This month, I faced two fears: the dreaded mammogram and potentially not having a car for the winter.
Truthfully, the mammogram itself didn’t scare me. I figured it would be an uncomfortable ten minutes and then I’d be done. What concerned me was the likelihood of getting a questionable reading that would later entail an ultrasound and biopsy, resulting in a scary diagnosis.
Although I am low-risk with no breast cancer in my family, I waited too long to have my first mammogram. Why? Inertia, fear, and no insurance (Pre-ACA). The more time I allowed to pass and kept putting off the mammo, the more fearful I became about the possibility of breast cancer.
With the urging of friends, family, and my GP, I made the appointment. All was good until I felt a soft, pea-sized lump in my right breast a week prior to the exam. I spent those seven days constantly reexamining myself. Sometimes I felt it and panicked. Other times it disappeared and I relaxed.
But something changed. This time, I didn’t want to put off the exam. I didn’t want to wait a week. I wanted to know now if I had a tumor and take care of it immediately. I didn’t care if that meant a lumpectomy, cutting off my entire breast, radiation, or chemo. I’d take anything that would get rid of the cells that could potentially kill me.
As it turns out I’m fine. What I felt was most likely a calcified milk node. My next mammogram is this time next year, and I don’t plan to put it off or fear it.
Unlike my breasts, the fear of not having a car this winter was forcing me to keep the Land Rover. Since August, I’ve been trying to set aside some money to make two major repairs, but extra cash came in spurts. I had a recent infusion of money and I thought that next month I would shell out $1,200 to get a U-joint and calipers. After those repairs, I’d have a vehicle that would be issue free. Ha! How I deluded myself.
The latest mechanical problem was a sticking clutch pedal. I called my mechanic and told him about this latest inconvenience. His response, “That’s gonna cost ya some big money. You really should get rid of it. You’ll keep on having problems with it all the time.” And that convinced me. I was done with Greg’s “Man Rover.” It had turned itself into a cancer and I wanted to be free of it. I found an auto salvage dealer to buy it and who will sell the parts. I didn’t get much, but I wanted that piece of costly junk to be gone. So now it’s back to hoofing it until I replace it with a newish vehicle.
No breast cancer and no more Frankensteined Land Rover. How do I feel? Relieved. I hated that car. When it ran well, I semi-convinced myself that I liked it, but I’ve come to the realization that like its former owner, it was manipulating me. “I’m paid for. You can use me to cart groceries around or take the dogs to the park. Think how handy I am when it’s raining or cold. For Pete’s sake, you’ll never own another Land Rover ever again!” Yeah, but you’ve cost more to repair than what was originally paid. Sorry, but I’m not paying for a new clutch. I don’t care about your so-called luxury status or name. Ta-ta.
So I end the year on a pretty good note. No more expensive vehicle to upkeep and repair, but also no more negative ju-ju that was attached to it. As for my breasts, I keep thinking back to that Seinfeld episode with Teri Hathcher: “They’re real and they’re fabulous.” But I’ll add this: “And healthy.”