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The 700 Club

Hope Restored in the Face of Stage IV Cancer

Shannon Woodland - 700 Club Producer

“To be 44 years old and you can't do anything for yourself,” said Mike. “You can't take a bath, you can't feed yourself, you just couldn't do it no more.”

“So the next thing was a loaded .9mm handgun, nobody knew I had.  I'm trying to figure out do I stick the gun in my mouth or do I put it to my temple.”  

Mike was a healthy 44-year-old until the day he felt a sharp pain in his left side.

Mike said, “It felt like somebody was just stabbing me.  It was just the most unbearable pain I had ever experienced.”

His wife, Leighetta, drove him to the emergency room that same day. After 13 hours in the ER, Mike received his diagnosis.

“And they tell me I have stage 4 pancreatic cancer,” said Mike. “I asked the doctor, ‘How long do I have?’ and he told me four months.”

“Unfortunately that is one of the most lethal diagnosis anyone can have,” explained Dr. Mokenge Malafa of Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Florida.

Mike said, “I took a deep breath, I looked at Leighetta, she was sitting at the foot of my bed, and her face is trembling.”

“I really don’t know what I thought because my thoughts were all over the place,” said Leighetta.  “I thought about my daughter, I thought about myself.”

Mike said, “I walk into the bathroom and just scream and I’m mad. And something miraculous happens while I'm in this bathroom.  God speaks to me and He says, ‘You will live and not die.’"  

Three days after his diagnosis, Mike started treatment.

“Chemo was every 14 days 51 hours, my body was taking a beating.  I’m weak, I can’t walk. I can’t do anything for myself.”

After several months of chemo, Mike began to feel intense fear, and rarely left home.

“All I could hear was four months, four months, four months, and I’m counting the days,” said Mike. “I guess you could say the devil was playing with my mind.  God doesn’t love you and you’re going to die.  You’re going to die in 15 days. And so I said if I’m going to die in 15 days, let’s do this.”

Mike drove to a local river, with a loaded .9mm in hand and began thinking about his family.

“I’m apologizing to Leighetta and Vashti because I told them I would fight, that I wouldn’t quit, my mother didn’t raise any quitters.  But I couldn’t do it anymore.  I couldn’t take the beating from chemo.”  

Then something stopped him from pulling the trigger.

Mike said, “My daughter.  My daughter’s face appeared in front of me.  And she was talking to me and I was telling her I was sorry, that I can’t do it no more.  I can’t do it.  I promised you I would be here but I can’t do it.  She kept telling me to come home, she wouldn’t leave.  So as long as my daughter was standing in front of me I couldn’t pull the trigger.  I put the gun down and I came home. And when I walked in the door my daughter ran to me and said thank you daddy for coming home.”  

From that day forward Mike was committed to trusting God and beating the odds.

“That day changed me. I said I’m going to do this, I’m going to fight.”

Leighetta said, “He just seemed more involved in his recovery.  In his treatment, he was in it now.”

Mike passed the four month mark and MRI’s revealed the tumors had stopped growing.  But he still required chemo.  After two years of treatment, Mike asked his doctor for a break.

“You either give me a break or I’m going to take a break.  My body is tired.  I can’t do this anymore. Just give me a break.”

Mike continued, “So the break is coming to an end, it’s September 2013, I don’t know what it is with me and God in bathrooms, but I’m standing up in the bathroom shaving my chest on a Monday morning getting ready for chemo, and God speaks to me again, and this time I don’t look around, cause I know who it is. And I chuckle to myself, and He says to me, “By my stripes you are healed, you don’t need anymore chemo.’”

Mike told his doctor that he was healed.

“So the doctor says to me, ‘I’ll make a deal with you.  I want to scan your body, if I find cancer you get back in chemo.’ And I said okay, deal. They scanned my body, they can’t find cancer.”

Dr. Mokenge Malafa said, “What’s happened to Mike is obviously outside the ordinary.  It is not usual for someone with metastatic pancreatic cancer to be doing as well as he’s been doing, if you consider it’s been over five years.”

Mike is still cancer free – and has become one of only 2% who survive stage four pancreatic cancer.

“I’m not supposed to be here.  Doctors say I’m not supposed to be here.  But I serve a God who loves me, He says I’m suppose to be here.”

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