FADING IV

“Mummy good evening ma”, he greeted her immediately he came in.
“Son, how are you? You’re home early from work?”
“Yes ma had to excuse myself and handed the rest to my assistant”;
“Okay that’s good; she said standing up”. Picking her bag from the bed she pecked Lisa; “baby I will see you tomorrow”.
Lisa smiled weakly and nodded.
“Gbenga take care”; she said walking out and silently hoping Lisa won’t tell him about their conversation.

His eyes still stayed fixed at the door as he sat on the chair beside her and contemplating if he should bring up the topic or not;
“You know the person you should be staring at is here right?”
“Yes I know”; he replied
He turned to look at her and like every day studied her to take in her physical features; he took her hands and planted kisses on them,
“You are beautiful”,
“Only my husband will say that”; she chuckled
“I love you Lis”;
“I know babe and I love you too”,
“Am sorry Lis”;
“For what?”
“Putting the option of the D and C on you and not seeking your opinion”
“But am not upset”;
“Neither are you happy”;
“Gbenga, a lady barely six months into her marriage is battling leukemia and the trauma of aborting a child is neither happy”;
She tried to sit up but failed; knowing what she was trying to do he stood up and helped her. As he tried to sit back on the chair she held him.
“You did not throw the option of the D and C on me Gbenga, it was a medical advice and we made the decision together. It was a medically right decision and if it’s wrong then we will take the blame together because babe we are one and I would love to fight for our future together”;
“I love you Lis”
* * *
With the look on the faces of Femi and his team; Lisa knew what was coming. She had been here before but today her body felt different.
Five years ago she had no energy nor reason to fight cancer but now she did; she needed to fight it for her marriage and the love of her life, even though her chances of winning this fight a second time seemed very slim.
She felt Gbenga’s gentle grip on her hands and her mother’s soothing fingers on her legs as they waited for word from Dr. Femi.

Lying down on the bed; she let their faces do the talking for her.
“Femi what’s going on?” Gbenga asked getting agitated
Femi contemplated breaking the news himself but he couldn’t bring himself to, he couldn’t say the words that was bound to break the hearts of his best friend and his entire family, clearing his throat he spoke;
“Gbenga, I think it’s better we let the attending oncologist explain the situation of things”
Dr. Rashid stepped closer; “am sorry Sir but after two months of treatment, both the chemo and radiation have shown no significant improvement, we can continue treatment but I don’t think it would change much. The leukemia is really aggressive Lisa, it could be anytime”.
“My daughter survived before and she will survive it again”; Lisa’s mum said angrily as tears made its way down her cheeks
“I’d fly her abroad”; the words escaped Gbenga’s lips and everyone turned to him
“Gbenga you can’t; she is too weak to fly and with all these attached to her body how do you intend to do it?” Femi replied
“So you are saying I sit and watch my wife die”
All eyes turned to him; not knowing what to say Femi looked away.
“Gbenga even if you do fly her out of the country the report will be the same”; Dr. Rashid said
He stood up and stormed out.
Lisa wondered if it was the right time to cry or the time to accept fate. Her heart broke at the fact that she couldn’t walk after him.

