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My third son picked me up and dropped me off at Auckland hospital in what is already feeling like a routine. This time the room was empty and I had my pick of the seven seats. The day progressed much the same as the first session, except that now I knew what was coming. As the others arrived, I found that a couple of them were much more chatty than the group I was with the first time. It was good to compare notes even though none of them had pancreatic cancer.

A friend arrived around 11am with a big smile and a bunch of flowers. I felt really special. We talked about the article I had written in the December issue of the Auckland Women’s Health Council newsletter on the media stories about Keytruda, Herceptin and PHARMAC and about other related issues, including death.

It is so good to have friends who are okay and willing to talk about these things with me. And to have children who also talk about it with me and contribute their ideas. I am such a fortunate woman to have been blessed with such wonderful family and friends who are willing to share this journey with me so openly and supportively.

My eldest son arrived just before noon with a wonderful nutritious lunch and I ate well – by my standards. After my friend and my son had left, I fell asleep around 2.30pm just as I did last time. When I awoke nearly an hour later, I felt the familiar chemical taste in my mouth, and my body felt as though it had once again gone into shock.

My third son arrived just after 4pm and took me home. This time I know what the next two weeks will be like and I am prepared. I can do this.