It’s this time of year again


Here I was in the dentist’s chair. Everything in the surgery had changed, it was dark and gloomy, and my dentist, a nice young man, was not there. Instead, there was this woman who started looking at my gaping mouth, looked at me and said:

I have to check something out.

Whatever it was that she checked out, a couple of minutes later she said:

There is nothing I can do. You have cancer.


y heart sank and I started thinking that I had been there once and if I’d been able to take it once, I could take it a second time. My mind was full of questions, but whatever I asked she kept repeating as a leit-motiv that this was cancer. I asked her what my options were, but she said there were no options, it was cancer. I woke up sweating, with a knot in my stomach. It was 4 o’clock in the morning, and five hours later I had an appointment for a mammography. Turning and tossing in my bed after that nightmare, I kept thinking that it was the first time I had felt that worried about the results of the mammogram. I usually worry more about the uncomfort and pain associated with it than with the results.


o I started having a sense of foreboding. You see, I never remember dreams. I probably dream like everyone else, but usually, I sleep like a baby and don’t recall anything. So for the memory of a dream to stick like that, there had to be something true about it.
I turned on the light, got up and drank a glass of water and started thinking that for my next mammography, I would take some tranquillizer before going to bed. And then, it occured to me that it wasn’t too late to do that and took a quarter of a pill before going back to bed.
A few hours later, after the mammography itself had been done, here I was sitting in this closet, waiting for the doctor, who really a charming lady, to perform an echography on both my breasts and give me the results of the mammography. Everything turned out OK. But I will definitely remember, next year when it’s this time of the year to take a tranquillizer before going to bed. No need to spend another night like this.


13 thoughts on “It’s this time of year again

  1. Thanks for sharing the reality that really tough emotions follow us long after a trauma ends. All I hope for is to manage my emotions, with no illusion of eliminating them (and then feeling inadequate with all the baggage this invites!). It takes guts for you to share w us a post that is a dramatic shift from your usual happy-go-lucky upbeat adventures with and among friends, parks, art, and delicious and gorgeous food (such as the pink tart in your next post!).

  2. @ Tamar This is probably one of the reasons why I don’t write about certain things in my native language. I started out writing this in French for my French blog and found it just impossible, finding it somewhat exhibitionist. When I write in English, it puts a mask on the whole thing. 😉

  3. Oh that’s such a good idea. Write about the scary stuff in a language other than your native tongue!

    I’m so sorry you get so frightened about this stuff. I hope you treat yourself to something nice for getting through another one of those horrible mammograms.

  4. Gosh, Claude, that did sound very scary! I’m SOOO happy that all is well. May you have a great and healthy year.
    Isn’t it amazing how our fears are pushed to the deepest recesses of our mind, but somehow they always find a way of emerging. Even in our dreams.

  5. What a relief! Thank goodness everything is well and that your dream was only a reflection of your fears and not a prediction. Next year take the sleeping pill. May I suggest Valerian (a herb)?

  6. Good Lord, Claude! I read the beginning of this post and was half out of my chair on the point of telephoning you!! Thank goodness I read a bit further first – you really scared me! I think you deserve that pretty pink cake now. I’m off to make myself a nice cup of tea! Much love, take care.

  7. Claude,
    LOL but the only time that I approached my mammogram without fear, in fact I bounced in full of life and vigor, was the time they discovered my cancer. So now I look on the fear and trepidition as a good thing! I also thank God for mammograms and early detection. I have had fifteen years now of being cancer-free and celebrate my good fortune each and every day.

    Celebrating with you today, the good results of your tests and praising all women who are pro-active in their health-care.

  8. claude,

    as i read this i’d lean closer to the screen, wonder how you could write so objectively about the dentist’s words. it did not help to know that you were on the way to a mammogram. was still frightened for you. yes, it is the worst indignity. and so fear-inducing.

    on october 26, i had a CTscan for something that may or may not be acting up. but, like you, the anticipation was the worst part. the day went by without thinking about it because i’m sure the doctor would call if the results were negative. talk about denial!

    grudingly made an appointment for mammogram this morning. i think that women my age do not require one every year but this time do not feel like living dangerously. your dream will follow me for a while. it reflects so many of the fears we have about heartless health systems. be well. yours, naomi

  9. Il y avait de quoi faire peur aux malheureux qui peinent, à leur grande honte, à comprendre la langue anglaise ( même écrite…)

    Je vais essayer de me procurer, si cela existe, l’Aglais pour les Nuls !

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