January.  The month of so called “wintery mixes”. Andrew at the wheel in the dark early mornings to Ottawa. Akka is poked and prodded over and over:  CTscan, MRI, endoscopy, biopsy, blood test, another blood test, another endoscopy, another, another….  Itchiness and fatigue become the norm. There are meetings with the doctor, the radiologist, the oncologist, the endocrinologist, the surgeon…Every time the results become more sobering. Each meeting, each test, each report is more damning.

Akka makes up her mind. Firm.

Finally, a successful stent and the bilirubin starts to drop. She has bought time – between 3 and 5 months apparently. Akka amazingly gets all of her affairs in order, banks and lawyers, bonfires to burn her papers and diaries. She stops driving. Her first thought always: her boys. Stephan and Alex. Will they be okay? She visits with Ajahn at the monastery. Sushi after every trip in to town is part of the deal. And this time, she won’t share! Pains start as spasms, aches, little sharp jabs and becomes more common.