Yesterday, my mom met with her surgeon. The one who performed her lumpectomy.
When my mom went in for her mammogram last year, she walked in and out alone.
This year, I was by her side.
Racing time and traffic, we arrived at the hospital just in the nick of time on Thursday. I noted how many hospital doors have automatically opened and closed for us since last October. The last time I was with my mom for one of her appointments was back in the spring. Before my dad’s slew of appointments.
Anyway, I went with my mom to a familiar part of the hospital. The Breast Cancer floor.
The waiting room was calm and female-filled.
A lovely little old lady, the volunteer at the waiting room desk, called out women’s names as my mom and I paged through magazines.
When it was my mom’s turn, we headed back to the changing room where my mom donned a robe that looked more spa-like than hospital-like. If I didn’t know any better, I’d have thought all the women were waiting for mud baths instead of mammograms.
Every woman in the mammogram waiting room was different. There was a thirty-something all-business woman with dress pants and heels; ready to close a deal and make the sale. Another woman sat with her Louis Vuitton. A young thirty-something woman walked in with jeans and Converse. An older woman sat and waited for her turn as though she were at her grandson’s soccer game.
All the women in the room were different. Different ages. Different races. Different occupations. Different families. Different stories.
But all of them were there for their mammograms.
As I looked around the room, I wondered which women were seasoned veterans. Women who had been in that room many times before. I thought about the women who were first-timers whose day would not go as planned. I wondered which women were hoping for clean reports after chemo and surgeries.
My mom was in the latter group. Waiting to find out if she was still clean. If the mammogram found anything unusual. If the nightmare would be continued.
The appointment itself was short. And sweet.
After the nurse took her temperature and asked about prescriptions and over the counter regimens, my mom received a piece of paper.
A Dear Sally type letter dated October 18, telling her that the mammogram showed no signs of cancer. That breast cancer was not making a comeback.
The doctor came in shortly after the letter was delivered, pleased with the results. She went ahead with the physical exam and told my mom everything looked great.
“I see a lot of breasts.” She said at one point during the physical.
And I couldn’t help but think about the stories behind every exam she performs. The lives that are altered after every mammogram. The women in the waiting room who would hear good news and bad on the same day that my mom was given the “No breast cancer” here news.
It’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. I hope you’re not only seeing and supporting pink ribbons and causes, but thinking about the stories behind every pink ribbon and every mammogram. The women who need support, encouragement, and a team of fighters on their side.