I got called back in for a second mammogram. It was a rough day. Too tired to be meaningful or thought-provoking. This is simply how it went down:
1) Call-backs sit in a separate waiting room. I’m not sure why. My stupid gown was missing its tie. I kept having to hold it close–like could you AT LEAST give us gowns that close for the waiting room, already.
2) In the x-ray room, when the technician says “hold still” and then asks me two minutes later to hold my breath, I’ve been holding it the whole time. I kept having to lean over and breathe. Plus, the room was freezing, but she was kind.
3) She x-rayed every imaginable angle of both boobs (I hate the word breasts, but that’s another post), then sent me back to the waiting room with a hot blanket (nice)…then she called me AGAIN for MORE.
4) During the second round of x-rays I got a horrible sense of foreboding. I made myself reaching for different thoughts, over and over.
5) Finally called in to meet the doctor, who was sitting in a dark room, surrounded my monitors, boob x-rays everywhere. I got a perfunctory introduction as he jumped into his soliloquy, pointing at x-rays. All I heard was “clusters”, “could be pre-cancerous”, “calcium deposit” and “biopsy”. Mostly what I heard was cancer and biopsy. He didn’t even pause to explain ANY OF IT. I nearly fainted on his floor. He looked uncomfortable.
6) I stopped everything, asked him to back up and explain again what this all meant. “It’s probably not serious” he said. I wanted to slap him. “That’s easy for you to say,” I said. “You don’t have boobs.” This flustered him. I hate him, immensely.
7) My mind kept dumping and scrambling. So…if they are precancerous, what does that mean? “Well, we’ll scoop them out and test them some more…” Scoop them out? Now, I am ice-cream. I am snow, with a big old hole in me.
8) There will be stitches, perhaps, and a scar. IS THERE ANY FUCKING PART OF MY BODY THAT I GET TO KEEP WITHOUT SCARS? Seriously, just how many stabs, cuts, slices and scars does one woman have to survive in one life time! (I suddenly HATE men.)
9) The x-ray technician helps me with my sweater, sees me out, but I have to stop, before the waiting room, before the other women see me. All this fear is coming up and I need to get it out, but I need to hear from her what the fucking doctor can’t oblige me.
10) All I remember her saying is: Very common, 80% of these clusters are benign. (I make her clarify benign–even knowing what it means. It suddenly sounds foreign, like I could misinterpret its meaning.) She asks me, kindly, as my eyes fill up, is there anything else I can tell you. I couldn’t think to ask a single intelligent thing.
11) Suddenly I hate pink, the Komen foundation, foot races, collections, pink ribbons, men, anyone who dares to walk within 80 yards of me. In the car, I burst into tears. I am a pressure cooker, release, release, release. I breathe. I focus, I dab my eyes, blow my nose, breathe and declare this all okay. It will be okay.
12) I go to Starbucks: coffee, a sandwich AND gingerbread. I want to eat everything. I want to make more of me. I sit outside, where it is cold, cold, cold and no one else is. I sit in the sun, breathe in the quiet and eat.
13) In less than 4 hours I have yelled at three people for being stupid, too noisy, inconsiderate, basically, near me.
13) I walked the dogs, got snarly, felt confined, brought them home, then walked too hard, too far, by myself.
14) My dad calls. Where have I been all day? …running icky errands, is all I’ll say. I’m not interested in distressing my family, adding more worry than any of them all ready carry. We are really good worriers.
15) I’m really tired. I need a hot bath. I hope Hart of Dixie is on. I want my own blanket, my couch, by audio book, hot tea, doors locked.
16) I am sorry this is long, that you had to read it–that you possibly did read it. I just needed to say it out loud. Say it and let it go.
I am scared, but it’s all going to be okay. It really is. Tomorrow I have errands to run, my schedule to keep, shop items to post! Dogs to walk, and it’s library day.
I’ll let you know when the phone rings, when I have to go back. I took you all with me in my head today.
You were awesome. Thank you, d xo