I’ve gotten several mammograms now … not my favorite thing to do, as it represents aging, time passing, another potential for my health to go downhill with time. It’s not supposed to be anything other than a preventative measure, but it’s been more for a couple years now, as from almost the beginning, they’ve been a bit abnormal. It’s never been definitively disease, fortunately, I’m so happy to say I’ve not had cancer, but I felt vulnerable. I felt vulnerable each time the tech would return and tell me that I wasn’t free to go, that something needed further inspection, and that I would have to stay, or in two other cases, return for another test which was an ultrasound each time. It’s the worse feeling in the world, getting that letter, that seemingly mundane letter, which upon further inspection indicates a need to schedule additional testing.
The first time I had a mammogram turn up “iffy”, I shared the anteroom with a woman who had been through it three times prior, as she was a survivor, having one breast removed and now going down that pathway again with the other. I immediately was frightened, just by being near her. She was the fear of which I didn’t speak, the thing I couldn’t verbalize about my own trepidations in those moments. What if …what if I was entering into that same journey of sickness, despair and fear of inarguable measure? What if …But in those same moments within that anteroom … I learned a quintessential fact about life and the amazing quality of surviving. I learned through that woman’s gift of self, that it needn’t be a fear-filled moment, but rather, it could and should be a moment shared between souls, one where women facing their own fears could be positive and supportive of one another. And we were. We talked of our health, our well-being, and our dreams. I spoke to her of my upcoming dreams to live with my beloved in Italy, where in fact her family had originated. It was in those moments I knew that God had placed her there for me, and hopefully, me for her.
It was an idyllic meeting of our spirits, our souls, and our hearts. We spent all of 20 minutes together, but it was like a lifetime passed between us somehow. We never connected again, but I will never forget the gift of meeting a woman, who in her survival, her refusal to give in to cancer, inspired me to never fear the anteroom like I first did that morning. Now, each time I go for my now-again annual exam, I am reminded that it is better to be knowledgeable and determined, alert and prepared! Take the spirit of a fighter with you to your mammograms, be proactive and positive, get your mammograms regularly, and always be kind to the other angels along the journey!