The Dreaded Pap Smear

Earlier in the year I realised it had been nearly 2 years since my last Pap Smear (which is apparently an out-dated term, Pap Test is the preferred now. What do you call it?) and I would need to book in to get it done shortly. Of course I put it off. I’ve never known a woman who has said “Oh I am due to get my pap smear done, better go do that right this second!” it’s usually “Oh, I need to get around to doing that” but the experience is so awkward we just keep pushing that date back.

One of the main reasons I’ve been postponing mine is that I don’t have a regular doctor that I visit and it seemed really strange to have my first meeting with a doctor be one where they inspect my cervix. I thought I might wait and see if I had to visit the doctor for any other reason first but that never happened so I sucked up my courage and made an appointment. A local medical centre has a female doctor who specialises in female and sexual health so I thought, although awkward (for me), she would probably be a good choice to see. I made an appointment online and tried to prepare myself for the whole thing.

I'm so glad these aren't metal anymore!
I’m so glad these aren’t metal anymore!

I arrived to my appointment, got to the front desk and was told that the doctor I had chosen doesn’t actually take new patients and I should never have been able to book her. Regardless of the fact that I had been able to book the appointment they weren’t going to let me see her. Although the receptionist did whisper “Is it for a Mirena implant?” and I wonder what the outcome would have been if I had said that it was for an IUD.

After being told I couldn’t see the doctor I had researched I was also told that there were no appointments with any of their female doctors for that day. My options were to see a male doctor or see no one. Given I’d finally made the appointment I figured I’d go with the male doctor, how bad could it be? It couldn’t be any worse than normal, right?

I took a seat and waited for the doctor to call me in. I tried to stay calm and relax as much as I could.

The doctor called me in and asked me what I assume are standard questions but kept pressing on when my last test was. I don’t know if he didn’t believe that it was 2 years ago or maybe didn’t think I needed it yet but he asked me multiple times and at that point I was still fully dressed.

Then it was time to remove all clothing from the waist down (I kept my socks on!), spread my legs and let a strange man inspect me. It was about as pleasant as you would expect what is basically a plastic set of tongs clamped open inside you can be and then he made it even less so by proclaiming that there was a lot of blood and how that wasn’t very good. He then asked me again how long it had been since my last test. TWO YEARS!

At this point I’m getting even more uptight and the relaxing of my muscles just isn’t working. I assume he can see how nervous I am but then, the phone rings. Given we were in the middle of a procedure and the speculum was ‘in place’ I never thought in a million years he would actually go and answer that phone but… he did. He went and answered the phone while I just lay there, legs wide, in shock.

Unfortunately, the appointment didn’t get much better and it ended with him shoving a bunch of tissues at me telling me that there was some ‘stuff going on there’ and pointed in the general direction of my crotch. Because this appointment hadn’t been humiliating enough.

Once I had gotten dressed he essentially dismissed me from the office without giving me any understanding about what the issues with the test may mean.

I walked out of the medical centre and raced over to the nearest toilets where I shut myself in a stall and cried and tried to process what had just happened. While I gave permission for him to complete the test I have never felt this way in one before and didn’t expect to feel violated when it was over.

Fortunately, they were able to process the sample he did get and the results came back normal. I don’t know if I would have been able to work myself up to getting it done again so soon if they hadn’t been. It makes me wonder if this is a common experience for women during pap tests and is one reason why women fail to get them done regularly even though they are important in detecting abnormal cells and cervical cancer.

Next time I think I’ll investigate a gynaecologist so I can then be confident that it is a common procedure they do all the time.

Sarah

Health and Fitness Update #3 – August 2015

I’m not sure if this is the best time to be writing this post, today I ate French Toast with a berry compote and maple syrup for brunch, homemade pizza for dinner and had Goodberrys after so… you might say it wasn’t the healthiest of days. Or the healthiest of months for that matter.

