A month ago I had my first mammogram. I wasn’t anxious about it, even though I had heard that it would be painful. It turned out to be no big deal. I didn’t feel any discomfort at all. The tech was chatty and put me right at ease. I had a routine set of bloodwork done at about the same time, so there was a follow up visit with my doctor to go over all the results. I’m not sure if I heard anything she said after “abnormality in the left breast”. My field of vision closed up a little and sounds turned into what all the adults sound like on Charlie Brown cartoons, “Wa-waaa-wwwaa-waaaaaa.” She must have noticed me glazing over, because she got my attention and told me not to panic. I tried to lighten up by joking that the left one had always been my favorite, but I immediately flashed back to a flight to Cozumel where we nearly touched down and then lurched skyward and circled over Cancun/Playa/Cozumel for half an hour before the pilot announced, “We don’t want anyone to panic, but we’re not sure we have landing gear.” Uh huh. Everyone on the plane let out a simultaneous gasp – and mentally prepared to die.
I’m 45 and my maternal grandmother died of cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it spread to her bones. I don’t spend much time thinking about cancer, but as an older mom, I am certainly concerned with staying healthy and alive to care for my young daughter.
So, while I waited for my repeat mammogram I did something that a friend taught me. Instead of having constant anxiety attacks over what if, what if, go directly to the worst case scenario and play it out. By the time I arrived at the clinic I had come to terms with bidding adieu to my breasts. I had decided that I would go ahead and have reconstruction even though a friend who went through that said that stretching the skin to make room for the implants was particularly uncomfortable. I had resolved to fight, make changes, be a better person, blah, blah, blah.
[tweetthis twitter_handles=”via @actionevans” url=”http://wp.me/p5NJtM-1q” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true”]Just a reminder that mammogramming your boobs is more important than instagramming them![/tweetthis]
Karma – We’re All In This Together
I arrived at the imaging center, and was ushered in to have the tests. Afterwards, I sat in an interior waiting room with 4 other women clad in those absurd front opening, boxy gown/jackets that, and I’m sure I may speak for all five of us, added to our feelings of vulnerability as we waited for our results. We sat in silence avoiding eye contact until a tech walked in and addressed one of the women. She said, and I paraphrase, “You’re fine you can go home.” The woman looked up, incredulous, “Are you telling me I’m cleared?” “Yes,” answered the tech. “We’ll see you at your annual mammogram.” I could sense that the woman would pop open a bottle of champagne if she had one in her purse, and I couldn’t stop myself from yelling, “Yay!” She looked at me with such relief and joy that I’m getting teary just typing this, and said, “They haven’t cleared me in YEARS!” She went into a dressing room and when she came out our eyes met again and she was beaming. I felt grateful to have been there to share that moment with her. Kind of a boob sisterhood.
So, you can imagine my terror when my tech ushered me back into a private room to talk to me. Oh Shit. If she couldn’t tell me in the waiting room it has to be bad, right? I felt a sudden tightening of sphincters like my ass was trying to bite into the seat to keep me from getting up and going into that room. I did get up, and as soon as the door was shut behind me, she told me that my scan was clear and I wouldn’t need to be seen until next year.
I’m pretty sure I skipped all the way to my car!
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