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 What do you want to do about it? Ace asked.
 I want you to take my blood, and test it, I said.  I want blood tests, and I want them today. Please,
call me the second you get the results, because I m nervous as hell.
He said,  Okay. Come on down.
That afternoon, I slipped out of the house. I pocketed my keys and walked out the door without telling
Kik. By now she was near the end of the pregnancy, and while she carried the twins with her usual grace,
it couldn t be easy on her. I didn t want to worry her needlessly, didn t want to say to her,  Oh, I m
driving down to Ace s office for some blood work. I kept my worry to myself. Nothing else would
reassure me I just needed those numbers. So I made up some excuse about what I was doing that
afternoon, and I snuck out.
I drove down to Ace s office, and he drew blood, and then I drove back home, and I sat by the phone.
He promised he would call me as soon as he got the results. All I cared about was my HCG level, the
critical blood marker for testicular cancer. HCG is a hormone that s perfectly common in pregnant
women, but it shouldn t be present in more than trace amounts in a young man. If my HCG level was
more than two, it would mean only one thing: the cancer was back. When it came to cancer, numbers
were everything. All I wanted to know from Ace Alsup was that it was less than two.
When I was sick, my HCG skyrocketed. One morning, College called and asked how I was doing.
I said,  The numbers went up. My HCG level was over 109,000. The cancer was spreading and
now it was in my brain. My mother had spent the morning crying, but I was strangely relieved.
College took me to lunch, to get me out of the house.
 I don t know why she keeps crying, I said.  I m cool with this. At least now I know everything.
Now I know what to do.
I sat there, alone, waiting for Ace Alsup to call back, and I asked myself what I d do if the disease had
returned. I told myself,Okay, you ve got a choice: you can give in . . . or fight like hell and hope to
live forever . When I was first sick, some doctors told me that my chances of living were 50 percent,
some said 40 percent, and some said 20 percent. But one thing was for certain: any odds at all were
better than 0 percent.
The phone rang. I picked it up it was Ace.
 Just tell me it s less than two, I said.  If I hear that, I hang up the phone, and I m done.
 It s less than two, he said.
I thanked him, and I hung up, and that was the end of it. But it wasn t the end of my unease on the
subject.
I live with a constant sense of being pressed for time. I have to do everythingnow  get married, have
children, win races, make money, ride motorcycles, jump off cliffs because I might not have the chance
later. It s an odd gift, that sort of concentrated living, and perhaps I don t always apply it to the right
things. I m either going at 150 percent, or I m asleep.
When I get locked on to something, I don t hear, see, or notice anything around me. I hired a young
Aussie guy named Christian Knapp to be my training aide. Christian was a jack-of-all-trades, a masseur
and physical trainer whose job was to help me work out, and accompany me on a motorbike when I
went on long rides, to protect me from traffic. One spring afternoon we rode out together and spent
seven hours on the bike, battling through a rainstorm. Toward the end of the day we finally came down,
relieved, from the foothills into a beautiful green valley and got hit by a sudden blast of wind, rushing
straight into us. Chris idled next to me on the motorbike.
 Man, I bet you re bummed about this headwind, he said.
I looked at him.
 What headwind? I said.
We spent thatNovember inAustin, waiting out the last month of Kik s pregnancy peacefully; the twins
were due right around December 1. But then, on the day before Thanksgiving, Kik went in for a routine
checkup and mentioned to the doctor that she d felt a little peculiar that morning. Dr. Uribe examined her
briefly and said,  What s your husband doing today? Kik replied that I was scheduled to leave for a
series of business meetings.
 Well, you better call him to tell him to cancel the rest of his day, because you re having these babies.
You need to go home and get a bag.
Kik called me, and said,  Can you cancel your meetings?
 Uh, yeah, I said.
 Good. We re having these kids.
Kik drove home and walked in the door, and she said,  Pack our bags. We stood there and smiled at [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]




 

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