For a few months now things have been very stable – I am hugely encouraged by the results of periodic scans confirming no measurable tumour.

If it wasn’t for my daily intake of 16 pills, a nightly Fragmin injection and waves of fatigue now and again I could almost forget about the dark cloud hovering high above me that is terminal lung cancer.

It’s not good to dwell on things that are unavoidable and crushingly depressing but it seems, according to the collectively agreed opinion, it is also good to talk about such things in an open and honest way. In some respect this column forces me to do just that.

That my wife Laura gives it a proof read before I submit it for publication ensures we don’t create, and live in, an unrealistic bubble where the word cancer becomes “the elephant in the room”.

There’s no doubt in my mind that being able to talk about it with my children and extended family has helped everyone come to grips with it. It’s enabled open and mature conversations and understanding.

This current hiatus in my cancer activity is all down to the clinical interventions that have taken place – first being the removal of a growing tumour inside my left lung (and the removal of that lung and a few lymph nodes too) and then the delivery of chemotherapy and immunotherapy every three weeks.

When things looked most bleak it was undoubtably more difficult to discuss – death seemed more imminent, cruel, unfair and scary.

But right now my focus is on the here and now. We’re getting a new “walk-in-shower” fitted to replace the bath with overhead shower… I’ve always fancied one of them anyway but it also makes sense as it will be easier for me to use at some point in the future.

While the tradesmen are in fitting the wet-wall and the plumbing appliances me and Laura escaped to a little gatehouse cottage in the Fife countryside to enjoy woodland and beach walks and cosy nights in with a log fire. One of the family “house-sat” for us while the job was done allowing us avoid potential exposure to coronavirus.

Chemotherapy severely weakens the immune system and just about any infection can become life-threatening – Covid-19 being top of danger list. This new surge of virus infections (more than 1,000 in one day) is a very worrying time for everyone – but particularly the most vulnerable who – if they are sensible – are continuing to shield.

Those of us who can work from home and shield – and those who are retired – can get through the winter months with some positive thinking and enjoying the everyday moments they create for themselves.

It’s young parents and others who face economic wipe-out that I worry for the most.

Ally McLaws is managing director of the McLaws Consultancy, specialist in business marketing and reputation management. All back copies of this column are available at