But that’s ok because it was my birthday month! Well, technically, I only went all out on my birthday week where I had, I kid you not, about 5 different types of cake… and waffles! It was a crazy, crazy, delicious filled week.

I made sure to continue exercising still so that it wouldn’t affect me too much and fortunately, it didn’t. I still ended up losing a bit of weight (maybe a kg) throughout the month although I did splurge on a few days throughout.

One snack I took up this month was Dark Chocolate drizzled Strawberries. I haven’t craved strawberries in a long time but I found myself buying a few punnets in August and I decided to try drizzling melted 70% cocoa chocolate over them and they were delicious! I was a bit hesitant because in the past I have found 70% chocolate too bitter but my tastes must have changed a bit as I was even able to eat it by itself.. though I wouldn’t have too much. I found that one square melted was enough to drizzle over 3 to 4 strawberries. Yum!

At the moment my exercise routine is around 30mins a day Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri and sometimes Sat depending on the week and my motivation levels. I usually do cardio on Mon and Thurs and strength or Pilates on Tues and Fri. It continues to feel less like a chore than it did in the beginning and also, since stopping the Blogilates Calendar I’ve found that my knees are no longer constantly in pain. I’m not sure what it was about those videos but I actually went to the doctor to see why my right knee hurt so much. About 3 or 4 days after finishing the calendar they barely hurt at all so I’m happy to have been able to work out the connection.

One of the workouts I did this month (that killed my legs for DAYS afterwards) was this Miley Cyrus Legs workout. While I don’t particularly care about Miley’s legs this was a great workout which I didn’t really feel like was working until 10mins after I had finished it and my legs were like jelly as I tried to walk down the stairs.

My goal for September will be to continue improving on my snacking. I am fairly good at this at home now. I don’t feel like I need to have icecream or chocolate or whatever after dinner. I just need to try and stop emotional eating at work. And eating just because the food is there and I love food!

Sarah

Health and Fitness Update #2 – July 2015

I decided to ditch the shirt component of these updates. While I love showcasing my many shirts I’ve found it hard to write a monthly post and include them organically. Maybe I can have a separate post on my shirts by genre or something. I also didn’t want to separate the post into weeks anymore and I also bought workout specific clothes because I decided I wanted to do less sweating in my favourite shirts.

In July I was able to lose about 2kg for the month which is still not what I was hoping but better than nothing and equals out to be about 500gm a week which is good. I also felt like I was getting stronger which should probably be a bigger focus than losing weight.

For the first three weeks of the month I did the Blogilates Beginners Calendar again which is 6 workout days a week and roughly 30mins per day. By the end of it I was really dreading having to workout to those videos so often and started losing motivation to do it – That being said, if you are a beginner it is a good place to start because it tells you what to do and when to do it. It has been useful for me to get into a routine – After the calendar was up I made the decision to exercise 4 to 5 days a week  and have break days on Wednesday and Sunday. I also started scouring YouTube for 30min long videos that I might be interested in doing. I have found that it is much easier to do 1 ‘long’ video rather than 3 short videos because you don’t have to start a new video and start with the warm up each time you’re just ‘in the zone’ for the full 30mins.

For the last week of June I found some great videos that I’ll probably go back to many times as they’re well instructed, easy to follow along and feel like they’re actually helping me. For anyone interested, the videos are below:

These were all very good for working out different body parts or increasing heart rate. I did both the Tiffany Rothe one’s on the same day and I felt so sore for 3 days afterwards. They don’t feel hard while you’re doing them and they’re actually pretty fun (I like that they’re all standing as well) but she does mention how they’re sneaky exercises you’ll feel the next day and that is definitely true. I’m looking forward to trying them again and seeing if there is any improvement for me.

