Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 20th January

Today is my 25th wedding anniversary. A life sentence. Or so the jokes go 🙂

It’s funny how blithely one makes those kind of comments about something so positive. I suppose cancer is also a life sentence. Forever now, I will have the spectre hanging over me, even if only in the back of my mind. Forever, too, I will have to be aware and have checkups regularly.

In the shorter term, if I take Temoxifen (pretty sure I will, but has to be confirmed by the doc), then that is a shorter sentence. It sounds so easy to say, “You take it for 5 years”, but, for me, at least, remembering to do so is the issue. I’m the one who starts forgetting to take antibiotics after a few days, or even to take the anti-nausea medication a couple of days after chemo, despite the symptoms at times. Then there are the mammograms etc that I will have to go for. Hell, I forget to go to the dentist regularly enough.

I suppose that circumstances change and the greater the possible threat, the more diligent one becomes about following recommendations and procedures.

I also suppose that that’s where family comes in. No-one wants to see this happen to me again. Neither do I, trust me. So I will be observed and reminded to do what has to be done.

The horrible thing, I suppose, is that there is no way to prevent, only to detect if…

In many ways, the cancer is not only a life sentence for me, but for the family too. Also for the girls, though, who now have a first-degree relative with breast cancer. For them, there will always be the thought, “Will I…”

I wish I could spare them that.

I don’t feel guilty about that, though. Me, who finds a reason to feel guilty about just about anything, has managed nostly, not to feel guilty about this cancer. Except a devastation when the 3rd chemo was delayed and it was because of me that the others’ holiday was delayed. I’m sure that there are one / two other things about which I could have felt guilty. It does interest me, though, that I mostly haven’t felt at all guilty by way of being responsible for this whole thing. Maybe I’m finally growing up!

I do sincerely wish, though, that there had not been such an effect on those closest to me.

I do wish that there could be no sense of personal threat to any of my children, especially the girls.

I don’t, funnily enough, wish that this had not happened to me. I would much rather it hadn’t, of course. I would much rather not have gone through the traumas of the last 4+ months – given the choice. I would also much rather not have puffiness and numbness under and around my right arm. I just don’t spend time thinking, “Why me? Why did this happen to me? I wish it hadn’t.” There’s just too much to do to waste time on that kind of thought.

Life is, of course, about taking what we have and moving forward.

It happened. It’s been dealt with. The fallout forever is the sense of threat that cannot easily be erased, mainly subconsciously. It is being aware, always, of the reality.

Perhaps it is a good thing that this happened to me – for me and for everyone else. We cannot prevent cancer, at least I don’t know that we can do so yet – especially breast cancer, from what I know. It can be treated completely successfully, though. As all the initiatives say, the key is early detection – especially for breast cancer.

Maybe that’s why this happened – not to threaten Sarah and Dani (and my nieces), but to remind everyone in the family (male and female) and amongst my friends that these things do happen to us and to people we know and to just do what is necessary to be aware and to detect early if it happens to them. Or to you.

Maybe this was a good thing.

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