ISSUE 6 / SUMMER 2007
Issue 6

Photo Essay

The Question of the Year
by Daniel Hernandez

The Body

by Stephanie Gene Morgan


The Question of the Year
by Daniel Hernandez

I went back to sleep. He checked himself into the health center as soon as it opened. Tests confirmed a malignant tumor on his right testicle as well as dozens of metastasized tumors throughout the lungs and lymph nodes. It had matured to stage four with, at over two million cancerous cells in the body, a tumor marker reading off the charts. David's lungs were bleeding into his stomach, which was inducing the vomiting.

It was worse than we had ever feared: an ominous, umbrella diagnosis absorbing a seemingly innocent, seemingly unrelated litany of issues. He had complained earlier about a sensitive lump on his chest, pointedly discovered by a punch in his after-school boxing class. A blood test had revealed it was the result of a hormone imbalance: he had no testosterone in his body and as much estrogen as a pregnant woman. The physician’s assistant thought he might have a testicular lump and requested he come in for a physical. Reluctantly, he agreed – knowing in fact that he did, but still remaining mute. (If this was going in the direction he thought it was, he wasn’t ready to do the doctors, or himself, any favors.)

From his chest to his testicle, to his stomach and finally his entire body, the tests revealed his tumor-riddled organs on the same, inauspicious day the disease made him violently ill. His body had already decided he couldn't ignore the disease any longer. He didn't want to go to the hospital the night before, but for the next year he would practically have to live there.

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