Six weeks or six months. The doctor is looking at us like he’s waiting for a response. Does he think he’s offering us a choice? I turn to look at my wife, Margot, who is sitting beside me. Her face is shadowed by the excruciating pain she’s been enduring for the past few weeks, but her expression is calm. The only sign of tension is a slight indentation between her brows—those perfect arcs that she has been drawing on with a pencil every morning for almost a decade. Her glossy dark hair has fallen out and grown back more times than I can count, but her eyebrows were sacrificed forever to her first bout with chemotherapy, nine years ago when she was just twenty-nine. Beneath the penciled curves, her beautiful brown eyes are clear—soft with acceptance, but strong. I know, without asking, that she’s ready to fight. Again. Her oncologist has just confirmed what we pretty much already knew—Margot’s cancer, which she’s been battling for most of the time I’ve known her, is back. And this time it is in her brain. The technical term for her condition is Leptomeningeal Carcinomatosis. The nontechnical translation, which our other doctor gave me on the telephone a few days
ago, is that it’s about the worst possible thing that could happen for her….