Thursday, January 19, 2012

What If: The Beginning

“I believe everything happens for a reason,” TinyAppetite said. I then recalled cancer friends who have passed away, and millions of Jews slaughtered. I considered getting cancer twice myself. I thought of TinyAppetite’s mother with brain cancer and whether this entered her mind when she shared her belief.

I hid my resentment, squashed my judgment, and appreciated her contrasting opinion. But what if TinyAppetite is right? What if…

My hip pain shortened my sophomore tennis season because I would have become the world’s highest-ranked youth player and Rafael Nadal’s trainer would have had me assassinated.

Patrick Ewing never having won an NBA championship led to additional attention paid to his surname, and subsequently the disease Ewing’s sarcoma, and if he had won then my tumor would have gone undiagnosed.

The seven months between first feeling pain and receiving my first drip of chemo was just one day shy of rampant metastasis. That was the difference between dying far too young, or enduring never-ending cancer recurrences and treatment, and the life I live now.

I was the 1 in 100 who developed myelodysplasia—caused by the Cytoxan I received to combat Ewing’s—because the treatment was a bone marrow transplant. And that bone marrow transplant killed the remaining Ewing’s cells that had survived the Cytoxan. And those few Ewing’s cells, had I never received a transplant, would have replicated and attacked with the fury of a thousand championship-less Patrick Ewings.

My genetic code played a part in my Ewing’s and myelodysplasia development yet was also why I responded positively to their treatments; why my organs have thrived after, void of most late effects despite probability pegging me with having more than Kim Kardashian’s lifetime divorce total. My genetic code is the most fit in the history of man at survival, but in order to reach this discovery—to find this “hero”—there had to be a “villain.”

I acquired a milk allergy from my bone marrow donor because in three years a pathogen will contaminate bovines and survive pasteurization, killing a billion people, cows, and groundhogs.

I acquired thalassemia trait (anemia) from my bone marrow donor, which has led to me wondering how my donor has coped with her thalassemia, which will lead me to try contacting her family to say her umbilical cord saved my life, but only for the opportunity to meet her and force Nestle Quick down her throat as retribution for my milk allergy.

I twice developed fungal pneumonia—possibly aspergillus the first time which has a more than 50% kill rate—because I would have started smoking crack while attending a UVA frat party, but declined in order to protect my lungs. Addiction would have taken hold with the first inhalation, I would have become an “extra” on The Wire, and then held my former neighbor, Ryan Zimmerman, hostage for crack money.

Ewing’s sarcoma began development when I was fifteen, robbing me of nutrients and four inches in height. My smaller stature allowed me to receive a single umbilical cord stem cell transplant instead of a double cord. The single cord re-populated my marrow, gave me new life and a young immune system capable of destroying Kentucky Fried Chicken-caliber free radicals. The double cord would have failed to graft and two more mini-transplants, failed liver, kidneys and lungs later, I’d be on disability and dialysis with a urinary catheter and colostomy bag.

Ewing’s sarcoma developed in my ilium, which was removed, thus preventing me from running or jumping ever again. This led to decreased physical activity and becoming overweight (for me) at age 24. This led to an extreme healthy lifestyle makeover, which led to single-digit body fat, which led to decreased force through my hip, thus preventing a lifetime of hip pain.

My single-digit body fat led to improved appearance and confidence, which will lead me to interact with Natalie Portman and other celebrities when they visit my less-affluent neighborhood of Arlington, VA, along with my future girlfriends, wives, and divorcees, especially after I move to Los Angeles and marry Natalie Portman because everyone divorces there.

Surviving Ewing’s aided in my admittance to the University of Virginia, which will provide credibility for when I am Universal Dictator and appoint Sec-Z-Bec as Secretary of Propaganda, Zeke as Secretary of Wormholes, and Obama and G-Dubs as my co-drinking buddies.

TinyAppetite: lacking tummy capacity yet so full of wisdom.

Related story:
What If