Photo by Jose Murillo on Unsplash

“You’ve Got 3 Days to Save Your Kids”

Titus Decali
11 min readAug 21, 2023

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A week before, I knew I had something. Four days before, I was told with confidence that it was tuberculosis. A day before, I had full body PT and CT scans and a slurry of xrays. The day I walk into this clinic, I know I have cancer.

The word itself is still foreign. ‘Cancer’. Cancer is the thing that kills people. Lymphoma, on the other hand, that’s some diagnosis you hear on a medical drama playing in the background as you do the dishes. I accept that I have lymphoma, sure, but ‘cancer’? No, someone else has that. Not me.

Still firmly clutching my denial, I move around in a body that isn’t mine. I do what needs to be done, but only as a passing thought. No real consideration for the reality of what I’ve already stepped into. “When does your chemo start?” The man behind the big desk asks. “In three days,” I hear my voice respond. “In that case, you’ve got three days to save your future Kids. We recommend you freeze your sperm immediately.”

I look down at the paper in my hand with three patient type options at the top. The one on the right is circled in fat-tip marker: CANCER SPERM. As if my sperm themselves have cancer, too. It’s a bad translation, I tell myself. Translations are often careless in Korea, but this time it feels personal.

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Titus Decali

Multi-startup founder with daily delusions of wordsmithing. Find my work on: TitusDecali.com