8:30…They said to shower but to not put any lotions or powders on above the waist. Ok, well, that’s different and isn’t helping to rationalize the sameness of this day over any other.
9:30…To try and steady myself, I head to Starbucks before my appointment. That’s a ritual from back in the day that always makes me feel grounded…centered. I’ll be honest, it did help. Seeing familiar faces and making small talk about the weather and retirement allowed me to catch my breath.
9:50…I found the Coleman Center with ease, got checked in, slipped into an awful pale pink gown and settled in to wait. My doctor had said my appointment was at 10…but they checked me in for a 10:30. Ok, minor delay. Breathe.
10:15…Next delay was the nurse telling me that since I was over 40 and this was my first mammogram, I’d have the pleasure of squeezing both breasts in a vice today with extra attention on the right. Oh lucky me…but it is better to be safe than sorry.
10:30…I get to try out a new boob smashing machine. Actually, it wasn’t bad at all. Kinda like getting to first base with someone that doesn’t realize they have a strong grip. Both boobs sufficiently squished and now back to waiting. Good news is that I’ll know exactly what the prognosis is before I leave today. That is the best silver lining ever.
11:05…I’m in another room getting my first ultrasound. It’s just like you see them do with pregnant women, only on my boob. Because I’m curious, I ask the resident what we’re looking at…”cysts“, she says. One big one and lots of little ones. So, “My boob is a bag full of marbles, basically?” Laughter from both the nurse and the resident confirms this analogy.
11:15…Just to be sure there’s nothing to be concerned with, the resident meets with the radiologist for a second review of the scans. After maybe five minutes, she’s back. Me and my boob full of marbles are free to go. They’ll see me back in a year. And that’s that.
I send messages to Mr. Universe, the witches, Man of the Year, and my mom with the news. A collective sigh is felt by all. Then I notice the tension in my neck…oh, yah, that…I think it’s been there since Friday. Then the knot in my stomach goes away…oh huh, guess that wasn’t normal. Finally, the tears of relief.
See, I’m the kind of person you want around when shit is going down. I’m calm under pressure and keep myself together…until it’s over. Then all the emotions I’ve redirected to keep my wits about me come flooding to the surface and I’m momentarily overwhelmed. Don’t worry though, in case of a zombie apocalypse, the emotions will hold off until we’re all safe. Then please have some Kleenex ready.
12:00…yoga. I need to settle back into my body. The body that I knew before the lumps…and the same body that now contains non-harming, although slightly annoying lumps. It’s my body…and I’m so appreciative for how healthy it is.
What started off as anything but a normal day is back on track to being just another day in the life of a young retiree…with a boob full of marbles…and nothing to worry about but lots to be thankful for.
So much love and appreciation to everyone that hugged me…said it was going to be ok…messaged me thoughtful notes of support…and just generally sent good juju my way. Now, let’s all get back to sending those good vibrations to my mom. xoxo
PS…ladies, please get regular boob squish exams. Thank you.