Today I had my annual mammogram. Since having breast cancer, mammograms create a degree of anxiety for me. I had Paget's Disease (www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/sites-types/paget-breast) , a rare form of cancer that was noticed by my gynecologist and diagnosed by my dermatologist just two months after a normal mammogram. After two surgeries and a series of radiation treatments, I was told to get biannual checkups and a diagnostic mammogram yearly. I saw my oncologist in November and he said all looked well and wrote the scrip for this test. Once you have had cancer, the odds of getting a second cancer are higher than the odds of getting your first. So, even though Paget's Disease is not found by mammogram, something else could be.
The beauty of a diagnostic mammogram is that the doctor reads the test while you wait. A smiling nurse appeared with the good news, all clear!
When I left the hospital I realized what a beautiful sunny day it was. It was just as sunny when I went in but things seem clearer, brighter, more intense when fear is lifted. I decided to go home, get one of my Yorkies, and head out for a walk on this crisp, cold, beautiful day.
I headed to nearby Englewood Reserve, one of our fabulous Metro Parks (www.metroparks.org/Parks/Englewood/Home.aspx). They do an exemplary job clearing the road through the park, including the bike path that runs along side, so I thought it would be easy to find a place to walk.
|Englewood Dam, cars traverse the dam on top to the left|
|Why the dam was built|
When I parked in the lot there were two couples entering a snowy path. When a guy exited the same path a few minutes later, he said the snow was packed but not slippery. Being deep in the woods instead of on a road, even one with limited traffic, was enticing so Buddy and I ventured forth.
|Buddy leading the way on the snowy trail|
Metro Parks signage, we chose the River Trail
The peace and solitude of the woods was blissful. It was so quiet that the birdcall was crystal clear, calling Buddy to attention. I could identify chickadees, cardinals, and finches. If was so good to be in this place, feeling this way, so alive, so fully present in my body. I was aware of my breath, my heart beat, the sun on my face, my stride.
|Captivated by birdsong|
When I am not seeing everything about my body that needs to be improved, when I step back from judgments imposed by others, when I can see how healthy and fit I am, I glimpse what it is like to be fully at home, at peace, in my own skin.
|Self portrait of one grateful woman|