Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 29th January

I went for a final check-up with the doc today, just to make sure that everything is going as expected and I am healing normally. He was highly complimentary about how well I am doing and how fit and good I look. In his words, I am ‘way ahead of the pack’ in terms of how people generally recover from this surgery and the aftermath of all the treatments.

He’s not the first person to comment on how fit I look and how well I am doing. It has been happening all through this cancer thing.

Again, I am fascinated by how people expect me (or cancer patients) to react and behave. I literally do not know any other way to do any of this than to just go ahead and work my way through it, keeping to as normal a life as possible.

I told the doc that I go running (for that, read ‘jogging’) and can only make about a kilometre before I have to walk a bit and then, maybe, jog again. His reaction was almost, “Duh! What do you expect after having had chemo on top of such a big, horrible operation?”

Again, that fascinates me. Of course, he is right. I am pretty much exhausted a lot of the time, which I think will last for a while until all the chemo drugs have worked their way through my body. Physical exertion does tire me and I can only do a bit compared to what I would ‘normally’ be able to do, never mind when I’m really fit. What do ‘normal’ cancer patients do, though? What does everyone else expect me to do? Or have done?

Does the average person going through chemo take to their sick bed for weeks? Do they act the invalid (justifiably)? Are they literally not able to do much of real life?

As with much of this cancer thing, I reckon it is all ‘how long is a piece of string’. Everyone is different. Every chemo treatment is different.

As much as this doc commented on how well I am doing, the oncologist was surprised that I have experienced so many of the side effects of chemo – and so badly. So, everyone is different.

I hate ‘how long is a piece of string’ answers. When I want to know, I want to know. Which is slightly ironical, actually, as, in Drama and even in English, there are very few definitive answers – things are often open to interpretation and need to be contextualised.

Then, of course, there is the whole irony that, as fit and good as I seem to be to everyone else, I have felt so much like a wus and vaguely pathetic because I have not been able to do what I think I should be able to. As the Americans say, ‘Go figure.’

I have learnt to do as advised and ‘listen to my body’, to a degree. I don’t go and sleep when I feel tired, at least mostly not. I also get up at some odd hour to work and to sort out school lunches etc, when I could easily sleep for another few hours. Life has to carry on, though.

I am quite diligent about not overdoing things when I feel physically exhausted. I have decided that running (for that, read ‘jogging’) in the morning is better than the evening, because I really do still get exhausted then. How long this will last, I don’t know.

What I do know, for absolute sure, is that everything can only get better! Maybe one day in the not too distant future I will feel as good and as fit as I apparently look  🙂

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