Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 19th March

Over the years, I have had my hair cut and shaved a whole number of times – and it always grows back quickly, ‘like weeds’, according to me. Well, true to form, here it goes again!

It’s as though my hair has said, ‘Ok, is that horror finally over? Well, here I go’ and is, true to form, is growing like weeds. Everyone tells me that, after chemo, your hair can change character. Mine is too short still to know if that is going to happen or not, but it is definitely coming back, thick and strong. Given a little time and I will see if its got curlier, or lost any of the natural wave. The one thing that stands out, though, is my ‘bles’ – still there, white and dominant on the front of my head!

When I speak to Gran in East London, that is the thing she wants to know about, so I can report, regularly, that my white patch lives on! In fact, I am reminded how, when I first had my head shaved, that patch turned out to be so completely white that it looked as though there was no hair there.

It’s quite weird to think back on this whole cancer thing and everything that has happened. In some ways, it feels as though it happened to another person, or, at least, in another time frame. Then, of course, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and, depending on my state of clothedness, I am reminded (quite harshly at times) of the reality of it all.

There is, of course, the feeling of being pulled under my arm that is persistent, just to remind me all the time about what has happened. As if I needed a reminder.

I have to say that I do wish at times that I could get just a little relief from the whole ‘lump being shoved under my arm’ and the feeling of tightness. Just for a bit. I don’t suppose that it is going to be there forever – surely, at some stage, whatever swelling there still is will eventually dissipate and the scar tissue will be accommodated by my body. Surely.

At this stage, it feels as though this may be a very, very long term feeling. Again, as with so much of this cancer thing, only time will tell, I suppose.

In the meantime, I soldier on, which is, mostly, not too arduous a task – thanks to many things, not the least of which is the wonderful and interesting people around me. The family, of course, takes first prize here. Then there are all the other layers of people who feature in my life and contribute to it in so many ways.

I have always been fascinated by people, which I think is part of the Drama, education, writing thing. Look where it has got me 😉

I have written a number of times that ‘no man is an island’, which is so completely true. Even more than that, though, I think it’s that we are all an inextricably woven, never-ending piece of fabric, that flows and bends as things happen to different individuals. Parts of the fabric may stretch at times and others may wrinkle, but it always holds strong because of the bonds keeping it woven together.

And that is how it should always be.

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