The text message came in May while Austen Everett was studying for finals. All it did was save her life.Interestingly the diganosis was not immediately cancer:
A friend wrote to say he broke his thumb and was in the hospital. Everett, a goalkeeper on Miami’s soccer team, packed her books and rushed over. Once there, the crippling back pain she’d ignored for weeks flared again. Everett grudgingly left her friend and headed to the emergency room.
“Be right back,” she said.
She never came back. She was almost gone for good.
Talk about a lucky break. If Miami basketball player Cyrus McGowan hadn’t smashed his thumb on the rim that day five months ago, Everett wouldn’t have gone to the hospital, doctors wouldn’t have found her back pain was caused by a football-sized mass wedged next to her stomach, and she wouldn’t have been immediately admitted for emergency surgery.
That tumor was non-Hodgkins lymphoma—stage 4, the worst kind—and she could have been dead within four months. Instead, four months later, Everett was practicing with the Hurricanes, never feeling more alive.
“Dying of cancer was never really an option for me,” Everett said.
“Congratulations,” one of them [her doctors] told Everett. “You’re a medical mystery.”Good story, a bit predictable, but still a good read.
So Everett went back about her life in what friends called her typically happy-go-lucky style. She was going to attend summer school and get ready for the 2008 season, when she was slated to be the Hurricanes’ starter. She was going to get back into training once the staples holding her stomach together were removed.
Everything seemed fine.
And then the phone rang.
“Austen, we need to talk,” June Leahy, Everett’s mother, said from the family’s home in Seattle.
Thinking the chat would be about her shopping, two ‘C’ words popped into Everett’s mind: credit card.
She wasn’t even close. Her mother was calling with two other words in mind— cancer and chemotherapy.