Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Wednesday 19th August

This time it was Carl’s fault, not mine. He asked me how I am doing and mentioned the chemo taste. And it is back.

It has to be something that I eat that triggers a chemical reaction in my body, which leads to the taste being re-established in my mouth. At least, surely it is.

I think I’ve learnt to deal with it when the taste returns – at least, mostly. I do find it rather draining, though, as it is just there, literally with every breath. I also know it is going to stay for days now, so I suppose I’ll just have to be patient – although, I do find myself getting irritated when I have this taste.

The taste is also a reminder of the effects that the chemo must have had on my body – at least, in my body – and that there must still be traces of the drug. I find that kind of annoying, because I want it to be gone. I also do find, though, that I am feeling a lot less damn exhausted, at least most of the time. This does, of course, depend on the day and what has been happening. Now, as we go into the last week of the production, with runs every day and long sessions like technical rehearsals, I am going to have even more reason to be exhausted.

This, too, shall pass, of course – and I’ll have a great deal of fun on the way!

I really do think that most things in life are something like that: there are often ‘bad’, draining and even demanding sides to things, but there are also the good, fun and rewarding aspects. Generally it is about living/working through the more demanding side to get to the rewards. Then, of course, the fun has been really had.

This cancer thing is a bit like that too, I suppose, only the rewards aren’t necessarily about enjoyment and having fun, but rather about relief and achieving eradication of the disease/condition. Then, they are actually about victory.

Bridget will have her surgery tomorrow. It feels like ‘finally’. For her, the last 8 months have been about diagnosis and lots of chemo, before she can even have the procedure that will get rid of her intruder. It has been a long, hard road and her journey is not over. The next step is a very decisive one, though, and she will continue to fight step-by-step until she can look back with relief.

Even then, when you are at the point that I am, there is a sense that the journey continues, even though the mountain has evened out to a huge degree and it is really a plateau that is being travelled.

The intensity of the journey has changed, but all along there is a sense of moving forwards, taking the steps that need to be taken and travelling ever onwards – which is what every journey should entail.


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