So it’s been a year since my cancer diagnosis. It’s actually been 5 months since I’ve ended treatments. I’ve got hair I can actually style. I no longer rate people shoveling the driveway for me. Now that Naoto Suzuki is on crutches, I do all the laundry, garbage, cleaning, etc. Life back to normal, right? (except for some lingering edema, but we won’t go there today). Right! I even could watch John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars movie trailer (YA cancer love story) without tearing up. All is well in Kirsten-stoic-nothing-is-wrong-with-me-land. But today I had to go to my nurse practitioner for the yearly female check up. Mind you, this is an “other stuff” check up, nothing at all to do with breast cancer (or breasts.) So I saunter in to Olmsted Medical Center all jaunty, confident that the worst has happened. I’m an old hand. This is easy. Nothing at all to fear. (The mammogram is next month). And I sit down, get called in, get my weight taken and height and then follow the assistant into a room.

She closes the door.

There I am. In the place where the cancer rollercoaster started. There’s the bed and stirrups, there’s the poster about the importance of breast exams. And all of a sudden I burst into tears.

No warning, no vague tremors of unease. Full out crying. In front of a stranger.

No one from a stoic Lutheran middle class background likes that.

So this poor, nice, middle-aged assistant is all like “what’s wrong? what’s wrong?” and I”m trying to tell her I’m not the kind of person who cries but i can’t get any words out because I’m crying. Finally I calm down, she brings me a tissue, and I explain I’m not a hysterical kind of person (to her disbelieving, but kind face) but that this was my one year anniversary of cancer diagnosis IN THIS ROOM (not sure if it was that room or not, and actually I heard about the cancer at home from a phone call, but it makes my outburst less crazy) and I’ll be fine in a few moments.

And I was fine. Just surprised. I didn’t know I had unresolved fears and issues regarding my nurse practitioner’s office, or the year anniversary, but apparently that’s what Ninja Sneak Attack Crying is for, reminding us about important milestones.