WHEN a consultant tells you that your life expectancy is “not days ... but weeks, maybe months.” When he adds, in a voice so soft it’s barely audible, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry”. When this moment comes, and it only comes to some of us, what do you think about? What d’you reckon? Not parachute jumps and Machu Picchu, that’s for sure. Not great loves even, lost yearnings. Nah.

You think about your plain, ordinary life, the mornings in winter, the washing on the line, trains, clouds. They suddenly reveal their magic in the blaze before sunset. And the children. God help me, the children.

READ MORE: Crowdfunder offers hope for Scottish mum with cancer

I was diagnosed with high-grade, Large Diffuse B-Cell Lymphoma (LDBCL) on a hot, frightened day in June.

The GP felt the strange mass below my ribs, that pulsed beneath her hands, and despatched me immediately to Raigmore Hospital for a CT scan. A short two hours later, I knew I had cancer, but a treatable one, a cancer “we know so much about”, a cancer that would, with chemotherapy, “melt away”.

I followed a rigorous diet – 10 a day by the way, and I don’t mean Benson and Hedges – green tea, dark chocolate, kale smoothies and live yoghurt.

I fasted for 48 hours before chemo sessions, and 24 hours after. I rested, I walked, I did all the stuff you do to beat cancer. Did I try juicing wheatgrass? Yessir, I surely did.

Nine weeks later, I was hospitalised for sepsis – it happens – and had a scan, to assess progress.

The tumours had shrunk a little, but the response was so partial it was counted, clinically, as no response. I couldn’t believe it.

I went home and threw away my journal full of hope and grit. I didn’t want to write about this new feeling, like a floor caving in under my feet, tipping me into darkness.

The Mennonites don’t believe in brimstone; their Hell is a desolation, a separation from God. I felt like I was screened off from the people I loved the most, and my isolation and loss would only get worse.

The next chemo was very intensive, and so full-on that I could only crawl from one ghastly side-effect to the next. Two weeks on, I knew it had failed. The tumours had “bulked up” again, and my chances had diminished by half. “Cancer is clever,” said one of the haematologists. “It learns, and adapts. We need to find something to hit it with, that it can’t adapt to.”

And, I tell you, the haematologists tried. One, she held my hands in hers, while the tears dripped down my cheeks, and said, “I promise you, we will do everything we can”.

In the car on the way home, I kept falling asleep and having wild, flashing dreams, I was on so much morphine.

We told the children that the treatment wasn’t working, and that I might not make it. “What do you mean? Exactly?” It was a harrowing day, but it was also kind of a beautiful day.

I got to say things that I would never, perhaps, have said otherwise. Most notably this: that I had, for a minute there, wished I could be someone else. But quickly realised I didn’t want to be anyone else, I wanted my life, to be the mother of my children, to be Malcolm’s wife, and if I had to die prematurely, honestly, it was damn worth it.

THEN, like a meteor from outer space, came hope. CAR T-cell therapy sounds like the stuff of science fiction. They take T-cells from your blood, they charge or genetically engineer the T-cells, which then grow and multiply in the lab.

They then return the T-cells – now CAR T-cells – to your bloodstream, where they recognise and attack the cancer cells. By “they”, I mean those benevolent strangers who work in the background, trying to solve the riddle of cancer, while we try to run away from it.

This new treatment, being rolled out in England, is a “game-changer”, a new dawn for LDBCL patients who have run out of options.

So, where did I sign up?

If I had been English, or resident in England, I may have been eligible for treatment, but health is devolved, and the Scottish NHS don’t fund CAR T-cell therapy. A Glasgow consultant made representations on my behalf, she did her best, but to no avail.

In late December, the haematologists moved me on to a light chemo regime, since hitting me with the hard stuff hadn’t worked. Cancer treatment is like that; you try this, you try that. So I started taking two chemo pills, and two steroids, every morning, alongside the usual arsenal of antibiotics, painkillers, laxatives and antiemetics. And I started to feel actually quite OK.

And the tumours started to feel, if not necessarily smaller, then softer.

For a few weeks now, the cancer has held, and the familiar bulking up has not happened.

Christmas came, and I drank red wine, ate chocolates and Tofurkey and roast potatoes, went for brilliant long walks with the dog, and built up my stamina on the exercise bike.

At the same time, I started to research the possibilities of accessing CAR T-cell therapy somewhere abroad. With the help of my friend in Australia, I found a helpful and knowledgeable doctor in Melbourne who was clued up on the global picture. In short, he said, it was the US or bust.

Through a Facebook group for CAR T-cell patients and carers, I narrowed it down to a small number of clinics, then two, then one. The Massachussetts General Hospital, in Boston, was recommended consistently, and the cost of treatment matched all the others – $750,000 – including the cost of the drug, and of staying in hospital for the two months that the treatment will take.

I worked out this was about £500,000, and then decided I’d better stop thinking about it. But a friend came to visit. A gentle, unobtrusive friend, who told me of someone who raised £250,000 for something similar, and lived to tell the tale. She did it through GoFundMe. “It’s doable,” said Elise.

A week later, me and my friend Rosie sat in her living room and she did the techno while I did the words.

We posted my GoFundMe page on Facebook as the darkness gathered outside, and drank our tea, and heard our phones go ping, ping, ping.

Within seconds, minutes, we had raised £200. By the time I got home, it was more than £1000.

No one likes to ask for money, it’s cringey and embarrassing. But the thing about crowdfunding is you only ask for a tiny bit of money, from everyone. “It’s only 50,000 tenners!” said Carolyn, using the excellent and encouraging logic of our Scottish Socialist Party fundraising days.

My village friends have formed a fundraising committee. Friends in Glasgow are getting together. Judith phoned all the papers. Carolina is going on to Radio Govan. Alex is running a half-marathon, and Lynsey is doing collection cans in the shop.

Two days on, we have £20,000. I have enough for the deposit demanded by the clinic and so my medical records are being despatched to Boston as I write, and next week, I hope to board a plane and make my first ever journey to America.

If I’m accepted as a patient, and I raise the money, all four of us will head to Boston, take an apartment, and see this thing through.

It may not work, of course. But at least we’ll be together, and we’ll know we did all we could to stay together.

But it might work. I might get better. I might get to come home to Beauly and do the only thing I ever wanted – to live this plain, ordinary, wonderful life.

You can donate to Roz’s crowdfunder at www.gofundme.com/lifesaving-treatment-for-roz