I spent what felt like forever on the sofa, when I wasn't being taken out on jaunts, like Queen Victoria with my blanket, to the seaside at Bournemouth, the local cemetery at the end of my road for a little shuffle around the graves and a critique of the plaques. I lost three stone, couldn't eat anything but ice lollies, and my sense of smell was so heightened I couldn't be within a metre of a cigarette or a garlic breath. A third of my stomach was gone. My neighbours' renovations started the day I came home. They hadn't realised the foundations to their property had been filled with concrete. So the first two months of my recovery I tried to block out a Kango drill that rocked my bedroom wall, with radio 4, which didn't help, neither did the pot plant they offered in sympathy, or the massive shout Jules gave to the builders in exasperation.
The news wasn't good from my first post op appointment. I asked for complete honesty and I got it. The tumour had come back in four years, I hadn't made the five year benchmark. There was a distinct possibility the tumour would return within two years. On seeing my reaction to this the nurse tried to reassure me, I had had radiotherapy and this may lengthen it, it might not come back for five years or later, but it was too late- it had already been said, and it was that news that stuck. I had lots of visitors but went down quickly, found survival pointless, thought about suicide, looked for a button to press to end it all.