Miracle Man
Eight Weeks


A doctor flat-out told him to stop the chemo. An infectious disease doctor, there to discuss the team's inability to 100% identify whatever mysterious infection he has this time, with a side of brutal bluntness. "You need to stop this." 

He's not going to stop. He refuses.

A nurse told him it was time for a hospital bed in the living room. An at-home nurse, one he's known and trusted since his heart surgery, and her opinion was echoed by just about everyone at the hospital. "You cannot climb the stairs anymore."

He's not getting a hospital bed in the living room. Also refuses.

A transfusion brought his platelets up, a little. They are still lower than where they were after his LAST hospitalization and his LAST transfusion, and it's not like that was a good number either. They are trying to stop an ocean with a cork. 

He's going back for more chemo on Tuesday. 

I'm trying so hard to understand. It's not my body or my life or my fight. I'm trying to let go of anger at the toll this is taking on him, on my mom, on their relationship, on the entire family. Since he lost most of his voice to a different cancer over a decade ago, my mom is the one who schedules the chemo appointments she doesn't want him to go through, the one who struggles to get him up and down the stairs, and the one who is either the full-time caregiver...or alone in the house while he spends night after night in the hospital, knowing that she probably isn't going to get those nights back.  

I know he wants to be here when their house sells, for when my mom is settled in an affordable apartment, for every possible month where he can collect benefits that won't transfer to her. I know he has just as many reasons as anybody who has ever said, hell no, not yet, I'm not ready

I know he wants to be here in June. And that's the thing: I want him here too.

But I don't want this either. 


Wow, and I also don't want to end the week with an entry this depressing. It's like I whacked the keys with a sock full of bricks instead of typing with my fingers. So maybe for anyone who feels like skipping the previous bit (FLAWED PLAN IS FLAWED), here are some pictures from Ezra's birthday.


Peter doll from The Snowy Day, aka Our Latest Effort To Reinforce To Ezra That His Name Really Isn't THAT WEIRD WE SWEAR.




Don't let the WTF expression fool you. Kid's been begging for his own toddler-sized broom and dustpan FOR MONTHS. He was thrilled with this one. 


A very long, gradual process...


Followed by open-mouthed, shocked realization...


And fist-clenching excitement...




In background: Extremely jealous brother banished to "go play with your Leapster or one of the bajillion birthday presents YOU JUST GOT FIVE MINUTES AGO or something."

In foreground: Portrait in smugness, ohhhhh yeah. 

(I do not have any pictures from his cake celebration, because we had ice cream instead. Also while I was setting up the camera he decided to put the candle out with his ringers instead. That too.)



That "fist-clenching excitement" picture made my day. If it's not too creepy, I might just print it and tape it to my monitor so I don't send angry e-mails or flip out at colleagues because THAT, THAT HAPPINESS HAPPENED.

I'm sorry about the horrible other stuff. I really am.

Bead Booty

I LOVE that Ezra wanted his very own broom! Toddlers are amazing. They so love what we consider mundane. I say let him sweep to his heart's content!


I'm sorry doesn't begin to cover it: so I'll say that my heart hurts.

But then it's a little less achy looking at how freaking adorable Ezra is.

The Diamond in the Window

I hope it gets easier, I hope your dad feels better, I hope your whole family will feel better. No doubt this seems like everything because you are in it, but this is not all of his life, or your relationship with him; it's not the important part. It's just the hard part now. Over here, rooting for all of you.

Miss Britt

I find we are on the other end of the spectrum here. My mother-in-law is taking the least aggressive route available to fight her breast cancer, and the rest of us are going "WHAT THE HELL WHY?!?!? PUSH MORE!!"

But the end result is the same. We remind ourselves that it's not our bodies and try to keep our questions in check and just stand to the side as lovingly and quietly as we can.


Gah! So frustrating. My dad was like that but sort of opposite - he wouldn't stop hurting himself when he was going through chemo. For lungcancer. Hurting himself by smoking. GAH! GAH!


Still praying for you all!

Ezra is so adorable. He seriously has the best facial expressions! Happy Birthday, little dude.

Amy in Stl

It looks like the birthday was a big hit.

I'm so sorry about your dad - they really are like kids that we can't ground or put in time-out. Keep up the fight of staying strong for your mom and supportive for your dad. They need that from you right now.

