Because I have two sisters who have had breast cancer, and because I have extremely dense breast tissue, every six months I go through some form of breast-cancer screening. In October, I do a mammogram, in April an MRI.
This year, in April, I had both. Last October the radiologist saw something she didn’t like and wanted more pictures of it in April when I had the MRI. After 6 hours of testing, she broke the news: “I want to do a biopsy.”
That was a Monday, and I scheduled the biopsy for Friday. For the next three days until the biopsy, as you can imagine, I thought of little else. I knew that biopsies were not for sissies, and while I did not consider myself a sissy, panic seized me every time I thought about it.
On the morning of the procedure, I decided to go for a run to work off some of the nervous energy. And as I ran I thought, Suzanne, you can be scared or you can be brave, but you can’t be both.
And in that moment, I decided that I would be brave. And so later, when the tech called my name, my husband squeezed my hand and said, “You gonna be okay?” I replied, “I am a Noble Warrior heading into battle. I’ve got this.”
And I did. I really did. I climbed up on the table, my face set and determined, and braced myself for the battle to come. And when it was over, and the doctor asked if I was okay, I said, “Piece of cake.”
And it was. It really was. Despite the fact that the accounts I’d read on the internet about Stereotactic Biopsy promised it would be excruciatingly painful. And it did hurt, a lot, but rather than resisting the pain, I leaned into. Accepted it. Said, “this too will pass.”
And to this day I’m not sure why it went so smoothly. Was the procedure really no big deal? Or is the mind really that powerful? If you take fear out of the equation (or at least push it to the background), are the big things in life that much easier to endure?
What do you think? How much of a factor is fear when facing the scary moments of your life? What strategies do you use to get through them?
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