Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Wednesday 21st January

Today I decided that it’s time to start running again. I went to gym briefly on Monday and found out just how damn unfit I am. I suppose it makes sense, considering that, for about 4 months, I have been doing so much less than I was doing before that. It’s quite upsetting to realise just how much fitness I’ve lost, though.

So, off I went for my run. I knew it wouldn’t be very far or very fast. (Not that I usually run very fast, anyway 😉 )

I love going out on a run, even in Joburg. Of course, running on the farm or in Sedge is just in a different category. I enjoy the sense of being out and about, with the sun and wind etc, so I was glad to be doing that again, after what seems like so long, but is only really a couple of weeks.

I ran about a kilometre before I realised that the chemo taste was worse. It may have been coincidence, or it may be that I only really noticed it then, but there was no doubt that I could taste the horribly familiar taste much more strongly. What fun.

Another Catch 22 to deal with: if I don’t run, I feel fatter and lazier than ever; if I do run, I just may exacerbate the taste that is, genuinely, getting better.

There is no competition, actually. Running makes me feel so much better in so many other ways that it will win hands down!

I haven’t been in a boat since Sedgefield, so I haven’t used those muscles recently. Except, at the polo thing at Parktown on Saturday, I was hauling boats out of the pool. The area under my arm feels much more swollen than it has been and it also feels as though the muscles are pulling. There is also a little bit of pain. I can’t work out if this is just that I am starting to get the feeling back in that area – slowly – and I am just feeling the muscles reacting, or if I have overdone it and have put unnecessary strain on the muscles. I wish I knew what was normal.

I suppose it may be like that for quite a while still. When a friend of mine showed me her mastectomy scar, it was about a year after her op and was beautifully healed and pretty flat. My op site is still all swollen and puffy. The friend never had any lymph nodes taken out – well, after the sentinel node, so I think her recovery will have been pretty different to mine.

I sometimes wonder if this will ever heal completely.

Then, of course, I say to myself that it was a pretty big operation and it was, actually, only three-and-a-half months ago, which is not long, I suppose. Also, there were three operations involved. I’m sure that all contributes.

I really would like to be as close to being myself again as soon as possible.

Having said that, I do have to ask, if I am not myself now, then who am I?

I suppose we take ourselves with, no matter what happens. Things may change about ourselves and we may have to adapt, but how can we be any less than ourselves at any one time – under different circumstances?

Maybe I should not want to be ‘normal’, or ‘myself’, because these are relative terms. Maybe what I should want is to be completely fit and healthy, without the exhaustion, horrible taste and other side effects.

We re-invent ourselves all the time in different contexts and never lose that sense of ‘self’.

So, despite everything I have gone through, I am still myself – perhaps a little more battered and perhaps a little more patient, but still me. I will just have to build on the fitness thing to really make sure that I feel on top again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *