As you are reading this, I am preparing to go to the doctor for some tests. A couple of weeks ago I finally made time for my annual exam with my gynecologist. (Though, I honestly had not been for 3 years.)
I hadn't gone in three years because the last time I went - he found a lump.
I was 38 years old. But there is a history of breast cancer on my maternal side. I was sent for a mammogram. I had already had my baseline at 35 due to the maternal history. So it was not my first.
After the mammogram, it was decided that I needed to have a sonogram.
After the sonogram, it was decided that I needed to have a biopsy.
Now all of this took place over an extended period of time. Probably 3 weeks or so. They were the longest three weeks of my life.
I was afraid.
I was 38 years old with four children - ages 14, 12, 10 and 8.
And that was all that I could think about.
Not what I would go through...
But what about my kids?
What if something happened to me?
I think it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to contemplate.
I had the sonogram on a Thursday afternoon and Friday night at 9 pm, the doctor called me at home.
My hands shook and my stomach lurched at the sound of the ringing and the number on Caller ID.
She was calling to tell me that everything was okay. I was beginning Fibroid Cystic Disease and they had placed a marker on that lump for the future mammograms to signal that it had been checked.
I thanked her for the good news.
Before hanging up she said, "I apologize for calling at such an odd time. But I couldn't stand the thought of you waiting through the weekend for the results. As a mother, I know how difficult that would be."
You would have thought that the little scare would have prompted me to continue regular visits and checks, right?
I spent the past 3 years very ill trying to pinpoint a diagnosis for what would eventually be labeled Celiac Disease and during that time - I completely neglected to go to the GYN again.
So a couple of weeks ago - I made the appointment.
I went for the first time since my breast scare.
During the visit, he found another concern.
He mentioned it 3 times during the 15 minutes we spoke.
I tried to remain aloof and unconcerned while he wrote in my chart and requested that I return for a sonogram to check things out and that he would personally handle everything. He has been my doctor for 18 years. He delivered all of my babies...we have a trememdous relationship and I trust him completely. But-
I pretended that I was not alarmed.
I pretended that this was not a problem for me in the least.
Honestly, from the moment he said the words, I couldn't concentrate.
Things went fuzzy.
My brain immediately started processing all of the things it could be...
...the "what ifs".
I didn't want to feel like that but I couldn't shake it.
I returned to the waiting room to make my appointment. It was filled with pregnant moms with toddlers in the beginning of their journeys.
As I waited at the window to make my appointment, I thought about the woman in front of me...
She was 8 months pregnant with a 16 month old clinging to her leg.
I remember being her.
It seemed so long ago - but at the same time - like it was yesterday.
I was her. 25 years old - with our whole lives ahead.
Suddenly, I am 41 standing at the window to have a sonogram because something is there that should not be.
I immediately called my husband when I got to the car. I told him the story. He didn't have much of a response. I am pretty sure that it wasn't because he didn't care. Truthfully, you don't take anything lightly like that at our age. I know from the lump found in my breast, how worried he had been. That he too had processed the "what ifs".
Anyhow - I have spent the past 3 weeks waiting to return for my appointment. To find out what it is or what it isn't.
I have thought of all of the families affected by this exact same scenario. The possibility that Mom is not okay.
We don't tell our children. We protect them. We live our lives as if everything is completely normal.
Inside it weighs heavy on our minds. The world is moving around us but that thought continues to linger.
We go through all of the motions.
It has been a long 3 weeks of thoughts...
When my daughter made the Radio City audition, I thought, "If everything is okay..."
When Son #1's Senior Year to do list came, I thought, "If everything is okay..."
When I had to register Son #3 for football next fall, I thought, "If everything is okay..."
When the kids asked about homeschooling next year, I thought, "If everything is okay..."
But when my teenagers angrily yelled at me, I thought, "I NEED everything to be okay..."
Because they need me to be okay...
Every now and again we get a little wake up call, don't we?
When if only for a split second, you think "what if"?
So today I will go for my sonogram...
...and every mother out there no matter if
married or single-
biological or adoptive-
young or old-
Every mother knows why I am anxious.
Not for me...but for them.
Because no matter what we have to go through. No matter what is happening to us...
When your a mother, for the rest of your life, it will always be about them.
"Grown don't mean nothing to a mother. A child is a child. They get bigger, older, but grown? What's that suppose to mean? In my heart it don't mean a thing." ~Toni Morrison, Beloved, 1987