Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 30th May

Today was a peaceful, ordinary day in many ways. Interestingly enough, I have also been quite fine about Mum the whole day. I have missed her, of course, but today has not had horrible memories. I think I did all that yesterday.

What I did find today, is that I had one of those moments when I felt rather overwhelmed by the whole thing of having had cancer, a mastectomy and the chemo. I think it’s all linked to how tired I feel and how ‘normal’. This morning, I was very tired. I’m not really sure why as I did not get up very, very early and I slept well. I do find, though, that I cannot get up really early as I used to and work. I usually manage to get out of bed around 4 during the week, which is not too bad. That means that I can do some work before having to make breakfast etc. On the weekend, though, I sometimes actually let myself sleep (or stay in bed) till at least 6:30, which means that not that much work gets done.

As much as I find this all very frustrating and I hate the fact that I still seem to be so tired a lot of the time, I am definitely getting better. I don’t have the horrible, horrible, debilitating sheer exhaustion that chemo brings on.

Small steps.

At times I feel like such a wus and a real weakling. Other people have operations and seem to get back to doing normal, real life things quite quickly. I heard about a friend who had an op on his shoulder quite recently and is looking forward to getting back to paddling relatively soon. It makes me feel even more pathetic.

To be honest, I don’t know anything about the extent of his problems, or the op. It is most likely that he didn’t have too much gouging around in his tissue happening and did not have muscles cut, as I’m pretty sure I must have.

It seems to me that this mastectomy and lymph node removal thing is a hugely invasive operation and does quite a lot of damage to the tissue, which is surely why it takes so long to heal. I am slowly getting the feeling back, but it all seems to be going on forever. Sometimes I truly don’t think it’ll ever get better.

‘Give it time.’ That’s what the docs said!

And me being so patient and all that. (Not)

Despite the moments of really feeling overwhelmed because of all this, there is not much else to do except accept that the operations have taken their toll and the chemo must have caused its own form of havoc – and to carry on doing whatever I can to get back to being really fit and healthy again.

Actually, I am healthy. It’s the fitness that concerns me and that I wish I could attain.

Give it time…

Tomorrow, though, will be another day and I will feel differently. I always do in the morning. I am incurably addicted to the idea that, as Gloria Estefan sings: “There’s always tomorrow, to start over again”. Even if this is in the smallest ways, even if it’s just in finding a slightly different attitude, it always happens. And it’s the way to go ahead, one day at a time.

I think that I am just sick of feeling like the patient. The answer is, of course, to keep on being as healthy and normal as I can and to let nature and time take their course.



  1. Oupa says:

    So – you seem to have some sort of a guilty feeling because you spend a little more time in bed in the mornings, well, the same thing is happening to me. I used to fly out of bed about 05:00 – not so any more. The last few mornings it was between 06:30 and 07:00 ! ! ! How well do I remember my bypass ops. At times I was quite dispondent , maar onthou ” aanhouer wen”! I think the worst culprit is the chemo. Or WAS the chemo.
    Weereens – Lekker dag en hou die blink kant bo!

  2. Tessa Smith says:


    My name is Tessa Smith, from Melbourne, Australia. I am interested in writing an article on the book ‘Cry for our Beautiful World’ edited by Helen Exley and published in 1985 (30 years ago as of 2015).

    The book contains a poem written by a Jane Ballot living in South Africa as of 1985.

    If this is you I would like to ask you some questions about your involvement in the book to be included in the article.

    If this is not you, or if you are not interested in participating please let me know and I won’t contact you about the book further.


    P.S you obviously still like writing, which makes me feel like I’ve got the right person

    P.P.S hope you are feeling good today

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