After taking deep breaths it is very important to exhale. Otherwise you faint. Fainting while ones' Myrtle is face down getting her round two up close glamour shots in essentially a glass fish tank is slightly painful. Kinda like closing the sun roof on just one hair and trying to jump out of the car. One should never hang from ones Myrtle even if it is just for a quick blurr of the room.
Thankfully, The girls were back in the kind but chilly hands of the same fabulous technician who had taken my first round images and she got me back to blinking. She also got me back on my feet to face what was coming next... but having her help me this day was not by chance...
Small towns have many disadvantages, but small towns with pubs solve most of those.
After what we are calling round one, Liza and I went to our local living room to make what I call bad choices.
"Big girl or little girl?" code for how much wine I am planning on drinking. I chose little girl but by the time I had told my tale I had emptied one for each of girls in Facts of Life - with two for Blair because that is the only way handle that beeotch - and I had an ally. A super nice ally. A super nice connected ally who would help us prep for round two. -and line up the same gal to do them. After all, we'd been to second base together and like most players on my team I am a serial monogamist. That and I really did not want scrape off my shoes again.
Guitar picks and sea monkeys require excessive scientific experiments. Excessive scientific experiments like enhanced images, ultra sounds and biopsies take time to arrange. Thank god I have adhd. I do not understand time. I just know that stuff happens and the weather changes.
19 days - we waited.
Lotsa stuff happened but the weather didn't change. It was still crappy.
So on their round two call back Ethyl and Myrtle were greeted by name at the desk. I was handed a paperbag with a whole big girl in it called Lucky Stones, a lovely card, and Twins named Stella. Crying at 9am in public takes getting used to. So does hugging. And letting people care for you. But I am trying.
So this time I rocked the waiting room, sporting super gay wonder woman converse, a big grin and properly fitting gown. What I didn't rock was the close ups.
Peter, Paul and Scary Mary were huge. It was 1977 big screen Star Wars. There was the Millennium Falcon front and center surrounded by space cancer. My breath went into hyper drive. I was heaving and my little heart was having a Tiesto dance party. I was not running red lights but I was seeing them.
My super Tech peeled me off the plates. Who knew boobs could sweat so much? She was telling me a great story about her kid and how cool they were... which helped put me back together.
Super Tech helped me into the gown, " Here, you put it on like a coat" and walked me out to the waiting room. I was sheet white, sore and scared. She patted me on the back - and told Liza to take me for a drink.
"Do you mind if I change first." I asked. " I may have peed my pants."
Super Tech laughed. Liza rolled her eyes.
"Seriously, go for a glass of wine and bring her back in a hour- but just a little girl"
I got called into the inner chamber of boob doom next. It was dimly lit and housed what I can vaguely describe as a humongous 1954 white and glass wringer washer, two chairs and a crooked bulletin board.
Then we both laughed our guts out and spent the next 20 minutes making pancakes, panini's and smores out of my breasts.
What does one wear to a mammogram? Well not lotion, perfume, deodorant or anything else that might stop the waiting room from smelling like the inside of teenagers sneaker.
So to feel human and look as gay as possible - I choose basic black slacks accented with a jaunty white belt - matching black and white old school converse tournaments, and topped it all off with a popped collar black polo - the one with the giant white horse and a red number four.
The imaging department is really like Walmart. Cancer for everyone. I was early and got called in right away. Lucky me. Liza came with me for moral support and of course to hold my sunglasses and phone. We went into a smaller waiting room which had three other freaked out women, nasty magazines, a nastier couch, and a tv. Coverage of 'the Gaza conflict' was on - which for me was a nice reminder that it can always be worse.
Then Liza changed the channel to a talk show with 5 bald flat chested cancer patients all crying. It can always get worse.
It was my turn to go into the bathroom, strip from the waist up and put on a gown. I stood there - my lovely shirt and sports bra stuffed into a plastic bag and stared at the shelf. My choice was sea foam pale blue washed within an inch of its life or a lovely gentle mint green. I picked the mint which turns out is xxxl. Ethyl and Myrtle might be but i am not. Jabba the Hut is not this big. I could have stolen a piano. That is if i had succeeded in getting it on.
