Odd how the years kink up, fold back on themselves sometimes. Everything changes - yet nothing does. Granny and Beloved have come to stay for a few days at house of Beloved Surrogate Daughter. Which means she sits writing this looking at a familiar wall; the very one she used to sit looking at years ago, when writing - publishable then - books, on her beloved ex-husband's desktop, because her own desktop upstairs was not only too buried in papers to be accessible but also left her looking out on overly distracting street and neighbours below. Earlier she lay drinking coffee on the very bed, in the very room where she slept for eight years or so, through most of her second marriage, alongside a different man from the one who cuddled her - a bit gingerly these days - last night. Her ears attune themselves once more to the underground - here overground- trains thumping past the window on the raised lines. She eyes the same trains, same tree, same high-rise block on the other side of the track which used to house local authority workers but now puts up middle-range tourists. Same sky. Same everything, almost. Beloved Surrogate Daughter and husband to whom she and beloved ex sold their house have made many changes to it. But it is one of those lovely, relaxed houses which maintain their own identity throughout changes of ownership. Walking downstairs granny still finds herself turning left to the kitchen; has to pull herself up to turn right instead to where the kitchen now is. Weird.
As is her one tit state. 'Weird' said Beloved Eldest Granddaughter hearing the news of tit removal. 'Even weirder', she said, told that it would be replaced in due course. As it will be. Granny does not much fancy the piece of rubber currently pushing out her t-shirt on one side. She is grateful she maintained her two tit status for fifteen years longer than most of her female relations. On being told last week that she was going down for surgery 3 hours earlier than originally scheduled she found herself to her surprise bursting into tears at prospect of having 3 hours less of it. Odd how attached one is to one's own bits. This one - unless she was contemplating giving birth again - heaven forfend - isn't - wasn't - a particularly useful bit; losing it by no means as disasterous, not to say awful, as losing a limb. But poor thing as it was it was her own. And gave her some nice sensations over the years, as its replacement, minus nerve-endings, won't. 'You could throw a spear better' suggested someone helpfully. 'Didn't the Amazons cut their right breasts off for that reason?' (Referring to a time before the word 'Amazon' meant books..) No good for me, says Granny after a moment's flicker of pleasure. She's left handed. Bother bother bother. (But she could cut the left one off too. It has been recommended.)
Oestrogen she supposes is what fed that nipple-led pleasure - still does just a little she has to admit. Oestrogen is also what more often than not feeds nasty little strangers in the breasts of post-menopausal women. What madness that it can't be diverted to much more useful not to say pleasurable pastimes - ie feeding the bits which cease to so responsive in Granny and her contemporaries. (HRT does do that job of course - Granny's brief recourse to it may have been what led to her nasty little devil. Not that she regrets it. Two extra years of those pleasures? YES!!!- why should she regret it? She doesn't.)
Being in hospital was interesting if wearing. After nearly a week of it and the prospect of reconstructions to come she thinks those who volunteer for such surgery etc etc etc for purely cosmetic reasons must be out of their tiny minds. (By definition tiny to start with.) But also, as in the years before, she came out realising that compared to most she has got off lightly. (Just how lightly will be revealed on Friday.) She encountered two women in their thirties from families with BRCA mutations like hers, with much more advanced tumours; also a woman five years on in the grip of the particularly vicious demon which carried off her Beloved Twin in the space of eighteen months. (There are better drugs now to prolong life if not altogether banish this demon.) That particular sufferer did manifest Granny's worse irritation; the chirpy. She was on the other hand heroic. Granny admired her. Does. A lot, a lot, a lot.
More of all this maybe another day. Meantime she has to go and deal with the leaflets. This is something that has definitely changed over 25 years. These days hospitals fall over themselves to inform you - sometimes on matters of which you might prefer not to know, but also on many alternative sources of assistance - the kind Granny had to dig out for herself, last time round. Looking for free aromatherapy? Reflexology? Counselling? Support Groups? Acupuncture? Etc Etc Etc; develop cancer. Better still; DON'T.