The pictures, below, were taken by my husband Dwain, shot on Saturday, October 16, 2010, from the window of our Doubletree hotel room. Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure across the Arkansas River bridge and the second picture are kayaks in support, floating quieting in the river just below the bridge.
This is part of the 45,000 who were in the Race for the Cure.
Dateline October 15, 2010; Little Rock, Arkansas:
Although we live three hours north of Little Rock, my mammograms are always scheduled to take place at the Higginbotham Breast Center in Little Rock. I was fortunate many years ago to have found a young woman who grew up in our hometown, became a doctor, practiced in Little Rock, came back to Harrison and became my doctor. In 2000 or 2001 she encouraged me to see a breast doctor in Little Rock she knew and in whom she had great confidence to take a look at my local mammogram results; she didn't like some spots she saw on the slides. The breast doctor, Dana Abraham, wanted another mammogram done at the Higginbotham Breast Center. After comparing the slides she came to the conclusion that what I had were harmless water-filled cysts. However, she wanted to, quote, watch them for a period of two years to make sure they did not change in shape or size. So it became a habit of Dwain and I just to drive the three hours to Little Rock to have my mammograms. The mammogram imaging center was on the second floor; Dr. Abraham's office was on the fourth floor. How convenient, right?
My mammogram on Friday, October 15th was scheduled for 11 o'clock, which was very convenient because we were also in Little Rock for another reason; my annual court reporter's meeting smack dab in downtown Little Rock at the Doubletree. There were a LOT of women in Little Rock, thousands, in fact. And the great majority were not court reporters. We were, in fact, a teeny tiny minority. Volunteers were everywhere putting up pink ribbons, pink balloons, AND painting all the Port-a-Johns bright pink. I've never seen so much pink in my whole life. And oh looky, there was a pink fire truck.
Let me get back to my mammogram. Over the years I've come to accept the chilly rooms and the freezing cold steel smashers. It's become a personal quest of mine to see just how tough I can be; see how paper-thin my breasts can become when pressed hard enough. When will I actually be forced to yell Uncle? But I figure, the harder they press, the better the image. So grit your teeth and bear it. I don't actually want them to see anything, but if there is something inside all that mass of mammary glands, fat and muscle, I do want them to get a good look at it. But as usual, the radiology tech took picture after picture with a poker face (as I grimaced in pain), walked me back to the dressing room and told me my results would come in the mail in about a week. Dwain and I always figured that if the radiology tech or radiologist saw anything alarming right then and there, they would tell you immediately. They did not, so we left to have some lunch before my meeting, which began at 1 p.m.
The uproar caused by Race for the Cure nearly upended our meeting and nearly anything else taking place in Little Rock that weekend. Men, women, grandmas, grandpas, little children filled up every nook and cranny of every eating establishment, hotel, motel, business, sidewalk, street -- you name it, they had it covered. And the noise level was deafening. The big day, we were warned, would be the next day, Saturday, October 16th, where a parade of people would convene and then the race would begin in earnest. As Dwain and I sat in the Doubletree restaurant Saturday morning eating breakfast before my Saturday meeting (there was no way we would be able to leave the hotel in our car; streets were actually closed off) we watched the race participants busily eat their breakfasts, or walk around the lobby. No doubt who they were because of they crazy way they were dressed.
I am truly, truly ashamed to admit this now, but I was actually extremely annoyed. Why? I can' t exactly say right now. But just the sheer number of all these people -- rowdy, annoying, take-over types. We were just trying to have a simple meeting (to get our continuing education hours) and we could barely hear the speakers. Dwain and I were just trying to have a quiet early-morning breakfast in a little corner of an overly-expensive restaurant, and we couldn't even accomplish that. And I mean, pink Port-o-Potties and a pink fire truck? Give me a break. This was going a bit too far, wasn't it? What's this all for anyway?
The answers came. Oh yes. The answers came. How could I have possibly known how things would turn out? Was it a coincidence that I was having a mammogram in Little Rock, Arkansas at the same time at the preparation as the Race for The Cure was beginning? Is it even possible that that wee voice inside my head (the one that I thought was shaking a finger in my face and scolding me for judging these women) was actually a warning that I could possibly be one of those annoying. rowdy, "silly" pink women walking in a Race For the Cure someday?