Chapter 12: Life-Changing News

Russell Obituary

Russell and I were very intimate, and we made a habit of showering together. One day in September of 1986, while in the shower, I noticed Russ had a bruise on his hip. I joked, “Nobody’s allowed to spank you but me.” I rubbed it and noticed it was deeper under the skin, not like a normal, superficial bruise. Not sure what it was, we scheduled an appointment with Dr. Fisher.

Test results identified it as Kaposi’s Sarcoma, a lymphatic cancer of the skin and other organs seen in patients with AIDS. The only approved drug at this time was azidothymidine, known as AZT, which Russ started taking along with some experimental drugs.