Chapter 4: The Results
Mike slowly opened his eyes, greeted by the gentle pitter patter of rain splashing on his rooftop. For the first time in a long time Mike actually felt refreshed. Maybe it was the rain, maybe it was just coincidence, or maybe it was because this was the first Saturday he actually wasn't ripped from sleep by an alarm clock in three weeks, but he actually felt pretty good for a change. Mike climbed out of bed and headed for his bathroom. He simply brushed his teeth, used the utilities, and paid no mind to his fur. He wasn't going anywhere for a change so it didn't matter if he looked a touch unkempt.
After finishing up his morning routine Mike eagerly headed down stairs, greeted by a varying assortment of breakfast smells, only feeding his good mood, as well as his appetite. Upon entering the kitchen his nose did not deceive. Indeed his mother was making breakfast, and it looked to be a good one. Finally, things could go back to normal.
"Morning, mom!" Mike said with enthusiasm as he eagerly ran up to see what his mother was making.
"Oh, good morning Michael," his mom said, momentarily looking away from the pan of bacon, as it shot bits of hot grease in all directions. "Someone's in a good mood I see." His mom said with a smile.
"Mmhm." Mike responded. "So uh, when is all this gonna be ready?"
"Well, I'm only waiting on the bacon, so actually, in a few minutes." His mom said, doing her best to dodge the flying grease.
"Great, I can't wait!" Mike said as he was going to leave the room.
"Wait one second. You don't think I'm gonna let you eat like that, do you?" His mom said taking on that motherly tone Mike had heard one too many times.
"Wh-what do you mean?" He asked, obviously caught off guard.
"You're a wreck! Go and brush your fur." His mom said with slight irritation in her voice.
"But why? I'm not going anywhere." Mike asked confused.
"That's no excuse to look like a slob." His mom said shifting her focus back to the bacon. "I'm only telling you this for your own good."
"But I-"Mike started.
"Michael, please!" His mom snapped at him.
"Grrr," Mike growled as he went up to his room to brush his hair.
Although he was rather annoyed while he made the walk to his room, he soon found himself in too good a mood to stay angry. Between the relaxing sounds from the rain, and the impending meal, he could take a little irritation, especially since his mother had a point and he looked a wreck.
When he finished brushing his hair, Mike headed down stairs, hoping breakfast was ready. He entered the kitchen and indeed everything was laid out and ready to be eaten. He went forward to dish up, but his mother stopped him.
"Michael, can you please wake up your sister for me?" His mom asked of him.
"Aw man, but she is such a bitch." He said with a groan. It was at that moment Mike stopped and his eyes widened. He hadn't realized it until he said it, but his mom wasn't going to like any part of that statement.
"Well, if your sister is such a bitch, as you say, then maybe I should give her your breakfast." His mom said to him with scorn.
"Okay, okay, I'm sorry. I'll go wake her up." Mike said with a nervous smile and a swift retreat. He quickly ran up stairs to wake his sister. He always hated waking people up. While he climbed the stairs, the phone rang. He had hoped the phone would wake his sister, but upon opening her door, he was quite mistaken.
"Hmm, maybe the rain will put her in a good mood." Mike said to himself as he walked in, and made his way to her bedside.
"Hey, mom wanted me to wake you up." Mike said standing over her.
"Hey, breakfast is ready." He said now giving her a slight nudge.
"Hey! HEY!" He yelled in the silence of his sister's room. With one quick movement she swung her arm back hitting him right in the face.
"OW!" He yelled as he fell to ground clutching his nose.
"What the hell are you doing in here?" His sister asked in anger.
"Mom wanted me to wake you up. Why the hell did you hit me in the face?" He yelled back.
"Oh, I don't know." His sister started with obvious sarcasm, "Maybe because you started screaming like a retard?"
"Well maybe I wouldn't have had to scream if you weren't so fat!" He yelled back, his voice muffled by his hand.
"What did you call me, you loser?" She said violently throwing a pillow at him.
"You heard me. Fat, fat, fat." He said giving her the dirtiest scowl he could manage.
"That's it, I'm gonna-"his sister started.
"Michael, come down here." Their mom yelled from down stairs.
"Oh you are so lucky." His sister said as he stood up.
"And you are so fat, funny how that works." Mike said leaving the room and walking down stairs, the pain in his nose finally disappearing. When he got halfway down stairs he saw his mom grab her purse.
"That was the doctor. He just got your tests results back. He told us to come in as soon as possible." His mom said with a worried rush.
"Now?" Mike asked in disbelieve.
"Yes, now. Let's go." She said grabbing an umbrella.
Mike swallowed hard as worry began to consume his good mood. His mom seemed to have an equally distressed disposition as she did her best to manage the car in the rain.
"So, do you think the doctor found something…?" Mike asked his mother.
"Well, I don't see why he would want us coming in so quickly if he hadn't." His mom said with an annoyed and stressed tone.
"Oh." Mike simply said as he looked at his lap. He was hoping for a little more encouragement from his mother, and that little dose of truth caught him off guard.
"… I'm sorry Michael." His mother sighed. "You're probably right, maybe it is nothing." His mother said trying to hide the worry in her voice.
"No, you're right, he did find something." Michael said in a tone so low his mother was almost unable to hear it over the sound of the rain.
"Michael…" His mother said having trouble dealing with her own worry as well as her sons. "Try to have a better attitude." She said trying to make him feel better.
"A better attitude?" Mike asked offended. "How am I supposed to have a better attitude when you're freaking out just as much as me?" Mike snapped.
