I recently performed at a festival in Washington that was a fund-raiser for the Because There is Hope organization that does so much to support women with breast cancer in the Spokane area. I met some amazing women and heard some inspirational stories. I decided that I would join the world of responsible adult women and schedule my first mammogram.
With a little down time in my singing schedule I headed to our local clinic where everyone knows everyone on a first-name basis. Debbie is the same capable, no-nonsense nurse who has immunized my children. I stared at the ceiling and we talked about the weather as she palpated my breasts and I tried not to think of how funny Brad would think this was. Debbie tried not to alarm me, but she found tissue in my right breast that didn't feel right. What does that mean? I had expected to skip out of there after a quick exam and finish running my errands, but this news was disquieting. Debbie smiled and said it was probably nothing and scheduled me for a diagnostic mammogram at the local hospital.
I drove to my appointment today while smacking some sugarless gum and sucking on a Diet Coke and wondering if it wouldn't be a good idea to delete these two indulgences from my life considering the big "C" word is out there lurking for all of us. I soon found myself topless in the X-Ray room with a nice blond woman pressing my breasts into a machine while talking to me about how her irrigation water had frozen the night before into the most pretty ice-sculptures. I was then left in the room with a flimsy little shawl and a fashion magazine with an article about Botox that was only half read when she came back in telling me the radiologist wanted more pictures. Really?
With ten children, I don't scare easy but this news suddenly made me feel like there was a funny buzzing in the room. She asked about my singing career and the children and tried to act like nothing was wrong, but I thought I could sense tension as she pressed my breast tissue into strange shapes for the second time. I suddenly was thinking about cancer in a new personal way...not a that-happens-only-to-other-folks way.
At this point I was no longer interested in the article about Botox and was wishing I had brought a friend along. Soon the nice blond came back in to take me to the ultra-sound room where I lay on a table and thought about all the times before when ultra-sounds were showing me sneak peeks of my babies and whether they had girl parts or boy parts, but now we were all just looking serious and searching for unwelcome dark spots. It was at this point of near panic that the radiologist walked in. He looked busy and way too serious and although he barely glanced at me on the table he spent a long time looking at the images. He then turned to me and said..."Well, I can't find any problems. You have many small calcium deposits, and will need to come back in six months just to check on them." He then turned to walk out the door.
Woo hoo! No spots. No cancer. I called Brad and smiled to hear his voice and then drove back home where suddenly all of the stuff that need to be fixed, planted, mowed or washed seems insignificant. We women work so hard to keep all of the plates spinning in our lives, it feels good to have done something to keep myself spinning. Ask me about the Diet Coke and sugarless gum the next time we meet.