The Question of Subject

If this is a cancer blog, and moreover, a breast cancer blog, then it should be about breast cancer, should it not? But if it is a blog that reflects what it's like to have (and have had) breast cancer, and when your treatment boils down to taking a pill every night, and when you're not thinking about breast cancer 100 percent of your waking and dreaming hours, then does your blog need to be 100 percent about breast cancer? (It's not, has never been.) Do people come to a breast cancer blog expecting to read about Life With Cancer, and grow disappointed learning about Life With a New/Old House? Or is that the message itself: That after breast cancer, there's room for everything else in your life?

But you never forget it entirely. There's that missing breast on the left, for one, and the hair that's shorter than it was two years ago, and there are people who ask, How are you? and then, How ARE you? with that emphasis, that heaviness, as if trying to pry out a secret.

In the news conference I went to for Stand Up 2 Cancer, Elizabeth Edwards said that she felt something in common with anyone who's had cancer. And that's true. I feel the same--that we've gone to that place that used to mean (and still might mean) Death. And we've gone through the same baffling, often impersonal procedures at hospitals. (By talking to one another, we're reasserting our individualities.) Before I had breast cancer, I felt that everyone who had it was going to die before her time. Though rationally, I knew that wasn't necessarily so. I remember hearing about someone who had breast cancer and then seeing her, healthy-seeming, and wondering why there was no sign. Thinking she was faking it--it being her health.