s taken this long for you to finally get a routine pap, then colonoscopy will really do a number on your mind -LOL! But yes, in all seriousness get a list of all Ob/Gyn docs your insurance carrier provides, find the closest woman Dr. and pick up the phone and request an exam. It’s good to establish a relationship with a doctor who will help you take care of your health overall, especially if you decide to have children at some point.

    • http://andreaenright.net/ Andrea Enright

      Hahaha oh my gosh I don’t even want to KNOW the kind of putting-it-off that will happen when it comes to a colonoscopy— You’re right. Better get it on the calendar now!

      And actually I have had SO many NYC friends come out of the woodwork and give me the names of their doctors. It’s been amazing. I have about 6 names. I need to just do it. There are REALLY no excuses now!

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  • Ari

    Hope you’ve gotten one by now…doctors do this EVERY day. It’s uncomfortable. It’s embarrassing, but it’s absolutely necessary for your health. I have a friend who is in her 20′s and has cervical cancer. Yes, she had symptoms, but you need to get checked out. Bite the bullet, and LOVE yourself enough to care for yourself.