I believe in gifts and miracles and God working in mysterious ways. On a recent trip to Argentina, I surrendered to a massage and received a message from God…
As Irene, the masseuse, kneaded the bottom of my left foot, she said she felt some heat. That’s interesting, I thought and continued to nod off. Normally, I don’t talk during a massage—I mostly drool and sleep—but about midway through, she lifted the sheet and had me flip over. April is autumn in Argentina, and the crisp air awoke my senses. Irene placed my arms alongside my body. Then, using the palms of her hands, she drew circles around my clavicle. Interesting, I again thought to myself. I’m always surprised how different countries have different massage techniques.
And just as I was about to nod off again, Irene abruptly stopped.
“Is everything okay?” I asked.
“Do you have problems here?” She gestured above my heart.
“Not that I know of,” I thought aloud.
“Does your family?” she asked.
“My dad recently had an EKG.” My eyes were open.
“No, that’s not it.” She stretched her palms out above my heart. “There’s a darkness here.” She shook her head. “It comes from your mom,” she said.
“My mom’s heart?” By this time, I was completely out of my massage haze.
“No, her side of the family. But that’s not it. Please don’t worry.” She gave a faint smile.
I was intrigued, not scared. I believe when we surrender, really and wholeheartedly surrender, we come into God’s image of us, who we are meant to be. That means, letting go of who we think we should be or how we think life is supposed to happen.
Since finding out about my friend’s recent cancer diagnosis just weeks before going to Argentina, I’d been thinking a lot about this. I’d been completely humbled by my inability to help her. We tried everything, and there was nothing I could do that would change the fact that she had Stage IV Breast Cancer and didn’t have long to live.
After returning from Argentina, Dan and I went to Cooper Clinic for our annual physicals. This was our first anniversary gift to each other, and continues to be each year. Last year I was pregnant and wasn’t able to complete the physical, so this year, I thoroughly looked at each exam offered throughout the day. I noticed the mammogram had been removed. The new suggested age for a mammogram is forty, due to recent research on the effects of radiation. My girlfriend was in her forties, and since our return home, had been placed in hospice. She was a single mother, and in her honor, I wasn’t leaving without one.
After the mammogram, the radiologist suggested an ultrasound. Apparently, I have the highest-level density in my breast, and according to the Komen Perspectives, “Women with high breast density are four to five times more likely to get breast cancer than women with low breast density” (source).
I sat back on the examining table with my arms above my head and the warm gel surrounding my breasts. I watched the screen, and couldn’t help but think about my friend. And just as suddenly as the masseuse had stopped with her palms above my heart, the sonographer stopped and the wand rested above my breast. In a white cloud of density, was a singular darkness.
The radiologist came in. This was a cyst, no blood flow. We could continue to monitor it or I could get it drained.
I took a deep breath, surrendered, and watched the needle from the syringe find the darkness on the screen. The fluid slowly filled the syringe, and suddenly, just as ominous as it had appeared, the darkness was gone…
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