Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 11th May

I find things out about how I really feel about this cancer thing sometimes randomly. Today I had a strong feeling of ‘it’s not fair’. I have had this feeling before, almost always quite fleetingly, but also, like today, with quite a bit of a power behind it. This just tells me that, as much as I can deal with and accept what happened to me, deep down inside, it has had a huge impact on me in so many ways.

I definitely do not go around feeling sorry for myself and wishing this has not happened. I think what prompted the feelings today was the fact that the ‘duct tape’ feeling across my chest and the swelling under my arm seemed so much more pronounced the whole day. I was thinking that I would really like to have a time when I am not so tired so often and do not have any discomfort. Sometimes I think the latter will never be. Surely, at some time in the not too distant future, I will not get tired quite so easily…

Then I can hear the doc saying, “Give it time.”

Patience. One step at a time.

On the other side of, perhaps not the same, coin, though, I find that I can see the op site and the way my body has been mutilated without very much of a reaction these days. I think it’s all relative. There will be days when the impact of everything will strike me and the ‘non-boob’ staring me in face will be a reminder of it all and I will feel differently. At the moment, though, I think that I am in a place where the reality is just what it is and doesn’t affect me so badly and emotionally any more.

Maybe that is the next step in complete acceptance.

I can’t pretend to understand the human mind. I will say this often. I do know, though, that there are definitely stages we go through. I have said before that I almost wish I had taken the time to just simply allow myself to sit and take in what was happening and truly work through it so that I could react completely and mourn as necessary. Even for Mum. Sometimes I think I should just sit for ages and try to ‘conjure’ her and her presence. I miss her so much, that to bring her into my consciousness in any way would make things a little easier.

Real life and things that move forwards do not really allow either of these to happen.

Then, of course, I realise that the understanding and processing happens as one goes along. I don’t need to have sat and allowed myself to wallow (for want of a better word) in the trauma of the cancer thing at different stages – I was steeped in it anyway and I’m sure my psyche has been accommodating itself every step along the way.

With Mum, I don’t need to sit and ‘conjure’ her presence, because it is just so strongly here already. She is so much part of me, of all of us, that I simply need to turn around fast enough and I may just catch that glimpse of her I look for sometimes.

When so much happens to someone in a relatively short space of time, I think it is natural to look for ways to get through the different traumas, the different stages. It is actually in the looking, in many ways, that the clues to coping lie. As we look to make sense of things, so they work themselves out – or not and we move forwards. Ever forwards.

The only way to take any journey is not to move backwards, not to stay in one place and not, actually, to wallow.

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