• Doc Mele

American Beauty Realized


I took a hiatus for a while. I had some health issues during the winter months, but I'm back to cultivate more epicness.

American Beauty is an awesome movie on so many levels. Did you understand the true message of the story? Let me remind you with a story from my own recent experience.

About a month ago, my family physician reminded me that I had to have a mammogram exam. So, I made my appointment. The mammogram technician I worked with was genuinely kind, supportive, empathetic, and professional. She also acknowledged that the procedure was a necessary evil. Of course I hated the procedure. I just wanted the whole thing over with.

After the procedure, the technician said to me, "You may get a call from the appointment center to come back and have another mammogram done. DO NOT FREAK OUT! This is typical procedure. The images we took today are baseline, so we need other images to compare them to."

Okay, I thought, I won't freak out, and I anticipated the call. About a week later, I got it. So, I remained calm since I was forewarned. I booked my next mammogram on February 15; however on February 13, I was scheduled to see my family physician again. Unbeknownst to her, I did not get a report of findings from the first mammogram, so during my visit with her, she told me that they found a mass in my right breast. I tried to look and remain calm, but...

As composed as I could be, I told her I'm scheduled to go in for another mammogram in two days. I didn't know about the mass. Shaking on the inside I asked, "So, do you know if it's benign or..." She said, no, but the next text mammogram would tell us more.OMG! The deepest reaches of my being just experienced an earthquake the size of the Northridge tremblor, which I was on top of in 1994: A 6.7 soul shaker! I thought I was going to collapse.

Over the next two days, I told myself that having anxiety about this situation wouldn't help. No one knows for sure right now. So, take time to meditate because anxiety produces more toxic chemicals in your body, so girl, you have to find a way to just relax. I know it's easier said than done, but you have to find a way!

I thought about all the things I could be doing to contribute to possibly having breast cancer. Was it what I was eating? Was it chemicals in the air? Was it hairspray I use? Could it be this...Could it be that? UGGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!

I went in for my second mammogram. Yes, I was scared. And I admitted it to everyone. I thought to myself, how can those who suffer from breast cancer be or look so calm? Where do they get their strength when their world is collapsing? The mammogram technician that day told me, they found lumps in both my right and left breasts. WHATTTTTTTTT? Wait a minute! "My family doctor said it's only in my right breast," I told her.

No," she said. "There's mass in both breasts!" She told me she's going to do the mammogram. Then I have to get an ultrasound done, then I'll see the doctor.

If I hadn't been shaken to my core before, that piece of info, really did it! I was told by my family doctor there was mass detected in my right breast!

The tech handed me a gown to change into, then performed the necessary evil. Afterwards, she led me to the hallway and told me to have a seat until the ultrasound tech called me. Still, I was telling myself to breathe. Breathe in positive, exhale all the negatives. But it's not easy to do when your mind is going through turbulance.

While waiting for my ultrasound procedure, I thought about the women I knew who suffered from breast cancer and how brave they were/are. I had a patient, who suffered from the disease who told me that she kept telling herself, "Chemo is my friend."

I thought about what really mattered in life. It's not if I met all my goals when I hit 30, 40, or 50. It's that I'd been able to drive to Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear and breathe the mountain air. It's not that Professor So-and-So gave me a B in some psychology class. It's that I was one of the lucky ones that got to go to school and gain some knowledge that allows me to help others in some small way (but to them, they say it's a big way). It's not that I don't drive a luxury car. It's that I had so many of my wildest dreams come true. It's not about having everything I want. It's about being blessed that I was taught healthy boundaries. It's not about having lots of casual friends. It's about having profound relationships with people who have my back...and front...and side and side. I had a manager (who also recently passed on) who was very British and like my second mother, tell me, "You know when a family really has great love for each other, because they're close enough to fight out loud. But in the end, they'll be there for each other, will sacrifice for each other, will do things they possibly don't want to do, but do it for the love of the other."

Ultimately, the ultrasound tech said, "You have nothing in your right breast. You have a benign mass in your left breast. So you're ok for now. And you'll be back to see me in six months so we can keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't grow."

"Do, I see the doctor next?" I asked.

"No, you only see the doctor, if you have breast cancer."

And just like that, I exhaled a huge breath of relief, thanking God, the universe, the angels, and all other elemental spirits I cannot see, for gracing me with health and blessing me with this epic, precious, and profound life where I am able to see beauty, even when its not pretty.

I hope you understood the message of American Beauty. Because that's what it's really all about! To paraphrase Les Burnham, "What you think matters really doesn't matter. I know you don't know what I'm talking about right now. But you will. Someday."


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