Not Just A Woman’s Issue

Disclaimer:  This post contains information related to women’s health issues.

I won’t lie, I was a tad anxious as I entered the hospital for my call back Wednesday.

In acting lingo, a “call back” is an invitation to return for a second audition or interview. My call back was from the imaging center and it included an invitation to audition for the ultra sound department, too. I’d been there on March 8th for my annual mammogram, so it was with some concern that I took that call on March 10th.

000Mammogram-ultrasound-equally-effective-to-detect-breast-cancer
Usually one would be excited and happy to be called back for an audition or interview. I was not. Both my mum and my niece are breast cancer survivors, so the shadow of BC looms over our family at all times. I do all I can to ensure that my turn with the mammographer doesn’t result in any “area of concern,” but as you know, there are no guarantees in life; only faith, hope, and a steadfast spirit to propel us from point A to point B.

Of course I had problems sleeping the night before!

I was awake at 3am, but not because of fear of the procedure. I’ve been this way before. Rather, daylight savings time was wreaking havoc with my system.  Add to that the fact that I either forgot to set my alarm, or turned it off in my non-sleep stupor Wednesday a.m. and, Ugh! I wanted to take a shower, shave my pits, and do my hair before heading out that morning, but all that went out the window when I woke up for an 8:00am appointment at 7:02!

I live 30 minutes away from the imaging center, so a shower and new do were out of the question.

Rush, rush. Clean, clean. “Don’t use deodorant!” Curl the hair just a tad. Put a lil makeup on and out the door we dash! Have you been there???!

I had prayed before going into this appointment…

For peace.

For “good” results from the testing.

That I wouldn’t be mean to anyone!!!

Seems I get angry in these situations. I don’t know why. Maybe a substitution for anxiety that I won’t allow to manifest itself beyond a certain point. Maybe.

I prayed for a female to do this second procedure!

Each prayer was answered in turn.

I was taken in for my appointment 30 minutes late (and only moments before angry Lori might have emerged), but with a female, instead of the male technician who should have handled me.  He got “caught up in something.”  Yay!

Then, my technician asked if the ultrasound tech could join us for the mammo? Apparently, the departments are cross training at this time. Okay, fine, but now I have to hold my temper with two women, instead of one. :/

Seriously, I hardly ever lash out in these situations, but I am a sulker, so I get really quiet when under stress and use one-word-answers-only when miffed. I didn’t need to worry. These two were total professionals, and very gentle and respectful of me and my mammary glands.

I knew I was in good company (God company), when I yawned during the ultrasound and felt like I could absolutely take a nap while they finished up with me. I’m attributing that little miracle to a lack of sleep at 3am (God knows what we need), my prayer circle of two who were remembering me at the time of the procedure (I have the best friends), and the prayers I had said asking for peace to surround me while I did this thing I most certainly did not want to do.

Today, all is well. My abnormality was ruled a cyst, and I was sent home to return one year from now for another annual exam. The bullet of breast cancer missed me this time.  It might not always, and I’m mindful of that. I’m grateful, so grateful!

The ultrasound technician seemed grateful, too.  She hugged me before I left and said how glad she was that things turned out the way they did. I could still feel angry-faced Lori with flat affect, looking back at her. Poor girl!

Here’s the thing about breast cancer: It makes women feel small. It makes us feel powerless. It causes us to project, which we are already pretty darn good at, and those projections are scary.  It doesn’t just affect us, either.

When I asked my niece how she processed her breast cancer news at the same time she and her husband were set to finalize an overseas adoption, she said, “I was scared. But I also knew I was in the palm of God’s hand.  Therefore, I had peace that passed all understanding. It was like a pressure cooker ready to blow its top and God was holding the lid fast.”

God holds our lids fast!  Praise Him!!

I remember that time in Leslie’s life and how scared we all were for her. Her diagnosis affected us; drew us in, just as my mom’s had twenty some years before.  We felt small and powerless in the light of her double mastectomy, but we had hope in God. In Leslie’s case, healing came! We were grateful, and we still are today–FIVE YEARS LATER, when she’s still CANCER-FREE.

There was a slim, younger women in the waiting room with me the morning of my call back. Thin is supposed to translate to healthy, right?  Not always.  Her head had been shaved; her hair just beginning to regrow. Not what you want to see when you’ve gotten a call back. I’m guessing she is dealing with the effects of this horrible disease, but maybe not. I had pity on her. Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I did. Knowing what I do about this disease, I did. Today, I’m praying for her and her family. It is not easy dealing with all the turmoil and pain a breast cancer diagnosis brings. I hope her follow-up went well and that she is able to continue to grow strong, brave, and cancer-free. That is my hope for all who are stricken. For my mom. For my niece. For my sister. For me.

When have you experienced a stressful call back? Have you had your mammogram this year?

 

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