There's something about being a parent when you have things cut out of your body and biopsied that makes you a little queasy. More than the pain, the discomfort and even before the results come back, there is the 'what if?' factor. And it is perhaps the worst part of all.
I have a high tolerance for pain, and try not to think about the negativity of such tests, just like I don't panic about air travel until we are taking off. Then my knuckles turn white, I look anywhere but out the window and hum until it's over. Medical procedures aren't much different, except I'm staring at ceiling tiles instead of baggage compartments. I don't deal with the fear until I'm in the moment. It's not that I'm a pro, but I'm no newbie either. I've had enough procedures to teach me how to deal, but not so many that I'm immune to them. And yet.
When I was young and single and these things came up, I'd tell my parents and they'd be there. I knew they'd take care of anything that needed taking care of if I couldn't do it which, fortunately, never happened.
But when you're a mom, things are different. It's not that it isn't about you anymore. Rather, it's all about you, at least as far as your kids are concerned. You need to be around, to stay around, for them. You are a ubiquitous presence, as necessary and constant as the air they breathe. It raises the stakes. The 'what if?' is still there, but what follows is different.
I don't talk about this to be melodramatic, but because it's been on my mind this week, what with the various tests I've been taking. And while I have a high tolerance for pain, I can't say I'm as sure about my level of grace under pressure. I know mothers who have battled cancer and are in recovery. And I know others who have lost. Thankfully, I am still only in 'what if?' mode, and hopefully will stay there.
They say a woman is like a tea bag: you don't know how strong she is until you put her in hot water. Of course it's good to know how strong you are. But if I have my druthers, I won't find out just yet.