Deep sigh. A few days ago, I went in for my annual mammogram. This is something that I am religious about. Denise and I have done it together for years and it is always a fun experience. Yes, fun! The techs know us as their two craziy friends who come in each year together. However, last year, Denise's insurance changed and we ended up on different schedules. I have had to reschedule my own appointment three times in the past year, resulting in my going two years instead of one. Oops! I had no idea that it had been that long until they told me when I went in this week.
My exam went fine. The lady tech was sweet and kind and chatty. She showed me the picture and commented that my mammogram was so easy to read because of this and that. Her relaxed disposition about it, as she showed me, made me walk away feeling quite confident that all was well. I left and never gave it another thought.
And then, on Thursday morning, as I was driving Zee to school after her ortho appointment, we were talking about my friend Tina, who passed away this summer. Zee was saying that Tina's birthday reminder that morning made her sad and that she "felt sorry for Tina". I explained to her that Tina is pain-free, no longer has to have weekly chemotherapy after years and years of it, that she doesn't have to itch or be swollen or wear a wig... Then, I went on to explain that this earth life is just a blink in eternity, that if I died tonight, it would feel like a long time until we met again, but on the eternal realm of things, it would be just a blink. We just have to think of the big picture.
My words were mid-air andand unfamiliar number was calling my phone. It was the radiology/diagnostic department of the hospital calling to let me know that they've discovered something on my mammogram and they need me to come back as soon as possible. We scheduled this recommended appointment for next Monday morning. We hung up and I didn't hear another more word that Zee had to say the rest of the drive to her school. My mind was going a million miles an hour and all I could think was "I need to talk to Doug!" I dropped Zee off at school and headed straight to Doug's work, knowing that his break was any minute.
Carol called right at that moment and could tell at "Hello" that something was wrong. She tried to console me, assuring me that lots and lots of people have to go back for a second look. Just then, Doug called and as I drove up to his parking lot where he met me.
He got into the car and I told him about the appointment. Doug took a deep breath and said, "You're fine, Babe. You're going to be fine." He assured me that he was not worried,although he was teary eyed. Then, he asked if we could move the appointment up. I called the number and left a message for them to call me back. Doug had to get back to work, so we said goodbye. Before he'd walked inside the building, they returned my call and said that they'd fit me in this morning at 7:45.
It was a rough afternoon, trying to prepare for Bunco night, which I was hosting. I couldn't even think straight. Literally, I was just sick and totally pre-occupied with "What ifs". I did call Liza and tell her, just to let her know that my plans might change for visiting her "if" I needed to begin treatments or have surgery. I HATE CANCER! It was a sober call. We were on Facetime and Aylabelle kept things light, but there were lots of unspoken words.
Bunco came and went. We had a fun evening together. The ladies are such a delight. The game was fun, but I don't think that I've ever watched the clock so much. They loved my hand crafted "Love Banners" hung on old antique windows. The "loser" prizes were just the banners without the windows. Dinner was the BBQ Chicken Salad, fresh rolls and fruit platters. I was so glad that I'd decided to keep the meal light and simple... thinking of people with New Year Resolutions, but it simplified my already insane afternoon to have a lot of cooking and meal prep.
The minute that the ladies all left, I texted Jim and Kristy to ask Jim to assist Doug in giving me a Priesthood blessing. They were here within fifteen minutes. The blessing was was very reassuring that I have three children to finish raising, that Heavenly Father is pleased with my efforts to be a good mother, that I still have much to do on this earth. Following the blessing, we visited until almost midnight, talking about YSA, dating and gospel principles with the kids. They adore Jim and Kristy. As they walked out, Quayd said, "They are my two favorite people!" It's true. They are wonderful friends.
