I am 29. I am coughing uncontrollably with a constant headache, full-frontal dizziness, and most disconcertingly, an unqualified absence of energy. Each step I take requires a much needed resting period, which is rather foolish. My attempt at a jog, intended to push through the sickness and cure myself of whatever ailed me, is curtailed by my inability to secure a sneaker to my foot before passing out.

I stumble into a walk-in clinic having a terrible time, and after describing the last few days in my life to a doctor, I am advised to go home and use a Neti Pot. Making it plainly obvious this is unsatisfactory as a remedy, I push for something, anything else, which ends up being simple blood work.

My hemoglobin level has fallen to 68, which is apparently low af. Once the results are relayed to me, I’m sent to the emergency room, stat, where it’s determined the updated hemoglobes are an abysmal 59, meaning there is some definite internal bleeding happening in ma gut. In order to prevent me from dying, I am ordered an immediate blood transfusion. I inform the doctor that I am a Jehovah’s Witness and as such I refuse the treatment, seeing as how blood represents life and only God is the giver of life. My doctor then tells me he is God, and in my haze I believe him. With that, the giver of life proceeds with the 3 units of O+ straight into my lifeless body. And oh man, does it feel good. The enhanced oxygen levels are euphoric. I am getting high off of air supply. I am reborn.

Once regain sufficient strength from the stranger’s blood, it’s time for someone to determine what was actually causing this absurd drop in hemoglobes, so I’m admitted for an extended stay, late checkout acceptable. Over the next week, I have several hundred doctors, fake doctors and nurses interrogate me incessantly: “Where’s the blood you’ve been losing? C’mon, it’s gotta be somewhere. You’ve been vomiting blood, haven’t you? Or is it coming out your buttside? Where’s the blood, buddy!?” There is no blood. None that I can see. I am asked the same mundane questions over and over, and my answers become automatic. Feb2686. 12 drinks. This morning.

There is a lot of waiting as a myriad of tests is performed on me. I’m given a coupla endoscopies, along with some fentanyl and marzipan concoctions that come to me highly recommend. The bone marrow biopsy is interesting. While waiting for a couple of people who had never seen one before, the other doctors discuss why they had gone into their chosen program. “So that I can see crazy stuff like this,” is my favourite response, well within my earshot. The actual procedure involves a doctor drilling a needle into my hip bone, which required a degree of brute force one does not normally associate with modern medicine, necessary because I lack osteoporosis. For the CT scan, I’m given liquid contrast, which incites a sensation of urinating, and led into an expensive white donut. Somebody who knows how to read the white donut results finds a mass of cells pushing up against my small intestine that isn’t supposed to be there. An endoscopic ultrasound confirms its malignancy, and just like that, I’m a god damn cancer patient.

[Author’s note: A few months before this, I tell my family doctor, who is also one of my good friends, that I have cancer. She dismisses the idea as she laughs in my face. WELL WHO’S LAUGHING NOW, KENDELL???]

August 29 – Carla Gugino gets an array of tests leading to a diagnosis
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