It was now six months since that sunny June day when my consultant had stunned me with his cancer diagnosis. On the day after that momentous hospital visit, I had visited historic Middleton Hall, and it was there that I had first faced the fears that led me to make my short-term and humble pact with fate. I would live the life of a good patient so that at the end of my hospital treatment I would still be unchanged and would return to my old familiar life. I would work my way towards the end of illness and arrive at closure. I would no longer be a patient. My old life would resume.