by Amina Tumi, Hair Salon Owner, London
When I was 20, I had a Pap smear test, which was abnormal. Because of this I have had to have yearly tests since then. I had colposcopy and treatment 6 years ago but every smear test was abnormal, until 2012. Last year and this year the results have been normal again. I have not had any additional treatment since the colposcopy six years ago although it is possible I missed follow up appointments due to moving house and changing doctors.
What strikes me as very interesting is that I have changed my life so very much in the last two years; the way I eat, the way I sleep, the way I work, the way I am with people. I feel that this cannot be a coincidence. I feel that my recent choices must have something to do with this change in my smear results.
How powerful are our choices if this is true? Well it has to be said I am very glad that I have started to make these life-changing choices now. I am 32 years old and I have had the threat of cancer hanging over me since I was 20. I do not want to suffer with some awful cancer if I can help it, and looking at these recent results it may be that I can help myself.
What I have asked myself is, why have I not taken time over my teens and early twenties to reassess how I was living and how this could affect me when I am older? I remember thinking that being old was so long away and that we get old and die anyway, so there is really no need to think about being old now, that now was always about having fun and working hard. But what I now see as I stand here at the age of 32 years is we actually spend more time being old than we do being young and so this brings to my attention the serious importance of taking responsibility for my own body and how I am with it and how I treat it.
What would the end result be if I did not stop and change the way I was living?
What have I already done to my body thus far that cannot be undone?
These are questions I find myself asking now, which feels a much more realistic way of looking at it, than the ‘whatever, you only live once’ attitude that I once had.
It can feel like we are going to miss something if we don’t go to that party or visit that friend, or it can feel that the world will end if you don’t get certain jobs done, but what about asking your body “Hey, how are you feeling today and what would you like to do?” and “How would you like to do it?”
I have started a relationship with myself and this is how I see the changes in my life. I do not just do things because everyone else does or because it is expected of me. I also say no to others if I feel their hectic crazy life is impacting mine. I see myself as important and worth spending time on. Although I have much work to do here, I do not feel in a rush and I am enjoying me along the way.