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Friday, April 3, 2015

Flying after my mammogram

It was 2010. Yes, that was the year of my last mammogram. I didn't skip the last 3 years for any particular reason. One year I was worried that my insurance would not cover it (I was unemployed), two years I was trying to squeeze it in while commuting back and forth to Savannah (any yes I know I could have got it done in Savannah thank you very much) and I do not remember my excuse for the fourth year.

But I do remember my excuse for this year. I just did not want to. Yes, this is coming from the woman who dyed her hair pink in honor of the breast cancer survivors in my life. This is coming from the woman who is a breast cancer activist. This is coming from a woman whose friends and family members with this awful disease all survived. Until one day one didn't so now this is coming from a woman who was afraid.

Not afraid of finding a lump. Not afraid of the pain. Not afraid of the procedure. Afraid of walking away cancer free. Yes, you read it right. I was afraid of being healthy. When I told my doctor in a lame explanation of why I hadn't gone and how I 'lost' my script for the one I was supposed to get done in December. The one she wrote me one day before my running twin Yvonne died...

My doctor told me that Yvonne's death should be the reason I get my mammogram not the reason I don't. She told me that Yvonne would shake me if I told her that I did not want to get one. She told me that I should honor Yvonne by getting one.

So I made the appointment (and will someone please tell me why I cannot schedule my annual pap smear and mammogram at the same time in the same place?) Anyway, I made the appointment. I cried on the way to the clinic. I was barely holding back tears as I signed in and filled out the forms. I cried in the dressing room. I sniffled during the procedure and I cried afterwards while sitting in the dressing room in my gown waiting for the doctor.

Any yes I cried when he told me that everything was normal. I felt as if I shouldn't be relieved. That I shouldn't be happy. That I shouldn't want to celebrate. My friend is dead and many more are dying. Many more are undergoing chemo, radiation, and the unintended consequences that come with all of that like loss of jobs, relationships, freedom, and whatever else.

I just cannot help feeling guilty. I am not sure I can call it survivor's guilt since I am not a survivor. But it is certainly guilt. Maybe that is arrogant of me. I am not sure. It is what it is whatever it is.


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