Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Friday 23rd January

I wonder what the perfect day entails. For me, at least. There must be a different ‘perfect day’ for everyone at different times and in different places.

At Sedgefield, the ‘perfect day’ for me involves going for a run and swim, spending time on the beach, having a bike ride and going for a paddle.

Today I decided I am sick and tired of feeling fat, lazy and generally incompetent. Perhaps in search of a perfect sort of day, I went for a run (well, jog) this morning and a paddle this afternoon. Going out on the dam is wonderful, even if I go at my pace in a really flat boat. Dani and I paddled a K2. I said it was fine, but it had to be a very stable boat! We did 2kms before my muscles got sore. I would love to sound like a real paddler with a real injury and say my shoulder is sore, but it isn’t in my shoulder, it’s under my arm and pulling into my chest. These are the muscles that were cut up when the docs went hunting for the lymph nodes and were repositioning things in my chest to prepare for the reconstruction that hasn’t happened.

The whole op area is still numb, as is the whole area under my arm. I get some hints that feeling is starting to come back really slowly. I think my nerves are very slowly starting to wake up and realise what has been done to them. It may be quite sore for quite a while as more and more nerves wake up.

The oncologist said it can take up to a year for feeling to come back. This really is a long journey, full of things that demand patience.

I am realising, as I think about all the fallout from the op, that, long after the chemo has worked its way out of my veins and the cancer has been put to bed, the effects of the op are going to remain. For a very, very long time.

Part of the process. Part of the price. I will live with it, as this is how it has to be, so I have to deal with whatever comes.

My hair is starting to really grow now. It is coming back fine and mainly white. I can still feel a stubble on my head, though, so I think the bulk of my hair is still waiting to get its own shot at returning.

Patience. Again.

I can definitely do nothing about the pace of my hair regrowing. That really is something that will happen in its own time.

We are having problems with some electrical appliances – not Eskom’s fault, as far as I can see. It just feels a little overwhelming when all these things that end up costing money happen at the same time.

In relation to the things coming out of last year that still affect us psychologically, they seem small. Everything is relative, though, and an issue can become an issue.

The perfect day for me, right now, may just be one on which I don’t have a car crash, the stove doesn’t die, the washing machine does not give up the ghost and things are just boringly normal.

What else should we be wishing for?

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