I think of our annual visit to Palm Springs as routine, but it will never be that again, not since my 2009 breast cancer diagnosis. Now it’s a trip that is a mix of apprehension, diversion, triumph and relief.
Each March we zip down to Palm Springs, a 450-mile round trip, for our mammograms. Judy and I try to make it a mini-vacation. We look for new places to eat and things to do and often reminisce about past times there.
St. Patrick’s Day, we poked our heads into the casino and meandered among the maze of dazzling, beeping machines, searching for nickel slots. Finally, we were able to discern that we stood among a mob of machines that took pennies. Even better; we could play longer!
Judy reached into her pocket for change and divvied it up between us. We found a machine that called to us and examined it, looking for the place to insert our coins. There was none. Frequent player cards or bills or tickets, yes; but no place for actual coins. Winning a fluke jackpot on our last penny would not be in our near future.
March is a perfect time of year to visit Palm Springs. We stepped out of the heavily-perfume-masked air of the casino into an 85° sunshiny day. The sounds of St. Patrick’s Day partiers rang out as we strolled toward Palm Canyon Drive. The heat coupled with images of mugs filled with green beer intensified our thirst.
Along with us, a throng of other tourists gravitated to the corner lot where Marilyn Monroe, in that memorable dress-flying pose, loomed above us, nearly touching the sky. She’s gorgeous. “Forever Marilyn” is part of Seward Johnson’s Icons series.
My mammogram technician Cheryl, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, re-took pictures that didn’t satisfy her and the radiologist. When she returned with a large red A+ written at the top of my report, I began to relax.
The exam by my surgeon, Dr. Laura Lee, was next on the schedule. Her first words, “Hello! Your images look great!” produced a run-away smile on my face. Unrealized anxiety released on the spot.
Four years have passed since my surgery. Each year I’m grateful to hear good news that brings the knowledge that I’m taking care of myself and predicts a healthy future.
Springtime in Palm Springs couldn’t be more beautiful.
I encourage you to make your own mammogram appointment if it’s been awhile since your last one. And, I want you to urge your loved ones to make theirs.
~ xoA ~