This is about the time last year, when I really noticed that something had changed. Well, I had seen that my left breast looked a little different, but I hadn’t noticed, if that makes any sense. I had seen it just after the New Year, if I remember correctly. Although I know that sudden inversion at the age of 29 isn’t normal, somehow the significance had not sunken in. Perhaps the possibility that it was actually cancer seemed so unlikely that I just didn’t let my mind go there. Perhaps I initially ignored it out of fear. I don’t think so. It seems more like, while my brain fluttered in that direction, it never stayed long enough for the thought to develop – the way a butterfly flutters over flowers and is gone before you can clearly see the pattern on its wings.
I was living in Belgium part-time, enjoying the attentions of a new boyfriend. The defining moment came when he happened to mention the breast in passing. Nothing in particular. Just a comment. But suddenly I saw it, as if it required someone else to see it for my mind to register it was real.
I am not so naive as to think the cliche “those things only happen to other people”; I know darn well that they do. As a matter of fact, a part of me always suspected that I would be the one in the family to get breast cancer, on the simple irony that I am the only one who barely has them. (No, unfortunately that’s not me in the photo above!) But I never thought it would be at 29. I thought I had at least another 10 years of enjoying myself as a don’t-take-life-so-seriously, act-10-years-younger-than-you-are 30-something. I suppose you could say that my feeling of youthful invincibility was still largely intact. Ahh, what a great feeling!
But no. About this time, pretty much one year to the day (give or take a few), I decided that I really must ask my doctor about this. Just for good measure, you know. There’s no real hurry, I thought. Surely, on the off shot that it is cancer it would have been found on my mammogram last September. I’m just going to be “smart”.
Hmmm. I’ll go sometime soon. But not today.