Nothing like a mammogram to put some perspective on things. I admit, I am not a monthly breast checker, but I resolve to be. Every year. I will get to know each millimeter, every pore. I will stand up, lay down, arms over my head like Marilyn or on my hips like Michelle. I will make them perky, use my fingertips and palms, check under my arms, look from the side, use a mirror.
I wonder if the reason I usually fall off the breast-check wagon is because it makes me think of what if. What if I find a lump, what if it’s cancer, what if they can’t fix it, what if… I die?
This is not a happy crappy blog post so you can quietly stop reading and click to your Facebook or Twitter posts now, I will never know and you may be happier by avoiding the rest. See, my son-in-law had a heart attack on New Year’s Day. He was 36, fit and trim, low cholesterol. Maybe his blood pressure was on the high side. He was a smoker. (Not anymore.) They put a stent in his heart artery, the left anterior descending artery, they call that one “the widow maker.” He’s OK — maybe a little spooked, maybe whenever his heart skips a beat or he becomes aware of it for whatever reason, he’s, well, he’s anxious. Of course he is. Because he was forced to think about that what if thing I was talking about, that what if thing none of us ever wants to think about.
I have been trying to get my head around what happened to my son-in-law. And then my mind wanders or I’ll have a dream. About my mom and dad. Or one of my brothers. Or my friend David.
Then, today, the mammogram. “Take a breath,” the technician sang out, each time she clicked the X-ray switch. After she had tightened the vise. Just. One. More. Crank.
So I will check my breasts. I will pay attention to the angels around me. I will be there to babysit whenever my son-in-law gets the jitters. I’ve got ’em, too, just not the same.
And I will follow my X-ray technician’s advice.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Happy New Year, happy life!
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