On Harley Street in London, many fine examples of British architecture of the 18th and 19th-century are evident. With its expensive real estate, Harley Street is best known for addresses of some of London's top doctors and specialists.
For the past two days, I've been waging an internal debate about whether or not to post this news. After all, it's a private matter and this is the shout-it-out World Wide Web.
Then I read Cate's post Darting around Town in a "Riddler" Outfit and Corey's post Filtered Light and remembered a passage from Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat Pray Love about being absolutely truthful - particularly when your truth might help someone else.
So here it is: my trip to London didn't go as expected. If I'm honest, for a few months now, I've suspected something wasn't right. But I wasn't ready to face the dark shadow skulking about, waiting to make its reappearance.
My visit began inauspiciously enough. Train from Paris, taxi to hotel, dropped my luggage, tube to Oxford Circus and walked the short distance to Harley Street. A few grim minutes later, I was telling my doctor, "Just get it over with!" as he asked permission to perform an endometrial biopsy in his office, without anesthesia. Because it seems the pre-cervical cancer scare, for which I had surgery two years ago in London, has returned, adding an annoying new development for good measure. So after enduring three minutes of excruciating - and there is no other word for it - pain, I was good to go - on to the next test, the next scan, the next hastily-arranged appointment at a laboratory nearby.
In a flash, all my London plans flew out the window, replaced by rather more worrying ones. In two-and-a-half weeks, I'll be back in London having surgery. The problem must be treated quickly, before it leaps from "pre" into "the big C." Despite outward appearances, this is a good thing. I am lucky to have one of the top specialists in London looking after me and excellent health insurance to pay for most of it. Soon this little detour will fail to present an obstacle and I'll be back on the road to good health.
Living in the West, we are fortunate to reap the benefits of essential health care. Our fates might prove more guarded, should we live in a less-privileged part of the world. Recently, scientists have developed a vaccine that should help our daughters avoid the triple threats of cervical, vulvar and vaginal cancers.
I share this news not to elicit sympathy, but to urge you all - if you haven't already - to schedule a check-up with your gynecologist. My annual pap smears consistently have been normal; luckily, I had a wise doctor interpreting subtle signs pointing to trouble.
Most of my readers are women; many of you have been through something similar or something far worse - you know what it is to endure such woes. So please, take time to get regular check-ups. Sometimes we're so busy caring for others that we postpone looking after ourselves.