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This fundraiser ended on 12/31/12

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The family and friends of Justin Gassmann are uniting to raise money to help with his battle against Lymphoma. Please show your support!

Justin was having chest pain, shortness of breath, night time nausea and vomiting, and persistent cough. It got progressively worse through the summer 2012, but he was so busy with a graduate class he was taking, and fitting in work when he could; he never checked things out with his doctor.

On family vacation, he was having trouble running, and blamed it on the humidity. Boogie boarding wiped him out one day, and we blamed it on that feeling you get when you swim all day and breathing just feels harder.

We got home and he had a few scary episodes of vomiting and intense chest pain where he couldn't walk and even fell over, banging his head. It was definatly time to see someone!

He saw our primary care physician on Aug. 27, 2012 and she had him go for a chest x-ray. Within an hour of getting the x-ray on Aug. 29, she was on the phone saying he had a 10cm mass in his chest. Initially it looked like a benign cyst, because the perimeter appeared smooth and uniform. She sent him for a CT scan on Aug. 31, and to meet with a thoracic surgeon about having it removed. It was labor day weekend, so we had to wait (anxiously) for results. She called us Tuesday, Sept. 4 and had us come into the office to go over the report, which said the mass was acting like lymphoma. She sent us to a hematology/oncology dr. two days later. We met with Dr. Raj and he told us there were 3 possbile scenarios that the tumor was and we needed a biopsy and PET scan. We got an appt. for the PET scan the very next day at St. Mary's. Justin's mom and dad met me there to wait with me, and when it was over we went right up to the surgeon's office to meet with him about the next step with the tumor.

Dr. Deshpande already had the PET scan up on the computer. He went slice by slice showing us the tumor, which is not round and smooth, but chunky and twisting. It is compressing his left lung, trachea, and pulmonary artery. He said he would clear his schedule for Monday to do the biopsy if that is what we wanted, which we did! Three nights to get through until the biopsy, when we would have some answers!

Saturday night/Sunday am, we had an ER visit because Justin's pain and breathing got so bad. Watching him in the ER, I thought I was going to be a widow that night. I can only describe it as "spastic." When he couldn't get air in his whole body would jerk and strain; I was so very scared, and could only pray the name of Jesus over and over. There were so many fears, for Justin, myself and the kids that I didn't know what to ask for exactly, so I just said Jesus' name. And that is enough. Rom. 8:26 says we do not know how to pray as we should but the Holy Spirit himself prays for us with groanings too deep for words. They took Justin for another x-ray and a CT to check for blood clots. They also put him on some pain meds that helped to quiet the spasms. He was discharged at 7am, and driving home in the beautiful morning sun and cool air I realized that we were so blessed to be going home. And to be with him in church at 9:45am was above and beyond.

The next day, Monday, was biopsy day. Wed. we got our results: Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma. I was crazy-joyful to have his illness named and to have a treatment plan. It's called R-CHOP, each letter representing a medication to be used in the chemo. Friday he got a port inserted for chemo treatments to be administered through.  We also went to Fox Chase Cancer Center for a second opinion.

On October 11 I  received a call from Fox Chase with the results from the second opinion.  They were able to further classify his lymphoma as something called Double Hit Lymphoma.  There are two to three cells that are producing genetic mutations and are thus resistant to chemo.  Fox Chase has recommended a stem cell transplant to take place in Dec. or Jan.

A christian woman whom I admire wrote to remind me Ps. 46:1 - "God is my refuge and God is my strength, a very present help in trouble." God is present all the time but it is when you are IN trouble that He is VERY present. I can testify to this. God has drawn me to Himself in the last 7 years, but I have never noticed Him the way I do now - He is VERY present. I feel like the psalmist sometimes, because I can relate to the anguish of the psalmist's heart as he walked through various trials. And I often pray "God, quiet my mind and put me to sleep" when I just can't shut my fears off. And I realized that this is my own version of "He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters" (Ps. 23:1-3). It's centuries later in my own 2012 language, but God is the same, loving his people and being gentle with them, never once leaving us.

We trust that God has a plan for our family.  We choose to give Him glory no matter what.  Thank you for reading our story and praying for us.  We trust God one day at a time to walk with us.  He is a shield around us, our glory and the One who lifts our heads (ps. 3:3). 

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