We had to explain to the kids between bunco and Jim and Kristy arriving, why I was getting a blessing. ZJ asked the most questions. The depth of her perception never ceases to amaze me. We assured them that this was all precautionary, again, assuring them that it was good about things. With their questions, we explained some possible scenarios about what could or could not happen. It was sobering, but upbeat. Each of the kids came back upstairs and gave me an extra hug goodnight, which gave me an opportunity to assure them that it was "all good".
It was too late to hottub, so we crawled into bed after prayer and, surprisingly, we both slept so well through the night. On nights that I don't hottub, my foot usually keeps me awake, but we both slept well. Tender mercy! We got the kids off to school and were at the hospital a few minutes early. (Early is on time!)
During the sign-in, the receptionist informed me that Doug would not be allowed to be with me, but that they would bring him back to see the doctor with me at the end. I wasn't amused, but understood that there are women in gowns all over the place back there. We texted throughout the appointment between happenings. I even snapped a selfie.
Before we even began, the tech showed me the mammogram and told me that it was such a small area that she would be surprised if it's anything "Bad". That, alone, was reassuring! She took more pictures, twisting my body into positions that are just not meant to be! We joked and teased through it, and again, she was very reassuring. Then she told me that she needed to talk with the doctor and rather than getting dressed, to just wait there. I felt peace and texted Doug and Liza to let them know it. Five minutes later, she returned and told me to get dressed so that Doug and I could visit with the doctor. "It's good, I promise." RELIEF! TEARS! I've never dressed so quickly in my life!
The doctor was in a dark room filled with computer monitors. We were not even seated before he said, " Everything's fine! Relax, have a seat!" Holy cow! He then showed Doug the photos from Tuesday, pointing out the "spot" of concern. He went on to explain why Dr. Job had been concerned. Dr. Job happens to be President Job to us... the Stake President of our YSA Stake. (In the LDS Church, several "wards" or congregations are organized into "Stakes", sort of like school districts, by location. Bishops are over the congregations, Stake Presidents preside over the Bishops.) President Job is one of the most positive, loving and happy men I've ever met. This doctor explained what was what on it,the concern on Tuesdays pictures, then showed him the pictures from this morning. It was gone! There was literally nothing there. He assured us that all is fine, gave a few explanations of what might have happened and told me that I was good to go until my next annual check-up.
We walked out of the hospital with happy tears falling! What a scare! What a fright! It's amazing to me... for twenty-four hours, my mortality seemed so fragile and everything looked different! EVERY. THING! I had several little experiences that I viewed with a different perspective with what was happening in mind. Hmmmm.
Doug and I called Liza immediately. Buddy had stayed home with her during the morning. It was unsaid, but we knew why. She was very relieved and asked questions. I texted the kids, a group text, to let them know that everything was fine. Grace wrote back immediately, "SO glad to hear it!, Quayd wrote back, "AWESOME!!" and nothing from Zee. A few hours later, she wrote, "How'd it go?" I gelt terrible that she'd not gotten the text. She'd been worrying for nothing! I told her that all was great and she immediately wrote back, "You get to keep your boobies!" Spoken like a fourteen year old.
Doug and went out for breakfast and had a quiet time together, both feeling much gratitude! I think I must have said, "I'm so happy! I'm so relieved!" a dozen times. I had explained to the kids that one out of ten women get called back. I've had fifteen mammograms, so it was my turn. This was all normal and nothing to get all upset over. We all did our best not to worry, but who can help it! Yesterday, was filled with many happy tears.
Here's the ironic things though that really messed with my head... Two days before, I dreamed that I had a huge bald spot on my heard. No hair on the whole top of my head. Strange. Before ortho, I was doing my hair and had a random thought about wearing turbans and hats if I were bald. The conversation about Tina just as I got the call to return. And then, Quayd got very serious the second we told him. He didn't say a word until later when he told me that he'd dreamed I had cancer the night before. It's strange how the brain works!
I'm feeling thankful for all of my many blessings today...good health, wonderful husband, great children, amazing friends, the gospel in my life! Make the minutes count! Life is SOOOOO SOOOOOO GOOOOOOD!