Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 2nd March

You’d think that nearly ten months would start being long enough to dull the pain of having lost someone. Until you do lose that someone.

I sat in front of my computer looking at a picture of Mum tonight and sobbed. I miss her so much. I so, so, so wish she was still here.

Thinking about her and everything she was to me, to all of us, just made me think of what I’ve had to go through with this cancer thing without her. She was so sensible and practical and comforting all at the same time. She would know exactly what to say. It’s been really hard doing this without that, without her.

One of Bridget’s thoughts when she was diagnosed was that she would love to be able to phone Auntie Jean, because she would tell her what she needed to know and give her good advice.

We all miss her so much.

When you’re sick, you realise a whole lot of things about how you feel, about the world and about how things affect you. When you’re out of action because you’ve been afflicted with something you never saw, never really understood and never felt any effects of, you somehow feel cheated. It’s not that I would have liked to have had some dreaded disease that gave me horrible symptoms, just so that I had evidence for myself that I really was sick. It’s more that it’s really weird to have had a rather large operation and ongoing treatment, from both of which I am still feeling the effects and have no real sense of why, except some scans and the doctors’ diagnoses.

It’s all rather surreal.

I read on the internet that one woman who had had a mastectomy described the feeling as though someone had strapped her up across her chest and under her arm with duct tape. A brilliant description! It feels just like that. And it can get to be really trying. That, and the feeling that there is a ball under my right arm, seem to have dominated most of my waking hours for nearly 5 months now. It feels like such a long time. And it feels as though it will never get better.

I would so love just to be well again. And yet, I’m not sick.

At the dam on Sunday, one of the guys asked me why I wasn’t playing polo. Under those circumstances, I find it easier to say that I’m injured, rather than refer to an operation or something. As I say it, though, I think that it’s not really an injury, somehow it’s so much more and so different. The effects are the same, I suppose.

On Sunday, I also saw someone I haven’t seen for a while, who obviously knows about the cancer, because she greeted me by saying that she hears that I’m getting better. When I told her about my side, she commented that the muscles had been cut, which gave a whole different understanding from her perspective.

I know it’s time that will heal and that this will all settle down. I sometimes just would like it to take a much shorter time than it seems to need.

All through this, though, I don’t sit around thinking, “If only…” or “I wish…”  It is what it is and I have to work through it – and work with it.

I do truly wish, though, that Mum was still here.

I looked at a photo of myself on my staff card today. I had very little hair then, because I had it shaved at the Shavathon last year. (Actually, as short as it was, it was a lot more hair than I have now 😉 ). When I was looking at the pic, which was taken about a year ago, I thought, “You poor innocent. If only you’d known…”

Maybe it’s just so much better that I didn’t.

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