Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 26th October

Day 20. The drain is still in and still draining. It really does seem to be coming to an end now. Maybe tomorrow…

The next thing to face is the chemo. The next step – at least, steps, as there will be four treatments and all the little things that will come in-between, like losing my hair, probably.

In my youth I had long hair that I could sit on – in fact, I never went into a hairdresser until matric, when I had ‘flicks’ cut (such an ’80s thing!). At the end of matric, I had all my hair cut off very short. Since then, I’ve had hair of varying lengths. My hair grows like weeds, so it is never very short for very long. 🙂

I have always had a fear of having to have all my hair shaved off, though. I think this comes from watching an old version of Jane Eyre, where the girls in the workhouse had their heads shaved because of lice. The image always worried me.

Then came Dale’s cancer – and then Bill’s – so I’ve had my head shaved for the Shavathon twice now – not clean off, but very short. I have faced my ‘sticky-out’ ears being exposed and have seen what I look like with practically no hair. Losing it, therefore, because of chemo holds no fears for me.

It may for other people, though!

When I had my hair shaved – both times – Mum told me I looked awful. I remember asking her, “So, if I have to lose my hair for any reason, does that mean you’ll lie and tell me I look okay?”

Her answer was, “No. I’ll buy you a wig.”

Well – be careful what you anticipate, even in jest, it may very well come true.

Mum’s not here to buy me a wig if my hair falls out, but I will definitely think of her fondly! And wear a hat (of which I have many).

Now that the chemo is a matter of days, not a week or more, away, I am beginning to feel slightly trepidatious. Mostly, this is about the drip (I hate needles), but is also about the unknown: What will it feel like? What will the effects be? How will I feel?

Me, the control-freak, doesn’t like the idea of something happening to me over which I have no control. I’ll be okay doing it, though, because it is the next step in the cancer treatment that has to happen.

Actually, I have had little or no control over this whole process, so it really has been a learning experience for me.

I would love to have more control over what is going on with the ‘non-boob’. It is so swollen that it feels as though it may just burst out of my chest. I cannot adjust anything in any way and there is no relief from the pressure. It’s not sore, but is so damn uncomfortable.

Patience, not being my virtue, is being imposed – and frustrates the hell out of me!

At least it’s taken my mind off the drain, of which I am becoming strangely fond, as it is working and removing the ‘gruck’ that my body is still, apparently, producing.

From Les Mis: ‘One day more…”


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