Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 27th October

Day 21.

Today the drain will come out – I’m sure of it. (Meets all the criteria for removal 🙂  )  I am pretty terrified for this, as I’m sure it will hurt, or, at least, be a not-pleasant experience. Anyway, do what must be done.

I may even miss the damn thing for a while!

I’ve discovered a whole new level of ‘coping’ with this whole cancer-and-the-aftermath thing: trying to help others cope through everything – specifically my children. It’s quite demanding – and even daunting at times. It’s also strangely therapeutic, though, because it involves a lot of talking, rationalising and finding a way through…

There is no doubt that, as much as I would have chosen to go off into isolation somewhere (with the relevant doctors and specialists, of course) to go through the process and the treatment, if I could have (in order to spare my family from the stress), being together, having the support of those close to me is of huge benefit and helps me to make sense of a lot of the process.

I think we tend to forget, though, that, just because something is so close to us and we live it all the time, it doesn’t make it quite so present for everyone else, nor quite so demanding.

Since at least Wednesday last week, the site of the ‘non-boob’ (and stretching into my armpit) has been swollen and uncomfortable – with no relief. Sometimes it feels even under more pressure and sometimes, for very short periods, I can almost forget it. But it is there all the time.

And it gets to me. It’s also amazing how much it affects my tolerance. I can sit in front of the computer for about half-an-hour max at the moment, before I have to move and go on to something else. If I decide to tidy up / sort out (as there is so much to do here and at 55), I can only do so for a short while, before the pressure is too much.

But, as sympathetic as everyone is, it’s not the reality for them.

And I think life, in general, is like that: our issues are so real for us and we simply cannot simply cast them aside. We tend to forget that others forge ahead with their own demands in life and deal with their own pressures. Some of these may be physical and some of these may be psychological. Some may be persistent and some may be transitory.

It is all of these, though, that make us human. It is also when someone else recognises one in us, or we can share about something, that we find some kind of relief – albeit only momentary.

I think that Sarah must have heard me complain a whole number of times in the past 3 weeks – about the drain, about the swelling, about who knows what! It is those moments when I can just express the feeling to her, to an audience, that take the pressure off and make it all manageable.

And so it goes with others in the family, too.

Thank God for those who we have around us – either simply to hear us, or to listen, whichever one we need at the time.



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