Monday, September 8, 2008

So Yeah, This Happened, Too

Certain things make me feel like a good American: going to Target, balancing my checkbook, getting my teeth cleaned. Doing these things makes me feel good, pure, as if surely nothing bad could ever befall someone whose checkbook is balanced. Getting a pap smear. Logically I know this is not a “safe” doctor’s appointment. Cells could be abnormal, cancer could be detected. But a clean hoo hoo means that I am a good person so there you go. I am willing to put myself in the way of cells dividing. As you can imagine I was in heaven while pregnant, all those check ups, me married and pregnant, getting weighed, having my blood pressure monitored, jelly smeared across my growing belly. I wouldn’t have been surprised to find a pearl choker wrapped around my neck, I was just that good. So imagine my surprise on Friday when I went to the dermatologist to have some splotches on my neck looked at. I wear sunscreen. I don’t smoke. The dermatologist is another safe haven of health. I leave with free samples of Eucerin and assurance that I am good. But this time, this time was different.
There’s a fungus among-us. Of course the splotches on my neck are nothing a little Selsun Blue won’t cure. Despite the fungus inside I felt clean, until the end of the appointment when the doctor asked if I had any more questions and just because I was there I said yeah, you know? I’ve had this little spot on my breast for a few months? And I opened up my paper robe and the world slowed down, my body an hourglass, the sand falling away at my feet. The doctor looked at it, at me. She called in another dermatologist. He put on the visor with the magnifying glasses and I was exposed. 10x. No longer clean, pure, no longer good. I’m sure it’s nothing, he said, smiling beneath his magnified eyes, but we’re going to schedule you for a mammogram. And then it was over. The appointment was over and I went back to work where I traipsed into the bathroom stall every 10 minutes to open my bra and stare at a tiny spot next to my nipple that could be the end of it all.


At 5pm on Friday the doctor called me back. She said I really don’t want you to worry. I am almost sure it is nothing but you should have a mammogram anyway. But the thing is there are no take-backs on fear. You’re either good or you’re not and oh I didn’t really mean to scare you while patting my shoulder dappled with fungus is like gifting Christian Louboutins to a double amputee. On Saturday there was a breast cancer walk through my town and as Zoey and I nestled into my bed to take a nap together I could hear the hoots and the hollers, the cars honking their horns at the walkers all dressed in pink. Healthy boobies, Zoey said, which is what I taught her to say the last time we drove by the breast cancer walk and I rolled down the car window so she could wave at them. Sshhh, I said this time, Nigh-nigh time, and I shut my eyes and pulled the covers over my head.
I have my mammogram today at 3. I am sure it is nothing, the doctor said. But I no longer feel like a good American. My checkbook is off-balance and I am not clean.

35 comments:

Petrone said...

A beautifully written post- will be thinking about you today...

Courtney said...

Thinking of you and hoping you come back to tell us all it is "no big deal"... and touting your Healthy Boobies! xx

I wish I were a ballerina... said...

Praying for you!

Jen said...

Healthy boobie thoughts your way....

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I want to say that I'm sure it will be fine - but that's obviously not all that helpful.

Just think of it as a baseline mamogram. I had one last year when I turned 35. And it actually bothers me that I'm not expected to get annual ones until I turn 40. A lot can happen in five years!

Also a good sign that you have doctors that are overly cautious. That means that when you go to see them, you KNOW that everything looks great when they say "everything looks great."

Okay - none of that seems helpful either. I just hope that the day passes quickly and you get your clean bill of health as soon as possible!

Jules said...

I had mammogram two years ago because I felt a lump. My mammogram came back, and they wanted to do a lumpectomy to be safe. They did, and it was fine. I hope/think/demand that your outcome will be just as great.

The good news is you can now forever blame your saggy boobs on the mammogram. It works for me. ;)

karey m. said...

yikes. just wrote about this a few days ago...

you're so right...time slows, your heart beats so loudly...ugh.

hope -- rully -- all is well with yours. xoxo.

Megan said...

Susannah, my thoughts are with you. I'm having some of the same thoughts, need to get to the OB/GYN because I'm freaking myself out about some pain and bloating that I've been having, and there is a history of cervical cancer (mom- had hysterectomy @37) and also ovarian cancer. Yikes.

