Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 27th April

Today is voting day – at least, that’s how I remember it: the day of the first free and democratic election in SA. That was a good day.

Today has also been a good day: one of those during which I feel as though I’ve got a whole lot done – including producing three trees for Michael’s house play! One of the legacies of having a child like Mike, who likes to take responsibility and to deliver, is to be able to execute what it is that is promised. J

It is not a bad lesson to learn – and not a bad way to approach life. We learn so much from our children every day.

Today, I got an answer to a question I have wondered about: Do people notice that I have only one boob? Do they care?

This is not something that consumes me, but it is of interest, because it is pretty obvious, if you look at my chest, that there is only one ‘hump’ where there should be two. I reckon it is something that people may register unconsciously, in passing, but that really has no significance. Until it does.

Today, the owner of the B ‘n B where we stayed kind of looked at me and said, “So you’ve had – “

She didn’t even have to continue. I knew what she meant. It turns out that she had breast cancer 10 years ago – a lumpectomy, chemo and radiation. We chatted about it for a bit. She is very conscious of everything right now, because it seems as though there is a recurrence in her breast. It could be scar tissue, or it could be a new growth. She has to go and have a biopsy soon.

The conversation touched a nerve with me and woke a sleeping dragon, that I would rather not acknowledge, but I have to: the constant nagging little thought of ‘What if?’

I am completely confident that everything is fine with me and that the cancer has gone. I also know, though, that every time I hear a story about someone who had a recurrence, or a new growth, however many years down the line, it makes me stop and think. And gulp. This is something I will live with always.

It is also something I will not be slave to.

You can live your life in the shadow of so many things that may affect you adversely and which may, or may not, occur. It is simply not worth the effort to do that. We cannot stop our brains registering things and even speculating. We can stop our consciousness from always focusing on the ‘What if?’, though.

Moving on. Moving forwards. Making the most of everything and doing all we can to stay healthy is how we should do it. This includes having the necessary check ups, acting on feelings, or findings and just being strong and positive.

The only way to travel any journey is onwards towards the goal.



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