My daughter Sylvia, then aged 19, was with the doctor as I was ushered in. Brain scans were on the light screen. Sylvia's face was flushed and her body shivery, her voice shaking, but her concern was really for me. ‘It’s going to be all right, Daddy. I know it will be OK.’ Her desire to spare me was touching, but I knew it wasn’t OK.
The doctor took me to one of the brain scans in the light box. ‘Sylvia has a brain tumour,’ she said. The words seared through me like a hot knife. ‘We’ve arranged immediate surgery for her in Sydney to remove it.’
There was no good reason why she should not make a full recovery, but it was far from plain sailing for her. We spent several days at the hospital, my reading her The Red Tent nightly – a story she never forgot.
To this day, she seems to have had no enduring ill effects from the experience, but it convinced her to make something special of her life: to become a teacher and seek out the most difficult, challenging children to teach. And she has done that, with great success. I am very proud of both my daughters!
How easy it is to believe what we want to, especially based on a sample of one! Tracey was more realistic, especially having had to deal with something far worse some 17 years ago. But that’s a story she should tell.
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