I lay there on the examination table, the thin tissue paper crinkling with the slightest movement of my body. The doctor was doing my breast exam during my yearly physical. Aside from this routine that I was beyond accustomed to, I thought of my usual holiday to do list. Buy this, make this, decorate that. The doctor’s hands continued to thoroughly knead my flesh, working up to my armpits. The look on her face made my list come to a halting stop. It was a look I had never seen before. The look was concern.
“Have you been sick lately?” she asked, jotting notes down on her chart.
“No,” I replied.
“You said that you’re feeling okay over all,” she confirmed her initial question.
“Yea, I feel fine,” I said, a gulp forming in my throat.
“Do you do any heavy lifting at work?”
“No. Only in the gym,” I said.
She smiled. “The breast feels fine. Your lymph nodes look a bit swollen. It could be from anything. Body fighting off infection, shaving, your deodorant.
“Okay….” I said, another gulp forming.
“I’m going to have the x-ray clinic do a breast ultra sound. Just to be on the safe side,” she said.
As soon as I left the doctor’s office, I had called the X-ray clinic to book my mammogram and breast ultra sound. They would not be able to fit me in until ten days from the day I made the call. That meant I had to wait…and worry. To be honest with you, I was feeling scared and vulnerable. While waiting for the x-ray appointment, I kept myself busy at work and at home. I tried not to think about the look on the doctor’s face too much. Then I foolishly did it. I Google searched “swollen lymph nodes.” Never Google any ailment when feeling vulnerable and worried. You will end up thinking you have everything and anything from hepatitis B to cancer. But wait, what if I did have cancer? Andy said, I’m fine and I’m over-thinking things. The doctor is just being cautious he said. What if she wasn’t? What if something was there that she didn’t tell me about? Over the next few days, before every shower, I examined my underarm, feeling for lumps and bumps or anything different looking. Every vein and bulge stood out more than ever before. How could I have not noticed this crease before? What if…….
In my youthful naivete, I had a feeling of being carefree and invincible. I never thought much about disease or health. Satisfying a craving for a big mac or jumbo hotdog had no thought of repercussion as it does today. Pizza? I wanted it, I ate it. Today, that mindset has drastically evolved. With age, comes the knowledge that health and life is fragile. What you have one day can be taken away in an instant. Eating that super sized fries comes with much trepidation now. Your body always was a temple, with age you just come to appreciate and care for it more. So, I prayed. I asked God to bless me with health, but should these results come back with a positive diagnosis, I asked Him to give me the strength and courage to fight it, like so many people I know right now. After I prayed, I felt comforted and drifted into a blissful sleep that night.
Back on another examining table, but this time it was at the x-ray clinic. I tried not to look at the technician’s face because I did not want to read any concern in her eyes. I looked instead at a serene photo on the wall of a quaint village in Europe by the seaside. As the cold gel oozed on my breast again and again, I pretended I was having an Espresso in the cafe by the seaside in that photo. The technician advised that it would take about a week or less for any results. The days turned into nights, and before I knew it, the week was over. I heard nothing from my doctor. Her policy is, if you don’t hear from her receptionist, then there is nothing to worry about. A sense of relief flooded over my entire body as the week in question came and went.
Last week, Andy asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I replied, “nothing. I don’t want anything.” That is truly how I feel. I don’t need to unwrap any material things to celebrate this holiday. I have health for the moment, and faith in my God and health is all I need. The love of my family and friends, caring for others, and having a wonderful spouse makes my wishlist complete.
I have everything this Christmas and I am so very grateful. We went to The Distillery District’s Christmas Market, and Canadian Soprano Diva Measha Brueggergosman’s beautiful rendition of Oh Holy night made me a little teary eyed, as I thought of my revised “wishlist” this season.
From Trex to Tigress will be back in 2015. Wishing each and everyone of you happiness, prosperity and most of all the blessed gift of health this season.