It’s a scary time when you think things may be going off track. When your health can’t be taken for granted, when your job security gets wobbly, your family start falling out. You rethink what you’re doing, make resolutions to yourself that you’ll change things if you get chance…just wanting everything to be alright.
I’ve just experienced a roller coaster of tests and consultancy visits to check out a lump. The dreaded lump that all women check for (if you’ve got sense) but never actually want to find. A lump that doesn’t go away with your period, which has you feeling and checking randomly at times throughout the day…and night…as you get dressed…as you take a toilet break…just in case it has disappeared now. Or now…or maybe now?
You’re probably paranoid.
“I hope I’m not wasting your time Doctor”
You really hope that you are….
He feels the lump too.
I got lucky. My tests were clear and other than some nuisance cysts and thickening of the tissue, I am all good. The lumps may fade in time but I can close the door on the experience, breath a sigh of relief and get on with life.
Some are not so lucky.
Someone else got a different kind of smile that day in the consultants office. The one that comes with a slight tilt of the head, the matter of fact look in the eye. Expecting emotion and waiting to catch it. A very different kind of smile.
Someone else who may be younger, fitter, healthier, a better Christian or Muslim or even an atheist. Someone who never went crazy with drink or fags or dabbled in drugs. Someone genuine and honest who never goaded karma to do it’s worse. But that’s how it is…It’s indiscriminate. It’s like life’s game of roulette. You can take more risks….place a higher stake…and increase your exposure…but some people get lucky and others…don’t..
One of my best friends isn’t so lucky.
She told me one day near to Christmas as H and her little one bounced on an inflatable snowman. I was so shocked I just talked for ages…about me. About anything other than the problem…until I realised I knew nothing about what she had told me. I handled it in my way and it felt all wrong. But what’s right in that situation? Nothing can prepare u for that. We’re the same age, have young children, both breast fed and she has always kept fit and healthy…definitely more than me.
It hit me hard when I went home and reflected…someone is someone like me… someone is one of my best friends.
So as I hear my good news I think of my oldest friend and I wonder how she felt at this moment, how she reacted and whether she was scared. I was scared thinking how she must have felt. I felt proud at how brave she was appearing to be right now….at least on the surface. I can’t comprehend or pretend…I don’t know how she felt, how she feels. Perhaps she will tell us her own story…one day.
And I feel wrong about being alright.
How am I going to tell her my results were ok? Should I wait until asked or should I get in touch and let her know? I wonder whether she will sit there thinking “well why me” when it could have been me…or someone else. Maybe she is a better person than me and it won’t cross her mind but most humans are subconsciously protective of themselves and their family and I wouldn’t blame her a bit.
Moreover I wonder how I can be there for her when I don’t really understand how she will be feeling. I resign myself to just being here…if and when she needs me.
But what I can do is listen to her advise and follow up those things you promise yourself when you feel insecure. To take more care of myself, make more time for family and to stop stressing about things that don’t really matter….like work, like saving money for a rainy day, like the the rip in my tights that enraged me as I dressed this morning. I consume energy on all these things and they become bigger than they ever should be.
Focus on making right the things that you can control.
…and accept that sometimes it’s ok to feel wrong about being alright.