Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 12th October

I’m beginning to feel like a fraud.

People tell me that I look so good and they are so impressed with the way I’m getting over the operation – and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing.

Do they expect me to be languishing in bed (or the likes)?

I assume that, on the scale of ‘surgical procedures’, a mastectomy ranks quite high on list of large operations with after-effects etc. I’m fine, though – apart from the fact that I have only one boob now and two large scars, with the associated swelling and pain.

Otherwise, I’m fine 😉

Here’s my recipe for recovering from a mastectomy: come home on Wednesday; go to the zoo with the kids on Thursday (after a brief excursion to put pink extensions in the hair); on Friday, walk to the Spar (slowly, I promise) with Michael in the morning, take the kids swimming in the afternoon; on Saturday, spend much of the day out and about – walking across Emmarentia Dam (literally, the dock has been put across for a bicycle race), having some food and at Dani’s rehearsal (including playing Drama games); spend Saturday evening at Daynia’s ball – including dancing to the ‘shower song’ (ask Dani & Sarah…) and ‘Jika’.

Oh, all of the above carting the drain around with me – even on the dance floor!

Not a bad recipe to follow.

What Sunday holds… 😉

I do find that it’s not quite so easy putting ‘real life’ and ‘recovering from operation’ together at times. I have been on sick leave from Wits this last week, because I was in hospital and I truly didn’t know what was coming and how I would feel. Next week, I will go and take my classes and so, instead of lolling about playing the invalid, I need to do some prep. And some marking.

Sometimes real life is convenient in distracting us from other things. At others, it’s just what has to be done 🙂

I met someone last night who had a mastectomy 14 years ago. She had reconstruction after 3 years. It was interesting hearing about her experience with a prosthesis. I still don’t know what I want. I think, partly, I’m kind of hoping that Mum will send me a lightning bolt of an answer. I’m also going to see what the docs say and, also, maybe most importantly, what the oncologist says about all this.

The way forward does, of course, depend on the results from the lymph dissection. I’m not at all concerned that these haven’t come back yet. In fact, I’m quite happy to get them when I see the surgeon on Tuesday. Knowing is not actually going to change anything. I know the possible answers and the actual results will just give some more clarity.

One step at a time.

That’s where real life comes in. Whatever state one is in, there is always a dishwasher to unpack, or a cup of tea to make, or a school uniform to wash. That’s what makes the journey easier to do, I think. It’s not as though I am sitting around in some form of limbo somewhere waiting for each new thing to happen. Okay, I am waiting for the next step (like now – waiting to see the docs), but the normal stuff has to go on…

Mum always used to remind us that, “The daily round, the common task, should furnish all we ought to ask.”

As always, she is a very wise woman, my mother.

Maybe I will never get my lightning bolt message. Maybe Mum is answering me in the way I remember her words of wisdom and the way she just kept on doing what needed to be done, whatever was going on around her – usually with a pair of knitting needles close by.

I can’t say that I knit often at all, but I get the picture, Mum: keep on with the small things about life, do what has to be done and the big things will find a way of being sorted, or finding some form of clarity.

I love you, Mum. Thank you.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *