Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Wednesday 29th July

This morning I met with the PR person of PinkDrive. We had a good chat about a lot of things – all related to breast cancer in some way. During the chat, she pointed out that I would most probably be revisiting my story in a lot of ways as time goes by.

I suppose it’s natural that I spent a lot of the day thinking about what has happened, in one way or another.

Partly, too, this was fuelled by the fact that some of my students and I are working on some of the ideas from the blog for a performance piece, so I was scrolling through the blog picking out things as they have happened. It really has been quite a journey.

Quite a bit of what I have written sticks in my head, but I think that one sentence stands out, which changes slightly now, because of the time frame: I have had cancer, but my life is all the more richer for it.

I think that, perhaps, all adversity could be framed in such a way. It is along the lines of the idea that we are what, who and where we are because of what has happened to us. All our problems are as real and as important to us as all our triumphs and joys.

If you had given me the choice a year ago to have cancer or not, I’m pretty sure I would have said no thanks. Given the same choice now, I’m not convinced that I would jump at the chance – that would not really be logical, or really human. Who welcomes adversity? However, I do know that a lot has come out of this journey so far and there is a lot more to come. I have learnt so much about myself, the world and others. I have done things I have had personal fears of and been in positions I would never have thought I might have coped with. I have also witnessed amazing love and support from many, many people. The cancer thing has also brought the family together in a completely different way from before, which is, I suppose, to be expected, as all this is new.

I think that nothing that happens to us is coincidental. This doesn’t mean that I have become a great fatalist and believe that everything is mapped out. There is too much choice that can be made, too much that can change on one decision, or even a whim. I do believe, though, that things are inter-related and that, if we just look for them, there are patterns that emerge that we may never have realised.

No, I don’t think that, even now, I would welcome having cancer. However, having had it thrust upon me, the only thing I can do is to try to find a greatness from the experience somehow. And I hope that is what I have been doing all along.

Another thing I have written that stand out for me is the thought that cancer is, strangely enough, amazingly life-affirming.


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