I am sick of talking about, reading about, thinking about the subject of breast cancer. In fact I am so sick of the phrase that when writing about it I just use ‘bc’. Sick, bored, tired of bc.
And yet. Yes I am talking about it. On Radio 4 Woman’s Hour yesterday. And I have just published 100,000 words in my book about breast cancer.
Tired of the subject of bc then? Well. OK maybe just angry. And why do I do this? Talk and write about breast cancer? One word. Prevention.
As if I needed a reminder I am sent one.
I am in the green room at BBC Manchester yesterday, after the show. Another guest finishes her slot and comes back in with her two beautiful daughters, ages I guess about 9 and 11. I go over to them, we’d chatted a bit before the show, they think I’m famous because I have written a book.
The older girl looks straight at me, ‘What causes breast cancer?’ she asks.
She has listened to the discussion I’ve just taken part in. She understands. I can feel my eyes pricking. I will not cry. I recover myself, feeling overwhelmingly maternal. I reach out and put my arm on her shoulder. ‘We don’t know,’ I say, ‘but it’s OK, don’t worry, because we’ll find out and it will be all sorted out by the time you are older.’
Do I really believe that?
Deep down I want to.