I'm With Al Michaels
May 5, 2002, Memorial Hospital, New York
Well, sports fans, it's come down to this.
After a series of tests, doctors identified the cause of my
bowel obstruction: cancerous growth in the small intestine
in at least two spots. Because I'm too frail for surgery, they
tried to clear the obstructions using an endoscope, a snake-like
instrument shoved down the throat into the gastro-intestinal
area. Unfortunately, the area was too knotted up for them to
do anything. As a result, they packed up their bags, patted
me on the back, and said good luck. They've got no more tricks
up their sleeves.
So here's where we stand: For the foreseeable future, I can't
eat. The docs are giving me a small liquid diet to see how
it goes, but in the main, I'll be getting all my nutrition
intravenously through a system called TPN. I can't take my
pain-killing drugs orally, either. I'll have to wear a fanny
pack with a line feeding narcotics straight into my veins.
I'm down to one last card to play, at the Block
Medical Center. The hope is that TPN will build my strength
up to the point
where I can tolerate a chemotherapy strong enough to shrink
my cancer and clear the bowels so I can start eating again.
The folks at Block speak positively, believing they can "rebuild" me.
I believe them. But there's no denying we need a miracle.
As a lifelong sports fan, I fully believe in the Yogi Berra
maxim that it ain't over 'til it's over. I've watched enough
games in my time to know it can happen. The Immaculate Reception.
Flutie to Phelan. Lorenzo Charles. Larry Mize. Buster Douglas.
The Stanford band play. Game 6, '86 Mets.
Lying in my bed recovering from surgery last fall, I stayed
with every pitch of Game 4 when the Yankees looked dead in
the water--same with Game 5. It can happen. When there's two
outs, two strikes, and no one on in the bottom of the ninth,
when the ball goes up in the air on the Hail Mary pass, when
there's one last inbounds play with :00.1 showing on the clock,
I'm one of those guys who's still in the stands, on my feet,
watching expectantly. I never head to the exits early to beat
the crowd. I want to see what happens.
So don't talk to me about the likelihood and the probabilities.
Let me hear Al Michaels counting down those final seconds at
Lake Placid in 1980:
Do you believe in miracles?