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  Prologue from
Encore
A young couple triumphs over a dreaded illness

By Miriam Dansky 



Prologue

“Listen Doctor,” I began, “My wife is a very young woman. I know that possibly for just this reason you are afraid to tell us the true situation. But in reality, I would prefer to know the extent of what we are dealing with. Let me tell you now that I am handling everything on my wife’s behalf.”

This doctor was quite young, and I could see now, nervous. In a way, at that moment, I pitied him. He was in possession of certain facts and he did not, for the life of him, know how to transmit them to this strange looking Jewish couple.

He gulped once or twice as if to prepare for his revelation,

“Sir, let me tell you at once -- your wife has a sickness which is incurable. There is absolutely no way to naturally reverse the change.”

Does he understand the depth of hurt he has just had to inflict on me? Never, never again normality!

“Perhaps I will travel abroad? Perhaps get a second opinion.”

“Travel, go round the world, but you will come face to face with the eventuality. It will sit there waiting for you, like some grinning toad, when you come back.”

These words are some of those that return to haunt me most frequently, for they have come to exemplify -- more forcefully then most -- the nature of our extended nisayon. “The grinning toad” which awaited us at every intricate turn, epitomized all that we most came to fear -- and it was against this symbol of black hopelessness that we pitched our prolonged battle. This battle, then, is the substance of our story.

 
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