By Lisa Diven
The first time it happened, every corner looked like a welcoming friend. She’d walk into a room, look at the nooks and fight the urge to place herself there, to curl into a tight ball and sob. Maybe five minutes would pass … or less and then she’d think about “it” again.
Be strong, Liz, told herself, but for the most part she just fought back a crying jag.
She found the lump under her left breast and the doctor could feel it too. It hurt a bit and those days of not knowing, before the mammogram, were sheer hell.
She decided to take on the monster unaided and refused to tell anyone except her husband Jim.
Why worry everyone until I know for sure.
Liz told Jim to “just go to work” and went to the appointment solo.
The first time they didn’t find anything.
She should have been relieved but instead wondered, How can it be NOTHING when we both felt SOMETHING?
The initial scare of cancer had stabbed at Liz’s spirit and it wounded her deeply.
She was numb the second time it happened, the following year. The doctor had discovered a painful lump at 12 o’clock, once again on the left side. She didn’t allow herself time to blubber in the woe-is-me phase so she rushed home and scheduled the appointment for the next morning. This time, Jim came along.
The radiology tech introduced herself as Faith.
Liz tried hard to hold them back, but the hot sting of tears overcame her as the irony rung clear.
Could this be a sign?
She wasn’t feeling very faithful when the radiologists wanted additional images of the right breast. They were concerned with a new development on the X-ray.
Faith took the additional X-rays and, while they waited for the radiologists final results, offered to go out into the reception area to update Jim on the progress thus far.
Alone in the exam room, Liz nervously cinched at her robe, cold and afraid … waiting … waiting. She wondered if Jim had feared the worst, as she had, for those long, tense minutes.
The second time they didn’t find anything and she felt oddly apathetic. Jim’s well-meant assurance of, “See, there was really no scare at all,” left her puzzled.
The letter “C” hadn’t been etched on Liz’s breast but it had already scarred her soul.
So she attempted to drive her dread into the recesses.
Next year will be easier.
For there is always hope. And there was certainly — the second time around, a little faith too.
Lisa Diven lives in Elgin, Illinois with her husband and pets. Extending her love for the written word, she’s a volunteer writer for Anderson Animal Shelter, member of the Fox Valley Writers Group and leads the Writers on the Fox, a creative writing group at the Gail Borden Public Library.