August 25, 2011
With one phone call, Life as we know it can change. Even the possibility of what might happen crowds our brains and clouds our vision to what actually will.
On Monday, August 22, I was the lucky winner of one of those calls. I was slamming out a syllabus for Fall 2011 when my phone rang. So focused was I on posting that syllabus before the deadline — Tuesday, August 23 — that I only glanced at Caller I.D, expecting it to be another unidentified caller.
Instead, it was my doctor’s office calling about the results of a mammogram I had one week earlier.
“The film showed an asymmetric spot,” Katrina reported. “We just need a couple more pictures, is all. Probably nothing more than a fold in the film.”
That kind of thing happened to me fifteen years ago, at another imaging center. Since that time, I have had only good results, an annual letter stating “no evidence of breast cancer“.
“After our radiologist reads the x-rays, he’ll send them to your doctor. If we need you to return, you’ll get a call,” the tech said. So, happy that the procedure was over for another year, I dressed, left the facility, and, assuming I would once again receive good news, stopped off for dinner at Campo Verde, one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Arlington.
Within only 36 hours, that phone call summoned, as in a curtain call, everyone I know who has ever had breast cancer. Each of these women, too, received an unexpected phone call. Each survivor, each valiant warrior — courageous, strong in spirit — takes her bow on the front and center, on the Stage of my memory. Only one word fits these women: amazing.
Yes, I’m a Christian. I was brought up by strong Christian parents. I read my Bible, so I’m assured of a Place with “more than enough room” (John 14:2 NLV). A Place with streets of gold, no night, no tears, no sickness. Certainly no triple-digit Texas heat.
Meanwhile, though, I’m in this world. I’m human, with every weakness human-ness carries with it: fear of the unknown and a dread of leaving my comfortable life on Earth. And I’m scared of pain. Even though I know I’ll be reunited with my loved ones “up there Someday,” I’m not ready to leave behind my children, my grandchildren, my fiance, my friends, and my dog.
I’m too busy to get sick and die. Can’t I schedule disease and death for a more convenient time? Say, a hundred years from now?
This afternoon, I will return for that second set of x-rays. Until further notice, I have classes to teach, revisions to write, a blog to maintain…. In other words, Life must go on.
Have you ever had a phone call that forces you to wonder what lies ahead?