I think I’m finally at the point where exercise is feeling less like a burden. It’s something I need to do and I am happy (mostly) to do it. Some days I feel like I can’t be bothered and I usually don’t exercise those days but get my momentum back the next day. It’s good to see that part is getting easier however, food and snacking is another thing altogether. I still really love snacking on high calorie, sugar and fatty foods. If someone brings something to work I feel like I HAVE to have it because otherwise I’m missing out. If I see something new in stores I want to try it or if I see a new cafe I want to go there. I’ve been doing better during the week though with restricting after dinner snacks to the weekend only whereas I used to have icecream or something nearly every day.

For August I’m going to keep working on exercising for 30 mins a day, 4 days a week (at least) and also trying to decrease my snack like cravings. I can say, up until today it has failed dismally and my birthday is next week so it might not be a success either but I will try to only snack healthily on the other days and see how it goes.

Sarah

Weight Loss and Shirt Collection #1 – June

In a previous post I mentioned a few shirts I had bought and that seemed to interest a few people so I thought that I might have a monthly post on how I’m doing with eating more healthily, exercise and weight loss and integrate some of the shirts I own into that. At this point the idea is going to be giving a run down of the month week by week and the shirt I wore that week. I have many pop culture reference shirts but I don’t get much opportunity to show them to anyone.

The other part of this idea is that if I am able to keep up with the exercise and weight loss that by the end of my shirts (I would expect, at a rate of one shirt a week, I would have enough for about 6 months) I’ll be able to fit into all of them – including the ones I mentioned in the above post that are too tight right now. At this point the photos aren’t of me wearing the shirts but I suppose if there is enough interest in that I could do it that way instead.

June weekly update

This month I have been doing the Blogilates Beginners Calendar 2.0. I’ve completed this before and find it easy to keep up with exercising if I have the routine laid out for me.

Week 1

Doctor Who - 10 of Hearts by WinterArtwork
Doctor Who – 10 of Hearts by WinterArtwork

Teefury | Redbubble

This is part of one of my favourite collections of Doctor Who shirts. There is one to represent Nine – Twelve and Jarrod is lucky enough to have the entire set but I only have this one (Ten being my favourite doctor).

The first week of Blogilates was difficult mostly because I had to try and get it started as a routine. I did make it through every workout though and was quite happy I was able to do that.

Week 2

Amazon Wonder Woman shirt by Tim Shumate
Amazon Wonder Woman shirt by Tim Shumate

Unfortunately, I can’t find anywhere selling this shirt right now. I suppose there is a chance Tim Shumate was forced to take it down. So it makes me even luckier to own it. Tim Shumate has an amazing style and I’m lucky enough to own 3 shirts with his designs.

Week 2 I skipped a days exercise, I can’t even remember why now but although the calendar is the ‘beginners’ calendar it is still 6 days a week and sometimes you just need a break. I’m finding it more difficult to keep my eating on track at this point. I am an emotional eater and will use any excuse to have a delicious snack so I’m trying to curb that and reduce the amount of high calorie snacking I’m doing. I used to eat icecream multiple times a week and I’ve reduced that to once a week or so.

Week 3

Waiting for Loves True Kiss by Tim Shumate
Waiting for Loves True Kiss by Tim Shumate

Teefury | Redbubble

Another Tim Shumate design. I have always loved the Snow White story (I’m not sure why) and love this pinup style design of her. This is one of my favourite shirts and I’m a bit sad that, if I go ahead with wearing a new shirt each week, that I won’t be wearing this one again for months.

Week 3 I ended up losing 1kg which is pretty much all I lost the entire month, I am happy to see I am getting stronger though. I just need to keep working on the snacking. Unfortunately, the end of week 3 was when I had a massive lunch followed by a massive dinner and a massive dessert so it didn’t give week 4 much to work with.

Week 4

We Were Framed Doctor Who shirt by OneBluebird
We Were Framed Doctor Who shirt by Onebluebird

Teefury | Redbubble

This is one of my favourite shirts. Fortunately (for me), it was one of the first ones Jarrod bought and he bought it in a men’s medium which turned out to be too small for him but fit me perfectly! I did, however, lend it to a friend who put it in the dryer and shrunk it slightly so it is a bit snug but still fits well. I did notice a hole in the underarm I’ll have to fix up though (I probably won’t, I’m so lazy).

