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  • Writer's pictureSandy Greenberg

Half a Bottle of Champagne

As my new book Who Will Butter My Toast? How to Create a Handbook for Caregivers, is about to launch, I am resuming my blogs. I left off with my dance on the coffee table. Here is how the day unfolded that led to that dance.

Just prior to Rayna’s admission for the biopsy, we learned of a test: NMR- nuclear magnetic resonance. We had to “sign our lives away” with liability and insurance, that it was experimental, and that insurance might not pay, but…we always turned our stones.

It was a bitter cold day. I bundled up Rayna, as I zipped her jacket to protect her from the cold. At least I could safeguard her from that. She looked so cute, snow jacket, fuzzy winter hat with the pom-pom on top.

I dropped Allyn and Rayna off, then parked the car. Allyn repeated where to meet, and I assured him I knew. I entered the hospital and stopped—did not have the foggiest idea where to go. Spotting doctors walking down the hall, I asked for NMR.

“You want an enema?” (No, but I’ll take a healthy daughter.)

When I repeated NMR, I laughed, something missing from my life for two months. It felt foreign but good.

The results from the test weren’t definitive, so we were admitted to the hospital for the biopsy. Later that day, the doctor had the final outcome. Tumor or no tumor? Biopsy or no biopsy? Bottle of champagne or boxes of tissues? I wouldn’t allow myself to think about the results. Too scary. My concentration had to be on the positive, the present.

The NMR showed that Rayna’s lesion was caused by vessels that bled and left a huge mass, no cancer, and no tumor. Our nightmare was now only a bad dream. The arteriogram was negative because Rayna’s mass was caused by a malformation which characteristically does not show up on an arterial study.

The timing was uncanny. Modern advances in medicine saved my child. If this bleed had happened earlier, without the benefit of an NMR, the biopsy would have been the only alternative which could have resulted in a compromised quality of life, or even life itself. Instead, I danced with joy on the coffee table.

Rayna still had serious problems, and although I couldn’t open a whole bottle of champagne, I could open half. Someday, a whole bottle. I had to believe that. I wouldn’t allow any other choice.

Entering our house, everything looked wonderful. The kitchen seemed brighter. And the best part? I surprised Tovah at kindergarten. She threw her little arms around me. “Mommy!” She felt delicious. I quickly shared the news, we wrapped our hands around each other and walked home.

Life looked pretty good – challenging – but good. I guess everything is relative. For the moment I was happy. The answers weren’t perfect. For now, I got half a bottle of champagne and was grateful for that.

In the meantime, life went on and eventually we did get a full bottle of champagne but not for the reasons I anticipated.

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1 Yorum

21 Tem 2023


You are such a gifted writer. You bring readers like me into the situation with you. Thank you for sharing your story!


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