In my last post on Wednesday, still in the throes of post-election blues (no pun intended), I wrote:

Life will go on. I’ll keep doing my job, fixing up my house, loving my husband, watching out for my mom, paying my mortgage and my taxes, playing with my cats, cheering the Steelers, thinking about Christmas, and all the other extraordinarily ordinary things I do — at least until something dire happens to change my ability to do all that.

Then yesterday, I thought I might have that “something dire” right in front of me (no pun intended). And I thought, “Now isn’t that frickin’ ironic.”

I was getting my annual mammogram. I’ve been getting these way longer than most women my age — like for the last 15 years — because of a family history of breast cancer. My doctor has always been cautious, and I always get an ultrasound and a mammogram. Always turns out fine — no big deal.

I knew something was up when the ultrasound technician kept focusing on one spot. After like 2 minutes, I hesitatingly said, “Do you see something you don’t like?”

She said it looked like a cyst, but since it wasn’t there before, she wanted to be sure to get a good picture. And the doctor might come in to check it out, so don’t be alarmed.

Yeah, right. (It didn’t escape me that I am exactly the same age as my mom when she was diagnosed.)

I sat back up on the table while she took the results to the doc. A bit later, she was back saying, “OK, no problem. The doc has no problem advancing you (to the mammogram). You can get your clothes and follow me.”

Big, gob-smacked WHEW!

Wait wait wait in a tiny little curtained cubicle (like a closet) before finally getting into the mammogram room with a different technician.

Two pictures each side, same as always. Wait for the doctor to read the slides.

Again, the tech comes back…”I just need to take another picture of the one side…”


While waiting for the tech to come back again after the doc looked at the new slide, I had 2 thoughts, in this order:

  1. It’s not like I’d be losing something important like an arm or a leg. It’s just a breast. I don’t need it.
  2. How the heck are we going to pay the bills if I can’t work because I’m having chemo or something?

About then, the tech came back, told me all was fine, gave me the familiar yellow “We are pleased to inform you that your mammogram and sonogram show no signs of breast cancer.” letter for my files, and that was that.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. But as I was ripping off that silly paper top, I remembered to stop a second to say “Thank you, God” and say a prayer for all the women whose mammograms didn’t go so well that day.

Life really is all about perspective. (Thank you, again, God.)

We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.
                                                              ~ Anaïs Nin


  1. robbie said,

    Friday, November 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    We really do need to take a moment each day to be thankful for what we have. Too many times we take life for granted. Glad to hear you dodged a bullet!

  2. WritingbyEar said,

    Friday, November 7, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Yes, indeed. I add my beloved chappies to my “things to be thankful for” list today — and every day!

  3. mel said,

    Saturday, November 8, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    those sound like some tense moments, friend. glad to hear all was normal. I am overdue to go back for my second “gram.” and I totally relate to the perspective check–because last night, as I was finishing my silly little post about the election, I got a phone call from a friend of ours who had just had to admit his wife to the hospital, again. yep, cancer. advanced, metastasized, treatments are having bad side effects, spouse is trying to get extended leave from work while caring for her while worrying nonstop while trying to be hopeful and pray and be her rock… we talked, and by the time we hung up I just wanted to cry for them. and for the shame I felt. I am so blessed, I’m like a spoiled child. I weep for a bauble while the little girl down the road goes without a meal all day. thanks for the reminder of what really matters.

  4. WritingbyEar said,

    Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Gosh, Mel. How awful for your friends. As I listened to a radio program today and heard a woman exactly my age seeking “alternative” medical advice for her advancing cancer, I was again struck by just how fortunate I am and how quickly things can change.

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