Skip to main content

Grace, Favor and Mammograms

I have BMNB's stomach to thank.

A few weeks ago, BMNB ate something that didn't sit well with him for a few days. Finally, I told him he needed to go to the doctor to make sure there wasn't something seriously wrong. I went with him because BMNB doesn't always remember to ask all the hard questions of our doctor. Like a dog at the vet, he just wants to get in and get out with as little pain as possible.

So since we were at Kaiser Hospital, I remembered that 1) I had not had my annual birthday mammograms; and 2) Kaiser does walk-in mammograms. Once our family doctor determined that BMNB probably had a stomach virus of some sort, I decided that since I was in the building, why not kill two birds with one stone and get my mammograms done?

A week later, I received the call that no woman wants to receive: "We need you to come in for a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound." I was told that since the mammograms I had were my first digital ones, the machine might be overly sensitive and may have picked up something that wasn't serious. But just in case, I needed to come in. They told me to clear my schedule for the entire morning of my appointment because the doctor was going to need time to examine all my tests and give me my results that same day.

My grandmother died of breast cancer before I was born. My aunt had breast cancer. My mother survived cervical cancer only to die from adrenal cancer that spread to her lungs. I have two uncles, one on each side of my family, who died of stomach cancer. Another died of lung cancer.

You can imagine how I felt when I got the call.

BMNB, ever the cool cucumber, was decidedly unalarmed. "That's not the vibe I get," he told me when I voiced concern that this might be serious. You see, BMNB and his family are psychic AND prayerful. He didn't see anything serious in my future, he went to church on Sunday and prayed on it, and, as far as he was concerned, there was nothing serious that would be discovered during my follow-up appointment.

I wasn't as certain.

After waiting a week after getting "the call," I went in today. I was hoping the diagnostic mammogram would clear things up. As I sat waiting for the x-ray tech to tell me there was nothing serious, all the while wearing the "special" three-armhole mammogram hospital gown, I quietly prayed:

"Lord, I need a little grace and favor today."

I hadn't slept well the night before, thinking of all the things I hadn't done. I hadn't had kids. I hadn't traveled as much with BMNB. I hadn't started that charter school my best friend and I had been talking about since the '80's.

The x-ray tech returned. "We need to do the ultrasound. Could you come this way?"

Not the result I'd hoped for.

The ultrasound tech explained that if the ultrasound came back negative, the doctor would let her tell me. If not, the doctor would come in to discuss my results.

"So, if you return, I'm good, but if the doctor comes in, I've got a problem."

She tried to soften the blow. "Well, sometimes the doctors come in to tell good results."

I didn't believe her.

After she finished the ultrasound, she told me I could wait on the diagnostic table. The ultrasound room was dimmed, almost dark. She must have read my mind. "Sometimes, people even take a short nap while they're waiting."

There was no way I was going to be able to sleep.

"Lord, I need a little grace and favor today."

Needless to say, I've never been so happy to see an ultrasound tech in all my life.

"It's a cyst. Cancers aren't as round as cysts . . . ." As she continued explaining the differences in appearances between a cancer and a cyst, all I could hear was, "It's a cyst."

The Lord granted me grace and favor, at least for today.

So I'm writing this to encourage all women over the age of 40 to get mammograms, especially if you're overdue. And get a DIGITAL mammogram, not one of the old kind. Travel if you need to, but get a digital mammogram. As for recent medical guidelines telling us that we don't need to get mammograms as frequently as we were told in the past, I say forget them. Everything is a statistic until YOU'RE the statistic. So don't become the statistic.

And, for God's sake, don't wait until your husband has a stomach virus to get a mammogram.

PS Thank you, BMNB, for being with me every step of the way.

Comments

CWest said…
I really enjoy reading your blog. Thank you for being real with us today. I don't say that as if you're not real other days, but what I mean is, thank you for sharing this story with us and being so open. I admire your writing. Thank God that ultrasound tech was the one who walked back into the room. Keep on doin' what you do.
CWest,

Thank you! Kind words from you and other readers keep me keepin' on.

BWB

Popular posts from this blog

When You Leave The Ghetto, Don't Bring It With You

NBA player Gilbert Arenas brings a gun to an NBA locker room. NBA player Ron Artest lets his pit bulls run wild and free in Loomis, California while playing for the Sacramento Kings. NFL player Michael Vick did time for fighting dogs. And NFL player Plaxico Burress is doing time for shooting his damn self.

What do all these men have in common? BMNB would say an inability to make a profound paradigm shift. I’m less eloquent than BMNB is, so I’ll say it differently: The inability to leave the ghetto behind.

Yes, call me saditty, bourgie, elitist, stuck-up, whatever. I don’t care. Until you’ve had a tweaker ruin your Thanksgiving turkey, you don’t even know (more on that later), and I’m not trying to hear you.

Living in Western Placer County, my husband and I continue to hear stories from folks like us who had to flee “those who can’t leave the ghetto behind.” You know these people, and they come in all races. In our case, we had returned to Sacramento in 2004 and 2005, respective…

Black Woman Blogging's Gun Control Proposal

Thanks to a relative who sent me death threats, I became a gun owner. Reluctantly.  What can I say.  You don't choose your family.

That said, I'm for gun control.

As far as I'm concerned, America lost its moral compass when we didn't do squat after Sandy Hook.  If you can allow a madman to murder children and not be moved to do nothing, you have no moral compass.  Period.

Now that we've broken an unfortunate record for the number of people killed in a mass shooting, perhaps we as a country are ready to get our minds right about gun control.  Perhaps.  So in that spirit, I offer my gun control proposal.

First, we need to agree on some real (not alternative) facts and principles:

1.  There is no such thing as an unlimited right.  Yes, people, there are no unlimited rights protected under the Constitution.  Your right to free speech?  Well, not all speech is protected under the First Amendment and even protected speech can be limited by time, place and manner.  Your…

Retired Man Walking: Too Young to Retire, Too Old to Take Shit

A while back I ran into a friend and fellow professional employed by the State of California, and he offered me his perspective on State employment as a tail-end Baby Boomer like myself -- someone who can't retire because he lacks the requisite age or years of service, but, unlike myself, is tired of taking shit from superiors who don't know what to do with you.

Although my friend gave his permission for me to use his name in this blog entry, I decline to do so because what he does is so specialized that it would not be hard for anyone to identify him as one of the few African American men, if not the only African-American man, in California state civil service who does what he does. For purposes of this blog entry, I will refer to him as he now refers to himself:  Retired Man Walking.

Retired Man Walking, or RMW, has an interesting philosophy he applies to working for the State as a professional who isn't old enough to retire but has been around long enough to know the s…