Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 25th October

Day 19.

Seems as though the countdown has begun. There is less ‘gruck’ coming out of the drain, which is still draining. The doc reckons I may have ‘turned the corner’ – so, maybe only a day or so more? 🙂

It’s amazing how much things that are just so ordinary can mean in different circumstances. Or, actually, things that seem ordinary to me, which may not be so ordinary for others – like food!

I’m the sort of person who eats because it is necessary – and fun sometimes. I definitely do not live for food. I also cook more because I have to, rather than because I want to. In fact, sometimes I get all inspired and make a really cool dish – which no-one really acknowledges, so I think, “What the hell…?!”

Everyday cooking is okay. I hate the planning, though. Gran B learned long ago not to ask me in the morning what is for supper. If you ask me the same question at 5 in the evening, I will often say that I have no idea!

Baking, on the other hand, is something I enjoy and do every day – out of choice.

Yesterday, though, food just seemed to have a different focus. David, Sarah and Charnelle came to see the doc with me – and traipsed around to the Oncology centre with me too. We had some food on the way home. Apart from the fact that my burger was really not nice, it was just a lekker thing to do – get fast food and sit together 🙂

Then, we went to movies and a quick supper with Carl and Dale. Again, not gourmet food at a fancy place, but just ordinary (and in a bit of a hurry because of the movie). It was just nice, though.

I think the whole thing wasn’t so much about the food itself, but more about having been through an emotional day and being with good people around a table is comforting and reinforcing.

Networks are so important in this world we live in. (I have had a number of requests on Linked In recently and I don’t even use it to half its capacity.) I think in the freelancing / self-employed world, you find out so quickly it’s really not much about what you know, but how you use that in relation to who you know.

Having people close, though, and building on them, that’s what gives us strength.

‘No man is an island,’ is so true, but, even more importantly (and luckily), so many of us are part of what is a real network that is built out of the relationships we have with those around us. Sometimes, one of us will be thrown to the ‘top of the heap’, like sitting on top of a tower, as we are supported by a strong foundation.

Songs like ‘You Raise Me Up’ come to mind – but it’s not all romanticised and elevated like that: it’s about real people understanding real problems and just rallying for the one who needs the most support at the time.

It’s never about only one of us, though. One of the complications of the ‘real network’ is that everyone linked to the one ‘on the top of the tower’ at the time is affected, in different ways, by what is happening to that person.

Essentially, with this cancer thing, I find myself at the ‘top of the tower’ quite often – after all, I am the one who has/had the cancer. Every moment, though, every development, every stage of the treatment affects all of those around me – particularly those closest to me.

As much as I am ‘on top of the tower’, I am never alone. This is about us all – the tower wavers and rebuilds regularly. Just because I have the cancer, it doesn’t mean that I am the one most affected. That changes all the time – even momentarily. And the best place for each one of us to find the way through it all is with each other.




  1. Alta says:

    You are amazing. And I hope that you go from strength to strength. I do not know how you felt at the ball, but you looked amazing and nobody would be able to tell that you had major surgery which impacted on body and mind.

    My body certainly does not look normal and to be frank, I do not handle people who complain about minor imperfections like a broken nail on a body which is beautiful and in good working order. I love my breasts and I like my hair and to lose them is a terrible thought even if it may mean that getting rid of my beloved body parts may save my life.
    Rest, recover and do the things you enjoy on the days that you have the energy to do it.
    I am so pleased that you have a caring, loving family who travel with you on this arduous journey.

  2. Carl Ballot says:

    Beautifully put, Jane. Thank you for such a powerful message – for everybody. I am absolutely convinced that we are not meant to be here on earth on our own or for ourselves but to play our part, each for each other – and back again. As you say, sometimes you’re at the top of the pile, sometimes at he bottom but we’re all in the same pile! And we’re all on a journey. And good always, always, triumphs over evil.

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