When you are an actor, a call back is golden.
When have been on a first date and you like the boy, a call back sends a delicious shiver up your spine.
When you go for a mammogram, a call back is scary.
It can take 10 days or so to actually get in to your next appointment and you find you reassure yourself in an outdoor voice
My goodness, I am ok, better than ok. I am like my mom, we have dense breasts dear- she always says, which means we both always get call backs.
But I am not always like my mom who plops stuff into a file in her head until she knows for sure.
I am like my dad. Or, I guess, like me, I always joke instead. They just want another look at my fabulous set.
But depending on just what is going on in my life, I can wonder. Who would I be when the going gets tough. How attached am I to being 100%?
Impatient even, at 100%.
I might be a nightmare. Or weak. Am I the sort that the powers that be like to test?
Slip into this drafty gown. Everything off from the pants up
The call back is the more intense vice grip mammogram. The kind they should use in P.O.W. camps. I would give up all my secrets. STAT.
This may hurt she says. We need just the right side where we see grey matter.
Any chance you are pregnant? I am standing there in front of her, arms heavy at my side, jeans and boots on and nothing else. Vulnerable.
Should I be flattered? Or is she actually commenting on my tummy?
No way. No eggs in my basket. I am 53.
You look young
Does she mean …to die?
Is false flattery part of their empathy training?
Now we need an ultrasound. Lie on your side with this wedge (like a doorstop, or strangely like that thing we propped newborns with) propping you.
We just need the right side. She says again.
It feels important now to state loudly– Ummm. Just in case you are not sure, I am attached to the right side. It works well with the left. I don’t want any problems here.
The technician stays quiet. Is quiet good, bad or normal ?
I need to discus the results, she says. With a doctor.
She leaves me alone in the room. My hands pull up to my face and my knees too and I seem to pray.
I think for some reason about the time I was 8 and I was in a grocery store with my mom and I was looking at her traffic stopping knock out figure, but specifically her breasts, and I said- Mommy, those make you look nice. Will I get those? (I remember this because everyone heard and my face turned purple)
And then when I did I loathed them. You are a little girl inside but suddenly the whole world looks at you differently. Your creepy gym teacher offers to teach you guitar after school. Your brother’s friends start acting weird around you. Your dad thinks you are fragile.
And then one day, not too late if you’re smart, you love your body.
And your strength
And your health
And then you realize nothing else is as important.
Leaving, I called my friend who suddenly was braver than I ever knew she was. I told her where I had been. I asked her how on earth she survived breast cancer, losing a breast, reconstructing another, the five year check up. Everything. All of it. The ouch, the scare, the fear and all that time lost with doctors.
Tears were streaming down my face when I told her how sorry I was that I was not there for her in the way I should have been. Her timing was during my split when I could not hear people properly when they spoke to me.
I went back to my life with fresh eyes and perfect results. Like someone on a trip who lost their luggage for days only to have it again and rejoice in the abundance.