I have lumpy boobs. They are filled with cysts and thick tissue that make it difficult for doctors to give the all clear sign after routine mammograms. I always get a call back to schedule more testing, because, “the doctor has one minor area of concern, nothing to worry about really. By the way, could you come in tomorrow?”
These calls used to rankle me in to a frenzy of worry. Having gone through this numerous times though with thankfully no bad results, the gift of indifference now wins out over fear. I know I need to get triple checked and I know the possibility of something bad turning up is there, but I also know the chances are slim and I refuse to get worked up about it anymore.
This always lasts right up until I arrive for the appointment and settle in for my name to be called. Then my anxiety kicks in shattering my bubble of calm rationality. “What if they find something?” “What if I not only have cancer but it’s the super aggressive type?” “How could I be so stupid to think I’d breeze through this?” “What if I DIE TODAY????”
Thus I recently found myself again in this situation as I sat waiting to be summoned back by the technician. The familiar obsessive thoughts started up so I reached for that gateway to the blissfully mindless world of social media, my cell phone. Something stopped me cold though and soon I was watching my hand flip my purse back open and slide the phone in while a new thought popped in to my head, ” No phone today.”
Huh? But I want to look at cat videos and get upset by obnoxious political postings…… Again another thought, more forceful, ”NO PHONE, “SOMEONE NEEDS YOU TO BE AVAILABLE!” Ok, I get it.
So I sat there pondering my sanity, when suddenly a woman wearing the same pink gown as me walked in. She was obviously upset; her hands clutched in to tight fists and her body visibly shaking as she sat beside me. I looked her in the eye and out tumbled her words.
She couldn’t understand why her doctor sent her here instead of her local place, with no explanation. “What could be wrong and why are more tests needed? How come I had to come in so quickly? Does this mean I have cancer? Why can’t my husband understand how freaked out I am?”
This poor woman was completely uninformed, afraid and alone. She obviously had no one to turn to for emotional support.
Except me. I knew exactly what she was going through and could not only sympathize with her worry but also alleviate some fears. I shared with her the many harmless reasons why secondary testing would be necessary and the countless times I’d gone through it with good results. I also knew about the high quality of doctors and equipment this particular center employs and reassured her she was in the best of hands no matter the situation.
We swapped stories, laughed a little, got a bit teary eyed. In other words we connected as human beings doing life together.
Was I helpful? I like to think so. At the very least I distracted her enough for her voice and body to stop shaking and to smile as we wished each other good luck while parting ways. And you know she helped me too, as a reminder of how difficult these things can be. My repeated retesting experiences have left me a bit calloused to the emotional trauma that can occur, but others going through it for the first time don’t have that perspective and need support.
This was a divine appointment I believe for both of us. I was the perfect person for this woman to talk to, in exactly the right place at the right time and all that was required was that I be available. Had my nose been buried in my cell phone, my head lost far in the land of self-absorption, our conversation never would have happened. I shudder to think how many other encounters like this I’ve missed.
Oh, and my results came out fine. I so hope hers did too.