23rd August 2010 - a date indelibly etched on my memory.
It was a Monday. My Mum was in Oxford John Radcliffe hospital undergoing pioneering heart surgery (with less than 50/50 chance of survival let alone success, amazingly she lived nearly eight years).
It was a glorious summer day in Glasgow. I had a morning meeting to discuss some financial matters for church. I had an egg sandwich from Tesco for lunch.
And it was the day that I heard the life-changing sentence, "I'm sorry, it's cancer."
Eight years on, and seven and a half years NED, the intensity of the memory is far less.
I remember it, but it doesn't any longer disturb me.
I remember it, and I continue to be grateful for the work of NHS Scotland.
I remember, and I give thanks for all those who have journeyed with me since that date.
I remember, and I do my annual nag to those kind enough to read this blog to do the screening, to check their 'bits 'n' bobs', to report worrying symptoms.
Caught early, cancer can be effectively treated - even aggressive, locally spread cancer such as I had. Bottom line: I have beaten and continue to beat the statistics for the place I started - had I not been breast aware or had I not been proactive in reporting my symptoms, I wouldn't be here to nag. Treatments continue to improve, prognoses are better. Whilst of course it's not nice being bald or bloated due to chemo, undergoing surgery or being zapped daily for weeks on end, at least I am here to tell the tale. For the most part, life is good, more than good, it's great, fantastic, brilliant...
So please, for your own well-being endure the indignity of poo-sticks or smears or squishing or whatever it is... it just might save your life.