Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 7th March

There are days that come, finally, because you have been looking forward to them, or because they hold an event you have been planning  / anticipating for a while. Today was one of those: the first day of the Canoe Polo Champs 2015.

I reckon it went exactly as I anticipated. Part of this was that I was involved, but not ‘in charge’, which was different for me, but really quite fine. And it was fun.

It was also the first Champs I’ve been involved in (out of four) that I haven’t played in. I was asked if I was sad that I wasn’t playing. My answer was that, if there was a stupid (particularly political) reason that I wasn’t playing, I might feel disappointed. I think I have a really legitimate reason for not playing at the moment and I have got used to that fact, so it was fine. Also, there are no ladies teams playing, so I don’t really feel as if the game is going on without me.

Most of the involvement for me today was about supporting David and Gauteng – and taking pics.

It was also about seeing friends we haven’t seen since last year and just catching up a bit – in between games!

So far, it has been fun; and everything has gone smoothly.

It’s amazing how tired I was this evening – even though I had not been playing. (I do think that, if I had played, I would have been even more exhausted 😉 )

I find that I do get very tired still – not all the time and not as debilitatingly as I did during and straight after chemo. Still, it hangs on and makes a difference to how I approach the world.

What also contributes to the general exhaustion, I have found, is emotional distress – caused by a variety of factors. That really is quite draining and is something I find I cannot easily control, or predict. It is something that creeps up on me, or affects me and I feel the effects.

That, and the amount of stress being caused that also affects me unconsciously, worry me a bit, because I’m not exactly sure what the relationship between stress and cancer is. I think I will always live with the sceptre of the intruder and the vague question of will it ever return.

That is not something I can control and something that will haunt me subconsciously and without me even being aware of it most of the time.

I have always been an optimist, though, and I know that everything will be fine. It’s just that there is the fact that I have had the one unwanted visitor and don’t want to go through anything similar again.

I suppose part of me fears that putting those thoughts in writing can make it more real, or seem more real. I don’t think that is the case, though. The concern exists, whether it is expressed in writing or not, or whether it is vocalised or not. It is there. It exists.

Sometimes it seems that, by acknowledging things, we make them more real and easier to deal with. I’m not sure that the possible, vague and intangible threat of what may never be can ever become real. It may also never become really easy to deal with, because it is just that: a threat – something that seems to sit in abeyance, but with the potential to upset.

Cancer seems to be like that. It also is just so much more real when it has been thrown in your face. For all of us in the family, this monster is more real because of my experience. That doesn’t make it any more possible, though – it has always been there and that is not going to change. It’s just that our perception of its reality and potential threat has been heightened.

So has our understanding of the ability to beat it.

And to we learn valuable and life-changing lessons by encountering and being forced to face potentially threatening situations.

There are things in life to which we look forward, like Champs – and enjoy the moment when they do arrive. Then there are things we hope, even if only subconsciously, will never happen to us, like cancer, I suppose. If they do happen, though, then it is simply a matter of going into battle and winning the war.

Which is exactly what I’ve done. My war is not completely over, I think – perhaps it never will be completely. I will continue to take it one step at a time, though, in order to keep on with the campaign. And I will win.


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