I go to the doctor twice a year for a checkup to try to stay on top of things. This past Tuesday was my fall visit. Every time I go the discussion revolves around prescriptions and general health. But this time was different.
I had felt something close to one of my breasts and pointed it out to the doctor. He felt it also. There was a lump and it was close to my breast.
There was no question if something was there, but what was there? He said it needs to be checked to rule out something such as breast cancer.
But I said men don’t get breast cancer. He assured me that although rare, they certainly do.
He sent me the next day to the Kennestone Women’s Center for a mammogram and possibly an ultrasound. This in itself was uncomfortable.
The night before I slept very little. I was concerned.
No, that’s an understatement. I was scared. Again, the question wasn’t if but what. I didn’t want my family to go with me although they offered. This was something I preferred to do alone.
But on my way down there I had a thought. It felt like a selfish thought. But I dialed the phone anyway. I called my friend, Nathan Brandon. Nathan is a minister and a man that truly lives the life of a Christian. He’s the real deal.
I told Nathan where I was headed and asked him if he would say a little prayer for me. I also told him that if what I was asking was selfish, then just tell me and forget my request.
Of course Nathan said he would say a prayer and I knew he meant it.
Why was it Nathan who I called? Because I knew Nathan wouldn’t start his prayer by saying, “Lord, I know Chris is a heathen.” Laugh if you want. It could happen. But not with Nathan.
When they took me to the room for the mammogram, I never thought of men really having breasts. But when the lady grabbed a handful and pulled, the skin from my back tightened.
I asked her if this was going to hurt. She told me that I might feel a little discomfort.
Let me translate that for you. Yes, it is going to hurt. I am going to put the breast I just pulled from your body into a vise and squeeze it very, very hard. End of translation. This happened not once, but four times.
They saw the lump and I was then sent to another lady for an ultrasound. On our way to the room I thought the smart thing to do was ask her if this was going to hurt.
She said and I am not making this up, “Only if we find triplets.” Then she laughed hysterically.
I was blessed, fortunate, lucky. You can use whatever term you want. The lump was swollen muscle tissue. Benign swollen muscle tissue.
Thank you Lord. And thank you Nathan for not letting the fact many think that I’m a heathen stand in the way of your prayers.
I write this because men have no idea what women go through. Women tell us they have to go have a mammogram and we think nothing of it. It is both painful and scary and many times men don’t give it a second thought.
But one man will think about it differently from here forward.
There were several times yesterday when I was told, “See what women go through.” I could only say, “Yes, I do.” And I am very regretful that it took me 50 years to have a better understanding.
For all of you women that have had or who have breast cancer, October is awareness month. But you already know that.
For all of you men, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you didn’t know, now you know that. It means something.
To you ladies now in the fight, let me say this. My prayers will be with you as you fight and defeat this disease. But to be on the safe side, you might want to give Nathan Brandon a call. His prayers may hold a little more weight than those of a heathen.
Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.