“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to paddle.” –Proverb
It was June 23, 2005 when I went to see my doctor Dott. Sandra Pietrini. She thought I was going there for a checkup of my swollen throat. In fact, it was urgent to treat my throat but I told her that I will still go to Spain so when I come back in August that’s the time she will do the treatment. On the other hand, I told her I had another reason why I came. She examined me and her face has changed. I heard a trembling voice talking to another doctor and an alarming looks as if I was going to die. She called the doctor for the urgent mammography and ultra sound and I was scheduled for the following day. In short my trip to Spain was cancelled.
June 24, 2005 I went to see Dott. Claudio, I was outside of the hospital schedule when I was accommodated at San Camillo Hospital (Rome) because of the urgency. I went through mammography and then ultra sound. Lying down I could see from the computer red spots and thick lumps as if a map where there were lots of islands. He pronounced it a “tumor”. The doctor took a deep breath and for the second time I could sense the ambience of so much sacredness and gentleness from the part of the doctor though I felt his way of talking communicates an atmosphere of as if I was going to die.
Diagnosis: Advanced cancer. I saw him picking up the phone and calling another doctor. This time it was an oncologist.
I became aware of my disposition, I was numb. I don’t want to believe it was true. I controlled my tears and I could feel the pain in my throat. Back home, I saw faces, shocked of the news. There was no mark of sickness and I was doing well but surprisingly the news was like a bomb for me and later for everyone who came to know when I broke the news. In the evening I slept well, unbelievable. I was fine as if nothing happened but deep down I had fears. I tried not to entertain, not to think about it, not to be affected by it and I maintained my peace.
June 25, 2008, I went in haste to San Camillo Hospital. It was Saturday and the clinic was closed but I was told to come at 12:00 noon and they will open the door for me. True enough my companion knocked and the door opened. We entered and for the third time I saw a face as if I was going to die. I could not anymore control and I told the doctor “I am not going to die, right?” I did not receive a yes or a no answer rather she told me, we will do the best we can. I did not feel any note of assurance from that statement. Right there and then I was told to do all the series of tests and soon will go through chemo therapy.
In the afternoon, I confessed with a Carmelite Priest and I told him I was there for confession to prepare myself in case I would die soon. And in the evening I met a Spanish bishop who was just installed as bishop and will be assigned to a diocese in Spain. I asked him too, to bless me and telling him later - at least I was blessed by a bishop before I would die.
To be continued…
"What saves a man is to take a step. Then another step. It's always the same step, but you have to take it." Antoine de Saint-Exupery