Hey, everyone! Hoping you’re all having a great weekend! It’s a beautiful day here in the South. The Gulf Coast is blessed with amazing sunshine and the temp is currently 82°.
However gorgeous the day is, the past few days haven’t been so bright for me. As many of you know, I’m a huge advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness. I’m always encouraging ladies to get annual mammograms to keep the ta-tas in check. I began getting mine when I turned forty. The first two years my mammograms came back with clean results, my ta-tas were healthy. *Thank goodness!*
But…. a couple of weeks ago when I went for my annual mammogram everything went well, same as usual….. or so I thought…. Then, last week I got a letter from the Women’s Imaging Center saying that my current screening “required additional imagining studies” and they wanted me to schedule to have another mammogram done. (I got this letter the very same afternoon that I learned about a very close friend of mine being diagnosed with stage three cancer in her intestines, so my nerves were already on end.)
My husband was in the shower and our son was in his room. As I quietly stood in the kitchen trying to keep myself quietly composed while I read the letter about my mammogram results, I couldn’t help but feel a lump in my throat as the tears welled in my eyes. I knew that my breasts felt fine, never any discomfort or anything of the sort, but I also knew that cancer could be present without any signs known to the individual.
I continued to keep silent, not wanting to cause any concern for my son, but when my husband got out of the shower, I showed him the letter. He read it and then told me that I was going to be fine and not to read too much into it. He was being strong when I couldn’t be. But then I remembered dinner and it was time for my family to eat, so I wiped away the tears and kept myself together for the rest of the evening, being my same ol’ silly self.
The next day as soon as I knew the clinic was open I called to make my appointment to have another mammogram. I had to wait a week before I could get in. That meant a week of not knowing what was going on with my body. The fear I concealed from my friends and family wasn’t easy to hold back. With everyone else having their busy lives, I didn’t want to trouble anyone with mine. So I’ve kept this to myself, until now. For those who know me best, I’m actually an extremely private person and don’t talk a lot about my personal life. What I do disclose about myself, I do so in hope to help others find courage and strength to overcome anything they may be going through.
As I said, I had to wait a week before getting my next appointment. Not just the fear of the possibility of maybe having anything cancerous, but also the entire “game changing” that it would do to me and my family. If I did have breast cancer, how would I tell my loved ones? It would crush them! And what would I do for work. I have two jobs, how would I be able to maintain my employment if I had to go to doctor appointments? Also, the treatments…. I know what it can do to the body. I’ve seen dear ones to me suffer and I didn’t want to go through that, too. Didn’t want my family to have to deal with that.
My thoughts were literally running scared. Of course, I continued with my goofy ways, but what I was going through stayed heavy on my mind. And the couple of days right before my appointment were even a little heavier to deal with. I just wanted the next mammogram to be done. I honestly had never wished for a day to be over with so badly.
Yesterday was the day. The alarm clock chimed at 5:40 a.m. I woke my son up for school just like any other day. He still was unaware of everything. My husband held me and reassured me that everything was going to be ok. As sweet as he was being, I still couldn’t stop my eyes from tearing up. But then I composed myself quickly so that our son couldn’t see me that way. About an hour later after my husband left for work and our son left for school, I was on my way to my appointment. I had to be at the Women’s Imaging Center at 7:00 a.m. When I arrived, the lady at the front desk said, “Oh, you’re here for a diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound.” I questioned the ultrasound because I wasn’t aware of that one. The lady continued, “That’s just to be on the safe side in case they still have questions about this next mammogram.” I was quietly like, “Ok.” She added with her genuine smile, “Everything’s going to be fine.”
As I sat down, waiting to be called back, Stevie Nicks with Don Henley came on the radio singing “Leather & Lace”. I took a breath and sat still, listening to the song. I took it as a sign, a beautiful, positive sign that everything was going to be alright. Why? Because I am such a huge Stevie Nicks fan and hearing her voice made me feel better. I love her music!!
A few minutes later I was called back to have my mammogram. The tech said, “Oh, you’re back again.” I said quietly, “Yeah, unfortunately.” She, like everyone else, tried to reassure me by saying, “Everything’s gonna be ok.” To be honest, hearing everyone say that was beginning to become quite repetitive, but I knew everyone’s intentions were heartfelt.
