When someone is living with cancer – especially terminal cancer – the hardest thing is sometimes awaiting results of scans and tests to confirm or otherwise that treatment is being effective. In some cases where terminal is not part of the prognosis then ringing that “all-clear bell” must be the most wonderful sound in the world.

In other scenarios news of official remission is enough to justify throwing your arms up in joy and hugging those who have stood by you through the grim days of fighting through the side-effects chemotherapy, radiotherapy or immunotherapy.

I’m not sure if my terminal lung cancer will ever justify formal remission – I sure don’t expect to ring that bell – but the news I did get on Monday was nonetheless a huge relief for me and my wife Laura and our family and friends.

The call from consultant oncologist Dr Brian Clarke was music to my ears: “The scan shows clear of any cancer growth – it’s as good a scan result as we could have hoped for”.

And as a welcome bonus he confirmed a blood test for tuberculosis following exposure while in hospital also showed clear.

There will be another CAT scan for cancer activity in a month and then a further week of waiting for the result – but that’s well in the future.

So, to celebrate our good news, I popped an alcohol-free cider in the fridge (no alcohol allowed) and small bottle of prosecco for Laura and off we went to the old section of Kilmarnock cemetery for a peaceful walk with our beloved boxer Mishka.

It’s a beautiful Commonwealth War Grave Memorial registered cemetery with many tombstones dating back to the 1800s.

There one large stone memorial that always causes me to stop for a moment. It marks the place where a husband and wife are buried together along with their six children. The parents lived beyond 70-years-of-age – tragically outliving all six children who died at the ages of 4 years; 1 year, 21 months, 12 years, 10 months and 22 years.

A friend said to me he wished things could go back to the way they were. He was obviously talking about before Covid and my cancer and a few other curses that have struck. But how far back would you go?

In the Victorian era – 60 per cent of people died before their 60th birthday. Some parents lost all their children to the diseases of the day – diseases we’re eradicated or can control in the 21st century such as smallpox, measles, whooping cough, diphtheria and dysentery to name but a few.

Despite everything that’s going on I’ll stick to this time and resist the wish to back in time.

Ally McLaws is managing director of the McLaws Consultancy, specialist in business marketing and reputation management. All back copies of this column are available at www.mclawsconsultancy.com