Also, I didn't think there was another man as stubborn as my dad. I totally feel you on this.

PS. Teeth gnashing and tearing of hair don't help. Trust me.


I don't know how you get a thing done with that sweet face looking at you all day. Happy birthday, Ezra!

I am so sorry about your dad, Amy.


I lost my dad when I was 6 mos pg. with his only grandchildren. I was his primary caregiver.

He thinks he won't be with you or your newborn child. He will be. Every day. EVERY day. I promise you.


Love the Ezra pix. So sorry about your dad. I guess the way to think of it is he is stamping his foot and saying "hell no, I won't go quietly." but it must be horrible to sit by and watch.


Such adorable pictures of Ezra.

I'm so sorry about your dad. It's so hard and must be so hard to deal with -- that feeling of wanting him to be around, but not wanting him to suffer. Uggh. So awful.

Thinking good thoughts.


Wow......totally thinking of you!!! This is so tough. Damned if you do and damned if you dont!! It is all bullshit!!

The sight of Ezra's face....omg, huge smiles all around!!!

Lets hope for a better Monday!


I just wanted to say how sorry I am...

Cheryl S.

No matter what I write, I know I won't think it's good enough, so I'm just goingto go for it. I"m so sorry about your dad. I hope he comes to some sort of peace with all of this (and that your family does too).

Ezra is seriously the cutest thing ever. And my heart just breaks for Noah in that last picture!


I got my 22 month old the same broom because every time i'd sweep he would try to steal mine and then he'd cry when I wouldn't give it to him. He LOVES it, too.

Sorry about the other stuff. I cannot imagine how hard this is. *cyberhugs*

Life of a Doctor's Wife

Cancer, I hate you. Sending you and your family warm thoughts and prayers.

I love the Ezra photos. He is adorable to the max.


Oh Amy, I'm so sorry to hear about the collective medical community's opinion about his health. Horrible situation all around.

Semi-relatedly, I just donated platelets on Tuesday. Its something I used to do, but then stopped a couple years ago and for whatever reason I knew I just needed to be donating again. I doubt mine got to your dad, but I'll continue to donate (once a month at a minimum) in honor of him. Thanks for sharing as I think its translated to some motivation for me.

Thinking of your family.


Ez is such a doll. I love how expressive he is. What a great middle child he'll be. Love him!

About your dad- I can't imagine feeling any differently about it than you do. You don't want him to just give up but you don't want to watch him (and all who love him) suffer either. The phrase "Catch-22" doesn't even begin to cover it.



I am so sorry for what you are going through with your father. I hope you will take comfort in knowing there are hundreds, even thousands of us here in cyberland wishing you strength during this difficult time. And please remember to take care of yourself while you are also taking care of so many others.


So, so sorry about what you are all going through with your dad.

Those Ezra pictures: One cuter than the next! I can hardly stand it.

Thinking of you all.


Ezra's cuteness is almost too much - really. He is completely adorable.

Thinking of you and hoping you and your family get some peace with this sucky, sucky process.


I think I love your dad. His will to fight, his want to be there, his love of everything he holds dear, it's all beautiful. It sucks that someone who so obviously treasures life has to hurt like this. :-(


Ugh, I will say again I'm so sorry, Amy. Every time I see these posts I cry with you and for you. I wish he wasn't making it so hard. :( This must be unbelievably overwhelming among so many other things..

I've also said this before but I wish Ezra and my little guy knew each other so they could be besties! My kiddo loves his broom and his duplos too. I have never seen that farm though, so I need to go out and get it RIGHT NOW. :)Ezra is so cute-can't believe how much he is changing. Mine too. He is about a month older than Ezra and we are really starting to see that future Kindergartner. Scary!


All right, all right, I'm scheduling an appointment to donate platelets. Maybe I'll have a high enough iron count for once.

Sending you hugs and love.

And Ezra is so delicious. HOW DO YOU NOT EAT HIM ALL UP?


Lovely, lovely photos; so, so sorry to hear the update re: your Dad. Thoughts with you and your family.


What are "ringers"?


And also--thinking of you and your family...


We have that broom. I get to use it all the time, as soon as one or other kid wrenches the grown-up-sized one out of my hands. Gah.

Also, thinking of you at this impossibly hard time.


