Three Weeks

A month ago I had a routine mammogram, and a few days later I got the news.

The news, via the Internet, telling me (in somewhat technical language) that they didn’t like what they saw and I needed to come back for further testing. I was on the phone in a heartbeat, making that appointment, only to be told they couldn’t get me in for three weeks.

I’ve had so many mammograms and they always came back negative (as in nothing wrong), so it hadn’t even occurred to me this one might be problematic.

I did a self-exam (something admittedly I’m typically lax in doing) and felt a small bump. That’s what they tell you to look for — a lump the size of a pea.

I went to work that night knowing my life might change in three weeks. Three weeks! I had to wait that long.

The next day I contacted my doctor’s office to see if they had any clout in getting me in earlier. They didn’t.

Three weeks!

It was, as you might imagine, a long three weeks. I was able to put it out of my mind for short periods of time, even telling myself they couldn’t have been that concerned about what they saw or they would have gotten me in earlier. But I wasn’t sure about that. Still, for the most part, I was able to maintain my equilibrium. I didn’t tell anyone and as far as I know, no one suspected anything.

I didn’t check the bump again. I didn’t get on the Internet and research everything. I figured the testing would tell me everything I wanted to know.

So yesterday I went in for the ultrasound. Even longer than the three weeks was the wait in the lobby. The television set was airing an episode of Love It or List It. I didn’t care what the homeowners did.

And longer than that was the wait between the time they did the ultrasound and the time they gave me the news — which I’m guessing was five or ten minutes.

When the tech came back in, I could see the relief in her face. It was only a cyst, she told me. Very common. Didn’t mean an increased risk of cancer. Be sure to have my annual mammogram on time. Did I have any questions?

The obvious one, although I didn’t voice it. Why did I have to wait three weeks? For an appointment that altogether took less than 30 minutes?

I don’t have the answer to that, but at least the answer to the other question weighing on me for three weeks was the one I wanted to hear.

Image Credit: ©grandfailure – stock.adobe.com

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Every Word, Every Drop

Once I was grocery shopping with my friend Pam and her then four-year-old daughter Macy, who was nearly jumping out of the shopping cart seat in excitement at every turn.

“Ooooo!” she’d say, “I want THAT!” Another few steps, “And that! and that!” In vain, Pam tried telling her they didn’t have the money to buy all those things. I decided to step in.

“You know Macy, there are lots of things I’d like to have, too,” I began. “I’d really like a new dress, and some shoes to go with it. Maybe some earrings. But I can’t afford it right now, so I just put it on a list for someday.”

“But I want THAT!” Macy insisted.

Pam sighed. “There are lots of things I want, too, and things Daddy would like,” she said, “but we can’t have everything we want.”

“I’d really like some new makeup,” I went on, maybe pushing it a little. “And a new car. Wow, I’d really like a new car. One with air conditioning.”

Macy was looking skeptical.  With her eyes narrowed, she put her hands on her hips and stared at us. “What you two need,” she said sternly, “is a piggybank.”

Piggy bank manager

We burst out laughing. Macy didn’t get anything she wanted that day, but she was the star of evening as we told the story again and again.

Since that time I’ve thought of that shopping trip and realized something rather important: Macy knew about saving money. As frustrated as Pam may have been with her daughter’s demands, when push came to shove, the kid had the answer. Mom was doing something right.

I wonder how many times parents get fed up with their children’s words and actions and wonder if they’re doing any good at all. They see other kids in the neighborhood seemingly doing so much better, maybe, or their nieces and nephews are the family stars. Is anything getting through?

It’s getting through. It’s all getting through. It may seem futile at the moment, but the words — and actions — are sinking in.

When I was about five, my parents decided to teach me a little about money. I’d been getting an allowance, a small amount, all in pennies.  They brought me to the kitchen table, where there was a pile of pennies on one side, and a dollar bill on the other.

I was told there were 100 pennies, which were worth the same as the dollar bill. I could have either the 100 pennies or the dollar bill, but it was important I understood they were worth the same.

No problem. Got it. Give me the dollar bill. I’d never had currency before.

My parents were certain that in my fascination with that dollar bill, I’d missed the lesson. I hadn’t. I’d grasped it quite quickly, in fact.

You never know what’s going on your child’s mind, but they’re hearing every word. That’s a comfort and a warning, I guess.

You can’t be there to make decisions for them, and they’ll make some mistakes, regardless of all your good words. But you’re laying a foundation and they’ll be building the house, so make it a good foundation.

Because it never stops making a difference. You never stop making a difference.


Photo Credits: (Piggy Bank Manager) © BCFC — Bigstock; (Two Girls) © zagorodnaya — Fotolia