Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 8th June

Tonight Oupa asked me a question about comparing my experience and ongoing ‘ordeal’ with something like heart bypass surgery. I could only tell him that I cannot speak from a position of authority.

It also made me think.

In some ways, I feel like a bit of a fraud, because I do know for a fact that the actual surgery I had (all 3 operations) are in no way comparable to the extent and trauma to the body of a heart bypass. Also, the recovery period after a bypass seems, to me, to be longer than after the mastectomy. And, if you consider the ‘mortality fear factor’, then I reckon that both cancer and heart-bypass draw similar lots.

I suppose that there are no absolutes when it comes to understanding the effects of any type of trauma on a person. I also know that everyone is individual. It’s also about comparing apples to apples.

When it comes to breast cancer, which is, arguably, apples and apples, there are so very many variations that a comparison seems almost impossible. Comparing something like my experience to any other type of surgery is possibly not accurately possible J

It must also be unusual to have someone chart their day-by-day progress, too, which gives so much more ‘evidence’ to the individual journey.

As a Drama teacher, I know full well that everything is relative. I remember Dad telling me that he finally understood why I see things so differently from him in some ways. He was an engineer, where even the slightest variation from 100% can make the biggest difference to an outcome. For English and Drama, anything over 80% is very, very good and ,often, there are very different understandings of excellent. An outcome in Drama / English is also often dependent on interpretation, which can vary enough for 100% to be elusive.

In some ways, Dad and I were complete opposites – engineering and Drama. In so many others, we were exactly the same.

One thing I know we all got from both parents is the ability to get on and do things – and the determination to do so.

Maybe what also makes my journey so different is that, from the beginning, I have only seen one way of handling this: to forge ahead and do what must be done, dealing with things as they come and making the best of everything.

I sometimes think that I get a little bogged down with thoughts of ‘when’ and getting back to normal. Then, I realise that there is so much going on all the time that this doesn’t dominate what I think and do. I think it just comes out every-so-often when I write, which means that somewhere this is of concern to me, but definitely is not my over-riding concern.

There is too much of life to do to worry very much about the whens!

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