I had planned to write about something entirely different today. But then I got the scariest phone call of my life on Monday, and was up all night obsessing about the ramifications.
It was the Breast Center. They wanted me to come back in for “additional imaging.” Which means they saw something on my recent mammogram, right?
“We have no conclusive evidence of anything. We just need to take some additional pictures at this point.”
My heart stopped right there. Somehow I managed to schedule an appointment for the next morning before hanging up and calling my husband. I could only whisper.
“The Breast Center called…”
“I knew it. I knew something was weird this time, since you hadn’t heard back. And with your mom and grandma having it…” he trailed off.
“My grandmother did not have breast cancer!” I snapped. “She had lymphatic cancer, which is much harder to detect and much harder to treat!“ Then I shut up as the implications of that started to sink in.
Needless to say, it was a very bad night. We held each other close, and tried to comfort ourselves with the mantra: “It’s probably nothing. They probably just need to clarify some smudgy spot.” But we both agreed we needed to prepare ourselves for the eventuality that it was NOT nothing…
And it was all about my children. Their little faces. The long lives ahead of them.
I’ve never been so terrified entering any medical facility, for any treatment or procedure, diabetes notwithstanding. I felt angrier than I’ve ever been about the diabetes diagnosis. Because, for God’s sake, I already have one chronic illness! Isn’t one enough for Any Body? Yet I know it isn’t. Because life isn’t freakin’ fair, and bad things happen to good people. Sometimes.
But not this time.
After a series of additional Xrays (jockeying to keep my OmniPod out of harm’s way), I waited — robed and still — on a loveseat in a room full of women equally somber. A nurse with a wide, plain face called my name. Did she sound upbeat? Impossible to tell.
So when she whispered in the hallway that the doctor said “everything was normal,” I had to ask her to repeat herself.
“What?! Really? Are you sure? Are you REALLY sure?”
All I could think of was my mother, being pulled aside by some other nurse 13 years ago, and told that her mammogram was NOT normal. I winced. (She is doing fine now, thankfully, her life saved by the early detection that a mammogram provides.)
Anyway, the point is, I do not have breast cancer. I still only have one chronic illness. For now.