Yours until the sidewalk cracks
Posted September 2, 2009on:
I started off writing a pretty heavy entry today based on the Samuel Beckett Play, Waiting for Godot. It was all about waiting for test results from cancer tests. And that would have been OK, but I was even bumming myself out. I know I’m supposed to let myself cry when I need to, but what I really need today is to just get through until I see the oncologist and hear the results of the PET scan.
What cheered me up were two email messages from friends. The first was from a grade school friend, Gail. I became reacquainted with her this summer after a spontaneous neighborhood/grade school reunion in suburban St. Louis. More than 100 of us who grew up in Oak Estates in Olivette, Missouri, stood in a park for a few hours just talking. Nothing was organized about it but it was incredible fun.
Anyway, Gail sent me a headcover that friends of hers had designed when they went through chemotherapy years ago. I wrote her a thank you note via Facebook. As I’ve noted to some, I’m going green before I turn green with chemotherapy.
Gail’s response back included: “I came across my 5th grade autograph book last weekend. You signed it, of course. Something about “Yours until the sidewalk cracks,” I think. I’m too lazy to go to the other room to get it to check…I think your writing has progressed nicely over the years…”
Yes, I was sure the clever writer in fifth grade.
Gail also wrote, “Remember the Brownie (or was it Girl Scouts) song-Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other gold.
I think it’s true…”
So do I. To have that connection with old friends – and new ones – is so powerful.
A more recent friend, Maureen, who I’ve known for only about 14 or so years, also sent an important message:
“Here’s something else that I heard on Channel 19 news today. One of those “authoritative 20 second reports: “In a study of 10,000 women with mammograms followed by breast exams by medical personnel (they didn’t say how long after, I don’t think), “the humans” found cancerous lumps in only 4 cases that the mammogram missed. There were 219 false positives. I am pondering these figures, Sue. To me, they mean that you are NOT unlucky that yours had to be one of the 4 found — I think you are lucky that yours was one of only 4 found. It almost seemed like the news story scoffed at using humans and endorsed only the mammograms. At any rate…keep doing all you can even though it’s hard to keep getting worked up for tests — enjoy your health insurance baby because you’ve got it!! :-)”
Maureen is right. My primary care provider, Margaret Grenisen, M.D., found the lump (I thought it was normal connective tissue) at my annual exam. Even thoughthe mammogram had been normal or at least had not raised alarms, she thought I should have an ultrasound just to make sure. That looked OK, too, just a cyst. But then when I had my next screening mammogram, the humans – Margaret Grenisen and Ann Marie Shorter, M.D., the radiologist, decided to go a step farther because of my ethnicity – a Jewish woman of Eastern European descent.
They decided I should have a breast MRI, which found the probable cancer. And, by the way, after the MRI, the insurance company sent a letter questioning why I would need the MRI.
The message is humans count. And I am grateful to Gail, Maureen, family, my doctors, nurses and many, many friends.
As I wrote ever so eloquently back in fifth grade, “Yours until the sidewalk cracks.”