H ey Jr. Readers!

Did you ever experience an event that changed your life completely from one second to the next? Was it something exciting? Scary? Sad?

Major events can shake us up and change everything about the way we think, act, and feel.

Listen as Avi shares with us how cancer changed his life in ways that will never allow him to be the person he was before.


My Story

Do you remember when I told you about the day I was diagnosed?

It was a cold, wet Friday deep in the middle of the winter when my pediatrician finally decided that she really didn’t like the way my chest sounded. She sent me and my parents to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for what would be the first of many visits there. At that point, though, I had no idea how sick I really was. When we got to the hospital I knew something was wrong but I thought it was something like pneumonia. I was a regular sixth grader who just wanted to feel better so I could get back home to play sports with my friends. The word cancer didn’t even cross my mind.

I remember having my blood drawn and then I was taken in to have a biopsy (a surgery to take a sample from inside my chest so the doctors could determine what was wrong).

I said goodbye to my parents before I went in for the biopsy and woke up ten days later, with my life completely upside down. While most people wake up pretty soon after a biopsy, my doctors had discovered a huge tumor in my chest that was pressing against my airway and threatening my ability to breathe. To keep me alive they had to put me in an induced coma for ten days, which basically means they used medicine to keep me asleep so they could keep my airway open with a breathing tube.

When they woke me up the first time, I was very, very sick but I was on so much medication I didn’t even know where I was or what was going on. Later my parents told me that they spent a lot of time worrying and trying to figure out how they would break the news to me that I had cancer. Honestly, though, I can’t tell you what they said or what my reaction was to the news because I don’t remember anything at all from that time.

When they took my breathing tube out the doctors were surprised to see that my voice was completely gone. A month had passed since that Friday when I came to the hospital and in that time just about everything had changed.

Sure, my name and address remained the same, but I had lost about 15 pounds, my hair was falling out, I couldn’t go back to school, I couldn’t talk above a whisper, and I was vomiting nonstop. At that point I also knew the truth — that I was very sick.

I remember that first night when I got home, I was so weak I had to be carried up the stairs to my room. Me, the kid who was always running to play outside, couldn’t even walk up a flight of stairs. My room was another major change for me. Until I got sick I slept in the attic with my brothers, but when I was sick my parents moved me to a room downstairs so I could be closer to them. It wasn’t that many steps to my new room on the second floor but I couldn’t even manage those on my own.

Nothing was the way it used to be and I knew I was in for a long haul. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 685)