My annual mammogram was Friday. I progressed to annual scans last year after having one every six months once my cancer was removed and treatments were over.
In May of 2013, my daughter and son-in-law had just bought their first house and as they were making changes to make it their own, I was helping them paint – which was an every-room-in-the-house-except-one undertaking. The three girls – my daughter, granddaughter and myself – had a trip to Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia planned for Memorial Day. All was well and summer cookouts at my daughter’s new home were being eagerly anticipated.
I remember where I was when I got the call. I had reached over to pick up a gallon of Kilz at Lowe’s when my phone rang. And I’m not one to answer a call if I don’t recognize the number, especially if I know all my people are accounted for and I’m busy. But something nudged me that this was a call that I should answer. And it began. The uncertainties, the fear, the what-ifs, the ‘what songs do I want them to play at my funeral’ thoughts.
I’ll not drag this out into all the intricate details that ravaged my body and mind that summer three years ago. I was most fortunate and most blessed for the cancer to have been caught at just the precise time that it could be managed before it could metastasize. And I have a phenomenal breast cancer surgeon.
But, once having been there, I can’t help but feel anxious whenever May rolls around and I go into the waiting game to be told the results of the scan. I’m not a superstitious person – the only one I’ve ever claimed to adhere to was done just to make my daughter smile and shake her head at me. Have you ever heard the one that says if you’re walking along with someone you love and you come to a pole or post you’re not supposed to let the pole come between you or it’s bad luck for the two of you? Just imagine the years with a teenage and then young adult daughter…she would actually backtrack and go around a pole the opposite way just to see if I’d follow – which I never failed to do. We received some very strange looks more than a few times as we cut up around the poles.
But this year is different from last May. This year I’ve just finished painting my own bedroom but the ladder is still leaning against the wall in the master bathroom, waiting to be put to use. And we have a ten day trip to Maui coming up in three weeks. Several people told me I should just postpone the mammogram until after the trip so I wouldn’t have to deal with it until afterwards. But, after considering it, I saw that as a coward’s way out.
As I sat in the waiting room on Friday, trying not to think about the similarities in my life now to when I was first diagnosed three years ago – what with the painting and the trip – conversations around me started to penetrate my thoughts and flood out my anxiety. I sat with my back to those talking but I learned that one of them was a school teacher that has a group of high school students who come to her desk practically every morning to pray. Other teachers tell her she shouldn’t allow it to avoid trouble, but as long as they want to pray, she said she would never tell them that they can’t.
An older gentlemen spoke up and said the world’s gone to hell in a handbasket and doesn’t even have sense enough to know it and if people don’t wake up real soon they’re going to be left behind because God’s blowing His trumpet and is about to make His re-appearance.
This led to more people agreeing with him and quoting scripture after scripture from the Bible. It went on about ten minutes before a little lady walked up to the man and put her hand on his arm. He told everyone that he needed to get her home since she is the one who feeds him and he needed to feed his dogs. As they were walking out the door, my name was called and I hadn’t thought too much more about that waiting room incident until today.
There is so much going on in our world today that makes me feel that I’m truly a stranger in my own land. I don’t need to go into listing all these either, we all know what they are and they’re too many and just too downright depressing to subject ourselves to talking about anymore than we have to. And I’m talking the global scale here. There is much that we can do locally and within our own spheres of influence to tip the bucket.
As unusual as our world is, so are occurrences that happened in that waiting room. The people in that conversation were widely varied in not only age, but in skin color and nationality. Even though the five people on my side of the area were quietly eaves-dropping, we each looked around the room and really saw one another. It was as if none of us were strangers for those fleeting moments – and then it was gone as if it had never happened.
My point is this – could it be that the ridiculousness of life is actually going to pull us together, as I witnessed and felt in that room Friday? Could it get to the point that we are all so fed up that that itself is the common ground we share – that we’ve just had enough? And once we get there – hold your breath and really consider this – once we’ve all REALLY had enough, could it not be a real possibility that kindness would prevail?
I’ve not given my mammogram too much thought this time around. I see my doctor on Thursday for her to read the results. I have peace and I know the PeaceKeeper. My future is secure, come what may. But to all my new and precious friends that are growing here, I’ll update you on my next post.