PART 2: The photo shoot
There's a cool breeze as she enters the room. It's quite sterile. The walls are bare there's a huge machine "the photo booth" and a chair with a computer for the photographer behind a radiation proof wall. The photographer approaches Miss Petro and puts the radiation proof belt around her waste. She tells Petro to have a seat that she still needs to set the machine up. Petro is sitting there waiting thinking, "what the fuck is going on, I'm too young, I have so much left to do, why am I in this room?" She was trying to fill herself with positive thoughts "that all is going to be alright."
"Let's do this! It's time for your photos," says the photographer. She tells Petro that it's only going to be six photos. She's preparing to take two photos of the left breast, two of her right, and two of the section in question. She starts with the right breast lifts it onto this cold glass plate, and the machine begins to come down closing in on the breast. She's told not to breathe, hold the pose and not move a muscle. But all Petro can think of is "where the hell am I going?" She moves to the left breast the one with the questionable bumps and Petro was cool up until the third set of photos.
She was finding it very uncomfortable to hold the poses, but the photo shoot was coming to an end. this was going to be the last shot and it had to be the best shot -- the photographer had to keep rearranging the breast and finally Petro couldn't hold back the tears any longer because she was convinced she going to get bad news. She was thinking about all the cigarettes she's smoked in her past, the fact that her grandmother died of breast cancer it was just a matter of time before death caught up with her.
She wanted the photo session to come to an end she could no longer hold the uncomfortable poses. Imagine taking a breast in the palm of your hand flipping it to the left -- squishing it on to the metal plate, having to keep your arms closed to your body -- your chest straight -- head looking up -- right hand holding the machine -- left hand against your body -- hold your breathe and don't move -- try doing this for over thirty minutes.
The photographer says that she has all the shots she needs "it's a wrap." She leaves Petro alone to show the films to the doctor. Petro thinks she's done, the photographer returns and tells her that now she needs to have an ultrasound done on her breasts and moves her to another room and once that's done she can leave and wait to hear back from her doctor on the results. She gets a call a few days later that she is clear; she has some cysts but nothing to worry about. Millions of women have had this procedure done every day and she is one of the lucky ones. Petro is thrilled to be alive, she knows how very blessed she is and gets right back into writing her novel and enjoying her time with her beloved daughter.
The story above was written the same day I started writing my novel - I share this very personal story with the group about my life in hopes that it will inspire and push you to write every chance you get. It didn't matter at the time what the news might be for me. What mattered most was that I be writing. I turned a scary experience into a creative experience where I could be present with my thoughts and write about it. Writing is not easy and doesn't always have to fabulous and well written.
I have to admit it's been incredibly difficult for me to balance my novel, the writers group, the new podcast, my role as mother, my job at BusinessWeek, spending time with friends and family, and taking care of myself. I can't stress how important it is to MAKE THE TIME! You are SOOOOOO worth it. Creativity comes in spurts -- I wrote for three days straight to start my novel and am proud to say that I have a good 159 pages of typed (single spaced) from only the first week in March. But last weekend I wrote nothing having to do with the novel or podcast, maybe just some scribble and journaling. Resting the mind is very necessary...