Robert Wilonsky, City Columnist

Last summer, my doctor told me I would probably be dead before my son went to college. At the time, my son was one day from turning 14, one month away from starting high school.

I had gone to the doctor a few days earlier with what I thought were kidney stones, for which I had all the symptoms, including, if you must know, blood in my urine. The scans turned up kidney cancer instead — Stage IV. “A bad-luck cancer,” said our longtime family doctor, explaining that my left kidney was essentially a tumor, and that it had spread to my liver, lymph nodes, the inferior vena cava, which carries blood to the heart, and, likely, my thyroid.

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