This past week, Holy Week, is known throughout the Christian community as the week leading up to Christ’s death and resurrection. For me, it was a week unlike any other in my entire life.
Let’s start off with Monday. At 8:30 am, I went in for my yearly mammogram. Not the most pleasant experience and so the only thought going through my mind as the machine clicked away was that there has to be a better way. I secretly sent out a call to the women of the world to find it.
On Tuesday, I got a call from the radiology center asking me to return. Since this had happened a couple times in the past due mostly to poor image quality, I did not give it a second thought. Ok, maybe a second thought, but definitely not a third.
I headed back to the facility on Wednesday – joy of joys – for more pictures. Off to the waiting room. Just as I’m about to find out JLo’s beauty secrets, the nurse calls my name. I’m walked to a dimly lit room, nicely arranged with three chairs. As I take a seat, I start to think that this is not the room where you are given instructions on proper mammogram procedures. A doctor walks in and closes the door.
I’d share the details of the conversation if I remembered them but here’s what comes to mind.
“Calcifications. Cluster in a small group. Most of the time benign. Best to catch it early. Biopsy.”
Uh what? I could feel myself saying, “Take another picture. I’ll stand still this time. I promise.”
The word “cancer” never entered my vocabulary. I immediately went to my trusty left brain and began my rapid-fire questions to the very nice doctor.
“Why did I get this? I don’t have that Angelina Jolie thingy. If it’s so small, can’t you just take it out when you do the biopsy?”
As I made the appointment for the biopsy, I realized that this was no mistake. It was not a blurry mammogram. It could very well be real. I proceeded to cancel all of my meetings and put in for a sick day.
Other than not taking any aspirin, there was no preparation for which I was thankful. I did however, have a glass of wine that evening for good measure. Fine…maybe more than one.
Time check: Holy Thursday. As I sat in the waiting room reading the inspirational I’d brought with me, I focused on the words I knew to be true in my book. I was surprisingly relaxed as my name was called.
As I reviewed the picture with the doctor, I saw how small this ‘thing’ actually was and asked again if he could just take it all out during the procedure. “I’ll try but can’t guarantee.” “Well, it’s Holy Thursday, so I’m going to think positive.”
I’ll skip the details of the biopsy but let’s just say it was unlike any other experience I’ve ever had. A little over an hour later and it was done. When the doctor returned to the room after reviewing the sample, he told me “I think I got it all.” My heart skipped a beat.
I was walked back to ‘the room’ with my post-biopsy instructions. “At first glance and I can’t make any guarantees until we get the lab results on Monday, but it doesn’t have the characteristics of a malignancy” said the doctor. My heart skipped another beat. I asked if there was any chance the results could come in earlier. “Not likely,” he said.
Even though I didn’t get the sense that anyone there was an Easter-celebrating crowd, I wished everyone a Happy Easter and headed home. A few Tylenols and take-out for dinner got me through the rest of that day.
Good Friday. Other than a couple of errands with my daughter, the day goes by uneventfully…until 4:45 pm.
My cell phone buzzes a couple of times. I listened to the voicemail which instructed me to return the call as quickly as possible. It was the radiology center.
“The tests are negative. Dr. “so and so” wanted me to tell you Happy Easter. See you next year.”
As the tears streamed down my face and I choked out a “Thank you and Happy Easter”, I knew I’d been given a gift. I’d walked away from this entire three-day ordeal with a bruise and a Band-Aid. In short, a miracle.
While there was trepidation throughout these few days, I couldn’t help but think that whole ‘breast cancer’ thing just didn’t fit the picture in my head. I know you’re saying, “Uh I don’t think anyone has cancer in their life’s picture”, and you’re right.
Believe me, I know the difference between denial and truth. I’ve had many other pictures about my life; none of which were accurate. I was in denial. But this wasn’t denial. I just knew. I knew in my guts that this was not to be a chapter in my life’s journey.
I can in no way equate these three days to those that Jesus faced between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I cannot fathom how he dealt with a trial so magnanimous that the thought alone would kill any human today. But all along, He knew one thing. He knew that this trial, when overcome would be so miraculous that thousands of years later, mankind would still be touched by it.
In three days I went from cross to miracle. And on that third day – a rebirth. A confirmation of a promise that all is well in my life; that fervent prayers uttered in faith will be answered, that trust in God is non-negotiable for me; and that God’s love will be with me all the days of my life.
I pray that you may experience the unfathomable love that God has for you. I pray that you will know that your life is a gift – a miracle in and of itself. I pray that you see every single blessing in your life every moment of every day.