Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 5th July

It feels as though it is just about half way through July already. Time just seems to fly. I simply cannot believe it is only 2 months off a year since the whole cancer thing began. This time last year…

It’s amazing how what we do and how we feel can change so much according to what we know at the time.

Last year about this time, Sarah, Michael and I were in Sedge. We were definitely cold (I recall photographs of big jackets and wind on the beach), undoubtedly having fun (the sea does that to one) and most certainly sad as well (Sedge is full of memories of both Mum and Dad). What none of us realised at the time was that we were also blissfully unaware of the threat that must have been lurking (and growing) in my boob and waiting to infest us all with horror and upset for a good few months to come.

I suppose it could be something like an ‘if only’ situation; or a ‘what if’. Thoughts like that tend to be dangerous, though. It is possible to second guess most things that we do, if you just take the time to sit around and dwell on what may be probabilities, or just speculations. Thoughts like that tend to be pretty much completely unproductive. You can only act on what you know at the time. Sometimes it’s important – and even necessary – to find out more, simply to be able to make a good, informed decision and act in the most appropriate way. Most of the time, though, we do things trusting and hoping (mostly subconsciously) that the decisions we make and the actions we take are logical, productive and useful.

I think that having something like cancer makes you look perhaps just that little bit more carefully at the things you do and the decisions you take, because some of these decisions can have such important consequences.

Mum used to talk about a ‘retrospectroscope’, which is a similar idea to that of ‘in hindsight we all have 20/20 vision.’

“If I’d known that at the time, I would have…”

All of us have situations where we react like that. The thing to do, I think, is to make the best possible decision according to the amount of information, experience and emotion in our possession at the time. In that way, the outcome can only be reasonable under those circumstances. Change one little thing, and the decision and the implications may very well change completely too.

Such a little thing, a 2cm lump in one’s breast. Look, though, at how knowing about it changed just about everything for me for a number of on months; and definitely has affected the way I will approach just about everything I do from then on out…

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