Thursday, October 10, 2002
from Dawn, Pastor Mike's wife:
Dear loved ones,
I am writing to seek prayer support for Mike Gonzalez, whom you all know and love. He has had quite a year. This past Spring, he began a diet that culminated in 50 lbs. weight loss. What a victory! He maintained the loss through the summer, and began to feel badly the first week in August. After a few weeks, he went to our family doctor, who diagnosed him with a prostate infection. The antibiotic prescribed caused an allergic reation after 10 days of the 14 he was supposed to take it. The gave him antihistamines and steroids to counteract the reaction.
His symptoms persisted, which included many digestive complaints. He was referred to a gastroenterologist. He performed upper endoscopy (scope esophogus, stomach and upper small intestine) and colonoscopy that both revealed no problems. He then ordered a CT scan of Mike's pelvic and abdominal areas. The scan has shown an enlarged spleen and several areas of enlarged lymph nodes. He was referred to an oncologist, whom we saw yesterday for a preliminary visit.
Although a formal diagnosis can only be made after a biopsy (which will take place next Thursday), the oncologist felt certain after physical examination that Mike has lymphoma. The CT scan shows two large masses (12 cm and 8 cm) in his abdomen. It also revealed spots on the spleen that need further investigation (A PET scan to be taken next Wednesday). THe doctor also has other concerns. Mike's hemoglobin has been dropping from 12 to 10.6 in these 2 months. He will be testing for cancer in his bone marrow, and his calcium blood levels are two high so the doctor has prescribed a treatment called Aredia to protect his bones from osteoperosis and pain. He has also had a persistant cough, and occasional difficulty swalling food, so he has ordered a CT scan of his chest to look for more masses (also on next Thursday).
He is in pain, fatigued and having trouble eating, keeping food down, and sleeping at night. Each day and night seems to get progressively worse.
We are trusting God to be our tour guide through this valley. We know full well the power of prayer, and covet all the prayer we can get. We have been praying for healing, peace, sleep, strength, and God's glory through it all. He has already begun to use this as an instrument to transform both Mike and me into the image of Christ. Our prayer is that we do not hinder His work in our lives.
I will do my best to keep you all posted regarding our progress. After these tests are completed, we see the oncologist again 10/21, at which time tests will begin to determine the type of lymphoma and the stage. Also further tests will be done to help them assess how aggressively they can approach treatment and Mike be able to withstand it. It seems there will be several weeks of not yet knowing the full scope of this.
In the meantime, we are researching MD Anderson in Houston and DanaFarber in Boston, two world renound cancer treatment centers in the US (#1 and #4 resepectively, according to US News).
Please be in constant prayer for us, and be assured Mike is a fighter. And better yet, The Word promises him in Exodus 14:14 - "The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent." We are trusting in Him, trying to stay out of His way and watching for His mighty hand to move miraculously.
peace, comfort and healing