I almost definitely do not have cancer.
But confronting the slight chance that I did required a lot of deep breaths.
Yesterday I had a follow-up appointment to a standard gynecological exam because a test result came back abnormal.
First, the glorious calm of dismissal.
The situation wasn’t a big deal and I knew it wasn’t a big deal because the nurse who called me to make the appointment told me it wasn’t a big deal.
So for the intervening two weeks I didn’t think about the implications too much. (Though I did ask a few people for their prayers.)
Next, the upset.
And then all of a sudden I was alone in an exam room waiting for the doctor—with tears streaming down my face.
What the? I could have sworn I wasn’t worried, but in that moment, an avalanche of thoughts threatened to consume me:
My grandma died of uterine cancer. What if I have it too?
What if I have been ignoring symptoms and skipping my check-up last year was a lethal mistake?
What if leaving my job and starting my own business is a horrible decision because my country’s health care system is a nightmare and without corporate subsidies I won’t be able to manage my medical needs without going bankrupt?
There were more thoughts than that, but you probably get the gist.
So, yeah. Tears.
And then, deep breaths.
Before long, I was reminded of a trick I already knew but often forget: Breathe deep and talk kind, and almost any fear, anxiety, or worry will soon diminish.
And so that is what I did there on the examination table, wiping the salt water off my face and remembering who I really am.
Be well, my love.
Be safe, my dearest.
Live in joy and peace, sweet friend.
Exhale. Longer than the inhale. Inhale through the nose. Out, long and slow, again.
It didn’t take too long for me to feel calm.
Once I allowed my feelings to roll down my face and activated my breathing skillz, the energy of distress was more than willing to dissipate.
And then the doctor came in, and she was awesome and straightforward and assuring, and I was able to relax (as much as possible) for the procedure, breathing all the while.
The relief my deep breaths brought me was tremendous, and though obviously hearing the doctor say she is quite confident I don’t have cancer brought relief as well, I know that even if she’d had a different message for me, my breathing would have carried me through.
Because breath is like that. It’s with us always, whether or not we are grateful for it.
And I am definitely grateful for deep breaths.
Love > fear,