Two weeks ago, I had a routine mammogram. When I got there, I realized it had been three years since my last one. Woops. Totally forgot to make that a recurring appointment on my computer calendar (and ladies -- stop reading RIGHT NOW and mark your calendars. Now.)
So I go through the prodding and smashing and bing bang, I'm out the door in five minutes.
Late Friday afternoon, I get a phone call from the doctor's office. It's the nurse, telling me I need to have an ultrasound. No, the doctor isn't available to talk to me, she's gone for the day. No, they can't tell me what's up -- but there's that pause in her voice that tells me, Miss Nervous Nelly -- something's up.
So I worry all weekend. But of course I do. You know me. Worrier. But, as ladies, wouldn't we all, to some degree?
Monday comes and I'm called and told to report to the Diagnostic Center on Friday for an ultrasound. A whole week from now? Can't they find something sooner? She says she'll call me back, and bless her, she does, and I went to the Center on Wednesday this week.
The indignities of another mammogram, this time with accoutrements that make slamming your fingers in the car door seem like a tickle. And while I'm getting this done, I have a perfect view of my mammogram -- and a black spot the size of a dime.
"Wait for the doctor to read these, and we'll see if she wants an ultrasound," the technician says. She explains that sometimes the extra smashing smashes out a normal tissue thickness out of the picture.
Around the corner comes a new technician with a plastic basket. She asks me to gather my clothes because I need to go somewhere else for an ultrasound. "Son of a bitch", I think.
Disrobe, lie back, ultrasound time. I try to figure out what I'm seeing but I can't figure a thing out. I couldn't ever see anything when I was pregnant and had ultrasounds, either, so I'm not surprised. She shoots the film over to the doctor and leaves. Only to come back and say the doctor wants MORE ultrasound shots. "Son of a ..." I think.
The tech leaves again, only THIS time she comes back with the doctor, who wants to do the ultrasound herself. At this point I'm too tired and emotionally drained to curse. Mash, mash, add more goo, mash, mash.
But then the good news -- she's pretty positive she's just "moving around normal tissue". Having missed three years of mammograms, they'd turned to a new digital imaging and by comparing the 2007 film with this year's, things looked different. That black spot, she says, is probably nothing more than a thick spot. See ya next year, don't miss any more scans.
During the days between knowing something COULD be wrong and then finding out nothing WAS wrong, I did a lot of soul-searching. What would I do if the diagnosis came back as breast cancer?
I quickly realized regardless of the outcome, I had to start taking better care of myself. My stress level this year has been through the roof and it's taken its toll. So. Much. Drama. When I thought of all the things I've talked about here and the even MORE things I haven't talked about here -- I'm surprised I haven't been committed. And I don't say that lightly.
I realized something else -- life is meant to be lived. Whether it's with migraines or cancer, it's meant to be LIVED. It's not meant to be wasted on things that don't add value to your life. While I'm reading to my son, I'm not thinking about the dust on the shelves. While I'm playing tether ball after school with all the kids, I'm not caring about how stylish I am (or am not). I didn't dye my hair pink to STOP living, to wallow in misery, or to give up.
|Zack at the beach. Sometimes you just have to play, no matter what your age.|
Don't get me wrong -- wallowing in bed is a good therapy, and can be really restorative, but there's a limit to how much TIME any of us should dwell on the bad stuff. There's always going to be bad stuff -- some just happens to be worse than usual.
One of the other things I realized is when things go wrong, it's a good time to take stock of what's truly important. There are repercussions to trying to live too fast and travel without a road map. I'm a fan of spontaneity, but when it suddenly seems like everything is running at high speed and the GPS has failed you -- time to stop a moment and smell the proverbial roses.
Maybe this medical drama was the wake-up call I needed.
|Taken by me. There's light, everywhere.|
Book Review: "Stitches" by David Small
Quote of the Day: "Let's Go Elsewhere"