Well, it happened. I went to my diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound. I donned a massive pink top, which showed my nonexistent breasts through the gaping armpit holes. I sat in a tiny, decorative chair–normally found in antique museums, but also stationed in female clinics–and waited.
The mammogram wasn’t as uncomfortable as I’d remembered, seeing as they pulled, yanked, squished, and pressed the only boneless body parts I have into nearly flat objects. At one point, the technician tried for humor, exclaiming, “Look! I made you a C cup!”
Sadly, not even squishing them flat could accomplish that goal.
She offered no advice, but sent me back into the tiny-chaired room, to wait. After only ten minutes, the ultrasound technician grabbed me. She laid me on a table, globbed goo on my chest, and took maybe five pictures. She was chattier than the X-Ray technician, and offered me hope, “Well, I haven’t seen the mammogram, but I can say with confidence that they won’t find anything. Nothing looks scary. No cysts, no lumps. You’re good! This is just a day for breast pain. Here’s a brochure about pain of the breast, but, you should probably cut out the caffeine. In three to five days, they’ll email you with your results.”
I wished she had kept her mouth shut.
Especially considering I removed my caffeine drip before walking into her office.
After I left the imaging center with my mother, I texted all of my loved ones with an excited, “The ultrasound tech said she’s sees nothing that would cause concern. Probably hormones.”
We were all happy larks. I went to sleep that night with an aching boob, joking that it hadn’t gotten the memo to stop hurting. The next morning, I awoke to a hungry child, antsy pups, and a missed phone call. After taking care of child and pups, I listened to the voicemail. “This is the Breast Imaging Center, we have your results, if you could give us a call back.”
They had my results, the very next day. Awesome! I dialed their number, listening to Garfield in the background, and realized the phone call might not be so awesome, after all. They told me they would email me the results in five days, not call. They told me my doctor would call, not them. But, here they were, calling me the next day.
In the interim between speaking to a real person, I learned to breathe, and tell myself it was nothing. They had the results, and they had them the next day, because it was nothing. It was nothing, because it had to be nothing. And then the real person came on the phone, saying, “Jaime? Your results show a focal asymmetrical breast density. Due to your family history, and pain, we need to schedule a Breast MRI. We need to do it within a period of seven days, based on your cycle, so that would be next week. When can you come in?”
“Wait. Wait, I’m sorry? What did you just say? Did you say they found something?” I went deaf when she didn’t say it was nothing. I heard her the second time around, and managed to keep it together until the phone call ended. I lost it, then, for exactly twenty minutes. All of the emotions of worry and fear, suppressed because I believed in the nothing, flooded out.
Now, I have to believe I can’t have cancer, for many, many reasons, all of which are insanely selfish. Still, I’ve been praying that my reasoning is correct, because it has to be.
I can’t have cancer, because I’m a mom.
My son hasn’t known me for long, he’s still tiny. I haven’t taught him everything I want him to know about life. I haven’t seen all the important life events that I want him to experience. I haven’t taught him to drive a car. I haven’t seen him graduate High School and college. I haven’t prepared him for job interviews, or told him how to get and keep a job. I haven’t seen him fall in love, get married, or have children.
I can’t have cancer, because I haven’t seen any of that.
I can’t have cancer, because I’m not ready.
God just blessed me with the love of my life. We have plans, goals, and a future. There hasn’t been enough time for us in this crazy experience we call life.
I haven’t baked my niece a cake for Rainbow Day. I haven’t helped my niece in her new love of dancing. My sister and I haven’t choreographed routines with my niece, giggling and cursing in the driveway–the way we used to in college. I haven’t had enough time being my niece’s favorite aunt.
I haven’t been the bad influence I want to be in my nephew’s life. I haven’t sneaked him cookies, or taken him on a wild adventure that his mom didn’t know about. I haven’t dyed his hair blue, or helped him pick up girls. I haven’t had enough time being my nephew’s favorite aunt.
I haven’t told my two sisters that I’ve always referred to myself as their children’s favorite aunt.
I haven’t finished being me, which is why I can’t have cancer.
I can’t have cancer, because I am not the Christian I want to be.
After my favorite pastor retired, I retired. I have faith in my heart, but not in the new pastor leading the church. I haven’t been the Christian I’ve needed to be, because I’ve been bitter over my beloved pastor retiring.
Therefore, I can’t have cancer, because I won’t let that define my walk with Christ.
I can’t have cancer, because I haven’t established myself.
I haven’t finished my second novel, or republished my first novel. I haven’t paid as much attention to blogging in the past year. I haven’t learned how to break into the blogging community, even though I’ve talked a good game.
I haven’t “made” it in the world of writing. There’s a hierarchy, and I’ve maintained my position at the bottom. I broke into the field too late, I don’t know the rules, and I’ve been clawing my way into some type of recognition.
But, I haven’t made it, so I can’t have cancer.
I can’t have cancer, because I haven’t met my life goals.
I haven’t gotten my Master’s. I haven’t gotten a PhD. I haven’t even tried, because I’ve been too poor from medical bills, and daycare expenses. I haven’t been able to focus on my dreams, and I’m not yet ready to give them up.
I can’t have cancer, because I’m so over “having” bad stuff happen.
I had anorexia. I had three broken teeth fixed. I have a gimp knee that I’ve made stronger every day. I’ve had more medical bills than I’ve had money to pay them. I’ve had enough with the life battles. I haven’t had a year of nothing, I haven’t had a break in the storm of Life’s Crap.
There hasn’t been time to regroup, there hasn’t been the energy to face another crisis. I haven’t had time to summon up the will, in order to survive, again.
Which is why the results of my next test have to be negative. They have to be benign. From all of my research, which I’ve done this past week, I have to receive the “all clear.” From what I’ve read, eighty percent of focal asymmetric breast densities on mammograms are benign. Seeing as life has already crapped on me a few dozen times, I’ve decided that I have to be in that eighty percent.
And, because I have to be in that eighty percent, I can’t have cancer.