Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 15th December

If I had written this very early today, it would have  been about apprehension and even a degree of fear – of needles, being pricked (again) and of the aftermath of the chemo.

If I had written this around mid-morning, it would have been about devastation, upset and a whole lot of tears.

As I sit here in the night, all of those emotions still lurk. The apprehension and degree of fear have not gone, or solved, but have been put on a back-burner. The devastation and tears are mostly over, but are not far beyond the surface.

My white cell count was too low for chemo today.

I’ve known since the beginning that this can happen to patients. (How I hate using that word about myself. I am so tired of being a patient.) As with many things, we never think that it will be us. I am so fit and capable and strong…

My body, though, has apparently been hammered by the chemo.

As I described for the doc the way the side effects have affected me, it didn’t sound so bad. He, however, is surprised at how many side-effects I am having. In fact, above average, apparently.

So, I am one of those people.

I am also one of those who was  turned away from the prize, so to speak. Even as the doc reminded me that, from the beginning, there is a percentage of patients who experience the side effect of their white cell count being lowered by the treatment, I didn’t quite register that I am one of them.

So much for the best laid schemes.

Needless to say, we didn’t leave for Sedgefield today – which has totally devastated me and upset me intensely.

I think part of it was just the horrible realisation that the anticipated joy of leaving and getting there was not going to happen today. Part of it is a feeling of guilt and regret that I did not push to have this chemo in George, which would have meant that we could have left last week. The medical aid logistics would have been difficult to negotiate, though, and could have had horrible financial implications.

A lot of it is about not being able to have the luxury of actually chilling in a place away from home where there is not an overpowering sense of responsibility and work that has to be done all the time.

Most of my devastation, though, is that it is not fair on Paul, Sarah, Dani and Michael. I think it is so unfair that they are being robbed of part of their time on holiday in Sedge just because I, apparently, can’t cope with chemo quite so well – physically, at least.

It also extends the halfway mark.

So many, many reasons for feeling horribly, horribly unable to be in control and so much not myself.

I wish…

It’s been a good day, though. Shopping and eating companionably tend to do that for one. The Hobbit also had a hand.

So, I write this now, after another Monday of huge leaps in emotion. As I think about it, I know that the world is not such a bad place and that, in the end, everything has good and bad in it. We plan and then, sometimes, we have to take a step backwards, or sideways. The ultimate momentum, though, is forward and onward.

The path up the mountain may waiver, but it never falters. And the traveller just has to stay moving along it, step-by-step.


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