Friday, November 11, 2016

The Man Behind ABSOT

“You have cancer. The biopsy came back and confirmed it is cancer. After your CT scan, we’ll know what comes next.” 

Five days after surgery, I received this phone call from my urologist. Yes, I am 25 years old and I have urologist. Yes, that is an incredibly scary call to receive. How did it get to this point?

My name is Justin Birckbichler. I’m a pretty average guy who relocated to Virginia after living in Pennsylvania for 22 years. I’m white, 25 years old, slightly above average in height and weight, have brown, spiked hair and blue eyes, and have a tendency to wear sleeveless shirts and shorts year round. I’m a fourth grade teacher and have been for four years. I’m one of those cliche “I love teaching so much” people, although it’s unique that I’m a guy. This is my first year at a new school, and I absolutely love the transition I made.

2016 has been an amazing year. In January, I was accepted to the first Google for Education Certified Innovator Academy and got to actually visit the Googleplex in Mountain View, California the following month. February also was our engagement month! Two days shy of our two year anniversary, I proposed to Mallory, my then-girlfriend. In April, I left my old school and signed a contract with a school that was much more aligned to my views on education. We bought our first home in July and relocated to an absolutely incredible area of Virginia. Soon thereafter, we picked out a cute Yorkie puppy, who we would bring home in October.

In addition to having a great first ten months of 2016, I’ve had 25 years of having the most boring medical history ever. I had scoliosis for a few years, but it stabilized. I battled with depression in high school, but survived that. I’ve had some cavities filled and my wisdom teeth removed. I suffered a mild concussion once when I took a tumble on a snowboarding trip. I am colorblind, but that hasn’t changed at all in the past few years. I was the picture of health and always got the cheapest health insurance with the least amount of coverage in my old school district. I only upgraded it in my new district because it was cheaper.

With 2016 wrapping up, with many amazing experiences and memories and another year of no medical changes, things quickly did a 180.

9 comments:

  1. Love the title!!! You will do great! You have the best attitude! Stay strong!!!!!

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    1. Thank you! I worked hard on the title haha Be sure to keep checking in regularly :)

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  2. King Justin! Thank you for sharing your journey with others to help bring awareness to this once taboo subject. You are a strong and (usually) healthy young man with a wonderful support base. You got this!! Sending you love, prayers and encouragement as you continue your journey through. With love from all of us Price's...

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    1. Thank you for your support! Always nice to have the compassion and love of an old friend :)

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  3. King Justin! ��
    The Carsons were just talking about you !
    We will follow your story and we know you will be triumphant !
    ( had my own cancer in '13- you got this )
    Big love to the King from the Carsons ❤️

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    1. That's why my ears were burning! Thanks for the love. Tell the kids I said Hi!

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  4. Hey Justin,
    I reread the article and one of the things that stood out was insurance. I'm glad that it sounds like yours will cover you. It made me think how odd the debate over in the US is when it comes to medical insurance. Here in Australia, everything to do with my cancer is covered by the government. It means I only have to focus on getting better. I've been told therefore that I have no excuse to go all Breaking Bad :)

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    1. Hey Rob,

      My insurance will cover a significant amount, but I still will have lots of out-of-pocket expense. I'm going to be dedicating a whole post to insurance later on. Australia sounds like it has a much better system, even if it frowns upon Breaking Bad measures!

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