I am so sorry for what you & your family are going through. From your dad's point of view, all he has left to him is his choice of how to respond to the situation, and he's not going to give up that one area of control to anyone else.

You and your mom (and, I'm sure, everyone else) are doing the only thing you can do--you're supporting him. Wishing you strength & comfort to get you through each day. . .


My son does the WTF expression for cameras when he's actually super happy, too. The photobombing- they learn it early.

Really, really sorry about all of the sad stuff... I wish Hugavision was a real thing, because then I could squeeze you through the monitor. (Is that creepy? It seems creepy, looking back on it..)

Goddess in Progress

Oh, Amy. I'm so sorry to hear the struggle that your dad, and by extension the whole family, is going through. I obviously can't understand it, either, but I suppose that's easy for me to say in my own healthy body.

Hugs to all of you.

Marilyn (A Lot of Loves)

I am so sorry for your dad. How terrible to be forced to face what you don't want to face. How hard he is fighting against it. If only pure force of will was enough.

Ezra isn't a weird name! After all my friend named her son Ezra as well.

My daughter, who also just turned two, would have been crazy about the Duplo farm. Alas she had to be happy with princess dress-up dolls. If only we could buy every toy in the world.


Oh hun, fuckity fuckity fuck teh cancer.

Your dad, on the other hand, rules. As do you, and Ezra and Noah and that dude you're married to (why can I not remember his name?).

I'm so so sorry that it has to be so hard on you and especially hard on your Mom.

Sending good thoughts winging your way. You will make it thru. You all will.


Long time Ask Amy reader, first time commenter here having read for a few months now...

I'm very sorry about what's happening with your father. And in the midst of such a joyous time with your pregnancy. My mother lost her mother to cancer just a few weeks after I was born. Grandma was dying for basically the last two months of the pregnancy. There was nothing they could do.

Your dad seems concerned with living longer/in denial. Has anyone put it to your dad that giving him chemo may actually shorten the time he has left? Ditto falling down the stairs? That might be the only thing that makes him re-consider.

Or, on the stairs, your mother's flat-out refusal to help him up and ordering the hospital bed herself, given it's also a physical threat to her to help him up if he might collapse.

Again, I am so sorry.


My sympathies for you guys. I don't know what else to say. I'm so sorry.

Super cute pictures! Thank you for sharing. Where do you get a toddler size broom? I've actually been looking for one so my daughter can get in on the chores. It is not child labor if she's mine, right? :)


I was where you are less than a year ago with my mom. Big fat hugs to you. It's hard, so very hard.


I've got nothing useful to say - no wisdom, no sage advice. But tons of compassion for your family. Keep smiling at those beautiful boys. Someday things will be peaceful again.

Mary Lou

I'm so very sorry about your Dad. I can only imagine what you're going through. Fighting it is so hard.

I spent a summer of my freshman year in college taking care of my Aunt who had breast cancer. It was so hard watching her fight and I wished she didn't have to, and at the same time thinking and wishing she could just go in peace and not have to suffer anymore and just go to be with Jesus. Which was terrible! Because who thinks that! She still had so much to live for. My favorite Uncle and she had only been married for about 5 years and she had a three year old who still needed her.

I write this in sympathy to you and your family. I pray that God will be real to you in this hard time. And just know that you are not alone!

F! Cancer! I wish cancer would get cancer and die.

Also, Ezra is so cute! Baby 3 is going to be so adorable!


As someone who's going through chemo right now and just discovered a lump in my breast, I have this to say to cancer:



Sending you so many good and happy thoughts, because this all freaking sucks.

Except for your kids though, because they? They are awesome.


Offering some virtual prayers. We went through something very similar with my Dad last year. In his case, it was dialysis that was keeping him alive while fighting some heart problems. Finally the doctor said your body can't handle dialysis anymore, but he did not want to stop. He knew he would be gone within days without dialysis, and he was. So heartbreakingly tough on everyone. I'm so very sorry.


Fuck cancer.

Also, I know I always say this, but Ezra is the cutest kid to walk the planet. Like, can I have him?


What is coming through to me is how much this man loves living, in whatever sucky format it takes, which says a lot about how he feels about his life in particular - with your mom, with you, with your whole family. Damn, but that's a life to love and to not want to let go. I'm sorry it's so hard on the rest of you, but I kind of can't blame him for wanting to hold onto as much of it as possible.

