Lisa A. Kramer

Author, Speaker, Theater Artist, Creativity Facilitator

The Wish, the Wait, the Fear

I wrote this as an exercise this morning when meeting with my writing buddy, Tammie. Be warned, it is a fictional response to my mammogram yesterday. Enjoy.

unexpected breasts

I hover in the corner and wish I could erase the discomfort and fear that my daughter tries to hide, as she stands in an awkward, twisted position; breast pressed between two pieces of hard plastic. The machine looks like a high-tech torture device, and I suppose in some ways it is. I'm sure that is what my daughter is thinking as she moves through the various acrobatic poses, guided by the calm voice of the technician.

I yearn to reach out and touch her with warm, loving hands to counteract the unfeeling touch of latex gloves pulling and manipulating private flesh. I know she won't feel my touch. I only hope she feels my love as I pour it into the room.

She winces a little as her flesh clutches on the uncaring machine.

"Are you okay?" The technician asks.

"I'm fine," she says, "the alternative is worse."

She gives a laugh, but it sounds hollow. I've heard her genuine laugh and witnessed every moment of joy. I love when she has those moments, but nowadays they are few and far between.

I wish her thoughts of me didn't stop her joy. If I could change anything I would take away her sadness and tell her to hold on to the memories of the happy times that filled our lives before. I want her to live her life to the fullest, without fear.

I suppose that is too much to ask when she comes to this place. They can attempt to hide behind elegant art, flowing fountains, and peaceful pictures--but nothing will ever really hide the purpose of this machine. The threat it holds as well as the promise. They can never protect their patients from the fear of possibility--the terror caused by the inevitable waiting for results.

In most cases the results are nothing to fear. But for women like my daughter, the possibility looms darkly.

I wish she knew how beautiful she looks at this moment, as she faces the possibility head on--even squished into a position that borders on humiliating. It shouldn't be humiliating.This is the moment that can save her from becoming me--a soul in the corner who can no longer touch the people she loves. A woman who caught the lump too late, who fought and lost.

Now I fight for my daughter, even though she doesn't know it. Now I watch, and pray, and fill the room with the love I have for her.

I hope she feels it. I hope she knows.