I had a scary moment earlier in the year over a suspicious mammogram. The radiology clinic would now like a recheck, and not because my girls are particularly attractive to anyone but my husband. So at the end of this week, I have to have another mammogram and sonogram to verify that I indeed have a suspicious something in one of my boobs. I keep telling my husband that it's probably Jimmy Hoffa, to keep the whole thing upbeat, but the fact is that I'm nervous. Just like anyone who has had time to think about an upcoming medical procedure, I have had many emotions spinning through my head. Anger, fear, doubt, crazy full-on psycho--all taking their turn at bat.
Mammograms suck. They may be vital for detecting cancer early, for saving lives, but they still suck. Not because the radiology clinics try so very hard to make everything less "scary medical" and more "spa", with their comfy waiting areas, ubiquitous pillows,and soft-spoken, pleasant receptionists. Not because your boobs are smashed painfully in a vise made of two panels of plexiglass. Not because of the indignity of having a random stranger pull on your breasts, jamming them even further underneath that plexiglass, before telling you not to move. Not because you leave the place with relief, only to be blindsided by a letter six weeks later.
Those things are certainly part of the reason that mammograms suck, but they aren't the main reason.
It's that nagging fear in the back of your head. The uncertainty. The "what if?" that swirls around in your head as you're waiting, even as you try to pretend everything is normal. I try to distract myself with rational, logical thoughts, facts even. But my brain has already boarded the seriously-in-need-of-meds crazy train. What if it's a false positive? What if it's not a false positive? What if I do have cancer, even though I haven't had any other reason to think that there's a issue, even though not another blood relative in my entire family, dating back to the 1800s, has ever had breast cancer? What if I have surgery and they botch it, and I'm lopsided? What if I have to have chemo, and all of my hair falls out, and I look like a wobbly white bowling ball? What if I can't spend time with my son because he might pass on a random school-acquired infection? What if we can't pay the millions of dollars of medical bills, after I've worked so hard? What if I'm not there to see my son grow up and graduate from high school/get his degree/get married/have my grandchildren?
Useless anxiety over something that is likely just a blob of random fat.
The reality is that if it does turn out to be something, I will deal with it. I will bawl my head off, hug my husband and son, and I will deal with it. That's what I've always done, and I've made it this far. It's just amazing to me that even in something as researched as breast cancer, there's no sure thing, and they have to recheck, and recheck, and recheck. The anxiety never ends, it will just keep resurfacing every six months for the rest of my life, no end in sight. Who needs that?