The Dreaded Mammogram Call-back

Walking the bridge across cancer

Walking the bridge across cancer


Four years post-cancer, I was beginning to take my annual mammograms for granted. Go in, get the pictures taken, get a letter a week later saying all is well. That was what I expected this year, too. I’d had no symptoms of any kind. I’d been eating a healthier diet, getting more exercise. I felt great!

In fact I was out walking with my husband when the call came on my cell phone. Kaiser Permanente, it said. Were they calling with the results now, instead of sending a letter? But the words were not what I expected

“We’d like to set up an appointment for a repeat mammogram,” she said.

Here there be dragons.

Here there be dragons.

“Oh, no,” I said. I walked back to the house and looked at my calendar. Yes, I could come in next Wednesday.

“They will give you the results of your mammogram then,” she continued. Of course, I knew what the results were. If they hadn’t seen some sort of abnormality, they wouldn’t be asking me back. It was in the same breast, which seemed like it could either be a good sign or a bad sign. Perhaps it was just a bit of scar tissue. But it could also mean the cancer had returned.

The next few days—for both me and my husband—were days of “What if?” We read up online, wondered, and waited. And turned to God. “I really don’t want to go through this all again,” I told Him. I started remembering all the details of that time—the anxious waiting for surgery, the pain of recovery, the daily trips across town for radiation. No, I did NOT want to do that again. And yet, I knew I had to put it in God’s hands. If that’s what He wanted, then I would accept it.

Still and at peace

Still and at peace

Sunday at church I kept the news to myself. But the sermon seemed aimed right at me. Dr. Lou Foltz talked about King Jehoshaphat. The heart of the message: The battle is the Lord’s. All we have to do is worship God and stand firm.

Worship God and stand firm. Yes, I could do that. Joy coursed through me. Whatever happened, God would be with me. It would be okay.

My husband drove me to my appointment early this morning. They took me right in. “The abnormality was only on one of the x-rays,” the technician said. “It may very well be just a little fold of tissue.” That sounded good. She squished the offending body part between the board and a clear plastic cover. I held my breath. She looked at it and said, “Let’s do one of the original view, as well.” Rearrange, hold my breath, zap. It was over. “Have a seat. I need to show these to the doctor.”

Hope like a butterfly

Hope like a butterfly

I pulled up Kindle on my phone. It opened to a book I had begun weeks earlier. This chapter was all about trusting God, even in the hard times. I smiled. How does God do these things?

Five minutes later the doctor came in. “It’s good news,” she began, going on to explain how mammograms can sometimes appear to show a problem, but it really is nothing. Both of today’s pictures were totally normal.  I thanked her, as the “what if’s” drifted away.

“Have a good day!” she said.

Laughing at cancer

Laughing at cancer

“Oh, I will!” I said. She smiled and left, off to the next patient. I hope that person’s news is as good. I had been ready to go through whatever I had to go through, knowing God would help me. But I’m so glad that, for now at least, I can go back to my normal, busy life with this interruption. Normal is such a nice word!

About susanmaas

I grew up in the green state of Oregon, coming to love the birds, flowers, and other wild things of the woods. Our family homeschooled for sixteen years, spending wonderful vacations at the beach or camping in the western United States and British Columbia. For most of my adult life, I have been a part-time writer, creating personal experience stories, homeschooling articles, devotionals, Sunday school curriculum, and children's stories and books. I enjoy looking for signs of the eternal in nature and the small, everything events in our lives.
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4 Responses to The Dreaded Mammogram Call-back

  1. Oh, Susan, this is good news indeed! I had no idea about any of this, so am really happy about hearing the bad news and then good news all in one post! I’m thankful for the way you and Greg handled it.

  2. Bonnie Leon says:

    I’m new to your blog. But I’m so thankful I dropped in. What a fabulous way to express your walk of faith. The writer in me says, “Fabulous writing!” The heart of me says, awesome child of God, and Great God!. Thank you for watching out for Susan and us all.

    Bless you.

    • susanmaas says:

      Thank you so much, Bonnie! This blog was a big help to me when I went through cancer. I’m glad I won’t need to be giving frequent updates again–I’d just as soon leave that in the past. But I appreciate the reminder that our time here is precious.

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