Just hitting the week mark before M-day – Dec. 10th. I overscheduled myself with activities this week and find that being busy has occupied my mind enough to settle my fears of the unknown just a bit; however, I have had to deal with the reality of the situation here and there.
Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, I had to have a bilateral, diagnostic mammogram and wait for the results. They stated everything looked fine and that they couldn’t see anything out of the ordinary for a lumpectomy. This day was also my father’s birthday, and I had completely forgotten. Totally unlike me but my father said he completely understood, noting that I am going through an awful lot right now.
Anyway, while there I was sitting in the lounge in the white terry cloth robe they give you to wear waiting for my turn. I was seated next to two women in their 50s/early 60s. They stated they gather a group of 3-4 of them and go to have their mammograms done every year. I commended them on their effort to go together simply for the moral support. One woman stated to me they had to practically drag her as she saw no reason to have it done since it wasn’t in her family.
I read an article just a couple of weeks ago that 85% of all breast cancers are completely random, meaning no family history. We hear it all the time from women, “[I]t doesn’t run in my family, so why did I get it?” This is one point I think all women, especially younger women, should be educated on. I realize I’m very special in being in the tiny minority of the already seriously genetically flawed with respect to breast cancer, but too many women believe if it isn’t in their family they have nothing to worry about. Our genes, cells and environments are changing all the time. I told the woman she shouldn’t sit so easy thinking it couldn’t strike her as it can hit anyone at random. Cancer doesn’t discriminate.
Another reality head-smack happened yesterday when I decided on my lunch hour to venture to the lingerie shop my doctor’s office suggested to look at post-mastectomy garments and prosthetics. The whole experience felt uneasy and left me a little unhinged. I cried all the way back to my office and told my friend, Kim, over the phone last night that everything in me just wanted to call the whole thing (i.e, surgery) off. She said, “what are you going to do then, bury your head under a pillow, and then what?” I know I can’t do that and that I just need to get past the fear and mental blocks that are swirling around in my head. I know I need to move forward with getting this done, but I can’t deny the enormity of the situation nor pretend I’m not having a tough time dealing emotionally with it all. I can say that the part of me saying, “I got this, I’ll be okay,” is getting a little louder.