I was 19 years old and home on summer break when I noticed something weird on my chest just above my right breast. It looked like a pink mole, which naturally freaked me out. At first it was quite small. However, within a few days it quadrupled in size and became visible through my swimsuit. Something had to be done about this right away since I worked at a kids camp and consequently lived in my swimsuit all summer.
After procrastinating as long as I could, I made an appointment with my doctor to get it checked out. Since this was an embarrassing situation I was so incredibly thankful that my doctor was a woman!
When I arrived at the doctor’s office two days later, the receptionist checked me in and promptly sent me off to the exam room to wait for my doctor. There was a knock at the door before she entered the room. After awkwardly explaining why I was there and showing her this weird pink mole (that I was sure was cancerous because I’m a slight hypochondriac) she said…”Hmmm…this is very interesting. You know, I have an intern who is shadowing me today and I wonder if you’d be okay if he came in to supervise the procedure.” PROCEDURE?! WHAT PROCEDURE?! My heart began to race. She must have seen the brief look of terror in my eyes because that’s when she took a moment to pause and explain. Apparently this pink mole was actually a hematoma – something babies are inclined to develop. She didn’t have any explanation as to why I had one, but she definitely felt it was best to remove it and send it to the lab for further testing.
All I could think of was, ‘Great…my boob is going to make it into some freaky science journal for unexplained medical conditions.’ The mere thought of that made me want to run out of the room. But wait, my friends, there’s more.
After my doctor finished explaining the procedure, she asked again if I’d be okay if her intern sat in on the procedure. As much as I didn’t want anyone else to know about my freak condition, I’m from the midwest and my Minnesota Nice kicked in. “Sure that would be fine.”
My doctor told me to remove my shirt and my bra and then place this cloth over my chest with the circle cut-out over the hematoma and she’d be back with the intern “in just a moment.” I reluctantly did as she asked and waited for the next phase of humiliation to begin. What happened next was not at all what I expected.
There was a knock on the door again and in walks my doctor and right behind her – the most gorgeous guy I’d ever laid eyes on. Just when I thought this situation couldn’t get any worse or more embarrassing…it did. If I was Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz I would have clicked my heels three times and sent myself far far away. Alas, I’m not Dorothy so that day I was left to deal with this incredibly awkward situation.
As they walked in, my doctor introduced me to Dr. Gorgeous and explained to him why I came in, the diagnosis and the procedure. It all seemed rather clinical and I was TOTALLY okay with that until Dr. Gorgeous came in for a closer look. OMG…where are those ruby slippers when a girl needs them? I quickly averted my eyes and prayed to God that this moment would be over soon. Then Dr. Gorgeous did the unthinkable. When he came in for a closer look he started touching and moving the hematoma in utter amazement. Dare I say again….OMG! I could have died at that moment.
I think my doctor must have sensed my extreme discomfort and decided to put me out of my misery by quickly getting started on the procedure. All I could think was, ‘Yes, people, let’s get the show on the road so I can get the heck outta here!’ They injected my right breast area with novocaine to help numb it up. Let’s just say that did NOT feel good. Once the area was sufficiently numbed she took out a scalpel and removed the hematoma. It was uncomfortable but at least we were making some progress. After the hematoma was removed my doctor began stitching it up. Thank goodness it was almost over…and then it wasn’t. Dr. Gorgeous watched every move my doctor made and when the stitches didn’t stop the bleeding he told her that he thought the area should be cauterized and he’d be happy to do it. Seriously?!…Kill me now.
Up to this point in my life, that was one of the most embarrassing situations I’d experienced but it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Life throws us curveballs all the time and I’m convinced that it’s these moments that really shape us into who we are meant to be. Have you ever found yourself in an embarrassing situation at work? Maybe you’re selected to present to the Board of Directors and realize during your presentation that you’re missing the last six pages of your report. What do you do? Do you simply pretend it’s not there or do you apologize profusely, further worsening the situation? I think how you react in these situations really shows people your true colors.
I had the opportunity to completely embarrass myself just a few days ago. I was scheduled to speak at an association meeting at 9:00 AM in St. Paul and I was completely prepared. I was up early, I practiced my presentation numerous times and I gave myself 90 minutes to drive to the meeting location (which normally takes 45-50). Unfortunately, it was so cold that the roads were horrible and it ended up taking me 85 minutes to get there. No sweat though. I still had five minutes to park in the ramp and get to the meeting. Much to my chagrin, I had to pre-pay to park at the kiosk just outside the ramp entrance. This was cutting it way too close! I jumped out of the truck in my high heels and dashed to the kiosk to pay for parking. Unfortunately, the card reader didn’t take my card so I resolved to accept whatever parking fine the parking police determined because I DIDN’T WANT TO BE LATE. I headed back to the elevator to get inside the building and get to my speaking engagement because at this point I’m freezing and nearly late. I frantically push the elevator buttons but they don’t seem to work. WTH?! I decide to take the stairs down to the ground level and huff it in my heels. The staircase is dark, cold…and empty. (Insert creepy music here.) I finally spot the exit door to the street level and I throw myself at the door to bust outta there. The door barely budges. I realize it’s blocked by a crapload of snow. I force myself through the door and manage to squeeze through the tiny opening only to find myself in a foot and a half of snow…and yes, still in high heels. Something had to be wrong. I managed to make it through the snow and get down to the road since that appeared to be the best way to get to my meeting on time. I shuffle my way down the road careful not to end up on my rear only to find that I had the wrong address and the building I thought my meeting was at was actually a vacant building.
By this time it’s 9:00 and I’m late for my presentation. I’m literally dying inside. Nothing about this morning is how I imagined it going – including my speaking engagement. I frantically head down the block and call my contact to find out where the heck I’m supposed to be. I can no longer feel most of my fingers on my right hand, my feet are totally frozen and I really just want those damn ruby slippers. When I ask her if she still wants me to come, she responds with an affirmative and says she’ll delay the meeting until I get there. Ugh! I run back up the street, get into my truck and drive two blocks to the correct location. I park the truck and before rushing into the building, I do what Brendon Buchard recommends in his book High Performance Habits and take three deep breaths – reciting the word release after each breath.
I am happy to report that my presentation went relatively well despite all of the obstacles. I could have easily jumped into my truck and told my contact that I couldn’t make it but I don’t give up that easily. Instead, I wove my embarrassing story into my presentation. My advice? The next time you find yourself in an embarrassing situation (which, if you’re human, is just a matter of time) make the most of it and allow yourself to be shaped into an even better version of you.