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

The treatment uplifted our family from Colorado to the Ronald McDonald House of New York City. We lived in a tiny room there together for five months. Here, in the midst of winding down for the night and preparing for bed, my mother injects David with his booster shot of Nuepogin. The drug is designed to stimulate the bone marrow, an area drastically depleted by long-term dosages of chemotherapy. As the production area of the body's white blood cells, healthy bone marrow is the most vital agent in fighting off infection and building immunity. The side effect: A constant aching and throbbing sensation throughout the bones and joints.

Another, unlabeled, and equally dangerous side-effect is a grumbling insurance company, cursing under their breath this $1,000-a-shot expense, every twelve hours for six to eight weeks.

My squeamish mother pushed the needle in too slow, and after the first few times David hesitated to let her try again. Sometimes she would put it in his twitchy stomach, where his taut skin showed the contours of every muscle in his abdomen. When she did it too slowly or wide of the mark, the archway of his rib cage showed as he flinched and bellowed tiny groans of pain and complaints. "Hold still," she would say, hovering the needle over his belly.

This time he said, "MOM, please, just get it over with!" He squirmed despite her "Trust Your Judgment" t-shirt.

She got it over with and when she turned around I noticed she was teary-eyed.

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