Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Tuesday 1st August

This is my favourite time of year, I think, because it’s about moving towards summer, my birthday is next month and the end of the year with the holidays, Sedge and Christmas is on the horizon.

It’s also just about a year since the lump was discovered in my breast that changed everything for me – well, pretty much.

I think there must be so much in life, so many places and times of year, that have a similar duality for many people. So much happens in the world, all the time to all of us, and there are only that many hours and days to accommodate all of it. It only stands to reason that there will be days that have good and bad memories / feelings simultaneously.

It is which aspect one chooses to focus on that makes the difference.

If memory serves me correctly (things change when old age sets in 😉 ), the last couple of ‘Spring Days’ have not been very warm. Today was what it should be – a lovely day that was not stiflingly hot, but which held all the promise of the warmth that is to come. There are so many trees around that have that early, palish green enthusiasm of leaves that characterises early Spring, too and they look really beautiful.

Nearly a year after all this cancer thing started, I still have discomfort under my arm and in the general area of the op site; I still get the chemo taste; and I still get too tired to be able to run as far as I would like to. I also have a kind of vague frisson of negative anticipation when the idea of a recurrence of a tumour is mentioned in some kind of conversation. The very word ‘cancer’ resonates with me in a way I would not choose.

And yet, I go ahead with doing what must be done and, generally, what I want to do. I many not run as far or as fast and I may paddle only a long boat at a rather sedate pace, but I do run and I do paddle. I may have the feeling of some kind of lump under my arm, but I generally ignore it and just forge ahead. Words to do with cancer and the experience may resonate differently in my head than they did even a year ago, but I still hold normal conversations and deal with whatever comes up.

It’s a choice we make, I think, to focus on the good or the bad, to make the most of what we have and not to spend time mourning what has gone, or dwelling on the unhappiness.

It’s a choice to look at the young growth on the trees and feel the warmth in the air, rather than to bemoan the coolness that has passed, or to long after the skeletal structures of winter.


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