Kate's right when she says that you can be thankful that your doctors are proactive instead of taking the wait/see approach. I'll be thinking of you at 3. At 4:00 you shouldn't hesitate to go somewhere like Anthro or some excellent bakery like Rulli and indulge yourself, no matter what they say.

Jennifer said...

I'll be crossing my fingers that everything is a-ok!! I'm sure they just want to be on the safe side. I hope you'll be worry-free in no time!!

Misplaced Country Girl said...

Sending good thoughts your way.

corine said...

I'll be thinking about you as well.

zakary said...

Damn. Thinking about you and your healthy boobs today.

Keep us posted.

Here It Comes said...

Sending you good, healthy boobie vibes today... hope all is well.

Anonymous said...

You're gonna be fine, I just know it...so please try not to worry too much.

Chaotic Joy said...

Healthy Boobies! That's my wish for you too. Lovely, lovely post. I just wish you didn't have to write it.

katiedid said...

Well that's not a very good thing to have to think about over the weekend! I send loads of good thoughts your way. Docs are overly cautious with the breasts, so I hope you don't worry too much. I have been through a coupla scary mamms myself with everything turning out fine. Hang in there.

Lindsay said...

Thinking about you, and thanks for the honesty. We all appreciate your candidness :) It's inspiring.

Lindsay

Sarah said...

I'll be thinking of you and hoping that all is well. I had a close friend die at 33 of breast cancer.
It's way too young.

Maggie, Dammit said...

Healthy boobies!

Thinking of you, darlin'.

Jennifer said...

I am anticipating your next Girls Gone Wild cameo! Good Luck!

Tobi said...

Tener buena onda...I don't know how to say healthy boobies in Spanish.

The Handsome Husband said...

I had a PAP smear about 2 years ago that came back with HPV. Me, a former women's studies major, didn't know what HPV was. And all I could hear was "could lead to uterine cancer." I could feel the blood drain from my face. It can be so scary being a woman.

It got me to thinking about fear. When I was little I was afraid of the boogie man and couldn't sleep with my closet open. When I was a teenager I was afraid of getting pregnant. When I was in my 20's I was afraid of NOT getting pregnant. And now, in my (late) 30's, every scare makes me think of the C-word. Ugh. I can't even write it.

All that being said, I was never caught by the boogie man, I never got pregnant despite massive amounts of sex in high school, I was able to GET pregnant when I wanted to, and the HPV was gone after one treatment.

It's because you're such a healthy doctor-goer that everything will be all right. I know it.

jen said...

JESUS H, I wrote that comment signed in with my husband's account! No, Handsome Husband does not fear getting pregnant, but he was the one having sex with me in high school so he should've been scared!!

Just when I try to be deep and assuring, I fuck it up.

Oh well, here's to healthy tits!

Jessie said...

Saying prayers for you.

Sally said...

Had a boob scare of my own when I was 18. Mammogram. Needle biopsy. But all was well! Recently had to have some abdominal and pelvic ultrasounds. But so far so good! The odds are certainly on your side. Odds good enough for Vegas!

Healthy boobies!

Sally said...

Oh, and I had something cut out of my back last year. Looks funny? Cut away, I say!

Robin said...

A beautiful post, sending good prayers and thoughts your way.

And think of it this way - if you hadn't said anything to the doctor, and it turned out to be something, but you didn't find out until years from now and then it was drastic... vs this one day of stress... because I'm sure its nothing.

I'd rather be a bridesmaid said...

Healthy boobies, healthy boobies, healthy boobies...thinking of you.

eumundi girl said...

You are actually normal many times I have wondered! So it is normal for you to be so worried - scary I know but just think how good you will feel when they say no your fine we were just being over cautious - all the good thoughts from your friends have worked!

Anonymous said...

The waiting is the barbaric part. . . that and putting your boob in a vise. They need better tests with instant results.

I *Heart* You said...

i hate how doctors tell you that it is either nothing or it could be cancer. what about all the in the middle stuff? why all or nothing? i'm with your doctor and convinced it is nothing more than an over zealous freckle. wishing you and your ta ta's courage this week. xoxo

Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Will be thinking about you...

Anonymous said...

This post was so beautifully written. I am praying for you. I could sense the fear in your writing. Please let us know as soon as you know.

Robin said...

I am thinking good, healthy thoughts for you!

Maggie May said...

i saw that your results were good, so yay. a lovely post, you are an engaging, strong writer, i like your style.