Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 12th March

Today my knees have been aching a lot of the time. This is different from when they are usually sore – after I have been sitting with them bent. Maybe I’ve been doing more standing and walking randomly around than for the last little while, I don’t know. When they are bugging me, I think that it won’t be so great to have sore knees for five years. Then I remember having had whacky knees for long periods previously and it doesn’t seem so bad.

After all, I don’t really have a choice about the medication, so this is a case of grin and bear it.

It is amazing how quickly you learn to compensate for things, anyway. I will know quite quickly how to avoid the situations that really make them ache. Like we were sitting on the floor in one of my classes today and my knees were sore, so I just sat on a chair. My students thought it very funny when I apologised, saying I wasn’t trying to be superior, it was just about my knees. They hadn’t even thought anything of it.

It’s funny how we can anticipate or interpret what others may be thinking, even if we aren’t right some of the time. When people (especially people I haven’t seen for a while) ask me how I’m doing, I still do the ‘do they know’ thought process. If I realise they are asking specifically in relation to the cancer, then there is one kind of answer; if they are most probably asking me how I am out of politeness, or just because they haven’t seen me, then my answer is more bland – I am, after all, fine.

And that is the truth. I have sore knees. I have to take the medication that is exacerbating that (and maybe affecting my sensitive constitution) for five years at least. I also have sore and recovering muscles that pull. I also don’t have a boob. But I am fine. And that is a hugely good thing.

We all have our own aches and pains, I think – at least, as we grow older, we do 😉

Most of mine may be linked to the cancer. Some of them will go and some of them are here for a while. Whichever way, they are simply aches and pains. The cancer may have led to them, but the cancer is gone. And that is what matters most. Everything else I can live with.

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