Two years ago, upon the arrival of my 40th birthday I had my very first mammogram. Yes I did. I experienced one of the things that women do when they wave goodbye to one decade and say hello to the next. I was much more nervous than I ever anticipated.
I thought: I wonder if it is too much to ask for a bit of happy medicine? Like... completely-knock-me-out-and-sleep medicine.
My anxiety was a bit ridiculous.
I woke up that morning and immediately texted some of my friends: First Mammogram Today! In honor of being squished, I think I'll have pancakes for breakfast!
As I entered the waiting room of the mammorgram office and saw all of the women, I wanted to hug them all and say "Women Unite! Be Strong! We can do this!"
As they took me back to the changing room... I was a nervous wreck... complete with sweat.
The very kind technician said "Do you have deodorant on?"
My immediate thought: Oh my word, am I sweating THAT bad?!
Apparently, to get a good read, you need to rub your armpits raw and make sure there is not one single ounce of smell-blocker present. So, I did. And my hands shook the entire time.
They walked me back to the machine (which in my head sounded like THE. MACHINE.) and I confessed to the technician that I was a nervous sweating wreck (now without deodorant) and I wanted to know if there was a put-you-to-sleep option.
The technician smiled graciously, told me everything would be fine... and she got to work.
After we were done, I just looked at her... in complete shock. Wait, are you done? Are you sure? Are you going to go back and then come tell me that the real procedure will begin soon?
Yes, the entire procedure was a bit awkward (I mean really... I need not go into detail on the fact that my girls (AKA: boobs) were being held with plastic gloves and shoved into positions that, well... I digress... ) and also uncomfortable (seriously, every woman deserves pancakes after this procedure is complete).
However, my level of anxiety was MUCH higher than what was actually warranted.
When I got back in the car, I felt such a beautiful sigh of relief... S I G H.
The entire trip back to my office I began to have a moment.
What other things do I obsess over and freak out about that are much less full-blown-anxiety-worthy and more awkward-and-uncomfortable-reality?
Either way... all I could think through on my ride home was a verse I learned in middle school that helped me through some serious anxiety-filled years "Be anxious for NOTHING... but in every situation, by prayer and petition, present your requests to God... and the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7)
As I type this, my heart hurts for the women in that waiting room that were not going to experience a beautiful sigh of relief that day. Some of them were about to get a diagnosis that started a new-normal beyond anything that the rest of us can understand.
For them, those verses in Philippians take on a whole new meaning and level of trust. That night, they went to bed viewing tomorrow differently.
It makes my anxiety seem so small. My nervousness about my mammogram paled in comparison to what those ladies had to share with their spouses when they got their results.
Sisters, this month of October, National Breast Cancer Month, acknowledges the journey that comes with such a diagonsis. May the peace of God which transcends all understanding guard the hearts and minds tonight of the women (and their families) who are walking this road.
These women are true warriors.