On the second day of the new year I retrieved my mail and opened a familiar envelope announcing the results of my recent mammogram. During the past twenty years I have used the same imaging center and was familiar with their response: “all normal findings. Please remember to schedule an appointment next year.”

However, this was not the message I received that day. “We are in need of an additional evaluation … a special breast imaging examination is needed. Please register with the call center for an appointment.” I stared in disbelief! I even looked at the address on the letter to be certain that I was the intended recipient. I was frozen in the moment at what the letter actually meant. I am ashamed to admit it, but my mind did flips at the possibilities. Did I miss something during my monthly self-exams?

After a few moments in quiet and anxious prayer I summoned my husband to read the letter. It was important to have my best friend join me, for him to offer his comforting words and pray for me. He assured me that “everything would be fine.” I would later learn that he too was anxious.

Well, I will not bore you with all the details, but the seemingly long wait for an opening at the imaging center, calling a few girlfriends to join me in prayer, and the decision not to alarm the children with a call occupied some time.

Finally, the examination. It went well and the report was good—all clear and normal.

Later while I was discussing my episode, I was given some helpful information that now will change how I schedule my annual appointments. Someone suggested that I schedule my annual mammogram six months after my annual OB/GYN exam, while continuing to perform my monthly self-examinations. This is a change as I always followed my mammogram three weeks after my OB/GYN appointment. This method allows a checks and balances system to form between the findings of my doctor, the imaging center, and me. It is worth my health to be vigilant.