Editor’s Note: The post below was written last October. However, I find myself once again with the same dreaded thought as I lay on the exam table just a few weeks ago. The cold hands of my doctor pressing and pushing. Stepping away from the table I pop up while pulling the open gown over my breasts. I ask in a half nervous jest, “So, I need to have a mammogram again this year, right? Because of my risk?” I knew the answer. She quickly turned her head while at the sink, her eyes unflinching. “Yes, you need to do it,” she said. I am once again facing the same fears, the same procrastination with making my mammogram appointment. Here’s to facing down fear.
“We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot.” – Eleanor Rossevelt
It sits idly. The letter. My heart beats another day. I feel the sunshine on my face. I listen to the doves nestled on my backyard fence. I envelop the smells of my daughters. I think about the letter, and what I need to do.
What I have to do.
Hundreds of miles away a woman lies on a cold exam room table. She holds her breath while the black marker tip lines her breasts and under her armpits. She tries to think of her daughter who is starting college, and her son’s football game.
But she can’t force out the thoughts that she could die of breast cancer. She could lose it all.
I pulled out the buried letter, and I was reminded of that brave friend. I was also reminded of my Aunt Diane, who underwent a double mastectomy.
I can’t wait any longer. It wouldn’t be right. Staring at the letter, I pinpoint why I am delaying the inevitable mammogram appointment.
The answer is pure and simple – fear.
So, I do this for my brave friend on the exam table. I also do it for my Aunt Diane – and for the countless number of families who lost the battle. I also make the appointment for those who are fighting breast cancer at this very moment.
Most importantly, I am doing it for the two little girls who call me “mom,” and my husband and best friend of the last 20-plus years.
As my husband encouraged me the past months: “Do it to live another day.”
I plan to do just that.
At this time last year, I wrote about my first mammogram, and my family’s history of breast cancer in a post “A Letter Like No Other.” If you haven’t made your mammogram appointment, call today. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for someone else.