Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 15th January

I have been chasing today as a deadline for some writing work I had to get in so that I can get paid. Only when I had sent the work in and was putting the details onto an invoice, did it really strike me that we are already half way through January.

Time really does fly.

It’s also a month today that we will go to the farm to scatter Mum’s ashes. Hard times still lie ahead. I still want to phone her. I still find my hand reaching for the phone before I stop myself with the thought that she won’t be there.

Not ever again.

Again and again I feel cheated that I haven’t had Mum here with me to go through the cancer thing – as a doctor, to listen to me, to give me sage advice and just to understand me as a patient; even more importantly, just as a mum, to be my comfort and shoulder to cry on. And to buy me a wig, if she felt like it.

The girls and I were talking about the Shavathon today. It’s funny how things work out. I don’t think that any of my siblings have been involved in the Shavathon – they certainly haven’t had their heads shorn as I have twice now. And here I am, the one with the cancer. It’s almost as though the universe knew that, somehow, I was better prepared.

I still don’t like this. I would rather this had not been me. I am still also eternally grateful, though, that it wasn’t anyone close to me.

The taste in my mouth hasn’t gone, but is fractionally better. This makes me feel a bit more upbeat, generally. I have such a sore stomach, though, so I trade one thing for the next. Also, I have a really sensitive mouth. Just the next, inevitable, thing to happen, I suppose. The doc did give me some really hectic mouthwash, but, to be honest, I would rather deal with the sore mouth. I literally cannot use the medication L

I keep comparing what is happening to me to the last time and even the chemos before that. Right now, I can’t believe that I have actually had four sessions. I have said that I don’t know how anyone who has to have lots of sessions copes, but I suppose I do – literally one moment, one day, one step at a time. If you can get through each moment and make it to the next, without trying to project and try to see how to do everything, then you can do these things.

Like dealing with everything that happened last year. One thing at a time. One moment after each other.

In so many ways it just doesn’t seem fair that so much of the effects of the horrible things from last year still hangs over into the new year, into the middle of January and far beyond. If only we could have left all that behind and started afresh. Time is capricious like that, though – we think things are new, but, really, they are just continuing, moving forward with the effects of what has gone before.

But, then, that is also a reason why we can cope – by learning from the past, by linking what is gone to what is to come to make the ‘now’ bearable. That’s what can serve to keep us going.

Moment by moment. Day by day.

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