Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 11th December

If I had to identify one thing about this whole cancer thing that I hate the most, I could come up with quite a list:

I really don’t like the fact that I have been pricked and prodded so much. I hate needles and am scared of being hurt by them, so the blood tests, anaesthetics, drips, chemo etc etc have really not been fun.

It is not so great that I had to lose one breast. Although I may seem to be quite gung-ho about it at times, it’s not a nice thing. As the one doc said, it is a disfiguring operation, which leaves one being not quite the same in many ways.

Having no hair is fine, I can deal with it. I don’t like it, though and would completely choose to have my hair, which is a very amenable thing to have to cover one’s head, I have discovered.

I am not enjoying the side-effects of the chemo. I am not having fun being so tired all the time and having a sore mouth and being nauseous.

So the list could go on, I suppose. But why bother? If we bog ourselves down in what is wrong and what we don’t like, then it is, as Mum would say, a slippery slope to complete negativity.

Funnily enough, there is also a list of what I like linked to the cancer thing:

It is extremely flattering and personally enriching and humbling to hear so many positive comments about me and the way I approach things.

It has been good to face one of my own personal demons – having no hair – and to know that I can deal with it. And not look too weird 😉

It is extremely enriching and, again, humbling, to have the wonderful support of my family and of friends and even acquaintances through this journey.

This list, too, could go on. And that is something to celebrate.

Crouching over all of this like some huge gargoyles are two things that I really hate, though.

The one is knowing that I have not been functioning completely as I am able (usually) for the last number of months. I know that I have done a lot – even beyond what someone who has had this surgery and chemo etc may do. It hasn’t been me, though, and has left me feeling incompetent and pathetic some of the time. Fortunately, this will pass and, actually, is something to be lived through and built on.

The second thing, though, is not so easy. This, perhaps, is what I’ve hated most about the whole thing: the effect it has on those closest to me – especially on top of everything that they have had to deal with this year.

And this will not go away easily. It can be worked through and lived with. Life does go on and there are wonderful experiences and happy times too. Like the cancer lurking in my breast that changed so much for all of us, though, the feelings will lurk for a long time.

If I could take that away from all of them, I would. But I can’t.

What I can do, though, is to keep on moving forward, dealing with the negative and pushing the positive.

It’s not so bad, any of this. Despite not functioning as me, I am still functioning and will continue to build. This is hard and a bit horrible, but it is doable.

Onward and upward.


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