Last week, Wednesday actually, I had my yearly mammogram. At 45, I have been quite vigilant in making sure I have one done.
I go to a local clinic, well renowned for their screening and diagnostics. All they do is mammograms and bone density. They are a beautiful, well run and exceedingly polite. They know their stuff.
Thursday morning while at work, my cell phone rang with an unfamiliar number. I don’t usually answer calls from numbers I don’t know, but something in me told me to answer it,
It was a sweet sounding girl from the clinic. Calling to let me know that my mammogram was abnormal and I needed to come back in for further testing and to see the doctor. My stomach immediately clenched into knots and the overwhelming urge to vomit shook me.
I bumbled my way through the conversation, asking why. She replied their were some significant changes on my right side compared from last year and I needed more testing.
She gave me a date 10 days away, at their main office location. A much larger, more sophisticated facility. I wrote the appointment in my date book and hung up and sat their for a minute.
My first instinct was to text my ex-husband. As much as I dislike what he has done and who he has become, he has a doctorate in nursing practice and is a family nurse practitioner. He’s always been straight forward about medical things. And, honestly, it is a deep connection we still share that makes him the person i tend to want to talk to first when bad things happen. Probably not the most healthy thing for me, but it what it is and I have come to accept it as a part of who I am.
He was his typical ‘wait and see what the tests show’. But then I had to ask him, for whatever reason, ‘If this turns out bad, will you stand by me?’ I am not sure what I truly meant, I just needed some kind of reassurance I wasn’t alone. His immediate response was ‘of course’. Bear in behind, he is ‘engaged’ and has a 3 year old autistic kid who takes up all of his time. So I replied ‘will you hold my hand and rub my shoulders and tell me stupid stories so I laugh?” He replied he would. And promised.
After that I texted my sister. She herself a breast cancer warrior. I didn’t know her when she had it, but I knew her now. And I know she is one tough cookie.
She was calming and reassuring and said we were in it together should anything turn out to be the worst. I knew she was without a doubt 100% there for me, with me and on my side.
A little while later I left my office and wandered to the other end of the building. Working in a school, the building is largely empty save for a couple of us secretaries and the maintenance guys,
Two of my fellow secretaries and friends were I. The hall working on a bulletin board. I leaned up against the wall and told them about the call. I don’t know why. I just needed to talk. They both expressed concern and sympathy and shared stories of their own scares. I felt marginally better as I wandered back down to my office.
I could help but think about how I was going to survive the next 10 days with fear and anxiety building in me with every beat of my heart.
I had to call the clinic back. Ask for a sooner appointment, for there was no way I would survive 10 days with this anxiety. So they got me an appointment for tomorrow. Monday.
So as is it here and write this, my appointment is 12 hours away. I feel surprising calm on the surface as I try to shove all those fears and worst case scenarios out of my mind.
I don’t know what tomorrow brings. But whatever it is. I’m ready to face it.