THERE is nothing lonelier than the silence of an empty house. Lonely if you’re fragile and nothing is working as it should.

Yet only weeks earlier I’d been deemed strong enough to leave my sanctuary of the last eight months and go home, back to LM aided by visits from Miriam and other medical help.

At first it worked well – Miriam opened my shutters every morning, made me breakfast and did whatever shopping I needed.

A nurse came with my injections and an ambulance picked me up for the daily treatments an hour away. But I got more and more exhausted and back into the old habits of not eating. I no longer wanted to Facetime and emailing became a chore with no pleasure.

Bit by bit I faded and when both Miriam and Pierrot were diagnosed with Covid and quarantined I felt the fight go out of me.

Medical help dwindled with a lacklustre GP who has made only one visit when shamed into it by the nurses. He is the weak link in an excellent health service and a vital one.

I am far from alone in my opinions and am deeply disappointed as a cheerleader for the French service.

There is a lot more I could say but the French willingness to sue is slightly off-putting having been targeted before journalistically for merely describing the looks of a subject.

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Cases go into a deep black hole and I’m still waiting – years later – to know if it is proceeding or simply pending.

However, knowing I am alone with the barest of help, is a dereliction of duty in any circumstances. A case it would be hard to argue.

This week as I dropped a total of five kilos, I phoned the SSR, my Valence d’Agen safe place which had spent months nurturing me back to health; reassuring me in the bleak hours and proving themselves over and over as compassionate, caring beings who even made me laugh through my tears.

I asked simply if I could come back as I was slipping out of the grasp of hope and belief with every day alone and growing darker.

It made the journey from fridge to oven a marathon that stifled even the slightest hunger pangs.

I cried when, without hesitation, the extraordinarily kind heart said I could come back within days. Hope once more flooded into me and I felt my face rearranging itself into the first smile in many days.

I even laughed again with joy when laughter has been in short supply.

I’ve depressed myself at how rapidly I’ve gone downhill as each day passed and came to dread the columns that no longer shone with the belief that all would be well as long as you had me in your prayers and thoughts.

I’m not the warrior you think I am. Without my hope I’m a frightened woman checking every new twinge and odd pain, feeling my heart beat faster with the fear.

In the last few days, I’ve had a full scan, finished 11 full days of preventative brain radio therapy and today had immune therapy.

I steeled myself to ask what the scan showed.

Calmly, the doctor said: 'The cancer is stable. No change since the tumours diminished last time. All remains calm.’

Of course, I questioned further. As long as the immunotherapy kept it stable, the treatment would continue.

The moment it didn’t the treatment would stop but then logically, if not emotionally, it’s all borrowed time anyway but I’m greedy for so much more even when in the pits.

But tonight, as I think of my return to cosseting tomorrow, my heart is filled and a lightness has returned to my soul – reminding me it is still there just waiting to hear from me again.

It’s been a while and I’ve missed its reassurance.

Now it’s up to me again to drag myself out of the depths and not inflict my misery.

God knows you all have enough of your own I’m sure.

Those kind, caring teams in the SSR will make sure I don’t wallow with their watchful eyes and knowing when to give sympathy or straighten my backbone.

They’ll weigh me, wash me, cream me, ignore my embarrassment and make sure I get my daily wine and softly boiled eggs.

And they’ll make me feel alive again – no longer alone, unfit for purpose.

What finer role could these kind souls have in putting us back together? I know doctors who could benefit from their empathy and concern.

I will be eternally in their debt, so for them, too, I must once more go onwards and upwards.

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