Monday, January 10, 2011

Another Kind of Pink Slip

When the doctor said that she felt the lumps, and stated that I may have to have a mammogram, I thought, that’s weird, that’s something my mom gets. If I had one, I’d be the youngest woman in the waiting room (vanity, anyone?). So I spent the next few weeks vacillating between visions of chemotherapy, worrying how Husband would handle a cancer diagnosis, and laughing about the absurdity of it all.

After seeing the breast surgeon, who confirmed the lumps, she referred me for an ultrasound. My husband came with me to the ultrasound-something I had imagined we would be doing for the first view of our baby. A romantic, exciting, scary experience we would remember for the rest of our lives. He sat in a plastic chair behind me, watching the images of my breast on a flat (how appropriate) screen television. It was hugely disappointing to have this ultrasound experience be of my breast, and not of our future baby.

The technician remarked on my lumpy breasts(because that’s what every woman wants to hear), noting that she could feel the bumps beneath the grocery store scanner apparatus she pressed against my skin. Despite the lumps, she saw nothing particularly alarming and left us to go chat with the radiologist. Husband was uneasy during the ten minutes we waited for the results, I tried to joke about the hospital gown being sexy, and posed like a calendar girl on the stretcher.  Finally the radiologist came in the room- a tall, kind looking man, holding a pink piece of paper. He introduced himself, shook my hand and spoke directly to both Husband and I. “I’m happy to have good news, there is no sign of cancer.” Husband actually exhaled-as if he had been holding his breath. Then the doctor handed me the pink paper and said “mammograms begin at 40.” I laughed, thinking that’s a long way off, why is he mentioning this to me? Only older women have mammograms. Pshaw.

On the drive home I stared at that pink piece of paper, especially the line about mammograms starting a 40 and it hit me. That’s only a few years away. WTF? How am I old enough to even be thinking of having mammograms?! I’m still young, I’m still getting settled, I haven’t even had children yet. How can I be close to 40 when I still feel like I’m in my late 20s? How is it that all the images I had of myself at this age are not reality?

I know that life doesn’t always happen the way you want it to, and I understand everyone’s different beliefs about faith, destiny, God’s plan, etc., but when you feel like you haven’t figured out exactly what you want to be doing or where your life should be going, it’s difficult to believe there is a force with a plan for you. I constantly question what I’m here for, what am I supposed to be doing, what is my purpose? On the other hand, when you have those moments of clarity and peace (like when I met Husband) it’s easy to believe there is a plan for you, a space for you in this world.  My mother and father-in-law have a very strong belief/faith about their lives. I admire their optimism and ability to believe in something larger than themselves. After all this time together I keep hoping it will rub off on me. Well that, and my mother-in-law's cooking skills.

Rather than being fired, that pink piece of paper was like a pink slip of womanhood, telling me I was failing and it’s too late to change it.

On the other hand, it also told me that I didn’t have cancer, and as Martha Stewart says, “it’s a good thing.”

1 comment:

  1. Really? How could you do that to me! I started crying. I'm so so so glad you are ok! I miss you so much!