Awaiting a possible death sentence

Twenty-three hours and ten minutes from now, I will be told whether I have metastatic cancer. That moment will either be the beginning of a new life (a life that will include an early death) or it will be, more or less, a continuation of my old life.

Once is how many times I have seen the surgeon who will carry the news (the second time I was unconscious). How might I prepare for hearing my death sentence from the lips of a stranger, a woman stranger? Getting through that moment seems, in this moment, like the hardest thing I will ever have to endure. Mostly, I don’t want to cry. Silly at this might seem, I am, after all, a man, and I possess a man’s vanity.

Along with terror, I feel a strange exhilaration, as if I had bet my life savings on the roll of a roulette wheel. Sure, I could lose big, but I could also win big, and what bigger prize to win than my life?