I think about how much enjoyment you, Amy, give me, random commenter, on any given day and how much love is flowing around here on this blog alone - and most of us don't even know you. So the thought of how wonderful you and your family must be in the flesh is staggering. I hope your dad knows that he's a major source of it.


We went thru something very similar earlier this year. I'm not a big believer in advice but this is what I did. I just loved her like every day was the last. I supported my family with another type of love. But as she was dying I loved her with every ounce of my being. When she was gone I had no regrets.

You and your family are in our prayers.


I have been praying for your entire family and will not stop. My heart breaks for you.


Oh my dear, my thoughts are with you. You don't have to end on a happy note, this is where you are and even though you never see or meet most of us, you are not alone.

I love Ezra's name. It was on our boy list. You totally have to frame the two pictures of Birthday Boy With Jealous Brother from each of their birthdays side by side.


I hope that did not sound condescending or judgemental, because I didnt mean it to be. Your situation is very similar to one I just went thru, and I know it just plain sucks!

Fuck cancer!!


2. That child is so cute I can't stand it. Fists clenched! Smug!

1. Sitch with your dad: ack.


So so sorry about your dad, Amy, all you need to do is what you can. He's fighting. I'm sorry it's so hard for the rest of you.
Would it help at all if I told you I'd keep fighting too ?? He knows what he knows...


Love the b-day pics..I had two with a b-day in the same month..one party in between the dates worked for me...I'd rather be beat with a stick than host a kids party tho so ymmv...

Katie Kat

IZ FRUSTRATED TIMEZ NAO! I'm sorry that your dad is still not responding well to the chemo and that his steadfast will (nay, hard-headedness?) is frustrating everyone. On the one hand, of course you have to understand, but on the other hand, he doesn't seem to understand he might be SHORTENING his time here with everyone. So hard... so f'ing hard. Hang in there dolly!

Ezra. Oh my. The "WTF" look is priceless! Bethany begged for a broom too, and uses it regularly (along with her toy Dyson). Kids are so random!


Katie Kat

P.S. Like jennchez, I have to say that I hope you don't think I was not being judgmental! There's just no easy way around these situations (went through a very similar thing with my mom). Just love him (like we all know you do) and keep the good thoughts flowing (as we all are too).


Oh Amy ... so many emotions ran through me while I read this post. Again, I'm so sorry for what your dad is going through and the impact it has on your entire family.

I love the Ezra pictures. I'm expecting our second in January, just before my son turns 2. So, their birthdays are likely to be a week or so apart too. I'm very curious how these interactions will be two years from now.


I went through a similar struggle when my mom was dying from cancer. She wanted to fight, fight, fight against unbeatable odds, and never felt comfortable talking about the possibility of her death. She had a million reasons, too, and while it pained me not to have any of the end-of-life conversations with her, I comfort myself with the idea of knowing that, if nothing else, we did what she wanted to do.

Ezra is an awesome name, and seems to be an awesome kiddo, too.


I completely and totally understand what you're going through with your dad. We walked, nay crawled, a similar road with my mother. It was inspiring that she wanted to be here with us to the point where she gave everything she had to give, but sometimes the real miracle is being able to let go.
I'm so glad you have your boys to bring unaltered joy into a really tough situation.


I feel your anguish so viscerally... my da is having surgery Thursday this coming... not cancer but he's weak and we're not so sure he'll come out on the otherside... I'm so sorry Ames... know that if I knew you IRL there would be hugs and shoulders aplenty for you. As it is I'm wishing you peace... somehow...


Oh, Amy. I'm sorry about your Dad and your powerlessness over the situation.

Ezra is so damn cute. Gah.


I'm still so sorry. I think another commenter put it best actually, to remember that this is not your WHOLE relationship with your dad. This is not All of it. This is just one part of it that's difficult. I'm just so sorry.
*ok I don't actually know you so maybe that was weird*
*backs away awkwardly...*




Bring the kid to Utah. The name Ezra is pretty much worshiped here. ;) xoxooxoxoxo


Can I "Like" jennchez's comment?

Just a reminder that it's okay to be mad at your dad. Even if you feel like it's not a good time to be mad. The flip side, remembering that he's panicking *fingers in ears la la la la laaaaaa* would (for me at least) make it easier not to go postal on him.

