I do not do routine breast exams. Routine breast exams are wise and important and every woman should do them! I do not. It is not a good idea to skip or forget them. Randomly, the day before I left the country for nine days on a work trip I found a lump in my breast. I called and booked an appointment for my doctor for the day after my return. And then I had to wait. I had six airplane rides, three buses and five different cities which I had to work and wait in those nine days. I had a lot of time to think.
Of course I thought the first thing that probably every woman thinks at that point- I might have breast cancer. I lost a dear aunt to breast cancer not long ago. She was too young when she died- not that there is a right age, but some are just really wrong.
So I thought a lot about my life. My life has been full. Full of good, full of bad, full of everything in between. Some people say they have no regrets. I roll my eyes at those people and think they are in denial but it does depend on your understanding of regret. When I think of regret it means things I would go back and do differently if given the opportunity. I have a lot of those. I don’t wollow in that though because for the most part I learned from those times, but if there was another way to have learned what I did that would be great. There definitely was a lot of unnecessary heartache in my younger years. Those times don’t define who I am, but how I have grown from them does. It helps to understand why I made those choices in the first place so I can make different ones.
I reached a point where I started taking charge of my life and that meant taking responsibility for it too. I can’t control everything that happens but I can decide where to go with it and what to do with it.
When I was reflecting on my life right now and what I would do if the future could not have the outcome I would have hoped for, I realized there wasn’t a lot I would change. I am so grateful for the extra time I have been given with my kids daily because we have been able to homeschool. I have great people in my life that I knew would walk with me through whatever was coming. And last but most importantly I remarried the man I love and have loved everyday for 15 years.
I don’t have a bucket list really. I have future hopes and plans but there isn’t anything that important that I would feel I should have done before I had to go. I think that made the waiting easier. There are a few small things that I started, like teaching my youngest to read so that I could say that I taught all of my kids to read. I do not want to go a day before my Lord says “it’s time daughter, come home” But when He says that I know I’ve had a full life.
After my mammogram I waited for the specialist and I heard the lady in the room next to me be told she had cancer. When my turn came, she told me I had cysts in both breasts but nothing to be alarmed about. Two women about to embark on two different journeys. I don’t know why cancer happens the way it does. Why did she have it and not I? All I can do is be grateful, so grateful that it appears I have a lot more full life left to live. Hopefully as I do that I help others live their full lives too.