Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Thursday 2nd April

My digestive issues are not over. At least, not completely. This, despite having been on a course of antibiotics for some bug in my gut and trying, very hard, to avoid anything rich, or that may upset things.

And I still, quite willingly, swallow a pill every day that I am becoming more-and-more convinced may well be a contributory factor to the very issues.

Oh well, five years is not such a long time 🙂

Just as long as the chemo taste has gone by then 😉

I find it interesting that I am missing Mum so very much in a place she, literally, only visited once with me. That may, of course, be the very reason that I miss her so much at the moment.

I have no sense of her presence here in East London, because that wasn’t how it unfolded. I do have a great sense of her absence, though, because that’s how it’s always been. In that, though, I have such a sense of her absent presence, because I would always phone her and tell her what we were up to and now I cannot do that anymore.

As part of my run this morning, I went onto the beach, as usual. I walked across the whole bay, though, trying to get my poor feet used to the freezing water before going to have a quick swim. I found myself talking to Mum – and ending up having a good weep. She always loved the sea and the beach. There is actually so much here that just reminds me of her and what she liked. I think everything just sits in my brain and makes me think of her.

I came away from my walk across the beach feeling a lot better for having talked to her. And realising that the water was not, after all, so very cold! Needless to say, I had my quick swim before heading home.

I made the choice not to run the whole way today, rather than be forced into the situation by how I felt. It was just one of those moments, when I felt like walking home, rather than running and walking. And it was great fun. I even managed to plan a lot of next week, when I am back at Wits. I tend to do that when I walk – make plans for things I have to do and to work through things in my brain. It is different whey I run. Then it is about thinking about nothing, really, or about everything, but not about trying to arrive at any specific plan / point other than to just enjoy the exercise.

I am feeling a lot more ‘normal’ about doing exercise. One day, I may even make more than about 2 kilometres!

I still find that I have moments when I am completely indifferent to what I look like and the effects of the surgeries. At others, it matters hugely.

I wonder if it takes a real disfigurement for someone to really focus on ideas of appearance, or if we are just so attuned to the idea of images and presentation that we become bogged down in issues like that when they don’t really even matter. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter, as the percentage of people who are disfigured in some way is not huge.

So much of life is about we look like, or what we apparently should look like. And it really doesn’t matter at all.

Except it does. Appearances do actually matter to people, no matter how much the wise tell us that they do not. If this were not so, then magazines, fashion and advertising in general would almost simply have very little place in this world.

I don’t think that I will ever change my mind about having reconstruction. I don’t know, though, as it is difficult to know how you will feel about something a few months or years down the line. I do know that the very thought would worry me, as my body has already said, “No, thanks.”

In some ways, I think it would make me feel like a bit of a fraud – why pretend that something hasn’t happened when it has? In others, having two boobs could make a person feel more normal again.

Mostly, it doesn’t make a difference in my life. Sometimes, though, just sometimes, it would be nice to look and feel whole again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *