I had a mammogram today

I had a mammogram today. Nothing is wrong. It's same test that I get every year to confirm that the girls are okay. Walk in, plop them out one at a time and put them between the plates of a sturdy cold vise. No prep (except removing deodorant) and no late night studying required. Easy peasy. Except, it's not.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was forty-nine. She found the lump several months before going to the doctor. When she finally summoned the courage to see a doctor he assured her that it was nothing but a cyst. She went home. The evil little time bomb was still there a few months later. She had a mammogram, the report read "Normal". It lied.

At forty-eight she stood, breathing in the sterile hospital odors of bleach and alcohol, to stare at a machine that would reveal her fate. Or so they said.

I try not to remember this as the fortune teller's assistant gives me instructions. My bends and twists rival those of any contortionist. The test is over quickly. I return to the waiting area and am soon called again. The radiologist wants "a couple more pictures". The nonchalant technologist informs me "it happens" and again I contort.

I am returned to the waiting room to await the results among other women in the human assembly line. Coffee and cookies are there to make the wait easier. More pleasantries are exchanged as women come and go.

The assistant fortune teller appears in the door. A smile lights her face as she says "You're free to go." I stammer and ask about the results. As the door slowly swings open to the lobby where my husband and daughter I am told that the test is all clear. "It looks normal", she says.