Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 23rd October

Day 17. (The drain is still in – and is still draining!)

Also, a week ’til chemo.

Dates, deadlines, times – how we live our lives. I’ve been doing the early run, dropping Mick and Dan at school. Thanks to timing and traffic, Dan was just on time yesterday. Thanks to a major robot being out, she was just late today.

I get very stressed when this happens, because, above all, I hate causing distress to my children. I must have apologised about 50 times during the journey (as though I could have helped the robot) and, each time, was told, “It’s fine.” It wasn’t, though and isn’t if one of my kids is upset by something I think I could have avoided.

That’s me – permanent guilt complex. (I think this comes built-in with all mums!)

During the whole cancer thing I have found myself telling my kids that I am sorry a number of times. I still do it. This time, though, the ‘sorry’ is not because I feel guilty, or because I think I am causing an upset I could have, somehow, avoided. This sorry is just because I genuinely feel sad and sorry that people so young have to go through this. In fact, that any of us do. And, specially, on top of everything that has happened to us this year.

I am so sorry for my whole family – Paul, David, Sarah, Dani and Mike, as well as Carl, Daynia and Noel and their families – that they are all affected by so much. Life throws difficulties at us and we have to cope. It’s just so hard to be witness to the effect this (and everything else) has on those close to me.

I told Mick yesterday (in fact, I’ve told him a few times), if I could possibly take any of this away from him (and the others), I would. Hell, if I could make it better in any way, I am trying.

I can’t take it away, though and all of them – all of us – have to find ways (new and even old) of making sense of things and getting through the tough periods we have faced and continue to face.

For some reason, chemo holds no fears for me. I think it’s partly because I literally have no idea what it’s going to be like or how I’m going to feel. It’s also, though, because it’s doing what I always tell Sarah to do when she is driving: ‘Always err on the side of caution’. As Dani told me the other day, when I said I have cancer, “Had.”

She is right, the cancer is gone. The chemo is making absolutely sure – well, as absolutely sure as we can be – that any tiny traces are gone and it won’t come back. It is the next step that has to be taken.

And that is also why, I think, I do not fear it.

I am not looking forward to the implications for those close to me, though.

If I could go and sit on an island and do this on my own, I would. If I could have spared them from any of this, I would have already.

But, to quote from a song we learned at Guides:

“No man is an island, no man stands alone/ Each man’s joy is joy to me, each man’s grief is my own.”

And so we stand together en masse (‘specially when it comes to our family 😉  ) and we make sense of all this, somehow, simply because we are together.


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