I looked at my watch. It was 10:30 in the morning and the waiting room was almost empty. The receptionist and doctor knew I was here, but no one, except my husband, knew. I looked at the laminated pink card that had my name and medical record number at the top. The list of procedure were listed below with a small square to check off as needed.
Mammogram. Ultra Sound. Biopsy. Lab.
This wasn’t my first visit. The receptionist assured me that by the end of the day I would have an answer. I would know one way of the other whether my life would continue forward or if things were about to radically change.
I wondered how I would take the news.
My thoughts turned toward friends who had braved this path before. I doubted I had the courage they exemplified.
For someone who makes sure that sandwiches are made, lunches are packed, and gym clothes are gathered before the kids head into their day I realized I was ill equipped to head into mine. I was alone physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I pulled out my phone to text a friend so she would know where I was and ask if she wouldn’t mind praying for my anxiety. I started to type out the SOS when a cheerful nurse in pink ribbon printed scrubs opened the large door and called “Marci. I can see you now.” She took the laminated card in my outstretched hand and put an X through the first square. I tossed my phone back into my bag.
I was handed a thin cotton gown and told to let the nurse know when I was ready.
Ready for what? To be smashed on the oversized George Foreman Grill until my eyes popped out? To be ready for my life to change with the utterance of the word starting with the letter “C”? To finish all the things on my bucket list I have put off until now, like learning how to sew on a zipper?
I wish I had finished my text.
At the end of the first exam, I was told the dark spots on the screen would need to be read by the doctor. The nurse left. Again, I was alone. When the nurse came back in, she wasn’t smiling as bright and apologized that the next round of mammograms would be more intensive. She was right. When she returned after another consultation with the Dr. she handed me back the pink laminated card. There was a check mark in the box next to Ultrasound.
Pictures of me with friends began to flip through my brain. I would have been there for them and I know they would have done the same for me. I was the one who didn’t make the call.
I followed another nurse who called my name. She complimented me on my bag and we made small talk as we headed for the room with the ultrasound equipment. She knew what I was there for and what the doctor needed to see. She found the dark cluster and began to measure individual spots, making little notes on the keyboard below the screen.
She told me to wait and that the doctor would be coming in to talk with me.
I should not have gone alone.
When the Doctor came in she told me the spots were just water filled cysts. I was fine.
As much as I thought I would need my sisters if the news was bad, I needed them just as much to share the praise of a clean report. I missed the blessing and so did my sisters. I didn’t want to be a burden by sharing something so personal, raw, and unnerving. I was wrong.
Sharing with sisters doesn’t expose vulnerability, it adds to one’s strength.
I think that is what it means in the Bible when it talks about sharing one another’s burdens.
“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
Basically it boils down to loving one another.
Let’s make a pinky promise to hold up and encourage each other in the good times and the bad. We are sisters in Christ.
Sisters who pray for and with each other.
Sisters who have each other’s backs, especially when wearing a lose fitting gown that opens to the front.