During this next mammogram, as the tech was going through the steps, she asked me, “Did you lose weight since last year’s mammogram?” I said, “Yeah, a significant amount.” I then continued to explain why and how I did so by my lifestyle change of eating and being healthier and working out (I wrote about being healthier in a recent article titled, You’re Looking Too Thin.)
The tech looked at me and said, “That’s probably it!” I said, “Really? Cuz the thought did cross my mind.” The tech continued, “Yeah, losing weight can change the shape and appearance of your breasts. That’s probably why the concern of the mammograms from last year to now, but we still have to run the tests just to make absolute sure.”
“WOW!” I thought. I was starting to feel even better! It made total sense. Losing weight, changing my body…. I was beginning to understand things more clearly.
After the mammogram they still wanted to conduct the ultrasound. I happily went along with it. The second tech, just like the first one, was super sweet and made me feel even more comfortable. The ultrasound took nearly ten minutes. After that I had to wait almost ten more minutes for the second tech to return with the results. And you wanna know what?! The results came back perfectly fine!! Yep, that’s right!! A clean bill of health!! Talk about a massive huge weight being lifted off my shoulders!!! PHEW!!!! It was like all that heaviness of fear and the unknown from the previous week just automatically vanished!
I walked out of the ultrasound room and into the main lobby. The lady at the front desk asked me how things went. I gave her a big smile with two thumbs up saying, “Perfect!” She smiled back saying how happy she was for me. She and I then briefly exchanged stories of losing loved ones to breast cancer and how important it is to spread breast cancer awareness. Which lead to my purchase of a new t-shirt that the clinic was selling to raise money for the cause.
I am a very proud supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness! What I recently went through, even though my results came back clean and clear, the whole experience was still a “game changer” for me. It put even more things in perspective, my appreciation for love and life is all the stronger now. Not knowing for that week made me realize how fragile life really can be and how things can be changed literally all in an instant. All the questions… all the fear…. and yet one thing I have to admit is… I never questioned “Why me?”
The reason being is that with my belief, prior to us coming into our lives, us being born, we all agree to a “soul contract” that we accept. Now whether or not we fulfill our contracts, (or even acknowledge them for that matter) is up to our own personal awakening and how open we are to embracing change. (Again, this is my belief and I am not speaking on the behalf of anyone else.)
I am happy to say that I don’t have breast cancer, but if I did…. I would hope that I would continue to spread positive love and light to those who are in need. As a light worker I feel that is extremely important to continue. The night before last, I took a long hard look in the mirror and said to myself, “Alright, if you do have cancer, you’re still gonna do the best you can to live life to the fullest! You will not let this get the best of you! You’re strong, you’re gonna get through this! You have to for yourself and for your loved ones!”
I then put my game face on and said a silent prayer to the Universe… reaching out to the Angels and my Guardians, feeling their positive energy of love and light.
And with all of you, I feel that we should honor the ladies out there who aren’t so fortunate. May our hearts and prayers always go out to the fighters, the survivors and those whose lives were taken by breast cancer!
In memory of a very dear friend of mine…. Julie. After a long and exhausting battle, she lost her fight with breast cancer nearly four years ago. Along with my family, she is my inspiration to spreading awareness for this extremely important cause!
Here’s another article I wrote for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Get a copy of my novel, The Spirit Within on Amazon!
~ Sheila Renee Parker on Twitter: @sheilarparker.
~ Sheila Renee Parker on Facebook: Sheila Renee Parker – Author
~ Sheila Renee Parker on Instagram: @sheilareneeparker
~ Art by Sheila Renee Parker available at: https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/sheilarenee-parker.html
~ Sheila Renee Parker on YouTube: Sheila Renee Parker
The back of the t-shirt that I proudly bought to show my support for Breast Cancer Awareness!
The front of the t-shirt that I proudly bought to show my support for Breast Cancer Awareness! It’s a small image on the upper left-hand side of the shirt.
The delicious homemade cookie that the clinic was giving out. YUM!!!