The terrorists killed more people on 9/11 than anyone understands. My wife worked in the South Tower. She'd forgotten her lunch on the counter, and I didn't have class until later, so I was bringing it to her. I was a few blocks away when the first plane hit.
The police tried to evacuate everyone, but I couldn't go home. I watched the second plane strike. And I stayed, hoping my wife would walk out, smile the way she does when I wake from a nightmare, telling me everything is still okay.
And then I saw it fall, and the wall of smoke and rocks and debris that rained down on the street. I choked through my collar, staring through the wreckage before my mind caught up enough to tell me she was gone.
I was diagnosed with lymphoma shortly after we buried her. I imagine the doctor was as distracted as the rest of us, which is why I didn't sue him when the biopsy came back negative. He was still distracted the second time around, and was a few pen strokes from sending me home with a prescription for tuberculosis when he stopped himself, and told me he would like to get a consult.
The second doctor asked what my symptoms were, and I rattled off fatigue, lack of energy, weight loss, aches and pains, shortness of breath- his response wasn't cold or dry or meant to be funny, but he said I sound depressed. Then he looked at the x-rays, and told me I had sarcoidosis, granulomas in my lungs that were producing vitamin D and causing an overdose.
I'm not responding to the prednisone, or any of the other corticosteroids. Because the granulomas are wrapped in T cells, the doctor tried the immunosuppressant infliximab. The doctor wants to put me on cyclophosphamide, a chemo drug, but even then he said, after I badgered him for the better part of fifty minutes, I've got a 30% chance.
After a long discussion with my doctor, he admitted there was only one thing in my history that might have caused this: exposure to toxic dust from the towers. And certainly the dust was bits of building and broken airplane, and the myriad things you find in an office building. But there was something else.
What they did was so much more horrible than any of us realized, they found a way to kill us with our loved ones. They weaponized people.