Oh Yes

I need to remember that life is precious and short and lovely. Funny how remembering that can sometimes lift me up and sometimes make me hopelessly sad.

–Kat, Kat’s Paws

How well I can relate to that this morning. Yesterday I got a phone call from the radiologist who did my mammogram. She’d like me to come in for another mammogram on my right breast as well as an ultrasound. They also want copies of the previous exams done, which are in Austin, so they can compare. Because I didn’t think to get copies when I moved, there will be a lapse of time between the exam and the comparison. I won’t know for awhile if anything is amiss.

In January 2003, just as my mother was beginning treatment for breast cancer, I had my own little scare. The exam I’d had in January resulted in an ultrasound, which revealed cysts “of note.” They had me back in May and one had enlarged, so a biopsy was done. It was benign. The whole experience was nerve-wracking. That was the year I turned 40, and I was suddenly brought up short by the realization that I’d entered that life stage where mortal concerns move from the abstract to the real. I struggled with a sense of tenuousness in my body, a feeling that it was betraying me. In 2004, my exam didn’t bring an alert, so I relaxed.

I’ve been telling myself since yesterday, “It’s fine, it’s nothing, these are new doctors who are being cautious, and they aren’t familiar with my history.” Yet this morning I had a minor meltdown as I prepared for the day. My thoughts ran amok and carried me into pessimism. Here’s the train of thought: “Oh my god I will have cancer and then I can’t get pregnant while I’m in treatment and I will die and then my husband will someday remarry someone younger and have children, which may all be for the best because I might be too old to conceive and certainly not energetic enough to raise a child.” Of course this was bound to put a gloomy tint to my day.

Mixed up in all this is also mourning for my father-in-law. I feel profoundly sad that, if we do end up having children, they won’t get to have relationship with him, and he won’t be around for us to enjoy his enjoyment. Then I realized that it’s only been three weeks since he died, but it really feels as though a lifetime has happened.

Meanwhile I need to summon my sanity, pull together my professional happy face, and go to work. I need to deal with insolent fifth graders. I need to conduct a staff meeting and attend to administrative details. And this evening I will be volunteering as a conversation facilitator with adults who are learning English as a second language. So I will tuck my moment of panic into a mental pocket and move forward. I’m trying to remember the wisdom from Eckhart Tolle’s book, The Power of Now. I don’t have all the information yet, and there is nothing I can do at this moment to change my life situation because it’s not yet clear that this is a problem. Thus it is not real, it is not part of now.

Ah, the emotional permutations a person can experience, all before noon on a given day!

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7 Comments on “Oh Yes”

  1. Pat Says:

    Can sympathize very much. Was terrified last fall when my prostate PSA results were sky high. Thank God they didn’t find anything.

    Terrorist and I will pray for you.

    Be brave. Easier advice to give than to take.

    We readers care – – –

    Pat & Terrorist

  2. Kathryn Says:

    Thank you, Pat. It is comforting to know that you relate and care!

  3. la peregrina Says:

    We readers care – – –

    Yes we do, Kathryn, so remember you are never alone in the dark. When you need us just reach out and we will be here.

  4. kat Says:

    well, you know i know how scary this stuff is. if it makes you feel any better, when my mom moved to texas her doctors wanted to see all her mammograms from the past to check on the things that looked funny to them. it was an ordeal, but in the end it was all fine. it’s better for them to be very sure, but it sucks to wait and wonder!

    (((hugs and love)))

  5. Corinne M Says:

    ((((((((((( kathryn )))))))))) sending thoughts and prayers to you and your family. Corinne M

  6. jack Says:

    I think it’s so important that you do the kindest things for yourself these days. Fear loses its power when we’re focused on love, which on some days means being very loving toward ourselves …. for our benefit and the benefit of others.

  7. Shirl Says:

    {{{hugs}}} I think you’ve got a good handle on this, kiddo. Take care!