George Carlin once had a hilarious comedy routine preying on our paranoia. Somewhere he had read that only female mosquitoes bite. But the females don't buzz. Only the non-biting males buzz. So he talked about the ridiculousness of us, lying in bed, riddled with anxiety because we hear a mosquito buzzing around the room. "Relax", he said, "it won't bite!" And then the awesome kicker: "BUT—" he quipped,"If you hear NOTHING...."
Hold that thought.
Nearly 18 years ago my mother died of cancer. When she was just a year older than I am, she had found a lump and went in for a mammogram. The doctor told her it was nothing. She relaxed and went home. Two years later she went back, stating simply that the lump was getting bigger. This time? It was Stage 4 cancer — a malignant tumor, metastasized throughout the lymphatic system. She died four years later, after a very hard fight.
Hold that thought, too, if you can manage two at once....
So, a month or so ago I very vaguely referred to an abnormal mammogram in this post. They found, essentially, nothing. Mailed me a letter confirming there is no evidence of cancer. But because of my history, they sent me for a follow-up ultrasound. Again, nothing. They called and said I should come back in six months for a follow-up. But I think my mother's story scared them. Because the next day they called back and said they were scheduling me with a surgeon. (A WHAT?) "Just for a second opinion," they said. "It's probably nothing."
So today I spent nearly three hours in a surgeon's office (a whopping ninety minutes of those in the WAITING ROOM—which must be a metaphor because sometimes it seems like my whole LIFE is a waiting room!) only to be told that the reports and the exam conclude there is (you guessed it) nothing. But because my mother's nothing turned out to be a very big something, this time they're recommending an MRI. Oh my goodness, I wonder, Where will it stop? In my case, we have to panic when we hear nothing. Because when we're afraid of NOTHING, suddenly EVERYTHING is suspect.
Next week I go in for the MRI. Hopefully they will find whatever it is. Because there appears to be no end to the amount of nothing that can be found, and no end to the lengths they are willing to go in order to find it!