Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Friday 6th February

Today was D-day – I saw the oncologist for the follow-up visit after finishing chemo. It was also an Eskom-special day, which resulted in traffic snarl-ups because of all the robots that were out – the nett result of which was that I was 30 minutes late for my appointment.

No problem. Life carries on at the Oncology Centre and I was just fitted in.

And all is good: scan, x-ray, liver function, blood etc etc – all normal. Yay!

Considering all the evidence, everything that everyone has said and all I’ve gone through, this was what I expected to hear, so it did not come as a shock to me. There is always that ‘what if’ thought, though, so it was so great to hear it from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.

‘So what happens now?’ has been answered: I go onto a hormone therapy tablet for five years. Minimum.

This is also what I expected to hear.

Strangely enough, this is freaking me quite a lot right now. Today it is four months to the day since I had the mastectomy and one day less than five months since the lump was discovered. It seems as though there should be a feeling of it all being over, having come to an end. After all, the tumour has gone, along with my breast, and the lymph has been either gouged out, or zapped with the red devil.

But there isn’t. For me, there is just a sense of this going on and on and on.

The tablet comes with its own side effects. There is no guarantee that I will have any of them (luckily), but knowing me and how I experienced the side effects of chemo, I reckon it is likely that I will experience at least some of the side effects of this drug too.

They say they wear off, though. Or become manageable.

The doc reckons it can take up to four months for the side effects of the chemo to wear off. I met a friend today who is also had cancer (not breast) and she reckons it is only really now, about a year after the end of her treatment, that she is really beginning to feel like herself.

It’s a long, hard road. And it is not one trodden easily, or lightly.

It is also one not trodden without company, which just makes it all the more manageable, although it is ultimately, I suppose, trodden alone.

As the import of what has happened because of the cancer and the permanent scarring and everything I will have to live with forever sinks in more-and-more, I am finding the whole thing hard to compute and quite hard to deal with. In this I am alone, because no-one can understand exactly what I feel and how I see myself.

It’s hard. It’s been a lot and it’s hard to work through.

I will do it, though. I will keep onward and upward.

I think it’s just that I am waiting for that moment when I can actually say, (like in a really old Firestone ad), “So ja, ek is bo!”

It’s just that I don’t know where that is, or when I will know I am there.


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