On Monday the 23nd of November I awoke and couldn't burp. I remember because everyone remembers their wedding anniversary, right? No big deal, but I assure you quite memorable when you need to burp. I didn't think much of it because I had been coughing for weeks and just thought maybe I over coughed or something.
On Sunday morning December 6th I noticed a lump on my neck while getting ready for church. I immediately recognized it as a lymph node from when I was in high school having Mono and having my throat swell shut because of all my lymph nodes. I was concerned but involved in a one bathroom house project for an important client and needed to get their bathroom back online.
I postponed going to the doctor until Monday the 14th, having gotten my clients back into their bathroom and shower. The doctor was not concerned initially with my symptoms and all the possibilities in my neck so sent me for a CT scan the next morning with a follow up appointment on the 16th.
I confess I let Trudy know nothing about what was going on. I wore my normal t-shirts and did nothing to hide the growth on my neck and watched it grow for a week. Everything fit right into my schedule on my way to and from work until the 16th.
My appointment cut right to the chase when my doctor said basically we have to prove this is not cancer. Two hours later Trudy was wondering where I was because she knew I was done with the bathroom and finishing things up to go to Florida for the Holidays. I let her know as soon I got home and it was off to the races.
Three more CT scans on Thursday and a meeting with the oncologist confirmed large masses throughout my chest cavity and neck. Most notably one in my chest 1 1/2" x 5" x 5 1/2" and a few 1" on top of each other in my neck causing it to stick out.
Friday we met with an ear, nose, and throat surgeon in the afternoon and miraculously got a cancellation surgery opening that evening at 8:30.
Trudy made a commitment not to drive herself crazy on the internet until we had an actual name for the cancer, so the hardest part began only 36 hours after she first heard the news. Waiting, waiting, waiting for the reports to come in.
Of course Hodgkins Lymphoma is common and curable but there are 43 non-Hodgkins with varying degrees of stages and outcomes to obsess over.
With two national Holidays, Fed Ex taking 5 days to deliver a 24hr package, and numerous orchestrations on multiple fronts beyond number; we can only praise God for all he accomplished and put in motion to get us into treatment exactly 3 weeks from our first oncology appointment at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center at Georgetown University Hospital with world leading lymphoma specialists which have experience with this cancer.
I have Primary Mediastinal Large B-cell Lymphoma. Thanks to God he has allowed scientists to develop a monoclonal antibody which attacks large B-cells with wreck less abandon. I started my first of six 5 day chemo vacations on Thursday January 7th. Each treatment starts 21 days apart from the first day of treatment.
As I'm finishing up my first treatment I feel great and well rested. I should loose all my hair in the next couple weeks and have my first speaking engagement in front of 200 men on the 23rd. God has shown his hand all over my live from the beginning until now. The majority of it I was ignorant and unaware and only appreciate in hindsight. The last decade He has been in the forefront of my days preparing me for such a time as this. His hand is unmistakable and unshakable, and His burden is light.
Thank you for all your support and prayers. God's refinement in the Avers' family is making great progress and we are expectantly waiting to see God for all He is worth. He alone is worthy! Hebrews 12:2 gives the answer to how Jesus survived the Cross "For the joy set before him".
The same joy is ours! The joy of His heavenly banquet awaiting us with an eternity in the presence of our Savior! Everything is over! All we have to do is enjoy His show in our lives until the banquet.