## Self-portrait as One Big Cancerous Strawberry

### Steven Zultanski

Given that the total world production of strawberries for one year is around 4,409,245.243 U.S. tons.

And the average weight of a single strawberry is 2.59 x 10^{-5 }U.S. tons.

So each of the 100 big strawberries would be the equivalent of 1.70 x 10^{11 }average strawberries.

Given that the average volume of a strawberry is .75 cubic inches, we can assume that the average volume of a big strawberry is 1.275 x 10^{11 }cubic inches; very big.

My very biggest personal fear is of personally dying of cancer.

The invisibility of metastasis leads me to believe that the process must have already been underway for some time now, for who can say how long.

For cancer cells can break away, leak, or spill from a primary tumor.

Just as juice can break away, leak, or spill from a big strawberry, as it becomes squeezed or rotten.

If one wanted to squeeze a big strawberry between two fingers, say the index finger and the thumb, which are good fingers for squeezing, one would need fingers that were, say, 6.375 x 10^{9 }times bigger than they are now, if one were using my own hand as a example of the average width potentially spanned by the thumb and index finger.

It’s possible, if I were to have cancer of the thumb and index finger, that my fingers would grow so big, though in all probability I would die before reaching such an ambitious goal.

Given the way I feel about cancer, that its invisibility is a sign of its presence and malignancy somewhere in my body, let’s assume that I already have cancer of the thumb and index finger. And that it’s spreading outward, stretching my fingers toward their eventual monstrous proportions.

And by proximity and necessity, my hand is growing bigger too.

I can’t see it, so I know it’s there. My big hand, that is.

Given that the rate of metastasis varies, it’s hard to say how long it will take my hands to grow to the size of big strawberries, but not too hard.

We can assume that if, in a year, my child’s hands grow as big as an adult’s hands, say, if I am a child, then the rate of metastasis and enlargement of my hands by cancer will only quicken the enlargement of my hands by the growth proper to the transition to adulthood.

And if all the hands in the world made up only 100 hands, they would each be very big.

Big enough to squeeze the juice from each of the 100 big strawberry-sized primary tumors growing in my body.

But seriously.

It takes about two to three months for strawberries to grow full size.

So if we assume that my cancer grows at the rate at which strawberries grow, we can assume it will take 1.771 x 10^{9} years for my hands to get big enough to squeeze the juice from a big strawberry.

That is, assuming that my cancer grows at the rate of a single, continuously growing strawberry. But if, which is more likely, it grows steadily at the rate of many strawberries, say 100 at a time, it would take only 1.771 x 10^{7 }years for my hands to get big enough to squeeze the juice from a big one.

That’s more time than I have, considering the rate at which my cancer is metastasizing through my thumb and index finger, and considering the average lifespan of a human being with finger-cancer.

For now, my fingers are agile, and not any bulkier than other average fingers.

But give it another 1.771 x 10^{7 }years or so and I won’t be able to pinch a thing, except for a strawberry, if it’s big. Mostly, I’m immobile.

Very big, and covered in tiny black seeds.