As a kid, tests meant studying, quiet, eraser gum brushed by the back of my hand across a desk. Hunched backs, held breath, heavy sighs.
And waiting for the results.
As an adult, tests mean DOB, johnnies, blood draws. Making appointments, hospital-style ID bracelets, full bladders, no bras.
And waiting for the results.
This past year I had my first mammogram. Within two days I was called in for a closer look. And back I went, for a closer look. Powerless and braless, hoping beyond hope that this was just a precaution. That the first questionable result had been some kind of anomaly.
A heart shaped node, it turned out. Look! It’s beautiful, said the tech.
Also, assured the doctor, not cancer.
For more than a year I have been the lucky recipient of ultrasounds. On my lower abdomen but also the internal wand kind. (Lie back, put your feet up, relax your knees. Relax. As if.) These are the ultrasounds one gets when pregnant. Particularly when you learn you are pregnant and you have NO IDEA
how when it happened and can’t even guess how far along you are. I’m not pregnant. No. I have regular ultrasounds because I have one ovary and she has been acting up, much like her pair had been until she was removed surgically almost five years ago. My remaining ovary needs regular attention with the goal of preserving her and keeping me from walking the road to menopause earlier than necessary. And after my most recent regularly scheduled ultrasound, I had to go in for a blood screening. To rule out cancer.
I went to the lab before 7 in the morning. I waited for almost an hour before hearing my name called by the phlebotemist who quickly and almost painlessly drew a small vial of my blood. We talked about the weather. Cool mornings. Good sleeping temperatures. I left the lab, drove to work, went on with my day. My inner arm bruised. I tried not to think about C-125 and what “level” would come back.
I waited. For a night, and a day, and another night. As the bruise changed to yellow and I started to feel imaginary pangs in the general location of where I thought my left ovary to be.
The passive parts of life are hard. Illness isn’t something someone studies for, tries to achieve. Illness comes and we address it. We acknowledge it. We fight it. We count down the days it is with us and we count down the days until it goes away.
The email landed in my inbox. I logged in to my “patient portal,” knowing in my heart that my doctor would have called first if the results had been of concern. And yet, worried for what I might find.
My C-125 level is in the acceptable range. I’ll go back for another ultrasound (test) in three months, hoping to keep the cystic ovary and avoid surgery. I’ll wait for the results. Again. And hope just to be making yet another appointment with the ultrasound tech who knows the intricacies of my ovary in measurements smaller than the length of my fingernails that click on the computer keys as I type this.
I can’t study and an eraser will do me no good, but I will fill my bladder, show up for the appointments, go back for another mammogram this year, do what I can to take good care.
I will test.
I will wait.
I will hear the results, nearly out of my control.
Released breath. Relieved sigh.Jen Writes, motherhood