"Well I'm sorry, but I'm a little stressed out too!" His mother yelled back at him almost in tears.
Mike didn't say anything. He had a lot of responses run through his mind, but none of them seemed appropriate, so instead, he focused on keeping calm, a task that seemed to be getting harder and harder as time progressed. He let out a deep sigh, thus solidifying the painful silence in the car.
It wasn't long until they pulled into the small parking lot of the doctor's office and headed inside, doing their best to stay under the umbrella. When they walked in, they only saw one person waiting, and they were relieved to see this wouldn't take long. They went to take a seat when they were stopped by a woman behind the check-in counter.
"Excuse me, Miss?" The woman behind the counter greeted them.
"Uh, yes?" Mike's mom responded, looking at the woman.
"You can both go back; the doctor is waiting." She said with an almost ironically happy tone given the severity of the situation.
"Oh, uh, thank you." Mike's mom said as she nodded to her and grabbed Mike's hand with force. "Okay, let's go." She said stressed.
When they got through the door separating the waiting room from the rest of the building, Mike managed to get his hand free from his mother's grasp as the nurse led them to the same room they entered the day Mike had been referred to see Dr. Bernard.
Mike, like always, was sat down on the small bed covered with a thin, disposable sheet of paper, and his mom sat down in a chair. There was a short wait, and then the doctor entered the room. The doctor looked at the clipboard in silence for at least a minute.
"Well, I got the test results from the Hepatologist. We've taken a lot of time looking over the results, and in the end, we always come back to the same conclusion." The doctor began. With that, the silence of the room became almost unbearable.
"And that is…?" Mike asked, simply looked into the eyes of the doctor with worry.
"Mike, you have something called Hepatocellular carcinoma. This is better known as…" The doctor stopped a moment, closing her eyes, trying to think of the best way to say it. "… Cancer of the liver."
With those words, Mike was overcome with a tight feeling in his stomach as he let out a harsh exhale. He simply looked at the doctor, his eyes slowly widening. He didn't know how to respond to the situation, so he simply sat there, unable to collect his thoughts. He had figured something was wrong, no, he knew something was wrong, but cancer? Mike looked at the floor, and then over at his mom. The look of horror on his mothers face helped put the situation into better perspective for Mike and he slowly began to understand what was happening. His mother had clasped her hand over her mouth, and her wide eyes were beginning to tear up.
"No…" His mother said moving her head back forth. "No, no, no, no, no…" She said breaking down into a sob.
"Mom…?" Mike asked with a confused and scared tone.
"Oh god, Michael!" His mother said as she jumped up and walked over to him, embracing him a large hug. He simply sat there as he slowly brought his arms up and hugged her back.
"Don't worry mom, I'll be alright." Mike said trying to calm her down, now getting tears in his own eyes, still managing to keep his composure fairly well.
"Oh, Michael…" His mom said, still sobbing. The doctor simply stood there in silence staring at the ground, not wanting to witness the pain she had probably seen many times before.
"How….?" His mom said breaking free from the hug and looking at the doctor. "How is this possible? How could he have liver cancer? He is only fifteen!" She asked hysterically.
"Although we aren't entirely sure how this happened ourselves, it turns out your son has primary biliary cirrhosis. We believe this is what caused the liver cancer, but there were most likely other unidentified causes as well."
"Well, he's still young. It can still be cured, can't it?" His mother asked with a terrified expression.
"We are currently looking into possible treatment, but the problem is that the cancer has developed into its advanced stages, which means treating it would be much more difficult…" The doctor said doing her best to maintain her composure.
"You say that like you aren't going to try! Are you just going to let my little boy die?" She said still sobbing hysterically.
"Ma'am, I assure you we are going to everything we can to help Michael, but we will need to run more tests to fully understand the severity of the cancer."
Mike simply sat in silence staring at the floor as he listened to them talk about him as if he wasn't there. Of course in a way, he wasn't there. He seemed lost, unable to completely get a grip on his thoughts. He could feel tears rising up in him, but he didn't cry. He simply sat there, not sure whether or not he should comfort his mother, sob to himself, or vomit.
On the drive home, the rain had slowed down. Mike couldn't help but occasionally glance over at his mother who was driving, tears streaming down her face. He didn't know how she had managed to keep from sobbing, but he figured maybe she felt similar to the way he did. He felt lost, like he was truly separated from the world. He knew that he should have been crying, but he just sat there. Whenever he tried to get a solid grip on his thoughts, they slipped away, and whenever he tried to relax and let his thoughts drift, they came flying back, pulling him into reality. Nothing was said on the ride home, since there was nothing to say.
When they finally finished the drive the rain had fortunately come to a stop, so they both climbed out of the car and slowly made their way inside. Once again, nothing was said, since there were no words appropriate for the situation. As they both walked up to the front door, and his mom struggled to unlock it, Mike couldn't help but think to himself. He looked at his hand, his own body, and he asked himself in his head "Am I going to die?" He could hear the question repeat in his head over and over again as his eyes began to once again tear up. He could feel himself begin to shake as he felt his chest knot up. Finally his mom opened the door and they both walked inside.
"Hey! I was wondering where you guys went." Mike's sister said running up to them. "Mike…?"
Mike walked past her without even the slightest of greetings, as he struggled not to start sobbing right there.
"Mom, what's wrong?" His sister asked, now becoming quite worried herself at both her brother's and her mother's tears.
"Honey…" Mike's mom said trying not to breakdown. "We need to have a little talk about your brother."