Achieving Adaptability

I was proud of myself yesterday. It was a day that I wish Davis could have been with me to witness my level of adaptability.

In short, I went for a mammogram and didn’t get a mammogram.

I had a scheduled routine mammogram that I was already a little nervous about, and because of what I wrote on my paperwork, it turned into a diagnostic one. Since it was so late in the afternoon, the doctors who normally do diagnostic ones were gone, and I would’ve needed more time for other possible procedures.

At that point, I wished my mask also covered my eyes to hide my tears. This journey with my breasts has lasted for 3 very long years, and in that moment, I went right back to the beginning, when there were so many unanswered questions, back-and-forth phone calls, never-ending trips to different doctors. I was flooded with emotions, and I feared that everything I’ve been through has all been in vain.

I managed to not let my tears fall—not that there’s anything wrong with crying; I simply didn’t want to unleash that wave of intense emotion on the tech who was explaining the process to me. She apologized profusely and told me that it happens quite often, and that it’s frustrating for the patients and for her. She becomes the bad guy by being the one to tell us that our time has been completely wasted.

As she continued to apologize, and after I worked to keep myself from crying, I said to her, “It’s ok. Everything happens for a reason.”

As I left, she said to me, “Thank you for being so pleasant about it all!” And that felt really good. I was proud of myself because I exhibited an ability to be adaptable, which is not the norm.

As moms, we’re already adaptable. We have to be! But some of us struggle with it more than others.

That’s me. I’m “some of us.”

Being adaptable is one thing I’m desperately trying to teach Davis. I totally adopted the title of Marie Forleo’s book Everything is Figureoutable as a mantra, and it’s become a part of his coping strategies. It’s so important to me that he gets it, mainly because I’m not very good at it. I don’t like change; it sends my anxiety through the roof. It paralyzes me, but I’ve put intro practice a process that’s helped:

I give myself space to acknowledge that this is a situation that I don’t like, and it sucks. I don’t jump straight into trying to think positively. I know that I don’t change, and that’s not likely to ‘change’ (no pun intended) any time soon, so pretending that it’s not the case isn’t beneficial to anyone.

Allow yourself to physically sit and think.
This is when I physically step away and dig deep to pinpoint exactly why I’m struggling so much with his particular change. Sometimes this takes the form of journaling. Sometimes it takes the form of sitting outside with a glass of wine. Sometimes it’s just sitting and taking deep breaths.

Attack & Shift
I ask myself, “How can I make this change—this situation—better for myself?” For instance, in the case of my non-mammogram, I started mentally planning to jam to my “Current Favorites” playlist on the way home, since I would be in rush hour traffic. Atlanta traffic is horrible, and it really sucked that I would be sitting in it for no reason, adding to this giant waste of time. But listening to my playlist was one way to make it better. If we weren’t in the midst of a pandemic, I would’ve allowed myself to stop at Houston’s (near the hospital) for a smoked salmon appetizer and a glass of wine. Or if Lebrean and I hadn’t already decided on dinner, I would have stopped at one of our favorite places that we don’t regularly visit to pick up something.

Then I shifted my thinking: “Well, at least when I do have the diagnostic mammogram done, I’ll leave with answers, as opposed to today, when I would’ve had to wait for a phone call with results.” Ask yourself, “Where is the silver lining? How is this actually a good thing?”

Now, more than ever, we are forced to adapt almost constantly, and in such huge ways! It’s certainly not easy, but we can do it! Look at how much we’ve done it already, just since the start of this pandemic!