I tried to go to my happy place. I tried not to breathe deeply and yet still meditate. When that failed I tried to sing show tunes, tell myself jokes, sing 99 bottles of beer...
- It does help to focus on the big picture. I was not there for myself; I was there for my family. Truly, if I were a single woman I think I'd have said fuck it and left. But with my family history of breast cancer, having this screening is important as both a parent and a wife. So I needed find a way back in that tube.
- I can handle any of my fears if I can look them in the eye. (When I can't, I lose my shite.) I've long known I'm a bit of a control freak. But as the techs were asking me what they could do to get me to go on with the test, I realized this was more than just giving up control. I was freaked out because I couldn't use my sight to focus outside of my position. TRYING to look around was my problem. In this situation, I had to close my eyes and rely on my other senses.
- When I can't see, I need to feel my way. I don't necessarily mean with my heart. I mean literally. When the tech took my hands & told me I could handle this; even blind and barely able to breathe, I believed her. To her credit, that wonderful lady stood outside the MRI tube, while I held on for dear life. There is great power and healing in the human touch.
- When I really can't handle my situation, the bravest thing I can do is speak up & ask for help. I am the strong one, the one who endures and tries very hard not to complain. Yet as a mom, I tell my kids when they feel like they can't be brave, they can lean on me & together we can face anything. The reason, I say, is asking for help shows more bravery than anything else. In the middle of my panic attack, I was reminded mommy is also stronger when she lets herself be vulnerable & accepts that she cannot tackle everything on her own.
- Oh, and the final thing I learned during my breast MRI? Mammograms are NOT the most uncomfortable thing I have ever done with my boobs. Actually, this whole experience was seriously awkward. Physically & emotionally. Of course, the most valuable lessons are often uncomfortable to learn.
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