‘Know your enemy’. Always a good motto, and doubly so when it comes to cancer. Because every cancer is different. Personalised, if you like. For myself, I’d have been happier with something off the shelf. And entirely predictable…

So, step one is to scan the bejasus out of it – and I’m about to start that process with an MRI scan. (If you’re allergic to acronyms, I’m told that stands for ‘Magnetic Resonance Imaging’.) It’s basically a giant magnet that does intriguing things to your protons. Precisely what intriguing things I’m not quite clear about. But I’m sure it won’t be my last scan. And by the time this is over I’ll probably know more about it than I need to know…

This time I’m allowed to keep my own pants on, but I’m still wearing one of those ever-so-fetching hospital gowns. (I’d like to think I make them look good, but I’m obviously kidding myself…) I get lots of questions about possible bits of metal in my body, but the only ones I can think of are the wires on my dental plate, and my 1960s era amalgam fillings. Since no one is scanning my head, it turns out they don’t matter.

I’m warned that MRI scans are noisy, and that I need to lie very still. After getting a pair of earplugs (which effectively stop me from hearing what’s said next) I’m given a pair of headphones. They’re playing what are allegedly the greatest hits of all time. Of which about two are familiar to me. (Yes, OK, OK, I’m an old fogey. And I prefer classical…) Then I’m trundled on my back into the belly of the beast. Or across the event horizon, if you like.

Despite the ‘greatest hits’ it’s a mostly relaxing experience. I have no problem with confined spaces and my only worry is a slight tremor in my right leg. (Could that interfere with the scan…?) About twenty minutes later I re-emerge into the room, and it’s all over.

It’s a tad anti-climactic. Obviously I’m not going to get results today, but I’m keen to know what they’ve found. Luckily I’ve been practicing patience (or was that Solitaire?) all through the pandemic. So I’m now a world champion when it comes to damping down frustration.

At least for the moment…