Authored by: Edith Mukyala (Uganda, East Africa)

I sat next to Arthur, my boyfriends’ best friend. He held my hand so tight after he saw me shaking with nervousness. The doctor began by asking, “What relationship do you have with the patient?” “Brother and girlfriend,” replied Arthur. If we didn’t claim they were brothers we were afraid the doctor wouldn’t tell us what was going on with Mark.

“Am sorry to say this but your brother….and your…boyfriend is not well at all.” I wished this guy in a white cloak could just get to the point. Why did they always have to beat around the bush before they said what actually was happening?

“He has lung cancer,” the doctor said sadly. I heard myself laugh out loud. “Your joking, right? My man doesn’t even smoke.”

The doctor explained the effects of radon gas, second hand smoking, gene mutations among other causes of lung cancer. Actually, he wasn’t joking. Boo was actually dying! He put up my boyfriend’s x-rays up for viewing. At that moment I stopped thinking, I stopped hearing. I blankly stared at Arthur with tears rolling down my cheeks. With wondering questions—how, when, why, what, how did we miss this?

“I’m afraid it is advanced, friends. If he has any other family, I suggest you call them. He has about three months. However, we have options to buy him more time.” He spoke of radiation, chemotherapy and surgery. 50% of lung cancer patients survive it. We can try to go in and get it out but I can’t promise anything.”

I had never met Mark’s parents. We had plans to go visit them in the months that followed. They lived close to the city. It was a blessed family, God had done them well. In simple terms, he came from a well-to-do family. Arthur made the call home. On the other side I could feel the panic in my mother-in-law’s voice. It was a wail, the kind a mother gave when something went wrong with their child.

The doctor told us which room he was in. Arthur asked me to go in first. As I walked through the corridor, I could feel my body literally jump out of my skin. My heart throbbed!! There he lay on the hospital bed looking handsome as ever, but still frail. He must have heard me coming, he opened his eyes and tried his way out with a smile. I ran to him and fell in his chest—and wept like a baby. All he could say was “Baby, it’s all gonna be fine.” He had his faith!! Crazy kind of faith! I wish he gave me some of it.

As I rested my head on his chest, sobbing, his parents walked in…

***To be continued. Look out for Part Six next week***

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