Chapter 4

I'm back!

I've edited and revised all the chapters and fixed all my stupid mistakes.

Here's the next chapter. I'll accept criticism so I can revise it, but good reviews are accepted too, of course.

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Vinnie sat in bed and listened to Doogie describe Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation (SCT). He walked him through the risks and side effects and what the transplantation included.

"Vinnie, SCT will allow use to use large doses of chemo, but these doses can be fatal. Now, if we're going to do this you will have to get an allogenic stem cell transplant, which means we have to find someone with almost the exact same cell type. Your best bet would have been a brother or sister, but you don't have any. We can try your parents, or find someone who has your match, which will most likely be the case.

If we find a donor, you will be given high dose radiation therapy and radiation shields to guard your heart, lungs, and kidneys. We will probably be able to treat you here as an inpatient from a transplant unit, or you can go to a transplant unit and receive treatment as an outpatient. Then, you will start the chemo and high dose-whole body radiation. When you're done with that, we will start you on the transfusion through venous access line. You will also be given anti rejection drugs so your immune system doesn't reject the treatment, as well as supportive therapy for three or four weeks," Doogie stopped for a while to let this sink in a little bit, but before continuing Vinnie had a question.

"What's supportive therapy?"

"Well, it includes IV nutrition, red blood cell transfusions, platelet transfusions. Anyway, anywhere from 14 to 21 days after the SCT your body will finally start making new white and red blood cells, along with new platelets. Until your white blood count reaches 500, you will have to stay in protective isolation. When it reaches 1,000 you can go home. You will come back regularly from then on, under the care of Dr. Rochester and your internist for about six months. Any questions?"

"Yeah, how much?" Vinnie asked, quietly. He rarely spoke above a normal tone, and he never spoke in his normal volume level (which was loud) anymore.

"'How much' what?"

"What's the cost?"

"$100,000 or more. It depends on where and who we get it from."

"$100,000 dollars?! Geeze! Who do they think I am, a millionare? Doog, are dere any alternitives?"

"Not really. You can continue with the chemo."

"You discussed this with my family?"

"Yeah. They said its up to you, Vin. They aren't sure what to choose, because they don't know what you want."

"What ah da chances dat I'll even survive da side effects or even de advanced chemo therapy if I do have this STC?"

"Slim, " Doogie admitted reluctantly, avoiding his friends eyes.

"And if I continue with da chemo?"

"Slimmer."

"How do my parents feel about the cost?"

"They're sure they can make ends meet."

"No. No, I want to stop everything," Vinnie stated, stubbornly. Doogie finally looked up.

"You can't just give up!" Doogie argued, standing up from his seat next to Vinnie's bedside.

"You said it yourself, the chemo is killing me. If you put me on this STC thing, you have to advance my chemo treatment. Whose to say that won't kill me? If da chemo is killin' me, why advance da troops?"

"You're right. All the doctors told me what you just said. I was even ordered not to tell you this option, but Vinnie, there is still a chance. There's that chance that you might be strong enough. You just might be strong enough to pull through."

"But Doog, if it doesn't work and I die, then my parents would have spent $100,000 macaroons for nothin'. I'm not gonna let them pay to see me die. Dat's unfair!" Vinnie explained passionately, getting himself overwhelmed and tired. "Look Doog, it's okay. I only have one regret and that's not falling in love. Everything else in dis life I've enjoyed."

"Vinnie–"

"Doog, I wanna see my Mom. I could really use her right now. Could you call her for me?"

"Yes, Vin," with all that said, Doogie left the room angrily, but reluctantly. How could Vinnie just give up? How could he tell him to end it?

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After a week of being off treatment, Doogie finally realized that Vinnie told Doogie to let him die so he could live. Doogie never saw Vinnie more alive. He went everywhere with Margot, spent lots of time with him, Wanda, and Janine, and even learned how to make his mom's lasagna.

Vinnie learned about a lot of things during his last weeks on earth, and still managed to still be the Vinnie that his friends and family knew and loved. Doogie would never forget the last words Vinnie said to him.

"Never stop living. Never stop living, Doog. You gotta fight to live."

And he did.

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Doogie slammed his fist on his alarm clock and woke to the sound of someone rustling on his roof.

"Geez, Doog! I think your Pop took down the laddah. Why would he do a thing like dat? It makes it a lot harder to climb up here without it. Anyway, Janine, and Wanda and I are going to the beach. Wanna come?" asked Vinnie, climbing onto Doogie's desk, then hopping onto the floor. Doogie sat up in bed, wide eyed and staring at his friend who seemed very much alive.

"Vinnie?"

"What's the mattah, Doog. You look like you'se seen a ghost or somethin'," replied Vinnie, taking a bite out of a candy bar that he happened to find in his pocket.

"Vin, you're alive!"

"Course I am! What are you talkin' about?!" exclaimed Vinnie, confused and semi-frightened for his friend. "Oh, hey Doog, you know those dizzy spells I kept having and what I told you about not having an appetite?"

"Yeah?"

"Stomach virus! Ha! Oh, yeah–Margot and I have a date! Go figure! Sick men always get the hot chicks!"

"But what about your swollen lymph nodes?"

"My swollen what? Oh–I had a sore throat. Turns out I'm allergic to Mom's lasagna! Who'd 'a' thought?!" Vinnie said with a little chuckle. Then he added, "Are you coming, or not, Doog? I got Wanda and Janine waitin' in my car outside, so you gotta decide soon."

"Yeah, I'll come," Doogie said, excitedly. He was so happy to see Vinnie alive. He could have sworn the whole thing was real. He immediately hopped off his bed and on his way to the closet, pulled Vinnie into a tight embrace.

"Whoa! Howsah! You're not going all pansy on me, are ya?"

"No, I'm just glad you're here!" said Doogie, releasing his friend and continuing to his closet to retrieve his swimming trunks.

"Hey, Doog?"

"Yeah, Vin?" Doogie replied, turning around to face his friend.

"You'll never believe the dream I had last night...And the lesson I learned from it. I learned that sometimes you have to fight to live. It may be a long, hard battle but if you got the right friends who support you, and love from your family, and faith, you can pull through," Vinnie stated, crossing his arms and leaning on the edge of Doogie's desk.

"You know, Vin...I had a crazy dream last night, too, and you know what?"

"What?"

"I learned pretty much the same lesson."

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Did you really think I would let Vinnie die?

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