So I had a (very) late diagnosis. Which means, in effect, that this cancer is almost certainly going to kill me.

As I keep saying, I’m not without hope. But it would be so very easy to blame others for what’s happened to me.

And I won’t.

This week I’ve been listening to Martin Jarvis’s production of Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce – as a radio play. One character – Nick – has pulled a muscle in his back and is obviously in a great deal of pain. His response? ‘Why me?’

It’s a very common response. But I won’t go there, either. Because it isn’t just ‘me’. (And I have no desire to be a boring, self-centred, self-important whinger, either.) There are millions of other people fighting cancer with no more expectation of getting it than I had. I’m not any different from any of them – except, perhaps, in the way I choose to respond.

Let’s look at that ‘blame’ thing first. At one time or another I’ve visited our surgery to talk about tiredness, digestive problems, blood in my poo, and other indications of my cancer. On one or two occasions I’ve had a physical examination. Which didn’t reveal the cancer, because it’s too high in my gut. Routine bowel cancer tests have consistently come back negative, which lulled me and my doctors into a false sense of security. And this damn thing is pretty hard to diagnose at the best of times.

If I’d had a colonoscopy earlier, we might have caught it. But there didn’t seem any reason to ask for one. And if we’re apportioning blame, I’d need to take some of it myself. Bowel cancer terrified me, so I was looking for anything that would suggest I had another, more tractable problem.

So. Now I have to face and overcome that terror. And I think I have. Or at least I’m working on it with some degree of success. Needs must, after all.

In the last few days the pain from my tumour has become more aggressive. And watching the usual holiday movies there’s a recurring theme of a family member taken before their time by one unspecified illness or another. I’d be lying if I said that hasn’t sometimes reduced me to tears, because I keep thinking of Rosemary, left alone after this damned thing has taken me. But there’s nothing I can do about that. Except to be as kind and loving to her as I can while I’m still here. Which does involve managing my anger, of course.

Because I reckon that’s where everything is coming out. And that’s also nobody’s fault – except, possibly, my own for not managing it better.

But then I’m only human. Or at least I was the last time I looked…