My son also does that fist clench when he is excited beyond words. Both of my children literally tremble with excitement.

And finally?


Re: getting a hospital bed--I work as a social worker and I am SURE you have thought of this approach, but I thought it might help to talk to your dad about how much it would help your mom if he would submit to having a hospital bed set up downstairs. Maybe coming from that angle he would agree? Geez, I am so sorry you all are facing this.


Why do peeps keep thinking Ezra's name is weird? Or that it's a girl name? I just don't get it. I've known a bajillion Ezras in my mere 28 years of life and they've all been boys and nobody's ever thought it was a weird name.


Amy I'm just sick for you and the situation with your dad. I know this is weird for an internet stranger to say, but I am also very worried about him and the Tuesday chemo. I'll be thinking about you and him lots until then, please keep us updated.


::hug from random blog reading person:: I read your blog all the time, and wanted to let you know that we're sending prayers and good thoughts your way. When my Dad had cancer, I swear it was like the rest of us went through that whole "5 stages of grief" thing while he was getting his treatments. That'll screw with your head. Especially when said head is immersed in a hormone bath. Take care of yourself.


My heart goes out to you. Do your best to take care of yourself and your little peanut. Lean on your siblings, if you can. Hard.


My mother has a chronic illness, and doesn't deal with it the way I think she should; my husband has a chronic illness, and he doesn't always do what I think he should, either. Not easy, but over the years I've learned to let go ... a little.

Good luck. Keep on doing what you're doing -- loving your dad, your mom, your kids. It's the best thing you can do.


Pudgy fists of happiness = AWESOME.

Re: your dad - stay strong. It's no easier when you fear they'll turn their face to the wall and give up either. It's... just never easy. I so wish I had something better to say or a magic wand to wave, I REALLY do. Instead, just more warm thoughts to hold you up just a little.


My daughter also asked for (and got) her very own toddler-sized broom. Toddlers are WEIRD, man.

My favourite picture is the one with Noah pouting in the background. It is just all kinds of awesome.

Here's some unsolicited advice for you - treat it as you like. The most important thing you can do for your dad right now, and for your future well-being, is to work as hard as you can to not let your feelings about his choice colour your relationship for whatever time he has left. My heart is with you.


I'm so sorry your dad and the rest of you are caught between two miserable "choices."
Ezra looks adorable AND overjoyed. Good work!


One of those posts reminded me of a quote from our minister that has helped me in the past: "Death ends a life, not a relationship."

Sending loving thoughts to your family.


we got my daughter the exact same broom because she loves sweeping so much, we could only do it when she was sleeping, lest she LOSE HER MIND over not being the one to sweep. so funny, those little ones.


Ha! I love the broom. My son is OBSESSED with our Swiffer, so much so that he begs and begs and throws a fit and rolls around in crushed up Cheerios and lint on our tile floor until I relent and conscript him into TODDLER INDENTURED SERVITUDE.

And then my floor is a little cleaner, and mah boy is a little happier, so it's a win-win situation all around, or at least until the neighbors start wondering why I've hired a midget stripper wearing only a Blue's Clues Luvs diaper and a smile to clean my house :)


So sad that your Dad has made these decisions. Has anyone spelled out to him that not doing the chemo and having the hospital bed at home will give him more quality time with his loved and loving family. To be honest I am surprised the doctors are continuing the chemo when it is so obviously contra to his well-being. Hugs to all of you, what a totally fucked up situation to be in. Will be hoping against hope that your next post tells us he has changed his mind.

Ezra sits his name very well ;-) The photos, including the sulky Noah, are gorgeous.


Or it could even be that Ezra SUITS his name very well!!


*hugs* and unlimited supply of tissues, because damn, that situation sucks in a way that you just can't change. Wishing strength and happiness and peace to your dad and you all.

And I totally agree with one other commenter--Ezra is adorable, can I have him? I get my fix through him and Noah and the other kids I work with, otherwise I'd be seriously bugging my boyfriend about BABIES? NOW? BABIES?


So sorry about the impasse and all that goes with it. Thanks for thinking of US, though, and posting those adorable b-day shots!

Keeping you all in my thoughts.


What can you do? Aside from love them unconditionally, that is.


