Earlier this week my friend Bob arrived at our house to discuss arrangements for my funeral. We’ve known each other a long time through journalism – he’s a former national newspaper editor and now a qualified celebrant. Laura and I had talked about the need to organise my funeral – now the time had come to actually do it.

We weren’t sure how emotional this might be – how shredded we might feel during and after going through the details. As it worked out, we spent two hours reflecting life stories, humorous moments and emotional truths.

We laughed often during our conversation although our demeanor varied from reflecting fun times to moments of damp-eyed emotion.

But we needed this done as we marched further along this ever-shortening road ahead of us. Today I will be attending Ayrshire Central Hospital in Irvine for yet another CT scan – this one a potential game-changer more than any that have gone before.

Nearly nine weeks ago my oncology team told me the previous chemo treatment had “stopped working” and that the next step was to try a new approach using two separate drugs in tandem. This approach had delivered some success in a clinical trial in the USA.

It delivered a combined 70 per cent chance of some effectiveness – either in slowing cancer growth or stopping cancer growth for a while, and so extending life expectancy.

This was the positive, half-glass-full thinking presentation of the facts. There was also, however, the realistic possibility that the 30% unaccounted for comes into play and the treatment just doesn’t work.

Until now, my oncology team has always had a reassuring message for me – that if one thing doesn’t work then there is always plan B.

This time, I fear the life rafts of clinical trials may have run out – and there may be no more tools left in the box to reach for.

When these CT scan results come I need to be prepared. My meeting withBob was part of that preparation. After Bob we met with a charming young man from the local undertaker to sort out the crematorium, the wake, and an eventual quiet family ceremony to bury my ashes in a woodland not far from where we live.

I’ve also met with my pal and former colleague Stuart, who is running the Berlin Marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support as my surrogate, about delivering a eulogy, and chatted with my sister about a reading.

I am not troubled by all this talk of my final farewell. In a bizarre way I feel some closure about it being organised. Laura wants this discussion done and dusted too – so that whatever happens we can concentrate on the life we have left. Don’t get me wrong – I am desperately hoping that this scan reveals success. That the cancer growing in my chest is being held in check – and this is not checkmate.

Ally McLaws is a freelance specialist in writing, business marketing and reputation management. See the full range of services and back issues of this column at: www.mclawsconsultancy.com