Except when it is bad.
I’m not sure quoting the title of a Meat Loaf Song is an auspicious beginning for a blog anyway but here goes.
Three of us. There have been three of us going to the gynecologist together for the past several years. When we can coordinate our annuals.
Have you turned away in horror yet?
Was it the Meatloaf reference or the annual gynecological exam that scared you?
Never mind. No matter.
Going to the female parts doctor has never really bothered me. But I have a couple of friends who dread it a bit. Since we now all head downtown to the same group of doctors, we decided to take a humdrum or less than pleasant appointment and turn it into some fun.
So we head down together to the doctor’s office and then go out to lunch, shopping, etc.
We’ve, sitcom style, played musical chairs as we wandered in blue gowns from room to room, trying to find a nurse who could tell us why the doctor was so delayed—only to later find out that it was because of one of our trio. Who had also wandered in a blue gown through the hallway. Amazingly, we missed each other in the passing.
We’ve chatted about our kids, the weather, organized sports, politics and our favorite authors while traveling to and from these offices.
This year, I’m heading in alone.
I’m not gulping out of fear, but out of what has transpired in our trio over the past year.
One of us is finishing up chemotherapy for breast cancer, looking ahead to surgery just days before Christmas.
The other has a scheduled surgery just four days from the first, for a suspicious mass deemed not cancerous but volatile and iffy.
And then there’s me.
Or should I say—and then there was one.
I won’t preach or be overly dramatic. No one is dying. No one is sobbing and feeling sorry for herself.
But the odds are not so good, ladies.
I believe the National Cancer Institute when they say one out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.
But in my life, it looks more like two out of three—or pretty damn close. Too close for comfort.
As I look to cook for both in the upcoming month, I think about how blithely we chatted and passed the time for our “routine” exams. Only two didn’t turn out to be routine.
For God’s sake, get yourselves checked out regularly, friends. My pals caught things early because they have been taking care of themselves. And because of that, there’s a good chance we’ll be lying next to each other in the sand somewhere next year with an umbrella drink in hand.
Maybe it’s middle age. Maybe an overabundance of caution. Or maybe what’s staring me in the face right now.
But I feel pretty damn lucky.
I know many women who don’t go to the doctor regularly because it’s “uncomfortable”, “embarrassing” or some other “awful” thing.
Not more awful than chemo and surgery.
My own, very blunt, version of a public service announcement.
Two out of three is not looking so good from my corner.