If he loves that broom, you ought to see if he loves the toddler sized vacuums. That truly was the BEST GIFT EVER in our house.

As for the beginning of the post, {{{hugs}}}.


I'm sorry, Amy. You and yours continue to be in my prayers.
And your kids are adorable as ever! <3

Susan @WhyMommy

Happy Birthday, Ezra!

And about your Dad? That SUCKS. Thanks for writing it here, though, for including your truth. It sucks and there's no getting around that.

Wishing you all confidence as you go through this.


Out of lurking to tell you I'm thinking of you. I am going to donate blood next Saturday (something I was debating because I always get woozy and I'm nursing but my LLL friend said I'll be FINE) in honor of your dad and his struggles. I'm thinking of you often (and your new baby peanut) and sending positive vibes your way.


I'm so sorry you and your family is going through this, Amy.

I lost my father yesterday morning, and while it is not the same as your situation, can empathize with your grief.

The pictures of Ezra are perfect, as always.


Such a hard call for your dad...wanting to be here for your mom as well as to meet his youngest grandchild. He certainly deserves that. But he doesn't deserve the pain he is in from the treatment. Sucks big time.

This is so hard for the caregiving partner too. Hopefully your mom has a good support system too. She needs to get out with her friends, have fun, be normal. I have everything crossed for your family.

And...your kids are so damn adorable that I think my eyes are bleeding from the cuteness.


So sorry about your Dad. And I'm worried about your Mom falling or getting hurt trying to help him up the stairs. How about getting the hospital bed and having it there for the night that he finally realizes that your mother just can't make it? My father was similarly stubborn. We did our best to let go of our anger, and in the end, when he could no longer tell other people what to do, we tried to keep him comfortable and held his hand and talked and sang to him. I am quite sure that he could still hear me even near the end, so make sure that you tell him how much you love him even as he slips away.

Barefoot Liz

Sigh. Cancer sucks. :(
On a pleasant note: Your pics are adorable.


I think maybe it's impossible for most of us to understand what your dad is going through or his decisions because, well, it's not us. He is so lucky to have family that loves him so much, and I hope he finds whatever way is best for him. I wish there was something else I could say, but for now I'll just say that Ezra? Is joyfully adorable. Happy Birthday little dude.


I'm sorry if it sounds trite or annoying, but: I am praying for you and your dad. For peace of mind and heart. Here goes.


I am so sorry. I can see the pain in your words. I am just so very, very sorry.

Lumpy badger

Oh amalah, what a horrible situation. My heart aches for you. Thank god for your gorgeous boys.

On a completely inane and utterly unrelated note, I just bought the Fisher Price Aquarium that you recommended about 100 years ago. It is, indeed, made of gypsy magic, and I will now buy everything and anything you recommend. So use your power wisely.


Love the photos of Ezra! Sending you and your family lots of love and strength.


Love the photos of Ezra! Sending you and your family lots of love and strength.


One minute at a time, and make sure you tell them all you love them. And that's all you can do: love them. And be strong until you can't anymore, and then don't. When you can, you will again.

Until then, we're with you.


Love the Zah. Who couldn't?

The rest of it - horrible. The thing that worked for my grandfather and the hospital bed was asking him what would happen if he fell on top of Grandma getting up the stairs. The idea of him falling and injuring her, potentially critically, turned him around. But I second the commenter that said your mom should make the call.
And Mary Lou - most of us will end up having to think that way about someone. I think our society needs to acknowledge that, for all of our sakes.


I've been where you are now, about 5 years ago; pregnant with child #3, and loosing my dad to cancer. It's a mind-numbing whirlwind of emotions, and there is no RIGHT answer. My father died 9 days before my son was born. In an amazingly spiritual twist of fate, my son, who could have never, ever known my father, is the one of the three who talks about him most. I firmly believe they met, somewhere in the stratosphere, in that in-between world between there and here, and while I can't explain it, it does make me appreciate the cycle of life.

It is unspeakably hard to be thrilled for the new life growing inside you while devastated by the life you are losing.

Cancer sucks.

Andrea from Big Blue Momma

Love the Ezra pics, seriously the look while playing with his DUPLO FARM is priceless.

Cancer's a bitch. Eventually, your dad will figure out that it's not about quantity of life, but quality that's important.


I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks - you cleared up some things for me!

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