I had to have my first baseline mammogram last week. Which totally freaked me out because:
1. I’m so old that I need a mammogram.
2. If I have a mammogram they might find cancer.
3. There is no way I can handle cancer on top of all my kids’ issues right now.
I made the appointment at a time when Alex said he’d be able to get off of work and meet me, then take the kids so I didn’t have to bring them with me to the appointment. We had it all worked out. So I picked the kids up from school and we zipped over to the appointment. On the way, one of the boys asked where we were going. I said I had a doctor’s appointment. They asked what it was for. I decided to have a teachable moment with them and be honest. I explained that I had to have a mammogram, which meant that a doctor would look at my breasts and make sure they were healthy. I knew that by telling especially my 10-year-old trouble-makers this information that somehow it would come back to bite me in the tush. But this procedure is part of life, so I decided to give them information.
We got to the doctor’s office and I texted Alex to see if he was going to be there soon to get the kids. He answered that yes, he was just about to leave work. So we went in to the office to get the preliminary doctor-y stuff done. The waiting room was small, and my rambunctious kids filled it with life and noise. The technician called my name just as I got a text from Alex saying he was stuck at work dealing with an emergency. Great. I gave the kids strict orders to stay exactly where they were and be as quiet as possible and not make trouble and not to fight. They agreed through their giggles. Trouble.
It was my first mammogram and I was nervous, so nervous, not about the procedure (after having 4 kids and 3 emergency C-sections nothing phases me) but about what the results might show. So the technician poked and prodded and rearranged, took her pictures, and chatted while I listened with dread to the growing volume of chatter and laughter in the waiting room.
The technician decided she had all the pictures she needed, and I was finally free to put on deodorant and leave. I got dressed and walked out to the waiting room where my three-year-old jumped up as she saw me and exclaimed exuberantly (and at the top of her voice) “Mama! Are your boobs ok??”
Picture me dying of embarrassment. In those moments all you can do is laugh and carry on. I assured my daughter that yes, my boobs are in fact fine, thank you very much. Then I turned my Mommy Glare at her big brothers, who I was certain had put her up to that. Big brothers. Trouble, I tell ya. The boys hooted and laughed hysterically until they were practically rolling on the floor. I’m glad they got such a kick out of mortifying their mother. I’m glad I can amuse them so. They knew I would think it was funny anyway. They know me so well, those crazy kids. Looking at my crazy, laughing kids after thinking about what my mammogram results might hold made me realize how lucky I am to have them, and how I hope I never take a moment with them for granted. Life is so fragile and short, you never know what might change or when. All you can do is try to cherish it all. And maybe rethink some of those teachable moments.