Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 22nd March

I realised today that the spectre of cancer is going to haunt me forever – on-and-off; and, hopefully, only sporadically. It will never, never completely go away, though, of that I am sure.

And it’s a damn scary thought.

I know that I won’t spend forever being worried about cancer at every moment, but I also know that there will be plenty of moments when I just am not sure.

I suppose this is inevitable, especially as I am still really coming to terms with everything. With time, perhaps I will become more relaxed about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘are you sures’? At the moment, that time seems far away.

And yet, yesterday, I was fine. And the day before. And the day before that. Perhaps it is just one of those things that happens when it does and has to be dealt with.

I do live with constant reminders of the whole cancer thing, mostly because of the absence of my boob and the feeling of pulling under my right arm. I would dearly love to know if that goes away eventually, but don’t really know who to ask. If I were to ask, I’m sure I would get a ‘how long is a piece of string’ answer, as everyone is so different and so is every scenario. It would just be nice to know, though.

What is happening now, is that the feeling is definitely coming back in the whole area under and around my armpit, because it is actually sore at times, as opposed to being numb. This is, of course, great on one level, as it means that my nerves and muscles must be recovering. It is also a bit of a poopy, though, because it means more discomfort and more adjusting.

I never, ever thought that the recovery time would be so long. What did I expect, though? It was a helluva op (or three).

Mostly, I’m fine and don’t even really notice the pulling and ‘lump under the arm’ feeling. Sometimes, though, as with anything chronic, it makes its presence known and I am so aware of what is going on in that part of my body.

I suppose that part of what I am feeling is that I would so dearly love for all this to be completely over – while knowing all the time that it will never truly be so. If the effects of the ops were to be all healed, though, then it would mean that something about me is almost back to normal and I don’t have the constant reminder and the after-effects to deal with.

I still get the chemo taste every-so-often, which is another reminder. And another slight inconvenience.

It’s also just part of the process, though.

I have discovered that my upset stomach (which has lasted for two weeks now) is not so much a side-effect of the hormone medication, but seems to be a bug that may have been awakened because of the chemo etc etc. Perhaps the hormone drug just gave it that extra little kick. I should go onto an antiobiotic to sort it out. I am just so sick of taking drugs and being under medical care, on one hand. On the other, though, I really don’t want to have dietary issues for weeks and weeks, even months.

It just feels that the last six months have been one issue after another. As one thing gets sorted, then another occurs. It was definitely like that with the side-effects of the chemo, which lasted the longest, I reckon.

I never was very good at allowing things to just take their course.

So things will go on, I reckon. There will be discomforts I will have to bear and different impacts on my body I will have to deal with. There will be medication to take and visits to doctors to negotiate. There will be so many, many steps on this journey that I cannot even begin to anticipate.

Perhaps that’s what I simply shouldn’t do, but to keep going on, dealing with what happens as it happens and just keep moving onwards. That is, after all, the way a journey unfolds.

And wars are only won by fighting the battles along the way.


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