CREATIVE FICTION: A Rainbow was waiting for us by Nazneen Aibara

“It’s Cancer.”
It took just two words to shake our entire world. We left the office with a prayer on our lips and hope in our hearts. This couldn’t be true. This couldn’t happen to us. Ethan is young, he is healthy, he had no signs or symptoms, no discomfort. No! This could not be true. It wouldn’t be true. 

We walked out of the doctor’s office fingers entwined, each in our own world. Unanswered questions, thoughts about our one-year-old daughter, wondering what lay ahead. Through all of it, I held on fiercely to hope. Somewhere, deep down inside of me I knew he would be okay. We would be okay. We would tide through this patch and emerge stronger. He had to be fine for our daughter. There was no other choice. 

Ethan had felt a small lump near his abdomen that we got checked. The ultra sound revealed there was a tumour the size of a tennis ball. I was in Mumbai for some work and Ethan was in Delhi when he found out. 
“Jessica, I have a tumour in the abdomen.” 

Miles away we both kept our composure. I told him we would deal with it and we were both being strong for each other in that moment. Tears were streaming down my face as I hung up. Images of my husband and our daughter flashed before my eyes. I couldn’t process what was happening. The next morning, I flew to Delhi to be with Ethan. A PET scan confirmed the tumour. An initial biopsy was conducted before the surgery. The results said it was sarcoma. 

Even before Ethan went in for surgery there was so much to be grateful for. It was a localized tumour, he was young and in good health, there were no other medical complications. Our family and friends stepped in with all the support they could give us. Our daughter was taken care of by her grandparents. Our workplaces were cooperative and understanding. Our meals and day to day care was all sorted without us having to do anything. With our hearts full of gratitude for all that we have, Ethan was wheeled into the Operation Theatre. The surgery lasted six hours. A tumour the size of a small melon was extracted from his abdomen. After spending three painful days in the Intensive Care Unit, Ethan was brought into the room. 

A treacherous path lay ahead. It began with post-surgery complications. The wound got infected and needed everyday care and dressing. We started bracing ourselves for six weeks of radiation. However, through all of this we got by every day clinging onto hope that somehow miraculously the final biopsy report would be clear. We don’t know why we hung onto that hope, where that faith came from or why we so strongly believed the report would be clear? We just did!  

A report that should have taken ten days took over three weeks. The wait period was excruciating. Three weeks later we were called back to the doctor’s office. The final report had arrived. Ethan had a rare kind of tumour that resembles cancer but his was non-malignant. Since the tumour is so rare, there isn’t too much medical guidance for it. The initial biopsy report was incorrect. Ethan did not require radiation. He just needed to recover from the surgery and life would be normal again. We couldn’t believe what we heard. Amidst hugs and kisses, we slowly felt light return to our bodies. We could once again see our family together, healthy and happy, our little girl bouncing happily and us enjoying life thoroughly.  

If there’s something we learnt through this ordeal, it was to live life to the hilt. To look for wonder and beauty in our everyday experiences. To enjoy each other even more. To love with all our heart. To bring another child into our family. No one knows what tomorrow will bring. Today is all we have, we have this moment to feel the love that surrounds us. We have this moment to be grateful for all that envelops us. To count our blessings and have our hearts full of gratitude. 

Through our ordeal we knew there’d be a rainbow after the rain. A rainbow was waiting for us. Ethan needs to get a checkup done every few months and we do get anxious about them. In between those anxious moments we lead a normal life where we appreciate routine, crave and plan vacations and lap up every weekend with fun adventures and rest. We are hopeful life will continue to be this blessed and wonderful one checkup to another.       

About the Writer :
Nazneen Aibara is a teacher by profession, passionate about teaching young children how to read. She teaches at an IB school and is mom to a 2-year-old boy. She lives each day thinking about what sweets she will eat tomorrow, and spends all her free time planning her next travel. You can find her on Instagram @the.reading.umbrella