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Joe Zizzi's childhood in the 1950s had everything a kid could want--pro athlete dad, wonderful mom, cool big bro. When the '60s kick in, this ideal life is violently shaken: a car crash claims his mother's life and his father's career, and brother Matt becomes distant and disturbed. Over the years, Joe learns to cope and carves out a niche for himself as a college sports star, and later as a coach and writer, but he can't quite shake the family legacy. Diagnosed with kidney failure, the semi-pro husband and devoted dad has life-and-death decisions to make--and life wins, though perhaps only by a slim margin.
Anne-Marie told me the things she didn't have the heart to tell me before, namely about her kidneys and what's actually doing with her and the PKD. How it started with the weight gain and the blood pressure and the cholesterol. How she had to get a bigger bra because the old one cut off the circulation in her dialysis arm.
“But any bra was better than no bra. When you're built like this it's fatal not to wear one.So I would have all these outrageous necklaces to distract people from the obvious. And from the kidneys. People would ask me when the blessed event was. And I pick a month like six or seven months into the future. Then it got to be four months. Then it got to be any day now. That's why I had to leave Paris. How long can you be pregnant, even in Paris?”
“Why can't you get the transplant?”
“My heart's not good, Joey. I'm too fragile, I'm like your daddy. Don't neglect your looks. You have to keep looking presentable—you'll feel better.”
“I'm trying on Matt’s clothes. Those T-shirts that look like he just stepped off a yacht.”
“Darling, don't neglect Camille.”
“How could I possibly neglect Camille?”
“There’s a one in two chance that she's got it, you know.”
“I don't think about that. No, actually, I do.”
“Joey, baby, you have to start going to the doctor. You can’t play around with this part of your life.”
“Anne-Marie, nobody goes from caregiver to patient over the course of a summer. Not even in this family. It's like something out of Bette Davis.”
“See the doctor. See the doctor, Joey. Don't wait for school to start. You don’t want to get sick and have the teams fret about you.”
Of course, everything she said was true.
Author bio and links
Chris Six is a writer, the chief everything officer of The Chris Six Group, and the recipient of somebody else's kidney: "I narrated the story onto tape before I ever wrote a word. I even brought my recorder to dialysis and upset the technicians. Nowadays, I'm in awe of indie authors doing hands-on marketing. I couldn't imagine doing this even five years ago."
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