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In September of 2017 Michael had an MRI for pain in his neck that radiated down his arm. During the procedure the doctor noticed a cyst the size of a large grape on his neck under his chin. The doctor drained the cyst and the result was negative so all was good. Sometime after that the doctor noticed the cyst had returned so it was once again drained and was negative and all was well. In February the cyst had returned a third time and our doctor said it was time to have it removed. He has a six inch scar on his neck from where the doctor removed the cyst and a lymph node. We had no idea the cyst was anything more than a nuisance. However, unbeknownst to us, God had allowed the pain in Michael's neck and arm to uncover a larger problem.
On March 2, 2018 Michael was diagnosed with cancer in his left tonsil. We were shocked as this hadn't even been in our realm of possibilities. But, God is faithful...even in cancer. He had his tonsils removed two weeks later and didn't preach for two weeks after that. He began radiation and chemo on April 10th.
His treatment regimen is Monday through Friday radiation at 10:00am every morning with Saturday and Sunday off. He will have radiation for 35 treatments. He wears a mask during radiation made out of mesh that was molded to fit his face. The mask goes over his face and neck and then is latched into the table to hold his head in place so the radiation is pinpointed to the exact location. We are so thankful the doctor is only doing radiation on his left side and is protecting his salivary glands and voice box. Lord willing this will allow him to preach when he is done without long term problems. His chemo is every Tuesday for six weeks. He is receiving Cisplatin along with Kytril for short term nausea and Emend for long term nausea. He also has Compazine at home if he should become nauseous at any time. He felt nauseous today and spent most of the day resting and sleeping. This is quite unfortunate as Michael's biggest concern in his treatment is getting sick from the chemo. . He has developed a few other side effects so far from the chemo. He has had hiccups, indigestion and tiredness so far. If this is the worst he gets then he is so fortunate. We will see what God has planned for him.
We are remaining faithful and seeing what the Lord has for us. Michael's desire is to glorify God through this trial. The doctors have been very hopeful and encouraging and give him over a 90% chance of full recovery which is a tremendous blessing! Every step of the way we can see God's hand even when we didn't know there was a concern.
We ask for your prayers throughout this time for several things: 1) Michael's physical health and strength. We would like for him to be able to continue serving at the church as much as possible during this time. However, we much give tremendous thanks to our elders and church family who have been so gracious and understanding and have given Michael complete freedom to rest and recover as he needs. We are blessed to be serving with such a loving group of elders and church friends. 2) Our opportunities to witness to others during this time. It is very easy to look at our own story and focus on ourselves, but there is a sea of people right in front of our eyes who need hope in Christ. Pray we take opportunities to witness, pray and share the love of Christ with others. 3) Complete healing for Michael. Doctors give him a very high chance of healing, but more than that is needed. Pray he has the ability to preach again and that his voice box and salivary glands are not damaged by the radiation. His desire is to continue doing what he knows God has called him to do. 4) Our family's care during this time. Pray we are able to support Michael and continue on with family life even if he is resting. I am honored to have the chance to care for him after all of these years of him caring for me.
I will update the care page as new information arrives. Thank you for your love and prayers for Michael and our family.
Michael is on his second week of chemo and radiation. He was quite ill on Friday and Saturday of last week (approximately 24 hours) with nausea and a lot of tension and anxiety. We are not sure whether the anxiety is a result of coming off the steroid or his concerns over being nauseous. I gave Michael Compazine when he was sick, but it didn't work so this week we will have Zofran so I pray this helps. It was difficult to see him so sick and emotionally tense.
I found out today at chemo that they did not give him Kytrill last week, but Aloxi which is another long term anti nausea medicine as is the Emend. We pray Michael does not get sick again this week, but if he does I believe we are more equipped to deal with it this time.