It looks like a luxurious day spa. Women in robes sit in comfortable chairs, reading or listening to music on their iPods. The atmosphere is hushed. Unfortunately, this is not a spa. This is the office of the best breast care specialists in the metro-Atlanta area.
It’s my second visit here, so I know what to expect. There will be a very long wait, the painful squeeze of the mammogram, an ultrasound to catch what the mammogram missed, and a meeting with my doctor to discuss the results. I don’t mind the wait; I’ll have a good idea of what that scary lump is when I leave the office. Having to wait for days to get results is traumatizing; immediate, reliable results are one of the reasons these doctors have such a positive reputation.
There is a certain stress involved with just having to be here. The what-if’s float in the air, bobbing against the ceiling.
It’s probably not cancer, but what if it is? What will I do then?
What if the cancer I thought was gone isn’t really gone?
What if my cancer treatment isn’t working?
Women avoid each others’ eyes as they wait. Ladies like me who would normally chat with others in a waiting room sit silently, pretending to read. The patient in the seat next to me is probably the nicest person I’d ever want to meet, but it doesn’t matter. I have my own problems to deal with, and listening to her sad story is unthinkable. Worse yet is the woman who wants to pray with me; her prayers have the gravity of the Catholic Last Rites, and that’s just not where I need to go right now.
Life is precious to those of us sitting here. We might not have even realized how precious until now. So we wait and hope that our doctors will be sending us home with good news. Our husbands, children, parents, sisters and friends wait even more anxiously than we do. We want to be OK for them, for us, for all the things we have yet to do. We will be OK. Won’t we?