There’s just something about a mammogram that stirs up a sand storm in my mind. The wind starts howling the day before my appointment as I review the list of friends, relatives and celebrities diagnosed with breast cancer.
You would think that after over a decade of doing this – every year – I would be less stressed about the whole procedure, but as we all know the odds of drawing the ‘cancer card’ increase with age. It’s like playing musical chairs, and each year there is one less seat to park your little rear-end on. Forget the fact that heart disease is the #1 cause of death in women- Breast cancer strikes fear into my soul.
When I get to the diagnostic center I immediately turn into Miss Congeniality. I act like I’m so hap-happy to be there; cracking jokes and hanging out in my gown as if I’m waiting for my friends to join me for happy hour. It’s this weird, reverse psychology game I play..outside I’m cool and collected, inside I’m twisted into a pretzel.
I also become strangely superstitious..it’s the only time I ever get that way. (Which locker did I put my clothes in last year? Which wrist did I wear that little rubber bracelet with the key on..left or right?)
OH NO! A brand new technician! (What does that mean?!)
The new girl offered me a cup of coffee as I went back to change into my street clothes after the test was done. “Oh how sweet of you!” I chirped in my kindest, most relaxed voice “I already had three cups this morning, so I’ll have to pass..but thank-you so much!”
Total lie… I was heading straight to Duncan Donuts for a large with cream and sugar, but like heck was I going to hang around the diagnostic center for java and a chat! I had to get outta there- FAST..
so I could move into that period of preoccupied waiting…
…waiting for the phone to ring or the letter to arrive in the mail. No, not literally sitting there waiting..but waiting in the back of my mind in that spot where worry lives.
If the news comes early that might be bad, but if it’s late that might be bad too.
I start praying .. more .. there’s a little deal making that always seems to weave itself into the mix..”Oh Lord, if this mammogram comes back negative for cancer, I promise I will……”
and then it arrives.
There it is, quietly sandwiched between the Pottery Barn catalog and the Pest Control bill.
At that point, I take a deep, cleansing breath, say one final prayer and remind myself of the following:
“Listen you silly girl…it already is what it is, you are just choosing to look.“
My results were negative ..thank-you Lord..
and I feel like I was (once again) handed the keys to a bright pink convertible..
with free gas for the next 12 months.