As I got ready for my appointment with the mammogram machine today, I found myself wondering – perversely, morbidly – if I’d just dressed up nicely, with careful hair, makeup and subtle pink lipstick on my lips, for an appointment with Death.
I realized I was afraid.
I’d put on a brave front. I’m very independent. So I was going to the VA Medical Center alone. Mr. Wren was wrapped up in Master Gardener stuff, so I hadn’t asked him to come. My Mom had an appointment to take all her junk mail and old papers and receipts to a shredding place. She lives in terror of identity theft and has been talking about doing this for weeks, together with my aunt. I didn’t want her to cancel her plans. My daughter was at work -- and she got her two new kittens today.
I wished I’d asked my friend J to go with me. It was almost time to head out – it’s a 40-mile drive. I looked at my cell phone. I could call her. I could ask her to meet me somewhere along the way, and she could ride with me the rest of the way. If she didn’t already have plans. If.
I called her.
My dear heart-sister J said of course she’d go with me. She threw on clothes, hopped in her car and we met at a park-and-ride on the way down the mountain. Went to the VA Med Center, and I checked in for the mammogram. While I waited, J made me laugh. She was texting her friend who’s a financial advisor, calling him a slut. A nurse called me in.
Twenty minutes later, after some yee-owchy but thankfully brief discomfort, there were results. There were some dark masses in my left breast.
Next step, then. I was very calm, but I felt trapped. They said they'd do an ultrasound. Right then, right there, don’t pass GO, don’t collect $200. I was led off to another room.
There, the doctor/radiologist looked at the ultrasound tech’s first attempt and decided to do it himself. I tried not to think.
And then, with a big smile, he told me we were done. The dark mass was just fibrous tissue, definitely not cancer. I could relax – this sort of tissue was normal in women my age and nothing to worry about.
“See you next year,” he said, and left.
Holygods. I wanted a drink. I wanted a smoke. I wanted a drink and a smoke. Instead, I got a huge, tight bearhug from J and we went out for a lunch of falafel, Greek salad and baba ganoush.
Thank you, everyone, for your kind words of comfort. Looks like I'm sticking around for a while.