Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 19th January

I feel like a bit of a fraud when I want to complain about the condition I am in.

My body has been disfigured and will never look the same again; but it is something I can cover up and only I will really know. I am still suffering through the side effects of the chemo, as I have for nearly three months now; but I have had the last treatment and then it is over. It seems as though this horrible taste in my mouth will stay forever, but it really is a matter of time, then it is gone.

There are so many, many people out there who have, or have had, conditions far worse than mine. There are so many who never will truly recover from what has happened to them. It feels, in some ways, as though I don’t have the right to complain. I haven’t actually been through a lot. I haven’t really experienced suffering.

And yet, we are all human enough to really feel with our whole soul what we go through at any one time.

For me, this is big – has been big – and will always affect the way I do things and see things. It will always colour the way I do life from now on.

There is not one ‘cancer’ and not one way to suffer from this disease / condition. So, too, is there not only one degree of suffering that gives one the right to feel the pain and the impact of something beyond our control.

Because of what I have been through, I have a far deeper understanding of what all ‘levels’ of cancer patient must go through. Some of the treatments just seem beyond endurance, especially when I have had a taste (literally) of chemo.

So many different conditions; so many different ways of coping; so many different survivors.

For me, it is generally not difficult to face life head on and to either ignore, or deal with, the horrible side effects. Sometimes, though, I feel overwhelmed and want to cry because the taste in my mouth never, ever goes away and it is truly kak. Or because I am tired beyond measure.

There is always a way back, though, always a moment during which I don’t actually think about the taste. And then all is well with the world again.

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