“There is no surgery to save him,” the doctor explained to my husband in German. “Let your son die,” he said to me in broken English.
Our son Marc entered this world with an extremely rare and fatal condition.
This is the story of my personal challenge of coming to terms with my son’s prognosis and doing all I can to ensure that he has a chance at life.
Passionate, emotional and at times humorous, this story is an unflinching account of love, rebellion and resilience. An inspirational story of one woman facing overwhelming adversity as she fights for her son's life.
Thirty minutes had passed; a journey from the cradle to the grave. No
one had said a word and I was growing wearier by the minute. Aside from
Marc’s sweet murmurs and my whispers, an eerie, uncomfortable silence
pervaded the room. It provided no indication of the volcano about to
erupt. He continued to guide the scanner. Then, with his eyes still
fixed on the monitor, his German accent thick and heavy, the Professor
finally uttered, “Was ich sehe ist leider nicht gut.”
Smacking his palm to his forehead, his face twisted in pain, Helmut
released an anguished sigh and slumped back in his chair. I stiffened
ramrod straight in mine. An undefined feeling of fear gripped me with
such force I could barely breathe. Without thinking, I snatched a
fistful of Helmut’s jacket sleeve with one hand while my other
clutched at Marc. My voice suddenly hoarse, as if my vocal chords had
been seared, I could at first only muster a whisper.
“What did he say, Helmut?”
Though it was only a moment, it seemed a lifetime before he answered me.
From where he was sitting, he could not really see the Professor’s
face. I could. Leaning slightly to the right and stretching my neck to
look over his shoulder, I could see that his face revealed nothing other
than a stable equilibrium. A moment...Perhaps he was waiting for the
Professor to say that he’d erred, that we could in fact breathe again.
Perhaps he just didn’t believe his ears or thought he had
misun-derstood him. The Professor continued sliding the scanner. Grating
my chair against the floor, I released Helmut’s arm and grabbed his
shoulder as I jumped to my feet, the chain still linked to our son. I
panicked as I tried to blink away the blinding flashes of light that
distorted my vision. The walls were closing in. I had to stay calm. This
would all be cleared up. Trapped in a sudden heat of terror that ripped
at my gut and weakened my bowels, I couldn’t have screamed if I wanted
to. The dampness rising in my armpits assured me that a war was about to
erupt in the heavens and it would be out of my control. I was
defenseless against the “Was ich sehe ist leider nicht gut” ringing
in my ears. I didn’t understand the words but Helmut’s outburst
destabilized me. Scared me senseless. I could hear myself trying to
breathe. I nearly tore off the leather skin of the jacket at his
shoulder. Trying to keep myself under control my voice broke.
“What did he say, Helmut?”
I sensed the Professor’s eyes on me.
“Spricht Ihre Frau Deutsch?” (“Does your wife speak German?”)
Helmut shook his head. “No,” he said.
With his hand still to his forehead, his elbow now supported by the
examination table, Helmut raised his free hand and groped for mine. He
turned and looked up at me, tears brimmed his eyes.
He winced before he spoke and when he finally did, his voice sounded as
if it belonged to someone else.
“Something’s wrong,” he whispered.
Excerpted from "Incompatible with Nature: A Mother's Story" by Tracie Frank Mayer. Copyright © 2016 by Tracie Frank Mayer. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.