When I was eight I had to go in for a procedure to break up and remove a kidney stone. As you can imagine I was very scared.
My dad pulled me aside and told me the tale about a man who had to eat an elephant. At first the task seemed impossible; how could he eat such a large animal? Well, the answer came that he could eat the massive elephant if he but ate it one bite at a time.My dad then gave me a pair of elephant earrings to wear to remind me that I could overcome the scariness of my surgery and recovery, I just needed to take it one thing at a time.
Those earrings, and the story behind them, were a great comfort to me then and have continued to be a source of strength throughout the trials of my life.
Well, I had another experience over the last week or so that was pretty scary--bringing the elephant story to the forefront of my mind.
I found a lump in my right breast.
I have no family history of breast cancer, that I know of, and I know breast tissue can change throughout the menstrual cycle, but a lump is still a scary thing to find.
After a priesthood blessing, I went in to the doctor. He examined me and thought it was characteristic of a fibroid cyst, but sent me in for an ultrasound just in case.
I went in for my ultrasound today and was pretty nervous, though I was trying to trust God and relax. When I was called back to get changed into my hospital gown, what print did I find on the dressing room curtain?: elephants.
I smiled to myself, took a deep breath, and remembered to take this whole lump thing one thing at a time.
After my ultrasound the radiologist came in and performed another very thorough exam. She said that the lump wasn't cystic and it looked to be nothing more than dense breast tissue (very common in women my age and at this point in my cycle). She said that, for her own comfort, she'd like to follow up in a few months if the lump changes but that at this point I don't need to be concerned.
One bite at a time.
I am so thankful for the comfort prayer brings. I am thankful for competent doctors and thorough follow through. I am thankful I'm OK. I am thankful for the elephant story and the reminder it is that all things are achievable if we just take things one thing at a time.
Thanks, Dad, for taking the time to give me courage when I was little. That lesson (and my love for elephants) has stayed with me my whole life.
Lady friends, please be sure to perform regular self breast exams. Go in for your regular check ups. If you find anything questionable go in and have it checked right away. Have courage and take it one thing at a time.
What happens when you go on vacation for a week, then back home for a day before leaving again for a week, and then when you come back home you still forget about those banana-based cookies you had in the cookie jar till late this afternoon?
Answer: about 5 inches of dense mold. That or some homeless person broke into the house while we were gone and dumped his creepy bag-o-hair collection into our cookie jar.
I guess we'll never know. ;)