A year ago I had a relapse of my cancer.

Except I didn’t.

For a week or so I knew I was ill again. I saw it in the doctors’ eyes and felt it in the tremble of their hands as they prodded my internal organs, meeting my own eyes with a look that was part nod, part sadness.

No one outside of my immediate family knew.

For a week we hunkered down, ate soup and spoke to nobody. Normal things continued: teaching, working, shopping, writing, even blogging.

There is no point, we said to each other, not until we know.

Except we did know. We absolutely knew.

It began so similarly to my original diagnosis, with pain. Searing, crawling into work bent double and being sent home, no, to the doctors immediately, Anthony! That kind of pain.

Not man-flu.

Pain. Crying for a day under the duvet pain.

How could it be anything else? Then came the prodding, being sent to the unit, right now, please, yes.

Where they booked me a scan.

How could it not be returning? How?

We knew: I was being fast tracked. They don’t do that for just anybody. On a Saturday? It only meant one thing.

We knew. Even while normal things went on around us (a dog chewing a frisbee on Facebook, look at this tweet about Mr Gove), we knew. I was relapsing. But we told no one.

And then a phone call, in the middle of normal things (teaching notes, blogging, an amusing Secretary of State), to say actually, no, you are fine, it isn’t, I mean, you aren’t.

I mean.

‘Your scan is clear, Mr Wilson. A false alarm.’

The profuse thankyous (remember those?). Then silence. The silence of knowing what no one else knows. Of not saying (having said) anything to anyone. Of normal. Of ‘normal’. Which now includes the normal of not accepting ‘normal’ ever again. The silence of knowing (the not known: my secret, ours, four people, you didn’t know, we did know, you still don’t know) what you did not know.

Of not sharing it on Facebook. Or a blog. Or an amusing tweet.

As they say on police-shows: move away, please, there’s nothing to see.


Nothing to say. (Except it did; and didn’t.)

Until now