Beginner's Heart

Beginner's Heart

mammograms, gratitude, and ordinary life

mammogramToday was a good day. Even though — in part because of? — I had a mammogram.

An aside: no woman in her right MIND enjoys a mammogram. But as the sister of a 13-year breast cancer survivor, I’m so very grateful for the process. And I’m grateful for being  insured, since right-wing politics have made it increasingly difficult for the uninsured (re: the less-than-comfortably-well-off) to get them.

But there’s one problem, as a Buddhist woman waiting for the results of her mammogram: Buddhists are always trying to put themselves in the other person’s place. Which means that while my mammo is routine — just a check on my annual physical to-do list — some other woman this week is sweating her results, wondering if the lump she found is cancer.


I don’t think I have cancer. Still, as I wait for the expected results, I am connected with that other woman. My ordinary life — this brilliant fall weather, the great salad I made us for lunch — is perfect. There’s nothing special about this day, but I realise that for someone, the next few days may be her last days w/out the spectre of cancer shadowing her ordinary days.2012-09-09 version 2

So I’m offering up my gratitude for a day full of pulling out grapevine, even though the blackberry stickers left me bloody. And a day of light sunburn from the warm fall light. A day of great tea, drunk on the deck while the birds squabble over the feeders (as if there weren’t enough!). I offer the elderly cat at the bird saucer, the dog chasing a cicada, the blue Oklahoma sky to the women whose lives may well change radically this week, in gratitude that mine (probably…hopefully!) will not.

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