Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 4th August

I seem to think of random things people say, like ‘Another day, another dollar’. This is true, of course (at least, for many, many people), but what a reductive saying.

For me, every day is about so much more than what I may earn that day. Of course, earning has to be something we all think about and I do feel really, really guilty if I don’t do enough work in a day, as I need to feed my family and meet the financial demands of the life I lead. Life is about so much more, though, if we just stop to look around us.

I think that this attitude is ingrained in me and is not a result of having had cancer. Maybe, though, I feel it that much more keenly and am just that much more aware of the beauty and potential around us because of the cancer thing.

Sometimes, what we need in life is something to force us to look at things a little differently – from a different position, or with a new perspective / understanding. I suppose that cancer does that quite effectively and not only to the one who has the cancer (patient / sufferer / victim – still not sure what the correct word is 🙂 ). Perhaps the ‘one’ feels everything more intensely, or perhaps it is from a particular position. I have found out that we can never under-estimate the effect that cancer has on a whole number of lives, especially those around the ‘one’.

Maybe, in some rather unusual way, being the ‘one’ is actually an enviable position to be (have been) in. For me, for example, I don’t think that I was completely, literally aware of the amount of people who actually care about my health and welfare. Of course, we all have a picture of those to whom we mean something and understand that we all touch many different lives. To have been party to the number of wishes and expressions of interest – on FB, in person and via other media and means – about my progress and my health has been a humbling and an amazingly invigorating experience.

I still have people asking how I am doing with genuine interest and an underlying concern, or telling me that I am looking so good and doing so well. I honestly don’t thing that so many them really cared, or were so aware, about my general state of wellbeing before the cancer.

In many ways, having cancer is strangely revitalising, on many levels.

I think this is all why I don’t like the word ‘victim’, to describe the person with cancer. ‘Sufferer’ may be more accurate, but you don’t suffer all the way through the process. Often, too, the suffering is not actually caused by the cancer, but is because of it and is caused by the treatment. ‘Patient’ just annoys me, because you are not really sick with cancer, but because of it and the treatment.

I reckon I may just stick to the rather long-winded ‘person who has the cancer’, or just the ‘one’. After all, we all need to be made to feel special and if I am just that much more special because I had cancer, then so be it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *