Bowel cancer invaded our lives just before Christmas. My husband took one of the stick tests sent out by the screening programme and was told he needed to have a colonoscopy. That happened in January and instead of being sent home to wait, we had a deputation appear and draw the curtain around the bed. ‘It’s bad news, you have cancer.’ I understood then why they’d offered me a chair. For the next few days we kept it to ourselves. After a sunny trip out in the convertible and a poke around the Little River Farmers Market my husband said he’d come to terms with it and I could send our sons an email ! Thankfully within a few minutes of me pushing send, one face-timed us for a general chat and his father told him the news. A little later my husband went outside and phoned our other son. Both our children (can they ever be anything else?) live overseas and there was a fear that this would hit them hard but they seemed ok. Which was more than we were as my husband had a CAT scan and we waited an agonising 9 days to see a surgeon. It was the worst 9 days of my life. Moments of deep sadness and anxiety, conversations about things like getting the chimney swept and updating the house insurance, and thankfulness that we’d just made new wills, but everywhere I looked I saw only blackness. The surgeon was less bleak. She thought it looked like the cancer hadn’t spread. She was confident she could take it and a third of his large bowel away and reattach it all. Apart from a few scars on his stomach he’d be as good as new. I felt giddy with joy. My husband looked relieved but he wasn’t exactly excited. He felt as though he was between a rock and a hard place and I understood that. He had the operation late yesterday afternoon and though I’d spent all yesterday clenched in fear and foreboding, the outcome was exactly as the surgeon had anticipated. No spread that she could see, a tumour and part of the bowel removed, a three hour job that went well. Later as I was about to fall asleep, my husband sent me a text! You’d think he’d just flown to Brisbane and was letting me know he arrived. Something like this is more than a wakeup call. It’s an exploding bomb that allows you to see that you do truly only have one life. It’s a life we need to be involved in and grateful for, every single day. And I would do, if only I didn’t have to mow the lawns for the next 6 weeks.