Like an actor in an experimental play I’m left centre-stage in a single spotlight, hands to the heavens, wailing: “But I only came in here with a broken shoulder…”

Then the stage goes dark and the audience is left in silence. End.

That brain scan I had this week? All clear. Hurrah. But…let’s cut to the chase – there are tumours on my liver. Boo.

The doctor here has given me the findings and asked me what I want to do. Do? Do?

Well, actually I want to stick my fingers In my ears, shut my eyes tight and yell “Mum”. She’ll sort it and I can forget about it.

May I have a hot chocolate now please? And then can we go home?

Okay, calm, calm. She’s telling me that, until there’s a biopsy, they can’t say if they’re cancerous or benign. Come on, they have a good idea. I’ve watched enough episodes of Casualty and Holby City.

Do I want to go home – have a break?

I point out that if I hadn’t broken my shoulder I wouldn’t have known, so why do anything at all? Let’s just move on with the show? Gently, knowing I’m probably mildly deranged at this moment, she explains, not simply, the falls and therefore the breaks, have possibly been caused by the blood disturbances and so…

I ask her to give me 24 hours to think about it. Anything, anything, to put it off.

God, life is strange. I was more worried about the whole process of the scan itself rather than the results and, in the end, thanks to the air conditioning, it was fine.

And now I’m telling myself to do the same with each stage to come and stop going mentally so far ahead that I’ve already ceased to exist.

No, that’s not positive thinking for I’ve never been a believer in that where disease and, yes, cancer is concerned.

Cancer doesn’t lurk in the wings greedily watching for a negative thought to sneak under the steel bars of positivity.

It’s not a battle that only the brave and strong can win through force of mind and the weak valiantly struggle against no matter how hard they try.

No, it’s random in our affluent society and certainly “not fair” when it strikes down a young mother or father; a child whose life has barely opened; a life left unfulfilled and suffused with yearning.

It’s not fair when it cuts a swathe through our countries with a new foul sickness that latches on to every organ and sucks the very life from us in a hundred cruel ways.

But it’s not “not fair” when it knocks at the end of a life with the allotted three score years and more. It is the rounding off of our purpose on this earth, whatever the hell that might be.

All the wellness techniques, the supplements, the healthy eating and living and the x-thousand steps a day will not change that except, perhaps, tinker with the timescale.

It’s said we can never truly appreciate every minute of our lives because to do so would be to accept the inevitability of our death.

And that, few of us can, only rarely peering at it with a quick sideways glance, preferably from the long distance of glowing youth with the odd philosophical bon mot.

Only with that distance can we be sanguine, faux-wise, calm, which, of course, we’re not. Even, particularly, the Saints and wise men, wrestle with fear and doubt.

I’m wrestling at the moment for once again I’ve lost 200 words and still the relentless heat beats down and I live in the shadows of this room.

It is not helped as, one by one, the aides come in with a sympathetic face, a pat on the hand or a stroke of the face and a shake of the head.

Not much hope there then, though in my heart I already know that.

Miriam, too, turned up with my washing. I could not read her face behind the mask but, by the silence, I think I’ve shocked her for once.

She gives her familiar, fatalistic shrug. We shall see, she says and the matter is settled for now.

As it should be. I’m finding it easier not to talk at the moment but I can, as you see, write.

So there you have it…for the moment anyway.

Looking back at the last few columns, I sensed something coming my way. There is a melancholy wistfulness threading through all.

But here I am getting ahead of myself again. For once I need to take things step by step, like my walking, which has stuttered to a halt somehow amidst

all this.

I need to go home and take it all in again. I need to somehow enrich my life again in whatever ways I can. I need to stroke my dog’s head again as he

noses my feet and queries my purpose. Above all, I need to look whatever comes next firmly in its eye, and decide what comes next

if choice I indeed have.

And I must, must, meantime, go…upwards and onwards.

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.