Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Saturday 5th September

Today it’s a year since I went for the check up and the lump was found. This time last year, I spent the weekend knowing there was something, but not telling anyone. I was also waiting to have a mammogram on the Monday. I remember that I said, a number of times, “I’m having a mast- I mean mammogram on Monday.”

Freudian slip. It’s amazing what the unconscious will tell us if we just listen.

In that year, a lot has happened. I have been on what has actually been an amazing journey. I have, of course, undergone treatments that I would rather have avoided. I have been scanned and prodded and pricked. I have been under the surgeon’s knife three times. I have known the inconvenience and annoyance of carrying a drain around for more than a month. I have made many, many trips to the hospital for various reasons.

All this has, of course, not happened in isolation. I have also simply lived during that time: working, doing mundane things like cooking and cleaning, been a parent and just done life. I have dealt with existing plans and demands; and I have forged new paths.

This is of course, what most of us do all the time. Life is about taking different journeys simultaneously. Sometimes, one journey tends to overshadow the others, at least for a while. It is very seldom that we are able to concentrate on only the one course, as life has many, many sides and aspects to it all the time.

I have said that, especially in the beginning stages, I wished that I could go off somewhere and be alone with the cancer thing and go through it in some way that would mean that it wouldn’t have to affect those around me. That has been the worst part of this last year – seeing the effect this whole thing has on those closest to me.

At the same time that I have said this, though, I have also known (and acknowledged often) that is in the company of those closest that I have had my greatest strength. We need to have support structures around us and people are always the strongest of these.

Even now, though, this long after the whole thing began and many months since I have been clean, I can see the effect this whole thing still has on those closest to me. The cancer thing no long dominates our lives as much as it did from about a year ago for a while. It is there, though, always kind of echoing through what we do.

I suppose that is what happens when you experience something that is life-changing in its own way. It may get better. The intensity may be over, but it never, ever goes away.




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