Further details would be known from the specialist who would put me to sleep to take measurements, as well as check the severity of my stomach’s condition. What I remember about this second gastroscopy was the doctor telling me, “You may not wake up from this test.” He frightened me. I didn’t know what to say, and there was no one else in the room to consult. The decision to continue was mine alone. What choice did I have? “Ok.” Should I have walked out? Maybe I should have slapped him in the face for being so cold with me. I suppose he just wanted to warn me?!
Obviously, I did wake from the test, but I never questioned why there was an issue. When I entered the doctor’s sombre-lit office later on, my husband was already looking discouraged. Mariano could barely look at me, and he didn’t say a word. He didn’t even ask me how I was feeling, but the look on their faces said it really didn’t matter. My eyebrows raised with curiosity, but I didn’t question them.
The doctor looked right in my eyes, as I sat down next to Mariano, and announced without hesitation, “If you have something to do, then do it.” Would you be able to finish that meeting? I certainly couldn’t. I haven’t the slightest idea what else he said to us.
After several years, Mariano told me that the specialist had given me only one or three months to live. Ask Mariano anything about historical events, but this detail wasn’t easy for him to recount. He did say that the doctor warned him, before I came in, that, “It doesn’t look good. Spend the best time with her, and do what you can together.”
“Oh my God… what did you say?”
“I thought he was mistaken, and I asked, ‘It has to be more time than that?’ ”
I hadn’t taken that statement as a death sentence when Mariano told me. Or had I? Years had passed already. The doctor was obviously wrong. My life seemed to be secure for now. Like everything else, I just took it in, without connecting to its effect – at least, not consciously. It’s possible that, even after many years in remission, the fear of recurrence still burdens me. So when I hear those high stakes, I must only remember how blessed I am.
I continue to beat the odds…