Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Wednesday 7th January

We’re home from Sedge after a long, hot drive over the last two days – punctuated by a wonderful stop at a lovely guest house in Hanover.

We arrived in time to be able to tag on to a tour of the local NG Church. It is a magnificent structure and the guide was so enthusiastic about the whole experience that he inspired interest in all of us.

There are so many wonderful places to see in this country that we don’t actually think about and often don’t take the time to visit. We are all usually so busy trying to get somewhere for no other reason than to actually be there. Sometimes the actual process of getting there is the whole point, or should be.

I have the last chemo on Friday. Already a number of people have asked me questions along the line of ‘What then?’ or ‘When will you be pronounced clear?’

I suppose I would also like to know definitively, but if there is one thing I have learnt through this whole cancer thing, it is that there is rarely anything definitive about this disease / condition.

I’m not sure what happens after the last chemo – apart from the nausea, horrible taste, sore stomach etc etc. It really does feel as though I have taken a whole lot of steps and will now go right back to the beginning again. Well, not quite the beginning, but somewhere way back from where I am now. It’s like I’m playing a game of Snakes and Ladders, but in real life. I have the chemo, then spend a number of weeks slowly building myself up again, only to slide back down to being zapped by the Red Devil and its counterpart again.

I’m already planning the party, but don’t know when this will happen. Hell, if I have to take Tamoxifen, that will go on for 5 years. I’m sure that other things will happen before then, though – including the party!

Journeys take time and often there are unexpected twists and turns along the way. Even stoppages. I have had my fair share of those on this journey, but it will come to an end. I will reach the summit of the mountain.

That is the point at which I have been aiming since the lump was discovered.

Although it need not, in fact often should not,  be the complete focus of a journey and the only thing that is appreciated, the destination is the point to which a journey leads. Since the beginning of this cancer journey, I have kept that end point in sight. It is important and I will revel in it. The journey itself, though, has had so much meaning and taught me so much. And continues to do so.

Strength, learning and growth may be achieved by the end of a journey, but they really come from the twists and turns along the way and from the travelling companions we take with us.

I have had my fair share of twists and turns of every kind on this journey so far and I have no doubt that there are more to come. I am also blessed with wonderful travelling companions – some for the duration, others who I have ‘picked up’ along the way and others who come and go.

This cancer thing is a journey that will have an end point, but it is the path itself and what I have learnt along the way that will stay with me forever.



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