Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 12th May

I went for a paddle today – the first in what seems like forever, but is really only a week, I think.

Apart from being Mother’s Day this weekend, Saturday was also the anniversary of Bill’s death, so paddling this week was all about memories of him too. In fact, the whole SA Schools thing recently and the past week or so has brought back so many memories of the girls at the dam, with him training them. It also reinforced just how much he taught them – taught all of us.

At the committee meeting this evening, as usual, for me, his absent presence loomed huge.

When I was paddling, I was acutely aware of the muscles on my right side – not so much because they hurt (just a little), but because they have been behaving a little strangely lately and I don’t want to risk doing any damage. It felt, in some ways, so much like not long after the op, when I got onto the water again. I’m still not sure why the muscles are feeling as though they’ve gone through some sort of strain when I haven’t even been near a boat for the last week, let alone the last three / four days, since this has started.

Anyway, when I was on the water, I deliberately took it slowly (do I ever not at the moment?) and reminded myself about being sensible. “I have got this far by being sensible.”

I also realised that it’s likely to be a long time before I am playing polo, at least properly, again. If the muscles are taking this much time to heal, then that sort of paddling and throwing are out of the question for a while longer.

Still, I am getting better and stronger all the time.

I was reminded of the number of people recently who I haven’t seen for a while who tell me I am looking good and healthy.

May it remain that way.

The one thing that has also stuck out this week has been the way people react to my hair. I don’t dwell on the fact that I actually have hair, because I don’t see it all the time. I forget, though, how quickly it is growing and how different I look as it does. When someone hasn’t seen me for a while and the last time they saw me I either had no hair, or practically no hair, it must be quite a thing to see me looking relatively normal again.

The reactions of people reinforce, too, the amount of love and support I have had through this whole cancer thing.

With support, we all grow strong.



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