It’s December 1985 in Sydney, Australia. Two parents are at wits’ end. Something is not right with their 16-month-old child. For months, they have visited doctor after doctor. No one can tell them what is wrong. On the night before Christmas Eve, with their child more unsettled than unusual, they head for the emergency room at Children’s Hospital.
The ward is nearly deserted, but there is one overnight doctor – a young man with a smiling face and an accent. As he looks the child over, the smile evaporates: “I think your son has neuroblastoma. Get him in for tests first thing in the morning.” Next day, the parents’ worst fears are confirmed. It is Stage IV neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer.
The parents were mine. The child was me. The doctor, it turned out, was an American.
Through the healing hands of God, the Master Physician, I defied the odds and lived. The instincts of the American doctor, fresh out of college, only in Australia for an internship, just in time, were crucial. So I haven’t only studied American exceptionalism. I’ve lived it. In fact, I’m alive because of it.
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