A mum said her wife “saved her life” after she booked them joint smear tests – which revealed she had pre-cancerous cells.
Louise Cawley, 35, hadn’t had a smear test for six years because the last time a doctor was “down there” was during the traumatic birth of daughter Eliza.
She said her partner Kelly Cawley, 35, was sick of nagging her to book one – so phoned up and booked appointments for them both at the same time.
She waited outside while nervous Louise had her test – and they were both astounded when doctors found abnormal cells one step away from turning into cancer.
Thankfully, the doctors were able to remove the cells before they developed and Louise, of Redcar, has now been given the all clear.
She said: “I’m so thankful to my wife – she literally saved my life.
“I only missed one smear in that six years and I’ve had four months of stress because of it and my family have had the stress of it all too.
“I’ve been an emotional wreck, distant with friends, lost in my mind with thoughts but it could of been a lot worse.
“I don’t have cancer thanks to Kelly – I think that’s worth celebrating.”
Beauty therapist Louise had always gone for her smear tests and received healthy results each time.
She gave birth to Isaac in 2007, followed by Reuben in 2008, and then Eliza in 2012.
She had a smear after her third birth, but said the labour was so traumatic it left her frightened to go again.
The young mum had been in the operating theatre for a c section for a long two hours after suffering a uterine rupture, leaving doctors to advise her not to have any more children.
When she was contacted by her doctor to book her next smear test in 2015, the busy mum of three ignored it.
Louise said: “I think over the years it was embarrassment that was putting me off booking the smear test.
“The last time a doctor had been down there it was when I was pregnant with Eliza and it went all terribly wrong and we both nearly died so I really just didn’t want to go through it.
“I guess I was sweeping it under the carpet and ignoring the issue, which was stupid of me and I’ll never do that again.
“They had been sending me letters yearly after I missed my first one, and this year it came as Kelly had just received one herself to arrange her smear test.
“Kelly kept reminding me and pestering me to book it, but I just really didn’t want to and put it off so much that she ended up booking the appointment for me!
“I literally rolled my eyes at her – the thought of having this embarrassing treatment done – for gods sake!
“The bonus was that she was coming with me and having hers done at the same time, so at least I wouldn’t have to go alone.”
Reluctantly, Louise headed to the hospital with Kelly for their smear test appointments on 12 February 2019.
In the following weeks further tests revealed abnormal cells.
“It was like my life went into pause mode, I couldn’t focus on anything and I was just Googling like mad, reading all the worst outcomes, it was terrifying,” she said.
“Kelly’s results came back fine, and that was a total relief, I can’t imagine what it would have been like if she had bad results too, I was just so glad she was ok even if I wasn’t.”
Louise, nursery nurse Kelly and her mum Sharon went to the clinic in March, where she had a biopsy.
Louise said: “When I went to the clinic, I was absolutely shaking and I’m not going to lie petrified of the unknown.”
Three weeks later Louise received her results that showed the abnormal cells found were suspected to be CIN3 – cells that if untreated can develop into cervical cancer.
She went back for LLETZ treatment – where a thin wire loop that is heated with an electric current to remove the abnormal cells whilst the patient is awake.
She bottled it – but went through with it two weeks later in April.
Louise said: “My head was in a total whirlwind.
“Second time round, I got there on the bed, things were going well but I was petrified beyond words, then my whole body started uncontrollably shaking, I couldn’t help it, I was so scared of the unknown.
“The treatment really wasn’t painful, just slightly uncomfortable when they put the local anaesthetic in, which has adrenaline in it so it makes your heart race as well.
“Unusual feeling to say the least and I’ve also learnt I say the stupidest things when I’m petrified!
“I think I’m the only person ever to ask if I can take a photo of my cervix – the doctor won’t ever forget me!
“There was barely any discomfort afterwards as well. I was expecting to be in agony.”
Later tests confirmed CIN3 – and that they had progressed to the point that they had reached the final stage before turning into stage 1 cancer.
She returned to the clinic in October for another smear test which was all clear.
Louise said: “It took me two days before it sank in that I was actually in the clear.
“Since February, I’d had this hanging over my head and when I finally realised I didn’t have cancer, I broke down.
“I have three beautiful children and an amazing wife who literally saved my life and I’ll never take this risk again.
“If Kelly hadn’t booked me in for the smear test, I would have left it longer to get checked and by that point, the doctors have said it is likely I would have had cervical cancer.
“To think I came that close to losing everything over the embarrassment of a short two minute smear test, it’s just terrifying.
“I’ll never make that mistake again, and when it comes to arranging my next smear test in 2022, I won’t put off booking it again.”