I thought gowns had sequins and straps not three gaping holes. I had no idea. So i tried putting it on like curtains - my arms as the rods. Nope wide open. I tried wrapping it around me like a scarf. Nope covered exactly nothing. Then I tried it like a 1972 poncho with my head in one hole and my arms out the side. Memories of my near death in the pool surfaced. I wrestled it off and stuffed it in the 'soiled gowns bin'. ew.
Blue it is. As reached to the top shelf i finally i saw the giant poster. Step by step instructions. So simple. You put it on like a coat and wrap the third hole over your other arm. Who knew? I exited the bathroom with as much dignity as one can wearing something at least 500 others have sported and the girls and i sat down beside Liza to wait.
Poor Ethyl and Myrtle had no idea what was happening - they just huddled in my armpits completely confused as to why they free falling in public - and when the woman who had gone in ahead of me came out clutching her chest and crying i just whispered quietly -
"Hey Myrtle - wanna play a game called put the marshmallow in the parking meter?"
After a horrific fall - all puns intended - a mid winter break of Liza's knee and 23 weeks of non sick days as an Eagle - not even so much as a sniffle or headache - on the last Friday night of June, celebrating the most successful semester of my life - I nearly drown myself in our pool.
It was a simple accident fueled by vintage Rioja, excessive handstands, a pool noodle and the fact that given my stature and my painful fear of my own body - To frolic in water I wear a sportsbra, two bathing suits, a neoprene turtleneck and a sticky rubber hat to protect my 1989 hair do.
During a move I now like to call downward facing lucky moron I got tangled up in myself. Essentially an underwater self jerseying. In attempt to save myself I yanked the turtle neck all the way up and over only to have it stick to my head. In another move I call half laughing flailing bubbles I pulled one arm out of the shirt and threaded it through the shoulder strap of one suit successfully sewing myself together with my arms crossed over my face.
It is important to note that I am still upside down, the noodle has now wedged itself between my knees and my face is banging on the bottom of the pool as my butt bobs in the air.
Sadly unable to breath through my ass I start to panic and begin to air pedal in attempt to free myself. Liza finally realized this was not pool yoga and reached in to put me right side up.
However, given the tangled mess I was in - the only things available to grab onto were Ethyl and Myrtle. Myrtle was fine with being twisted sideways, Ethyl was not.
"Mow mow fowow - " I mumbled from inside. "Frart thursts" Liza had not yet let go and was squeezing the hell of Myrtle.
"What is this?" asked Liza. I stood stalk still. I knew right away. Liza gently pulled me out of my rubber tomb and we did a breast exam on the deck. Well not on the deck - the deck is fine - It was me that was - rather is not okay.
Lying down the lump was really hard to feel. But when I stood up, and let the girls dangle it was right there under the skin - hard, round and terrifying.
Funny - I nearly had to die to find out I just might.
After years of being told I behave like my father- a snide quick witted silver tounged fox with a penchant for ladies- who always had a joke or one liner that would leave people gob smacked or wanting to smack him -
it seems I am my mother's daughter after all.
Big bad Bill who smoked a belvedere in three drags and single handedly consumed more beer than the Navy lived to be 80.
Mama Dear - loved by more people than the Navy employs - made a wretched exit alone in the wee hours of late March 1989 - wrapped in Laura Secord French Mint sheets - dignity gone- taken by the ravages of breast cancer. She was just 62.
I intend only to be my mother's daughter in that her sense of humour was wiley, wise and witty. In that her love filled entire rooms the way the Beatles filled living rooms. In the way that not once in the 2.5 year battle she fought did she complain.
I want to be like her in that she was the most amazing warm human who always had a pork chop for my friends and who lived and loved by the saying - km as long as I have a dime you will always have a nickel in you pocket.
Well Mom, I have about 287 dimes as I keep finding them everywhere- so that means 287 of the people I love have nickles but I love a couple thousand more people so I am gonna need some more time.
And no offense Ma- as much as I miss you - as much as my heart aches everyday just to hear your ole southern drawl- you are not going to see me anytime soon.
It is time now to be the best combo of both my parents. After all if wasn't for them I wouldn't be here it all.