Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Wednesday 1st October

Yay, we finally have a date for the surgery!

Yay, it’s Monday!

Yay – Monday is my birthday!!

I have spent the last number of weeks (as I do every year) dutifully reminding those around me that my birthday is ‘so-and-so’ number of weeks away. Now it’s the number of days.

I might have known. I might just have known that the universe had other plans for me!

On the other hand, to most and many, Monday is just another day. And, especially to the doctors, it’s just another day on which an operation can be performed.

So, guess where I’ll be spending my birthday? In hospital! More specifically, part of it will be in theatre!

The plastic surgeon is great. He is very down-to-earth, businesslike and sympathetic all at once. He is ‘very worried’ that he will have to spend the next 8 or so months working with a hippie like me, who wears African things (his words) round my ankle – and even has a tattoo. 🙂

Seriously, both Paul and I clicked with him right away and we both feel that the entire team of doctors and other professionals is the best I could possibly have taking care of me.

When the plastic surgeon asked me who had chosen the surgeon I am going to and I said, “My mum”, he looked at me slightly askance. I can imagine the thoughts fleeting through his head: something like, what flake do I have here in front of me? When I explained that I have always been guided in anything medical by Mum and that the surgeon was the person to whom she sent all her cases – and would have gone to herself (and who Noel recommended) – then he understood where I was coming from.

Actually, the choice of surgeon (and therefore the team) was mine, which is how it should be. In fact (I think I refer to this regularly), in the book the surgeon gave me to read, it said that, even more important than the efficacy of the treatment, is the patient’s satisfaction with the treatment that is chosen. I can relate to that. I understand the psychological element of the cure and it is increasingly obvious how important it is that I am happy with the medical team. Which I am. Eminently.

So, if my doctors can only operate on my birthday, then so be it. It will still be an important day for me. It may not be the way I would choose to spend the day, but I can deal with that. My family will be around the whole day – seeing as it is in the school holidays.

What more actually could I ask for than that? (Okay, maybe not to have surgery for cancer, but it’s okay. All this is doable.)

So – Happy Birthday to me (for Monday). I will not make the obvious rhyme with ‘mastectomy’. (At least, not in writing…)



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