Baseline mammogram today, a rite of passage I had put off for two years. Up til now, every time my (ever so slightly) older friends would exclaim, surprised: "Oh, you haven't had one yet, you're so young!" I would feel, well, young.
But today, I thought of all my friends who have lost mothers and aunts to breast cancer, all my friends who have been through it themselves, my cousin, my contemporaries, and stepped up to the plate, as it were.
Waiting for the doctor to return, I lay on the examining table and looked at the photograph on the wall of autumn foliage and thought Am I in the autumn of my life? This is depressing. Who chose the art for this room? Do they have any idea how sad this is making me? NO! I am Summer. OK, maybe Indian Summer. I am a hot and tired farmer, pulling crops out of the baked dirt. I am bracing spring shoots and urging them to grow strong. I AM NOT AUTUMN! Then I fell asleep, giving into the paper under me with a crinkle and a sigh.
When the doctor walked in, I sat up disoriented, mumbling something about how my kids have me going non-stop and how good it was to finally stop. "I'm glad you're taking some time for yourself," she said. Time for myself? Is this what counts as time for myself now? I can't exactly remember what time for myself used to mean, but I'm pretty sure it involved way more fun than this.
Then again, considering I had put off this simple exam for two years, considering how many doctors appointments I have rushed my children to, made time in their schedules for, maybe this was the most important quality time I could have made for myself. To get screened. And to take a little nap.
It was really dumb for me to delay. If you're 39 and haven't gotten a baseline done, go do it. And tell your friends to do the same.