So the genie’s out of the bottle now and even though half of me still can’t believe I am talking about my faulty tits to my friends, colleagues, family and the internet, the other half is pleased I did because the reaction has been absolutely astounding.
I have been reassured by a number of people with great cancer-dodger stories. I’ve also heard more than one “I know someone who’s first screening showed advanced cancer” stories which make me thank God I got checked when I did. I’ve been told “I love you” more times and by more people than ever before in my life. I’ve had a number of conversations that have acknowledged “It’s been too long since we spoke” recognising how easy it is for everyone to let busy-ness disconnect them from good friendships. Of course when we do speak, we pick up from where we left off, even if that was years ago.
I’ve an ambivalent relationship with the Big Fella but I’ve had people who aren’t invoke me in their prayers, which warms me in a truly spiritual way. After yesterday’s suggestion of being thought of positively I’ve had people assure me not only that they will, but that they do.
I’ve had belly laughs courtesy of my friend Sue who’s taken to sending me an inspirational quote of the day:
“If you’re looking for sympathy you’ll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary.” ― David Sedaris, Barrel Fever
at least yours and mine is a respectable form of cancer. Imagine if you also had to go through the indignity of telling one and all you had cancer of the ANUS? Or a tumour on your LABIA? That really would be a conversation stopper.
I’ve also had my significant ego massaged more times than is seemly by people talking in very flattering terms about this blog.
By way of fairness, though, I’ve also had some people drive me potty with their response. One friend – who I still love, by the way – sent me into caretaker mode (which I am very comfortable in) while she repeatedly questioned my optimism and told me she’d seen pictures of reconstructed breasts and they “Look pretty weird.” Thanks for that, love! She also said “Wow. That’s tough, with your kids so little. And a baby.” Her specialist subject? Saying out loud what everyone thinks but knows better than to verbalise.
I’ve tried poking the bruise of pain I’d feel on my kids’ behalf if anything happened to me, but I just wince every time. Of course, it’s my Kryptonite.
Then this morning , on the way to the school bus stop, Amy asked “Mum, where are you going to die?”
I swallowed hard “At home, in my sleep when I’m very, very, very old.”
Very, very, very fucking old.