I put my bag down on the hospital bed and turned to say goodbye to my husband and fourteen-year-old daughter. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a figure sitting in the semi-dark at the other side of the room. She avoided my gaze but I was sure I recognized her.

I was in hospital to have my ovaries removed. They had served me well over the last fifty-five years and had contributed their part to bringing my seven wonderful children into the world. However, for the last eighteen months, I had a cyst on one of them which had not responded to conventional or non-conventional medicine. Every month, I had to go to the hospital for tests, an ultrasound check and a talk with my gynecologist.

Eventually he said, "This could go on forever. This cyst obviously won't just go away on its own, and you're going to have to spend the rest of your life worrying and having tests to check if it could be cancerous. Even when the tests are negative, there's still a small margin of possibility that the result is a false negative. The only way we'll really know for sure is if we remove the cyst and test it outside your body."

He also went on to explain that the cyst was stuck onto my ovary and if he tried to just remove the cyst, it could break off in a messy way and spread, and if it was cancerous, the cancer would spread. "Let's just take the entire ovary out together with the cyst. You have no further use for it, now you're not having any more children."

Although I'd been trying to avoid surgery, what he said made sense. I spoke to the surgeon, and he went further and suggested that I may as well have both ovaries removed, as all the second one could do, at my age, was give me problems. He explained that he would remove them using laparoscopic surgery which would entail three tiny holes made in my stomach area, and I'd only be in hospital overnight and back at work within two days. I discussed it with another doctor and went online to see what other options were available. All seemed to agree that this was the most sensible course to take.

Even the monthly check-ups at the hospital were more bothersome and time-consuming than the thought of simple keyhole surgery and two days bed rest. So I was quite at peace with the thought of my ovaries both being removed.

But the girl on the other side of the room. What was she here for?

I smiled at her and she returned my smile half-heartedly. In such a place, you don't ask "How are you?" but I did try to open up an innocuous conversation, to no avail. I'd met her recently at a teachers conference in Jerusalem where we both live. I knew her name was Sarah; she was in her mid thirties, unmarried and anxiously looking for her Mr. Right.

Why was she here? This was a pre-op room for gynecological surgery. Was she also here to remove some part of her reproductive organs? I very much hoped not. She was young and single. She hadn't yet found her partner with whom she wanted to share a life with. She hadn't yet known the thrill of counting the seconds as you hold a pregnancy test kit and waiting for a sign that you will bring a new baby into this world. She had never held her own baby in her arms. She hadn't accompanied her children to kindergarten, first grade, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, high school, college, and finally, to take their place next to their bride or groom under a chupah.

All night, I couldn't sleep. I wasn't worried about my own surgery but my roommate's.

In the morning, she was wheeled out before me, alone, to the operating theater. As I watched her go, I suddenly took her hand and whispered, "Good luck, I'll be praying for you." She held me tightly and smiled weakly, "Thanks."

When I came round from my operation the first thing I asked was "How's Sarah?" My family thought I was delirious and had forgotten my children's names. But I think I had even been dreaming of her during the operation. I dozed on and off for a few hours while I got over the anesthetic, with my husband or children sitting next to me. Occasionally, I heard Sarah crying out in pain behind her curtain and I asked my husband to get a nurse for her.

As I lay there that day, I prayed that whatever Sarah was here for, the doctors should be able to help and cure her with no long-term consequences.

The surgeon had been true to his word. All I could see were tiny pin pricks on my slightly swollen, bloated stomach and on his medical-round, he declared me fit and well and able to go home.

I so much wanted to ask him about Sarah, but I knew it would be a breach of medical etiquette and he wouldn't tell me.

He moved from my bed and slid between the curtains around Sarah's bed. "Everything went wonderfully," I heard him say. "It was tricky, but we got the cyst off completely intact and your ovaries are whole and complete. You have as much chance of having a family now as you did before."

I silently gave thanks to G‑d, dressed quickly, and with a lighter heart, followed my husband and children out of the hospital.