Which disease is the weirdest of all?
For twelve years, David Vetter had no choice but to live in a plastic bubble until a cure was found for his illness.
He was first diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), a rare syndrome that results in recurring infections, that can be life-threatening.
As a newborn, a bone-marrow transplant from his sibling seemed like his best hope for survival. Unfortunately, his sister’s marrow was not an exact match.
A few years later, an experimental treatment in Boston was underway to treat imperfect bone marrow matches. His sister Katherine, and his mother flew to Boston, where the marrow was extracted and treated. This was injected into David.
It didn’t work.
The doctors initially feared a disease called ‘graft versus host disease.’ The symptoms of this never appeared. However, an unscreened virus, the Eipstein-Barr virus started to induce lymphoma, a form of cancer in David.
He spent Christmas at home with his family. Back in the hospital after New Year’s Day, he became sick for the first time in his life. His temperature spiked, and he began to vomit. The doctors debated whether or not to remove David from the bubble. David replied, “I will agree to anything to feel better.”
David came out of his bubble and into a disinfected room. His family, dressed in sterile clothes, touched him for the first time…
As the lymphoma progressed, David’s condition worsened.
He knew it.
“This isn’t working” he said to his mother.
“I’m tired. Why don’t we just pull all the tubes out and let me go home?”
They accepted his wishes.
The last words he spoke that day were, “I love you all too”.
As he was falling asleep, his mother removed her mask and kissed David for the first time…
David was pronounced dead a few minutes later.
Rest in peace David.