“…With a pain in my chest and I’m wondering where did it come from (I got tested)
And the results came back, and the doctor said I’m sorry but you got cancer
I could not believe it so, I call my mama to calm my nerves
She got down on her knees, she said a prayer for me
Just keep on thanking Jesus, He’ll give you want you need
Now that was five years ago, I don’t have that pain no more
Doc said you can go home, cause all your cancer’s gone…
You saved me, You saved me, gave me a 2nd chance…”
-R. Kelly “You Saved Me”
As the technician suddenly stormed out of the room, I was left standing in front of the mammogram machine confused. If it wasn’t for my sissie Ajoia being in the room with me, I would have burst into tears. My eyes darted to the computer screen were the image of my left breast was displayed. I did not know what I was looking at, but I didn’t think I saw anything alarming. All I knew was the last time a technician left the room in the middle of my mammogram, I had cancer. I played it cool though. Literally a million thoughts ran through my head as I waited for the door to open back up. I don’t know if Ajoia was scared too, but she didn’t show any signs of it. A drawn-out minute later, which felt more like 30 minutes, another technician entered the room to inform me that the other nurse got sick and she would be finishing up my mammogram. I wanted to hug and smack her at the same time. (Note to all healthcare professionals: please be conscious that your patient’s needs come first and any erratic or sudden behavior can cause anxiety and worry! Abruptly leaving the room scares people, well at least Shelley B. Geesh!) She finished taking the images, and then was escorted back to the waiting room to wait on the results. Since GW does digital mammography, they give you the results during your visit, which is wonderful. Some women still wait up to 2 weeks for the results, so I am thankful for that convenience. Waiting for results can be quite the nerve-racking experience. I just kept repeating in my mind, “just give me the green light so I can roll-out”!
After 20 minutes or so, Ajoia and I were able to go into the imaging center, where doctors display your mammogram images on huge computer screens and review your films. It’s pretty amazing to see what your boobs look like on the inside. I was more than elated to hear from the doctors that my mammogram was all clear. A rush of happiness filled my body. Another year under my belt.
As much as I wanted to be happy, a tinge of anxiety hit me as well. Most women don’t start getting mammograms until the age of 40; my first one at 25 lead to discovering I had cancer. Not the ideal first experience for a test that so many women dread. In a sense, it feels like the never-ending story. Tests don’t seem so scary when you know for sure you can past them. For instance, if someone gave me a 4th grade spelling test right now, I would pass with flying colors!! But a mammogram or BSGI…then I get nervous. I have to be honest. As much as I want to be the fearless, full of faith, speaking those things into existence type of chick, the fear and doubt creeps in, and the thought of having to take this test every year for the rest of my life is not my idea of a picnic.
These are the moments when I am so thankful for the people in my life. The people who stand in the gap and pray for me when fear gripes my thoughts. The people who put on their game face, and even if they are scared, they don’t show any signs of it. The people who remind me of God’s promises and trust Him with my life, when I’m unable to make sense of this all. The people like Ajoia, who took off work without me even asking, to be by my side, and then practically pleaded with the technician to come in the room while I got my test done. Her persistence was not in vain, because the moment that nurse ran out of the room, Ajoia’s presence kept me calm.
Being faced with any challenge in your life can feel like you’re moving mountains. All you want to do is move past that moment and the fear that is attached to it, see the light at the end of the tunnel. Two years have flown by since my 2nd diagnosis, and I am still battling the residual doubts and anxiety associated with that, but the journey is so much sweeter when you give thanks for the victories won throughout the process. I may have to take these tests for the rest of my life, but I won’t have to take them alone. I can’t focus on the fact that I must take these tests forever, I must remind myself that this is an opportunity to have multiple victories and good reports year after year. Countless practice to exercise my faith muscle and kick that fear to the curb.
The Message (MSG)
21-22But Jesus was matter-of-fact: “Yes—and if you embrace this kingdom life and don’t doubt God, you’ll not only do minor feats like I did to the fig tree, but also triumph over huge obstacles. This mountain, for instance, you’ll tell, ‘Go jump in the lake,’ and it will jump. Absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, as you make it a part of your believing prayer, gets included as you lay hold of God.”