Last week, as we made our way back to our homes from the bus stop, the neighbor asked me what my plans were for the day.
“Grocery store and gynecologist.”
We laughed about what a fun day I had ahead of me. For my entire adult life I’ve been blessed and incredibly lucky to have my yearly exam be just another appointment date on the calendar. It is as uneventful as a trip to the grocery store, and minus the awkwardness of trying to make small talk with someone who has their head between your legs, it’s not the most horrible thing in the world.
Except when the doctor stops making small talk during your breast exam. I’ve never known her to not be chatty, and so when she stopped mid-sentence and did that funny thing with her face, I felt my little part of the earth stop spinning. She felt something “unusual” and signed me up for my first mammogram and ultrasound. And then for a side of extra worry she expressed concern about my uterus. Suddenly all my girl parts were behaving badly.
In the days between that exam and my appointment for further testing, I alternated between denial and full-on panic. I preferred denial during the daylight hours and panic at night, while everyone else was sleeping.
It’s nothing to worry about … if it was they would’ve whisked me away then and there.
I won’t live to see Christmas!
I kept these pendulum swings of emotion to myself, and told no one except Mike. Finally, I came face-to-face with all my fears as they squashed my boobs in ways I never thought possible. How many women go in that room only to come out to a world they never expected? It’s hard not to think of all of them, and to fervently pray that you will not join that sisterhood.
We need a few more pictures. We need some different angles. We need to take a further look with ultrasound.
I’ve witnessed a friend go through breast cancer and come out on the other side, changed … but very much alive. Weeks ago I cried with a friend as her sister lost her battle with breast cancer. They used to just go to the gynecologist and the grocery store, too.
I don’t have words to describe what happens to you when the news is bad. I am the one you fervently pray to be, the one who gets the news that everything is just fine. I gave (and give) thanks to God and send my angel on to watch over someone else who is sick with worry themselves. I vow to eat better, live better, feel myself up on a regular basis. Life will resume as planned. To say we are elated and feeling incredibly lucky is the understatement of the year.
There are so many people whose lives are not going on as planned. There’s so much sadness around, both far away and in our close circles. Be gentle with each other and spread as much love as you can. Whether the path you’re on today is smooth or bumpy, we could all use it.