I never thought I would one day actually hear a doctor say that to me. But recently, after my second operation in a week on gall-stones, this time to remove a mini-monster and five or six others that were in danger of blocking my pancreas, he said just that. “If nothing is done”, he added quickly. It seems that in successfully extracting the stones, he discovered, underneath the Big One, a polyp the existence of which he had not even suspected. I am writing this at 5:30 am, and will know only later today exactly what a scanner may reveal and the procedure to be decided. It sounds awfully serious, because the good doctor explained that this decision would be collegial, involving a half-dozen of his colleagues including a cancerologist.
I will spare you the other detail. What is important is that not only am I in harm’s way but that I could, and will, “pass away” (!) unless the parasite is removed.
The doctor was somewhat surprised when I told him that I considered myself lucky to have seventy-six interesting, very largely happy and satisfying years behind me, and that were I to die in the immediate future I would have “no complaints”, in every sense of the expression. He reacted by saying that I had had additional luck in that the pesky polyp was discovered by accident. Recently I had wondered out loud in writing what other nasty developments might be taking place in my body. The polyp may not be the only hidden enemy at work.
It could go both ways. Things may get worse and worse, or I could be in for a spell of relative good health, free of assorted unwelcome growths including inoperable cancer. I have friends who are praying for recovery from theirs, and others, like me, lucky enough to be rid of such illusions.