Tried NOT to dwell on the thought that I needed a second mammogram all of last week and I did well in not keeping it front and center, but it did gnaw a bit, always at the back of my mind. I presume that's natural. This is the third time in 12 years I've been called back. Each time I worry a little less, telling myself it was ok last time, but remembering my mother's sister who died of breast cancer.


I did not feel ill in any way. As a matter of fact, I have slept better and had less pain than in months. Friday morning I did all of the chaturangas (holding a push-up position as you slowly lower yourself down) without straining in yoga and slid into upward dog with ease. I felt strong and healthy.


I was greeted by Kitty, a wonderful imaging technician I had remembered from previous years. She put me right at ease. We discussed the variety of scenarios (one picture may be enough, the radiologist may ask for more or order a sonogram), but that I would definitely meet with a doc that afternoon and know my results PERIOD. No going home wondering.


As I undressed, Kitty explained that the more pressure I could take, the better the scan would be. I held my breath (easy thanks to regular swimming and yoga) as the machine pushed. Finally, I called enough. She got the film and said that was a hefty amount of pressure. I was ushered back to the closet-like changing room and told I would know something in ten minutes. I picked up the copy of Caroline Myss' Sacred Contracts I had brought along and focused on that. I was reading about her clients that began to see the incidents in their lives more metaphorically. I was particularly entranced by her series of dreams of being grounded and not allowed on a plane as she finished to complete her first book. It meant her book wasn't ready yet, even if she thought it was. I compared that to the book I seem to have been working on for ages, but know teaching it right now is more important and feeding me to create an even stronger work.


The doctor roused me from somewhere else. I had also been praying that I could handle whatever the news. It was all so dreamlike, the radiologist saying the picture was so much different than the original and that everything was normal. "Go out, buy yourself something, you deserve it, enjoy the holiday and we'll see you back in a year." He knew it had to have hit me hard. I thanked him, only it seemed like I was on autopilot and observing from above. It was all so surreal. I closed the door and as I dressed, tears streamed down. Tears of relief, tears of de-stress, but, mostly, tears of gratitude.


I had felt held in a very safe place, somewhere aloof from the chatter of the world, from the instant I entered the imaging center door. It all confirms for me that God does have special work for me, as he does us all, and this was not going to get in the way! This experience has opened me to a newer place; one I am not yet able to define.


That night I wrapped presents until midnight, awoke at 7 am (this is the kind of energy I used to have BF/before fibro) and started right back in with Christmas prep. My youngest fought me tooth and nail all day long. I still don't seem to remember that when I bury myself in a project and she's around, I can't detach myself from her. I finally closeted myself in the small kitchen bathroom and sobbed. I did not know what she wanted from me [and told her so, then we embraced] and then I knew my next action was to haul my body to the gym and swim it off ... every iota of stress from the health scare and the holidays. It was so clear: I had neglected any self care. Mechanically, objectively, as if I were not part of the decision, I gathered my gear and told my family I'd be back when it was time to go to my mom's.


The pool was gloriously empty and bathed in afternoon sunlight. After a frenetic swim, I grabbed two noodles and floated for what seemed like en eternity. Again, I felt held and held apart.


I don't know what this is, but it feels very right and the next step in wherever I am headed. I surrender to it.


• How do I handle tenuous situations?

• How have I learned to surrender into Spirit?

• When have I felt held apart?

• What did that teach me?

• To which work is Spirit currently calling me?



took a deep inhale,

then exhaled audibly and

shut the car door

did much the same

as I opened the

imaging center door

after that, I don't

recall actively participating

I sorta sailed through

conversing with the

technician, waiting

alone, reading

then hearing the

doc say the scan 

was normal

where was I?

being held

somewhere apart

Listen to this post:

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Comment by Alison Irving on 12th mo. 27, 2011 at 6:01pm

Cathy, your blog really touched me, probably because like many women I've had a stressful mammogram recall but also because I too have a demanding daughter. What a good idea to go to the pool, have the water hold you up and to float in it as if in the arms of the Spirit. 

Comment by Cathy Barney on 12th mo. 28, 2011 at 10:26am

SO wonderful to hear from you Alison; seems we have much in common. Yes, the water IS wonderful. I appreciate your reading and commenting. I'd be interested in how you survive your daughter. THANKS!

Comment by Alison Irving on 12th mo. 28, 2011 at 2:37pm

I have 2 daughters, the one that stretches me is now 22. Through the temper tantrums and the tough teens, I took her out regularly on her own for mother-daughter times. The worse she behaved, the more I kept taking her for lunch etc. and just listening to her. At times it was really stressful. Now she's gorgeous, a lovely young adult who has started to attend the Quakers with us. She still has her moments, but be encouraged, there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Comment by Paula Deming on 12th mo. 29, 2011 at 10:03am

Blessings on you Cathy!

This resonated with me, since I recently was called back for a second picture. I felt unusually calm, and wondered at that. I accepted the calm gratefully, and found myself holding the space in the waiting room. I, too, felt the imaging technician called me back from "somewhere else." :)  Thank you for sharing your experience.

Comment by Cathy Barney on 12th mo. 29, 2011 at 10:55am

Thank you Allison for sharing your experience and a glimpse of the young woman she'll become. My wild child is 11 and has always been one, though I love that in her and it is a mirror for me. I love how you just held onto the listening ... I will remember that!

Paula -- thank you for reading and sharing. It is interesting how in times of distress, when all we can do is surrender, that we are held. I am so glad this resonated with you as well and that you told me so. I suspect there are many others.


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