Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 16th March

When we were a lot younger, there was something we were either aware of, or were told about – that older people seem to become obsessed with their stomachs and how they function. I’m not sure if I fall into the ‘older’ category or not, but I am beginning to feel like that.

The functioning of my stomach is beginning to dominate my thinking.

This comes from the fact that for about ten days now I have had great problems with my sensitive constitution. There has been a stomach bug going around, so it may be that, or made worse by that. It may also just be coincidence and I would have had issues anyway. Or it may be a side effect of the hormone medication. I even checked on the package insert today and this is a common side effect L

All I know is that I cannot go on like this for five years. The thought just does not impress me – so I really do have to find a way to help my stomach to settle. (I am really starting to sound like the ‘old people’ now!)

It just feels really weird deliberately popping a pill every day that I know may very well be responsible for me feeling nauseous and for my stomach playing up. What we do to ourselves!

I suppose it’s a less extreme version of having the chemo treatment – then, you sit there having this drug dripped into your vein, quite deliberately, knowing full well that you are subjecting yourself to a myriad of side effects and a generally kak time, because the treatment is necessary.

It’s all part of what happens with this cancer thing.

At this moment, when I say something about chemo, or think about anything to do with it, it feels almost surreal. I have a sense of, “Me? Did that really happen to me?” Of course I know it did and I went through all that – I was there – but it really feels like another world in many ways.

Maybe it is.

It’s a world I had to inhabit for a time because of what I needed. Now it is gone and the reality seems to be so far away.

Funnily enough, working through having the lump and the surgery etc feels quite real – a little distant, but real enough. Maybe that’s because I do have the literal evidence of the operations on my body and I still feel the effects as my muscles slowly, slowly recover. There really is no evidence of the chemo – it’s a memory, more than anything.

Quite strange, though.

There are, of course, some things about the experience that will not go away. Just like the chemo taste, it seems. It is still stubbornly hanging in there – not badly, but there nonetheless. Then there are the more psychological effects, such as how I feel about some things and how the memory affects me.

We were at Carl’s for lunch yesterday. I was going to pour myself some juice. Dani warned me not to, because it was bright red. I just can’t stomach drinks of that colour. I think they will always taste of the Red Devil.

Not so surreal, after all.


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