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FADING III

Twenty four hours had passed since the D and C and Gbenga’s routine remained the same; work- hospital – home. Lisa’s mum came around to help take care of her daughter and he was grateful for her presence
He sat by her bedside in the place they had labeled as a second home and he watched as she laid quietly starring at the door. Words had become few between them since the D and C.
“Hey Lis, what’s going on? Are you expecting someone;” he asked taking her hands in his.
“Not really, the doctors are supposed to come brief us and tell us the treatment plan,”
“Okaaay! And you know this how;”
“This isn’t all new for me, the only difference is the D and C. Besides that, I know the drill”
She maintained her stare at the door.
“Babe, five years ago I also wasn’t there and neither had we met but today and now; we are in it together.”
He knew she had to say something about the D and C, but the least emotion he wanted to deal with was guilt.
“I love you Lis;”
As soon as the words left his lips, the door opened and his friend; Dr. Femi and his team walked in.
“Good morning Lisa;” Dr. Femi said
Turning to her husband, she mouthed “I told you;”
“Morning Dr. Femi;”
“Common Lisa, no need to sound professional we are family.” he smiled politely
“So what’s the plan?” Gbenga asked almost impatiently
“We invited the best oncologist we know, he will be coming in this evening but he has studied your case. Chemo and radiation is the treatment plan he recommends and you will be having your first round of treatment today by 4pm. As time goes on we will monitor you through tests and scans to see the progress.”
Gbenga held his wife hands in his silently hoping his presence brought her some comfort and reminded her that she was not alone.
“But to be honest, from the scan results this bout is aggressive and we are hoping that chemo and radiation will help kill as much cell because surgery isn’t even an option now.”
“Okay Femi, see you at 4pm then;” she replied
She chose to stay positive, to select the news she wanted to settle on and believe that once again there would be miracle.
“Actually Lisa, I won’t be there for your treatment; the oncologist should be around by then and he will lead you both through it.”
Dr. Femi smiled at both of them and turned to leave with his team and almost the same time Lisa’s mum walked in.
“Good morning mum;” Gbenga said standing up and offering her the chair.
“Morning son, how are you?”
“I’m fine ma, since you are here mummy let me quickly rush to the office;”
He turned to his wife and noticed she was still starring in space, he pecked her and whispered in her ears; “Babe I’m here and will continue to be;” he kissed her forehead before leaving
He picked his keys and left.
* * *
Three weeks had gone by and everything remained the same. It was on this particular Friday afternoon that Gbenga parked outside his office building and he contemplated walking in.
The fact that everyone in the building will start asking him how his wife was scarred him, he did not know if answering “she is fine” was convincing them or himself that she was really fine but the obvious starred him in the face daily; that she was getting thinner, losing her hair and worse still getting weaker but above all he adored how her smile constantly stood out.
He stared at the building in front of him and deep within it came to him; he wasn’t supposed to be here and he wasn’t ready to answer the questions from his staffs neither was he in the right mood to work and he decided on a few days off.
“Jesus please do it again” he silently prayed.
He picked up his phone and messaged his assistant; “hey Dayo please handle everything, won’t be coming in for a week.”
He started his car and headed back to the hospital.
As he approached Lisa’s room and was about to enter he could hear her mum reprimanding her about the D and C.
“Lisa how could you have aborted the pregnancy, it’s against our faith and you of all people should have known that.”
“Mum we did not carry out an abortion but a D and C, it was medically advised and honestly we could have waited but the cancer appeared aggressive for all you know I wouldn’t be here right now if I had kept the baby.”
“What’s the difference between an abortion and a D and C Lisa? Or did your husband convince you to agree.”
“Mum whether he did or not it’s our decision, I’m upset about everything but definitely not guilty and …
The door opened cutting them short from their conversation.

FADING II

“Babe stop going round in circles and just tell me what’s going on;”

He looked at her and walked to sit by her bedside, holding her hands he replied her; “you are very ill Lisa.”

“I know that, I mean come on, morning sickness is normal for every pregnant woman. I think because your wife is an ajebo the symptoms are more intense;” she said giggled

“Lisa listen to me please” he cupped her face. “We can’t keep the child because you are very sick and we need to start treatment immediately; it’s back again and it looks more aggressive.”

Immediately the words left his mouth; she began to cry, he reached out to dry the tears, but the more he dried the tears, the more it streamed down. He held her head down to his chest and let her cry;

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It’s not Fair” she said amiss sobs

“I know;” he said patting her back

The realization of why he had hugged her the way he did earlier hit her;

“Affliction isn’t supposed to rise a second time right;” she asked him expecting an answer but before he could, a nurse and two theatre attendants walked in.

She pulled out from the hug and relaxed back on the bed.

“Dr. Femi recommended a D and C before we can start treatment because the pregnancy is still in the early stage;”

“But we can’t; maybe God gave us this one for a reason,” she argued.

“I told him that and he said waiting isn’t an option because the illness can progress and pregnancy always makes cancer worse.”

She exhaled a deep breath and covered her eyes with her free hand; “oh God help me, she uttered.

“Please give us a minute;” she said to the nurses.

