Metaphorical shoes

Getting ready to go to CX today for a scan of my right armpit (makes a girl fee so good) I vacillated between 2 pairs of shoes to wear. I wanted red. I am not a girly-girl but I like my clothes, bags and shoes. Nothing high, mind you. So the choice was a red suede pair of desert boots or a red suede pair of brogues. The desert boots are cool with good grippy soles but the brogues are more stylish and I hadn’t worn them in ages. I tried them on. And then I thought ‘Oh, they are a bit of a metaphor for cancer and me’.

I like the look of them. They are fabulous and have a nice narrowed square toe and they look good with what I’m wearing. But they have leather soles inside and out and that makes them a bit slippy and I’m a champion at falling over (or toppling, as my son calls it). So most of the time I feel like a red suede brogue – feeling good, my life neat and organised but underneath, it’s all a bit slippy and I could come crashing down at any moment. If the cancer returns then I pray for a recurrence rather than a secondary because at least that’s treatable and beatable. It’s this not knowing that is always lurking beneath the surface, waiting to topple me, to see me come crashing down. But I have to wear the red brogues, I have to be out there, risking humiliation and real-world toppling because otherwise I would not be me. It’s not the deepest metaphor in the world, I grant you, but it came to me this morning so I thought I would include it.

Today sees me off to CX, as we know, but first I’ll drop into Maggie’s and see who is there and have a chat and a cup of coffee. I like the warmth of the atmosphere and the way I can sit and be allowed to without someone bothering me. It’s always up to me if I want to participate or not. After the scan which is looking at a painful bit under my right arm – the side I still have a breast attached – I’ll go back to Maggie’s and meet my friend Suzannah for a chat and a bit of reassurance.

I’m feeling a bit all over the place today. A year on from my initial diagnosis and hospital still figures large in my life and uncertainty goes with it. But I will brave it in my red brogues and hope I don’t come crashing down on the Hammersmith roundabout or on one of the hospital’s shiny floors. Normal service with full humour will be restored tomorrow.

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