Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Wednesday 2nd August

Sometimes there are days when things just go like clockwork; at others, there just seem to be things that get in the way, plans that are cancelled or too many changes that are made and nothing seems to go as planned. Then, of course, it’s a matter of gritting one’s teeth, sailing ahead and getting done what needs to be done.

Along the way, though, there are always new discoveries and new plans that work themselves out in a way you may not have predicted, but that is interesting and fulfilling too.

Over the years, I’ve developed a kind of approach to life that goes along the lines of: ‘nothing ever works out as planned, but it all works out for the best in the end’. Things are not usually quite as extreme as that, but quite often there is a sense of needing to plan, because it is not a good idea to simply leave everything to chance, but then also having to readjust those plans because of things that happen along the way.

I suppose that’s actually what makes life interesting.

Then, of course, something like cancer just leaps (or creeps) in and upsets everything.

And yet, it doesn’t. Not absolutely everything, anyway.

Having cancer, in fact having had cancer, is like being given a new set of glasses, or being asked to sit on the opposite side of a stage while a performance is taking place: everything you see is just the same, yet it is not; your perspective has been changed and so your understanding alters too.

Before I had cancer, I would have described myself as being rather sceptical of the kind of ‘all-natural, quick-cure’ remedies for diseases and conditions like cancer. I come from a medical family and, as much as I believe we don’t know everything and that there are a whole lot of alternative medications and treatments that undoubtedly work, I also believe that there is a reason that medicine has developed to the degree that it has.

Now that I have had cancer, I find myself in a rather ‘middle’ position of still feeling that medicine knows what it is on about and that research is ongoing, producing results and developments all the time, while not quite knowing if the ‘natural cure-alls’ don’t actually have a point.

You read a lot about ‘remedies for cancer’- usually natural and miraculous. I do have a feeling that, if they were so revolutionary, then surely some brilliant mind would either have made them common knowledge, or would have harnessed whatever power works.

At the same time, though, having got cancer despite literally having not one of the risk factors, I can’t help thinking that, just maybe, anything is worth trying. At least once.


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