Sitting in the doctor’s office with my parents and staring at a CT scan of my brain, the doctor doesn’t have good news for me.
My parents listen intently to his words, as I attempt to distract myself from the disappointing news I fear, I know, will come. My parents hold my hand and comfort me through what they know is difficult news. I redirect my eyes to the furnishings of the office, to the medical equipment, and back to the doctor. His rotund belly protrudes over his beltline as he points to the computer screen and points out the residual brain injury – evidence that the radiation surgery I had six years ago didn’t obliterate the entire clot, and I’m still at risk of another bleed.
It’s all the evidence I need.
I let the news hover above me before taking it in, bracing myself one last time. I think I’m ready to hear it though, and I begin listening again to what the doctor is saying.
I think to myself this diagnosis isn’t so bad; it’s what I knew to expect, right? Yet my moment of strength passes, and I find myself growing weak.
My hopes for a life without an AVM disappear, and my ability to stay strong for my parents is quickly crumbling. I desperately cling to my will not to cry, not wanting to disappoint my parents with tears.
My parents did prepare me for this news, and I promised myself that I’d be strong. But as the doctor begins informing us about the options I now face, I grow weaker and weaker inside. I try one last time to hold back the tears and not disappoint my parents, but I can’t help it any longer.
I squeeze my parents’ hands more tightly, silently apologizing to them for what’s about to happen. Slowly, I break. The tears barely escape at first, then come uncontrollably.
I’m so upset by this diagnosis, so hurt by this doctor, so mad at myself for disappointing my parents by crying, and the culmination of all the pain only fuels my tears.
I plead with myself internally to stop crying, gripping tightly again to my parents’ hands. I notice this time that they squeeze my hand back.
Looking up for the first time since the tears started, I see my parents crying too, their sobs bigger than mine.