They say time heals all wounds.
I’m not sure I believe that…or maybe it just hasn’t been enough time.
Even though it feels like a lifetime ago, it has only been 6 ½ months since my last breast cancer surgery.
I had to call today to make an appointment for my follow up mammogram. Back to the same place that started this journey.
It was just a phone call, but all the memories came flooding back.
I purposely didn’t have the number saved in my phone, I never wanted to scroll through my contacts and see it. Unfortunately, that meant I had to look in my cancer binder to get the number.
The binder started out neat and well organized but as I got further along my journey and things got overwhelming, I just started pushing papers inside. I didn’t want to look at it.
As the doctor’s appointments got fewer and fewer the binder got less attention. (Find instructions on how to make your own healthcare binder here.)
My hands were shaking as I unburied the binder from all the stuff I had stacked on top of it. I had kept it close enough that I could see it but I covered it in books and papers so I couldn’t really see it. I had forgotten how heavy it was until I picked it up.
I knew exactly where to find the number. I have a list of all my doctors and their contact information on the first pages. I just needed to get there.
But my disorganization got the better of me. As soon as I opened the binder papers started sliding out all over my desk.
Ugly medical words like oncology, pathology, cancer, bone scan, medication, diagnosis, surgeon and side effects were suddenly staring back at me. I quickly gathered them up and turned them face down so I couldn’t see them as I found the page I needed.
I dialed the number while I still had the courage. It was already overdue; the surgeon had wanted to see me last month but I kept putting it off.
A machine answered and put me on hold. It was probably less than a minute I was on hold, but in that short time I went through about a dozen different reasons why I should hang up. But I didn’t.
A friendly woman’s voice came on the line and asked how she could help. I forced myself to take a deep breath and told her I needed to make an appointment for a mammogram.
I know I am supposed to feed myself with optimism and positive mantras, but in that moment, all I could find was fear. My mind was racing with unpleasant memories and I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.
After setting the appointment she asked if I knew where the office is located. I assured her I knew where to go. I have been there too many times.