Thursday brought my 2nd (annual) diagnostic mammogram.
A watershed day for me.
I went alone.
The last time I was there alone, it was a terrible day.
This time, it was not a big deal.
Ok, I admit, I was a bit queasy. But not a big deal.
Kathy was my mammographer.
She asked me if I discovered the lump that proved to be breast cancer, or if it was found through a routine mammogram. When I told her that I had, indeed, found it myself, she congratulated me for doing regular self-exams.
No regular self-exams here. Not even routine mammograms.
I told Kathy that I found the lump because it was burning, throbbing.
She expressed surprise...and then asked what stage I was diagnosed at.
"Early stage breast cancer is painless..."
And "I've never heard anyone say that before..."
"I guess something wanted you to find the cancer..."
"Actually, some ONE wanted me to find the cancer."
Kathy just shook her head in disbelief.
Then, after a number of those great photos, she had me sit and wait while she had the Doctor look at the results.
Waiting what seemed like a long time.
And as I waited, I thought "what will my reaction be if she returns with news I don't want to hear?"
The answer was quick and strong.
I would be upset.
But I wouldn't be defeated.
And I wouldn't be nearly as terrified as before.
Because strength and courage have shown themselves to me. They are my friends.
When Kathy returned, the message was that the Doctor wanted more photos.
"This spot here, on your left breast..."
A twist here, a compression there.
Just glandular tissue that looked suspicious in one take, but the twisting and compressing made it clear that there was nothing there.
Not a big deal.
Except the appointment and the interaction with Kathy confirmed to me, yet again, that God is in the details. That He cares for me. That He gave me the gift of pain to lead me to discover the nastiness of cancer. That through the nastiness of cancer, He has given me the gift of a renewed appreciation for life, for family, and for friends.
That is a big deal.