Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Friday 12th September

This ‘cancer’ thing is a strange animal. It is something that is so terribly frightening in its implications and the very idea of threat that it holds. And, yet, it is extraordinarily life-affirming at the same time.

I have told a number of people about my ‘condition’ (for want of a better word). I deal with things by talking about them and I know that I need the love and support of people around me. The way I have approached it is to simply state that I have been diagnosed with breast cancer. There are,  I suppose, a number of euphemistic ways one could phrase this (like, I have a nasty lump in my breast, or ther is something in my breast and they have found that it is malignant etc). I believe in cutting to the chase, though. I’m very like Mum in that – why beat about the bush when you can be straightforward?

Having told people, it is lovely to see how much love and support there is around me. This, alone, just makes me feel ready to do any battle.

Then, just the thought that my body is harbouring this potentially extremely damaging disease makes me look at the world differently. It’s not that I suddenly have this urge to travel to distant places and to experience things I might not otherwise have done. It’s much more simple than that. It’s a matter of just looking differently at what I have and what is around me. I don’t have to go to distant places, because I love where I am. Seriously, silly things like the familiar ‘helicopter’ trees on the roads where I run near our house and the beautiful sunshine here in Joburg just feel better somehow. I also don’t need to be doing anything radically different, or meeting wonderful and famous people. I am highly privileged to have wonderful and extraordinary people in my extended family – and to have had wonderful and extraordinary and wonderful parents.

I miss them both so much. I think we all need our ‘mummy and daddy’ when we are in times of stress. I particularly miss Mum, as she passed so recently and, also, well, face it, she’s my mum! I do feel them with me, very strongly, though. I know I am eternally loved.

So. I have cancer. But I also see life so much more richly even for that.

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