Week 4 for exercise and health and fitness was a hard one. I feel like at some point this week my brain just switched off and made life hard for me. I was forgetful (which ended up in my leaving 2 bags behind, one of which Jarrod was able to get for me and the other someone who caught the bus probably now “owns”) and annoyed and just wanted to give up. I did 5 out of the 6 days even though I had a headache for most of the days this week. I did snack on a lot of food this week though which didn’t assist in weight loss (if only) at all.

 

So, that’s it for the month of June. I was hoping I wouldn’t have multiple Doctor Who shirts in the month but I just can’t help myself apparently :) They do make up quite a high amount of the shirts I own.. in fact, week one of July is another one!

Next month I will probably write these out week by week (I only had this plan late in the month for June) so can provide more detail of how the health side of things went.

Sarah

Don’t believe everything you see and hear

People that see me on the street probably don’t think I’m someone who knows a thing or two about nutrition, health and exercise. Especially if, at the time they walk past me, I’m scoffing my face full of chocolate and churros. I’m not slim, I don’t live in yoga pants, I don’t go to the gym.

But I know a lot about food nutrition and exercise, I sometimes just choose to do and eat things that don’t fall within the healthy realm. For me, the issue is more about motivation than lack of knowledge.

Which brings me to the point, recently I noticed a photo on instagram  of a bottle of Gatorade and an apple and she mentioned how she was trying to get on track to be healthier. I commented that Gatorade was high in calories and sugar and it would be better to stick with normal water. Her response was that her doctor said it was ok (which concerns me), it’s better than soda and athletes drink it so she will too.

There is so much about this response that just worries me. For one, why a doctor would suggest Gatorade is ok to drink is beyond me, (granted I don’t know the situation so maybe it’s for a good reason), it’s high in calories and sugar and has no proven benefits (over water) on hydration. I can understand if you were drinking it after a strenuous workout but not as an every/all day drink, as it is only a slight improvement on drinking soft drink all day. Also, athletes are getting paid to say they drink the stuff, they’re sponsored by brands to endorse them and make grand statements about how it helps them. And maybe it does, because their lives are about working out, they do a whole lot more than just your regular person, they can afford to have the additional calories. If you’re trying to lose weight, you probably can’t.

How many empty calories are you drinking?
How many empty calories are you drinking?

This reminds me of, about 5 or 6 years ago, when I was doing my best to eat healthy and lose weight. I was eating all the things the advertising told me to. Yoghurt, muesli, low calorie snack bars etc. and I was exercising but I wasn’t losing any weight. I couldn’t work it out, I was doing everything right!

Nope, I was doing just what those clever food marketers wanted me to do, buy into their “fat free”, “low sugar” “wholegrain” gimicks and buy their products. As it turns out, it was an episode of The Biggest Loser that made me start investigating further. They were doing a challenge and at the end had to chose what they thought was the best food off a table with 20 or so options. One person made a comment about steering clear of the vanilla flavoured yoghurt because it was the first thing the trainers threw out of the house in the beginning, why? Because flavoured yoghurt, with all its healthy claims is high in sugar and calories. They lure you in with fat free but forget to mention the sugar content. If you want to eat yoghurt you are better off going with low/no fat greek yoghurt, it is high in protein but low in sugar and fat (the tastes takes some getting used to though, eventually you’ll find flavoured yoghurts to sweet).

Same as the muesli I was eating, I thought I was doing so well! But it was high in sugar too even though the box claimed it was healthy and nutritious and awesome for a balanced diet. So obviously, you cant believe all the hype you see and read because, at the end of the day, it’s all so you will spend money on a product, it has nothing to do with your health or wellbeing.

Sarah