It started almost imperceptibly. A tiny black dot near the tip of Michelle's nose. The doctor said "Nothing to be concerned about. We'll keep an eye on it." Then another dot…then another. Clients and friends would sometimes try to be helpful as they pointed out that she had "an ink mark" on her nose, as if by accident. And now the doctors have determined it is actually a malignant melanoma - skin cancer. Those words are hard to hear. We all know that skin cancer has to be cut out before it spreads. However, in Michelle's case, it's not a spot to be removed from her arm, leg, or back. This insidious disease has grown INSIDE her nose - away from view -- but all the way up her left nostril and over to the right side. This requires extensive surgery to remove the majority of her nose and then rebuild it. Let that sink in. Remove your nose. Rebuild your nose. This is a huge undertaking.
The doctors here said “There are only two surgeons in the country capable of getting this right – one in Chicago and one in Tucson.” Upon investigation, the one in Chicago has now retired; the one in Tucson does not accept health insurance, making his services out of reach for most people. More investigation led Michelle and her husband, Travis, to Duke Medical to meet with renowned dermatological surgeon, Dr. Cook. After examining Michelle and getting a second (and worsening) pathology report he concluded that while he could do the removal, he did not feel comfortable attempting the reconstruction. He urged her to go see a “Dr. Menick – in Tucson.” Yes, the same one! When she explained about the insurance and prohibitive cost, he suggested she try a particular doctor at UNC-Chapel Hill. She did, but this doctor acknowledged he’d never done anything this extensive. His comment was “It would take a lot of pressure off of me if you would go to this doctor I know of in Tucson. His name is Dr. Menick.” Obvious conclusion: Michelle and Travis leave for Tucson January 7th.
The most important thing we are asking is that you pray for Michelle and Travis as they walk this difficult road. These will be trying times – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Pray for her healing. Pray for strength and endurance. Pray as they prepare to leave. Pray that she will feel the very presence of Jesus in the operating room, hospital, plane flights, and hotel rooms in faraway places. Pray for peace that surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7).