The exam is over and I am waiting in an open-front gown for the radiologist to read the mammogram. I wonder why they make me wear that gown. Blue, butt ugly print…1000 people have probably worn it.
My arms don’t fit in it right. There are snaps on the shoulders. It is misshapen and it seems like there is always a boob trying to escape. No protection. All of my nerves exposed. No room for modesty. I sit in the exam room reading Redbook. The magazine is three years old but there is an article on the front about how to lose 10lbs by walking 30 minutes a day. I have to read it; it could possibly contain the magic formula for weight loss. I wait. I wait. And I wait. It always feels like an eternity when you are waiting in a dimly lit exam room, in a bad gown, reading an old magazine about weight loss. The Radiologist doesn’t have the balls to come tell me himself. He sends the radiology technician in to tell me. She walks in slowly. She doesn’t have a purposeful gait anymore. She doesn’t hurry in to send me on my way. She looks sad. She carries pity in her eyes. I hate the look of pity. I watch as she processes what she is going to say and how she is going to say it. I wonder if they have a booklet for healthcare professionals called, “how to give bad news 101 different ways”. I don’t make it easy for her. I am still holding onto hope. Hope that maybe she looks worried because she is running late or needs a diet coke. Surely she is worried about something else, something that has nothing to do with me. I sit. I wait. Then she says it. We saw a mass; it might be nothing but we need to schedule you for a biopsy.
My kid’s faces.
I am sitting in my car in the parking lot of the hospital. I don’t remember walking through the lobby. I have the card with the date and time on it in my hand. I don’t remember scheduling the biopsy. I remember sitting in the car and going nowhere. I remember my head hurting. I remember not being able to breathe in enough air. I remember needing my Mom.