Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 27th September

I’m starting to freak out. Again.

The cancer doesn’t freak me out. Well, not really. I think that I don’t actually spend enough time contemplating it. Actually, that really wouldn’t be worth it – not worth the time. There is this invader in my boob, about which I can do nothing – I mean, personally. Something has to be done about it and that’s why all this is happening. It’s rather weird to think that something I can’t see and can hardly feel (at least, couldn’t really feel, now I know exactly where it is!) is responsible for all this stress around me. Not really fair, in many ways. And very non-real in so many others.

But it doesn’t freak me out. What is freaking me is the idea of the operation. Part of it is just the ‘needle thing’ (Miss Squeamish and all that). The most part, though, is the idea of the aftermath. And the actual procedure, I suppose. I try to not think too specifically about the concept of having a boob cut (off, or at all) and mostly I am successful. At times, though, images creep unbidden into our imaginations – and that can be really scary.

I do find, though, that I am getting really good at, I suppose, letting things go. There’s a song in Frozen called that – ‘Let it go’. This has become one of my kind of anthems, I think. If I feel that something is going to overwhelm me and it is really not the time or moment to indulge (as sometimes one needs to, even if it’s just to have a good weep), I have found the ability to kind of wash the emotions away. My students would relate if I say it’s like a kind of speeded up ‘melting candles’ moment. (An exercise in Voice class where you let all the energy drain out of your body – slowly – to enable your body to be ready for good breathing practice.)

Today the surgeon will finally give his opinion as to what needs to be done – to repel the invader, so to speak. Actually, I think it’s far too late for repelling, this is all-out war!

I’m pretty sure I know what he’s going to say. And that worries me a bit.  Partly that’s because actually hearing someone articulate how your body is going to be cut is rather freaky, I think (squeamish or not) – and partly because I really need to know that what will be done will be the completely right thing.

I hate making decisions, particularly when there is no very clear-cut outcome. I can second-guess everything so many times. As much as I understand that there are no absolutes in this situation, I also know that I need to be as absolutely sure as possible that whatever treatment I have will give the best guarantee that the cancer is really gone and will not recur.

In a world – and particularly a field – where absolutes are alien, that is not necessarily possible.  And that freaks me out, slightly.


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