Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 3rd January

Sometimes I have these moments when I just think, “What the hell has happened to me?”

I may be strong enough to cope with all of this (quite well, if everyone is to be believed); able to forge ahead with life while having to face the threat of cancer, three operations and the chemo; and determined enough not to let the cancer thing get on top of me and to carry on climbing this mountain. I am also human enough, though, to feel the upset and devastation when I am confronted with the evidence of what has happened to me.

At Sedgefield there is a mirror in the room I sleep in that is basically opposite where I usually change. Every-so-often I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror – normal boob on one side and, on the other, the site of what is effectively mutilation.

It is not a pretty sight.

And it is enough to make me want to burst into tears, or rage at the world, or react in a whole number of completely human ways.

But those moments are soon over and I carry on as normal – step-by-step, along this path that has been determined for me by the cancer thing.

And it’s okay. All of it is manageable and okay. I keep on working through it. There really is no other way to do it.

I think we all have these moments. After all, we are all human and feeling the effects of what happens to us is one of our character traits.

I asked Sarah if she thinks that everything always has the two sides. Is there always a ‘but’. She answered that it is surely true about bad things.

With the cancer thing, I think she is right. I hate what has happened to me. I hate the fact that I had cancer at all, or that I had to have a mastectomy. I hate that there has been so much waiting and so many complications along the way that have all made things harder to bear and have, effectively, protracted the whole process. I hate the effect this has had on the family. I hate that I have not been able to be myself for the last number of months.

I hate all of this and more, I suppose.

But…(there it is J )

To focus on the negative could be so tempting, I suppose. To have succumbed to the stress and the pressure of everything would have been so easy in many ways.

And so counter-productive.

Definitely one of the reasons that I have been able to be so positive and to keep climbing all the way is that it would be of absolutely no use to anyone if I let myself fall victim to the negativity. That, and the fact that I literally do not have the energy to spend time bemoaning my fate.

There is so much else to do with my time and energy –  like do everything I can to make sure that this cancer thing is soundly beaten.

I hate a lot of things, but then there is the other side: so much more to work with and build on. And to keep climbing towards.


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