Okay, a moment of girl talk. I had my annual mammogram recently, five months late, after canceling it five times before I finally went to the appointment. It’s a test that scans for early detection of breast cancer, and is a smart thing to do. I forget the age at which you’re supposed to start doing it, if it is 40 or 50, and if you have no problems, it is generally done once a year. And more often, if you’ve had some kind of problem, or a family history of breast cancer.
I canceled the appointment five times because I am so terrified to go, and always afraid that this time I will be struck by lightning, and my luck will run out, although I have no family history of problems in that area. At the place where I go, they are extremely kind and do everything to put you at ease. In spite of that, I am too terrified to go, and cancel often, but I do manage to do it once a year, because it’s smart and responsible to do it. But it is an agony getting there (the test is painless, although there are many jokes about it). Getting that test reminds me of my frailty, my humanity, of how vulnerable we all are, of how quickly lives can change in a single devastating instant. No one is exempt from those dangers. And I’ve had enough friends who have had bad news and discovered they had breast cancer, to seriously worry about it, each and every time. For me, there is nothing more humbling than this annual test, where no matter how successful you are, how happy or sad your life, how ‘famous’ people say you are, in the flick of an eyelash, you are just another woman being checked for breast cancer and praying you won’t get bad news. The moments after the test, while they read the scans, and you hold your breath waiting to hear the verdict (of a clean bill of health, or a gray area they don’t like), are among the worst moments I have all year. But as I have every year so far, I’m so glad I did it, and don’t have to worry about it for another year.
You are probably braver and smarter than I am, and I hope you do it regularly if you’re of the age to do so. The test itself is nothing to be afraid of. And I guess the results are in destiny’s hands, and whatever forces you believe in.
I wish you luck with this. I just wanted to share with you that I understand, how scary it is, and how hard to make yourself go there. It is my most vulnerable moment of the year. And good luck when you go to get yours, if you do. I’ll be sending you all my good thoughts.