Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 30th October

Day 24. (Or Day 2).

Cancer is a frightening disease / condition. It may be quite easy these days to treat, if caught early enough and there may be a whole lot of standard measures and methods in place to do just that, but it is still very frightening to know that there are invasive cells occupying some part of your body. It’s feels like some sneaky, insidious ‘bad guy’ from the movies. You want to shout at it, “Come out here and show yourself!”, but that is not possible.

I feel honoured and eternally grateful to be the recipient of such good treatment by such good doctors, who are continuously informed by the ongoing research into cancer. I am as confident as I can be that the cells have actually been taken from my body. There is still, of course, that thought about the microscopic ‘bad guys’, which should be blasted out of existence by the chemo.

There will always, I’m sure, be a sense of ‘what if’. How can I be absolutely, completely sure that every cancerous cell has gone and won’t come back?

The answer is, I’m sure I won’t be. Absolutes about this type of thing are not actually possible.

I understand now much more clearly why women will say something like, “I’ve been clear for X years”, rather than , “I don’t have cancer anymore.” Somewhere, some place tiny, there must always be that thought that , “Are they¬†sure?”

This doesn’t mean, I reckon, that all cancer survivors live in constant fear. It also doesn’t mean that I will forever be looking over my shoulder (or deep inside), so to speak. It does mean, though, that I will never actually lose the sense of wondering, just remembering to be a little cautious – or the sense of gratefulness for how this has been treated.

It is a doctor’s job to work with people, to make them better – to save lives. With cancer, though, it’s even more than that in some ways. This is not about only one doctor, but about a whole team that interfaces as a unit ¬†– rallying around individual patients in turn.

Not only is no victim of cancer an island, but so is no doc treating a cancer patient an island. They all bring skills and abilities that work in relation to each other to make this entire treatment process possible.

And, thank God for that.


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