Yesterday was the 6-month interval: MRI. Mammogram. MRI. Mammogram. MRI. Mammogram. Again, I try to keep it an appointment on the calendar: 11:00 Mammogram. Go, leave, and continue with my day. Sometimes it works; other times – particularly on odd days in odd years – it doesn’t. I just turned 49 and it’s 2015. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 when I was 43. I've never liked odd numbers.
But, my appointment is on the 28th. My favorite even numbers. (I also look for even-numbered parking spots whenever I go to MGH. Surely, baseball players have wackier rituals than I. But, I digress…)
Driving to the hospital for the mammogram, that dreaded thought cropped up: Will today change the rest of my life?
Then Polly-Anna chirps, “Be optimistic. You are on meds to stop the hormones that feed any little, tiny cell of breast cancer that might be floating around your body. And there probably aren’t any of those cells.” As much as I love Polly-Anna, she’s not always the loudest voice on my shoulder.
While I listened to this back and forth conversation, I slowed for a stop sign and saw an oncoming car stop then proceed through the intersection. Then, just after he passed me, a little girl on a bike rounded a bush-shrouded corner and popped out right in front of me. She didn’t stop but rather crossed my lane to the other side of the road. I braked hard to miss her. She was perhaps 10 feet in front of me. I saw her helmet-less head and her surprised face as she mouthed “sorry” to me. I mouthed back, "Are you OK?" She gave me a wide-eyed nod and kept pedaling.
The harsh reality of what nearly happened brightened the prospect of going to have breasts scanned.
In the calm, I hold firm the reins. Unanticipated events crush lives in an instant. I was going for a mammogram. An act to prolong, protect, and prevent. No matter the result of the mammogram, I will be here for days, weeks, months, and years to come.
I settle somewhere between the exhausting extremes: the gray “what-if” and the gay “no-way” -- to here and now. This moment.
Where I’m OK.
Addendum... all is good... mammogram on Tuesday was OK. Love that word "benign." It's a peace-full kind of word.