My Wicked Virgin

Page 27

Surgery that could leave her paralyzed.
Or worse.
There were so many blood vessels in the brain, and any damage could result in a devastating brain injury.
She finally managed to surface from her stupor, sucking in a huge breath. “What?”
Dr. Muller griped the tissue in her hand so tightly, her knuckles turned white. “Because of where the tumor is located deep inside your brain, and how we believe it’s growing, there is a chance of spinal and brain damage from the surgery.”
“What if you don’t remove it?” Hawk asked as Sunny tried very hard not to break down.
Shaking his head, Dr. Vanti explained, “The tumor will eventually cause serious problems if it is allowed to grow unchecked—seizures, brain damage, and possibly death. Sunny had a CT scan two years ago after a concussion, so we know the tumor wasn’t there then. We don’t know for sure when it started growing, but judging by its current size, we can make an educated guess as to what will happen if it is allowed to continue growing unchecked. I believe it will lead to further, painful complications and, eventually, death.”
“And,” Dr. Muller said gently, “we have to see if the mass is cancerous. The only way to do that is with a biopsy.”
Sunny stared at them in shock, unable to form words as her world crashed around her.
“When?” Hawk asked with a croak, then he cleared his throat. “When would the surgery be done?”
The doctors exchanged a glance before Dr. Vanti said, “If she agrees, we would do the surgery, barring any unforeseen complications, next Wednesday. Eight days from now.”
“Sunny,” Dr. Muller got up from her chair and knelt before them. She took Sunny’s free hand in her own. “I know this is overwhelming and terrifying, but I promise you that you’re not alone. We are going to be with you every step of the way, doing everything we can to make sure you come out from this healthy, happy, and whole.”
Her kind words seemed to open the floodgates, because Sunny began to cry great sobbing tears.
Hawk wrapped his arms around her, and Dr. Muller did the same, both hugging her tight. Keeping her together. The harsh reality of her situation flooded through her as she cried her heart out for the loss of the beautiful future that had been almost within her reach. All her sacrifices, all her planning and hard work—gone in a stroke of horrifically bad luck.
It seemed like she cried for hours, but by the time she finally wound down into hiccupping sobs, she was exhausted.
“Here,” Dr. Vanti put a heavy glass containing an amber liquid into her hand. “Drink.”
Her hands were almost shaking too bad to hold the glass, so Hawk took it from her and helped her drink it. The sharp bite of the alcohol helped to clear her head, and she drained the glass, welcoming the burn in her belly. Stroking her hair, Hawk held her close as she continued to take hitching breaths.
“Sunny,” Dr. Muller returned to her chair and placed her laptop on the table between them. “While I’d recommend that you get a second opinion of your test results just to be sure, I want you to know that Dr. Vanti and I are two of the best neurosurgeons in the world and that time is of the essence. I don’t say this to boast, but to reassure you that you are in the absolute best hands possible.”
“Okay,” she whispered. “What are the chances of my being paralyzed?”
Dr. Vanti’s dark eyes held her own as he said, “There is a thirty-five percent chance you could be paralyzed. But, while I have never worked with a mass quite like yours before, my team and I have done similar surgeries, all with good results.”
She’d been hoping he would say the chances of paralysis were negligible, that he just had to mention the risk because it was there. “Oh. Okay.”
Hawk asked a bunch of questions, but even though they were discussing her, she kind of checked out of the conversation. She didn’t want to think about the last hour of her life, didn’t want to even begin to consider what all of it would mean.
About everything that she could possibly lose.
Of about the fact that she could end up in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down.
Or with massive amounts of brain damage that could render her into a vegetable.
“Sunny won’t take opioids,” Hawk said, snapping her out of her dazed state.
“I understand her fear of addiction,” Dr. Muller said with a frown, “but this is not recreational use that we’re suggesting. I will not allow you to torture yourself, Susanna. We will work with you to do everything we can to respect your wishes for pain management, but I put my foot down with watching you needlessly suffer. You are not your mother.”