Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 16th August

Today was a good day.

I enjoy looking back at a day and thinking about what I have got done, who I have done it with and how it has gone.

I have to confess that, being an incurable optimist, most days are good for me. Sure, there will be moments (even hours) when ‘good’ does not enter my mind. Everyone has moments and even days like that. There are some days, though, that are just good, simply because they are.

Today was not a very special day, but I seem to have done a lot and had fun doing it. The day included sleeping in (a bit), going to church, going to the dam (even though I didn’t paddle, this always feeds the soul), having a family lunch, going to a rehearsal and having a good walk around the neighbourhood. It just feels like a good day.

Today was also a day on which I was quite very aware of the fallout of the cancer and after chemo. I still can’t think about playing polo, because the muscles in my right side just aren’t strong enough yet for that type of activity. I also didn’t go for a run, but walked, because I have a cold and I am not, of course, that very fit.

All of this did not bother me particularly, though. It is what it is and I will make the most of it.

What is so weird, is to make a statement like, “I had cancer.” Even for me, whose cancer was found early and soundly treated, who understands that ‘cancer’ does not ‘equal death’ and that there are so many different cancer scenarios, the statement of the fact has a degree of fear inherent in it. There is just something about the word ‘cancer’ that speaks to something primal in us.

Through this whole cancer thing, I have said a number of times that I feel a bit like a fraud, because my cancer was not very advanced and I was treated quite quickly and very decisively. I have also been told by a number of different people, ranging from my family and friends, to the chemo sister and people who have had cancer themselves that I am wrong, cancer is cancer and, just because I was lucky, it doesn’t take any of the threat of it away, or the import of what has happened to me.

No matter how you look at it, no matter your experience, ‘cancer’ is a scary thing to have to face. Every so often someone close to me will say something that makes me realise, again, the impact on them. I still truly wish that that was not necessary and that they had not had to be affected.

At the same time, though, as I have said often, I have been so grateful for the support.

Maybe the clue is that, as scary as the ‘cancer’ word / idea / image is, there is so much that people do / know / say / offer that makes it that much more manageable and somewhat less of a monster.

Maybe I am not a fraud. Maybe I was just very, very lucky.

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