October 27 is Breast Cancer Day. It's also the eve of my second annual check-up. This time tomorrow I'll have had a mammogram, ultrasound, and meeting with my wonderful surgeon. In contrast to last year, when I was a little spooked about this (and didn't fully blog about it till several months later), I'm feeling perfectly confident. I'm doing pretty much every thing I'm supposed to do, and hardly ever doing the things I'm not supposed to do, and feel fit as a fiddle (apart from walking into a plate glass window on Saturday, and still feeling a bit wobbly).
Even so, I still have the sense of the day, today, as potentially the last day before the world could turn upside down again. If they find anything tomorrow, I'll be up for biopsy and surgery again, which would almost certainly be more aggressive than the first time. What would this do to the piles of things on my desk, waiting to be read, and the documents on my computer, waiting to be written? What effect would it have on my dear family and friends? And you can see, from that very first response, the extent to which I no longer see myself primarily as a cancer patient, as I did for the first year or so: I've come back to the world of imperatives and tasks. This is both a good thing and a bad thing, but either way, that's the way it is now.
I'll take a moment, even so, in a minute, to step outside and sit in the garden for twenty minutes, to feed the fish, and sit with Mima, and marvel at the smell of rain. We've had two showers this morning.
Breast Cancer October commercial pinkness still raises my hackles a bit, but not today, actually. Today I'm thinking of women who are at the pointy end of diagnosis and treatment, and hoping they'll feel as calm about the future as I do now, when they are two years down the track.
Update: Maybe I'm not as sanguine as I thought. I was in the supermarket earlier this evening, standing at the deli counter next to a woman who looked and sounded like a lovely woman who used to work in the Arts Faculty, and then in the Research Office, who died of breast cancer a year or so ago and who was, I heard, also a talented artist. Same big eyes, same lovely open face. A real haunting; or better, a memory. Rest in peace, Cassandra.