Right before Christmas during my routine 6-month check up, they found something on my mammogram, followed up with an ultrasound and discussed options. I don’t like ‘options’…they worry me. An MRI was scheduled for 9am Christmas Eve. Really? Christmas Eve? So I did what any stressed out, kinky haired, cancer-paranoid-woman would do: I went to get my hair done!
My friend Marilyn owns a shop in Rotterdam, NY, Symetry Hair Design Studio. I give this shameless plug because she has pulled me out of hair-sadness for the last 30 years. She and her team are miracle workers and I am living proof. Anyway, Marilyn set out to color and cut my hair that afternoon but what actually transpired was more than that. It was therapy. Therapy for me and I believe therapy for the two other clients she had there. I have seen and spoken with these women before but this particular afternoon was ‘better than the Hallmark Channel’ as the one woman stated. (I am not mentioning their names not because I don’t know them, but because I would not want to name them if they did not want me to.)
What started out as color on our hair and eyebrows, foil on our heads and threading of facial hair ended up with life discussions and problem solving that would rival the beauty parlor scenes from Steel Magnolias. We Googled things on the internet that made us laugh so hard we cried. (Fifty Shades and some sex talk transpired but that “stays in the salon!”) We opened a box of those little chocolate bottles with liquor inside and calculated the calorie expense vs. pleasure point before each of us downed at least two. We talked like 6 women who knew each other 100 years and for that afternoon, I forgot about the suspicious findings on my mammogram and the pending Christmas Eve MRI; I remembered to be thankful for each and every moment and I actually wondered how an afternoon like this could be so cathartic. I thank you ladies for your time and open hearts and I hope you took away something from that afternoon as well.
As a sidebar, I am pretty confident that we each had an issue or problem of our own and yet no one spoke of it, no mention at all. It was implied and understood and no more needed to be said.
Now this morning I sit by the light of my Christmas tree and thank God that the MRI showed no suspicious findings and that I may rest a little easier until that next MRI in June. Sadly at this moment, I have more than a handful of friends who have survived breast cancer, are going through reconstruction or are awaiting the results of a biopsy. Find that person, place or thing that eases some of the pressure, panic and fear that makes this difficult. I am here and like my friend Lynda told me, “I am on your shoulder”.