“ It’s the blood babe. I’m sorry. But if we’re to fight we have to let this one go” Gbenga explained further when they were alone.

“So we do the D and C;” she questioned

“I think is the best decision, lets fight this and we will make as many babies as you want when this phase is over;” he said trying to lighten the mood.

“Okay; call the nurses.”

He knew she had more to say but didn’t want to push it.

*                              *                                   *

He followed closely as they wheeled her to the theatre and as they approached the out of bounds door, she stopped the nurses.

She held his hands and he kissed her on her forehead.

A lot of thoughts ran through her mind but she choose to settle in the silence that had enveloped them.

“I love you Lis;”

“I love you too babe and am sorry that so early in our marriage we are going through this; I couldn’t…

“Ssshhhh! Babe is not your fault;” he said cutting her short.

“Okay; call my parents and your dad, we need them.”

He simply nodded and watched as they took her in. knowing he didn’t have the energy to call each of them, he decided on a text message.

Opening his message column; he marked the three contacts and started typing; “Lisa is very sick, its relapse from five years ago and this time it’s leukemia we’re at Birmak specialist hospital.”

FADING I


There was something about the way he hugged her, Gbenga had never hugged her like that.
She couldn’t resist, she just returned his embrace but with her left arm. He held her like she was fragile, like she would break if he held on a little more, the gentle sounds of his breathing behind her neck and the wetness on her neck told her he was crying.
“Babe what did the doctor say;” she asked
She took his silence; knowing he wasn’t ready to let go but his weight was now causing her a measure of pain.
He kept holding her, as though if he held her tight enough he could keep her with him forever, he wanted to hold on to her even tighter but she was so frail he feared she’d break into two if I dared hold on tighter.
She felt his tears as it kept dropping on her shoulders but his embrace still stirred up fear within her; it felt as though he believed she was leaving and was holding tight to keep her from leaving.
When he finally let go; she sat up and cupped his face; pulling her left arm forward despite the cannular and the connected fluid bag.
“Babe be careful, your drip;” he rushed up to move the stand the bag of fluid hung closer to her
“Hey!” she pulled him back and looked into his eyes while wiping his tears;
“I thought men don’t cry;”
“Well babe, this one does;” he replied lowering his head.
“The nurses will be here to move you;”
“Why?” she questioned
“I spoke to the doctor Lis;”
“I know, so what’s with the moving;” she asked looking agitated.
“I love you Lisa;” he replied. It wasn’t the answer to her question but she needed to know she was loved and whatever else he would say was coming from a place of love because the news he had wasn’t great.
“Gbenga you are scarring me, what’s going on;”
“You are two weeks pregnant Lis;” he paused to allow her time to take in the news of her pregnancy first
“Oh my God; babe that’s wonderful news. Isn’t God wonderful;” her face beamed with joy and her eyes lit up for the first time in days.
“Hon this good news, why do you look so worried; I know we weren’t expecting this and we’ve only been married four months. Wait till I tell mom; she will be so excited, you know they had to wait ten years before they had me. God is so good to us babe; He truly breaks protocols and changes history.”
He just watched as she continued to talk and smile uninhibited by her reality. The joy in her eyes made her even more stunning today.
Seeing her trying to sit up, he stood up to adjust the pillow for her.
“Babe I think we can ask Dr. Femi to discharge me now;” she smiled at him
Gbenga looked at her and wondered how to break the news to her.
“But first, please help me with my phone let me tell mum the good news;” she pouted looking at him.
“Common babe, we are expecting a child and you act like there is more;” the silence was killing her and he knew it.
“There is more Lis;” he said standing up from her bedside.
“You are scarring me Gbenga;”
“Babe, we can’t tell your parents about the pregnancy;”
“Okay; we will wait till its six months or better still three months please, I just want mummy to know;” she pleaded.
“There won’t be a three months stage;” he replied.
“how do you mean?”
“The nurses are on their way to move you;” he did not look at her face, he couldn’t bear to see the pain his words would bring her.
“To where?” the silence was killing her and she knew that whatever it was he meant it couldn’t be good.
“We can’t keep the baby Lis.”