This story is from The Pulse, a weekly health and science podcast.
In 1991, when Michael Klena was 20 years old, he attended a 12-step recovery meeting in Baltimore. Michael was newly sober, and newly out as gay. At the meeting, Michael met a man named Bob Slade. Bob was nearly twice his age, a confident, and accomplished gay man who’d led a worldly life Michael admired.
Over the succeeding months the two became close friends, driving around together, talking about their lives. Only, Bob had a secret. When he finally revealed that secret to Michael, Michael was faced with a difficult decision about his relationship with Bob.
Michael’s choice came to define the next 30 years of his life, and sent him on an incredible medical adventure he never could have predicted. In this story, producer Justin Kramon unearths some surprising truths Michael discovered along the way.