Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Monday 31st August

Sometimes I have a revalation of a sort, or just a realisation about things and the way they go.

I have felt a little like a fraud at times during this whole cancer thing, simply because my cancer seems to have been not that bad, compared to that which so many other women have had.

Then I have those moments when I think that, although it was a relatively small lump that was found early, it was cancer dammit! And any cancer is frightening and not easy to deal with. Also, although I only had 4 cycles of chemo, the Red Devil is an incredibly harsh drug and it did affect me in many ways – and is not exactly a walk in the park.

The greatest ‘revalation’, I suppose, is that, although the cancer itself was found early and was pretty much contained and my whole scenario, in fact, was very positive and I was lucky, the experience itself was not necessarily easy and there were a whole lot of bumps along the road.

When I have these moments, I am reminded that every cancer journey is individual and everyone goes through something that changes them and those around them.

That, I think, is actually the essence of this whole cancer thing: it is something that has far-reaching effects that we cannot even begin to consider until faced with them.

When I have my revelations, I also have other thoughts, such as those that there are still women who shy away from the idea of being tested for anything that they may consider to be sinister. It’s as though ignorance is bliss: why look for something, as though looking for something will actually make it happen.

The opposite is true, though: it is in the looking that the first step to the cure can be found.

If I hadn’t gone for the check up, the lump wouldn’t have been found. Who knows how much longer I may have waited before finally taking myself for a mammogram? In that time, who knows how much larger the lump may have grown. I am acutely conscious that ‘they’ agreed that stress has an effect on these things. With the amount of stress we were all under last year, I am sure that my cancer had something to feed off. Fortunately, I was prompted to go and have the check up that set everything in motion to get rid of what was found.

I still have moments when I get concerned that, if I am under stress, I may develop another tumour or even have a recurrence. These thoughts are less frequent than they were near the beginning of this journey and they are less terrifying. It just seems to me to be the only thing to do to keep tabs on what is going on – at least, as best as possible, which means doing what can / must be done to find out if there is anything to be worried about.

Ignorance is not always bliss. The unknown is more terrifying than the definite: at least if you can name your enemy, you can conquer it. Worse, I think, is not knowing the enemy exists.

The absolute worst, though, is not taking what steps you can to even find out if there is any enemy at all. Then, that enemy wins without actually having to do much.


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