The PAP Smear Post

Photo courtesy of scheermed

Maybe it’s all the romance and roses that Valentine’s Day brings but, for whatever reason, lately I’ve been thinking about PAP smears.

I hate the things. So much so that I haven’t had one in over 5 years…well over 5 years. I know, I know. Regular PAPs and mammograms are a girl’s best friend, but I just haven’t been able to bring myself to go get one. Especially when my doctor’s office sits right next to a nail salon. I mean, c’mon Universe.

You might think it’s the humiliation of getting naked and putting your feet in stirrups only to be instructed (every single time) to “scoot down a bit more” so as to expose your most private of parts more completely. But it’s not that.

Nor is it the ice-cold, well-lubed medieval device known as the speculum and the awful clicking sound it makes when it’s served its purpose.

And it’s not the distantly painful feeling in the depths of your gut when that long cotton swab enters your cervix.

It’s not that I had to go back once for a biopsy in which they replace the long cotton swab with a long pair of nail clippers that they use to snip pieces of your cervix off. Nope.

It’s not even about the laser procedure I had to have done immediately after the biopsy results came back. And it’s not that the doctors didn’t know how tolerant I was to sedatives so they didn’t give me enough and I woke up several times during the procedure. This time with my legs strapped tightly to the stirrups and my hands bound in leather straps to the hospital bed. And there was pain. A lot of pain.

None of these are the reason I hate PAP smears so much.

The real reason is: One time I got a result I didn’t like so I said “Fuck it.”


While this may be an unpleasant and mildly gruesome example, we all do this in our businesses and lives way too often. One time we get a result we don’t like, whether it’s “No thanks.” or “I don’t want to buy your product.” or “It’s cancer.” and we decide to never do that thing again.

But what do we risk by running away from the unpleasantness of life? What opportunities or new experiences do we turn our back to out of fear? What serious troubles may arise by our not doing those things we are afraid to do?

A whole shitload by my estimations.

So I have made my appointment for the first PAP test I’ve had in many, many years. I’m terrified. And, as I mentioned, there’s a nail salon right next to the doctor’s office making it all-too-tempting to just duck in for a mani/pedi and suck up the “missed appointment fee” once again.

It’s scheduled for next Thursday afternoon. There. Now I’m accountable to you. I’ve put it out there and people will know if I wussed out by how polished my nails look.

Now…onto you, my precious. What can you leave in the comments section to make yourself publicly accountable? What task or chore have you been avoiding for whatever reason and are you ready to just get the shit done already?

Is it worse than getting naked in front of a stranger and putting your feet up in stirrups so they can poke and prod about? If not, I DOUBLE DOG DARE you to do it!

19 thoughts on “The PAP Smear Post”

  1. Earlier today, I contacted a small business organization in order to get some business counseling for my baby businesses.

  2. I *finally* put dates on my calendar for a much talked about (by me) telecourse. Now…I have to market the fuck out of it. And that’s what scares me. 

    1. Yesindeedy, that is always the scary part. Good news: you’re not alone! Let me/us know if we can help xoxo

  3. I have a cousin whose unfaithful first husband gave her HPV–the potentially cancerous kind–when she was 20. Anytime I’ve faced a pelvic exam and thought I just didn’t wanna, I’ve thought of my cousin getting that diagnosis. If she can face that at age 20, I can face whatever the doc has to tell me at my ripe old age of [insert whatever age I happen to be at the time].

    Good for you, Jenny, for not letting fear rule you! Me, I’ve gotta take on the IRS at some point. I reeeeaaaally don’t wanna. *sigh*

    1. Oy. Your cousin sounds like a very strong woman, no doubt. 

      Fekkin’ IRS. May the force be with you, sister.

  4. OK, ouch and ouch.  I need to go to the doctor, and now all of you know, so I’ll make the appointment.  I stopped going out of a heady blend of fear and humiliation, but that’s a blog post in itself.  The other thing is that I need to move on.  I just need to. 

  5. I like Michael’s idea about rewarding yourself afterward with a pedi, mani or both! Awesome that you’ve made the decision and set yourself up for some accountability.
    Thanks for the reminder too!  I’ve been pretty good about the regular PAPS (mom dying of cancer at age 43 is a great motivator). But now my doctor’s gone and moved out of the area so I have to get a NEW doctor. Crap! So…thanks for reminding me. Guess I have to get on this as  soon as I return from my vacation. Good luck getting through the ordeal, Jenny, and do something good for yourself!

  6. Hmmmm….double dawg dare?

    You go polish-less, and I will finish the information you need from me–this week!


  7. Hi Jenny & Folks
    I have a list of things put off like pap, mammogram, and more!  I am going to call to get at least one appointment made.  I also need to deal with IRS and feel equally avoidant about it! 

    On the positive side I have been putting some energy into making descriptive compositions for each of my wall hangings I plan on putting on a collective Etsy shop with my sister.  I have about eight done, and twenty or more to go!  She is going to run the shop for me, I love my sister! 

    Jenny, with me it is fear also that has had me in a holding pattern for about a year.  Mammograms hurt the average woman a lot, and I have fibromyalgia which will make it hurt way more.  I need to stop being a wuss, I can so relate to your feelings, I felt I should bare a little myself.

    And Michael, kudos to you for caring and voicing your care!  Don’t think you’re gonna make much on that bet, hehe.

    Thank you for the very open reminder Jenny!  I know a bit about the painful guilt feelings you must have been wrestling with, got them myself.  I have been putting off a hysterectomy because I badly need to loose weight first, and I have not lost an ouncel  Part of my fear is the look on my Doctors face when I finally get in to see him,  Sigh, I am a bad girl. But if you can do it, so can I.  Ever Onward.

  8. Ah, I see Michael beat me to it. Mani/pedi after the stirrups was my thought as well:) 
    And to join the party: I have been avoiding taking any action on the interview series I’ve been dreaming of for weeks now, mainly because asking big name fancy pants people to come on as guests is a tad nerve-wracking. But if Jenny can endure the speculum (and yes, with all the advances of modern technology, we can’t figure out how to get rid of its awful clicking??) then I can certainly send these emails. Within a week, it’s gonna happen! And hopefully some mani/pedi action will follow;)

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