Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 15th December

Chemo no. 3 today. Yay. (Well, not exactly. Yay, that it will be 3 out of 4. Not ‘yay’ because it is not the most pleasant experience.)

Before we went to the farm, I felt quite anxious and unhappy about having this chemo. I still wasn’t feeling completely better from the last two and the thought of doing it all again did not make me very happy. Then, at the farm, I started feeling a lot better and the physical distance, I think, helped to make the chemo feel not quite so real or threatening.

Yesterday I was so busy sorting things out from one trip and for another that I didn’t relaly have time to think about anything, let alone chemo.

Today, I am quite calm about it. Almost resigned, but not in a fatalistic way, just okay with what has to happen. I think it’s all part of the process. Also, though, it is beginning to feel as though the last stretch of the cancer journey is approaching. Depending on how long the effects of the last chemo will last, I should be mostly over half way through everything now.

That is a ‘yay’.

I am determined to paddle on the Swartvlei as much as possible this holiday. I am not taking a polo boat, because my muscles still aren’t strong enough to be used willy-nilly to do whatever one needs to do. I am going to take a long boat, though, and make sure that I get my strength back properly.

I have also packed my running shoes.

Every time we go to Sedge, I run every morning and have a swim. Despite the chemo, I am determined that this is going to happen this year too. I may only manage short runs / jogs when I am feeling really nauseous, but damn it all, I will still be me! 😉

The funny thing is that, as much as I keep feeling ‘not myself’ with the effects of the chemo and the whole cancer thing, almost as many times people make some comment about how I am tackling this in a very ‘Jane way’.

Makes me think of a poem Mum used to quote to us by Robbie Burns:

O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as ithers see us!

Maybe it’s a good thing that we never actually see ourselves through others eyes. We may understand how some people see us and we may get an inkling of how what we do is read, but we will always have our own perception colouring all of that.

Coming out of this cancer thing, I understand that many people see me as strong and brave. I’m not sure if everyone is correct or not. I do know that I am like Mum and I do know that I can be very determined. It is very humbling and uplifting to hear what others think – especially when I think I am just doing what must be done and there is nothing really special about it.

Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to get a glimpse of what Robbie Burns is suggesting. I don’t think, though, that I would truly like to see myself exactly as others see me.

I need to be me inside and out and to do things my way, which, apparently, can be quite effective. 🙂


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