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
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.