A week ago our ministry was blessed to be visited by a medical team from Trinity Presbyterian Church of Harrisburg, PA. As it turns out they were also sent to be a personal blessing for Mike.
For over a month Mike has been experience a strange problem with his left arm. There has been no trauma or pain, but Mike has had a dramatic 60% reduction in strength throughout his left arm and hand and has had numbing, like his arm was asleep, from his shoulder to his fingertips. It simply started one day and hasn’t let up for a minute since. Mike doesn’t have the strength to lift anything with his left arm over 20 or 30 lbs. He can’t even use his left arm to do simple things like open the refrigerator, open a jar or tie his shoes. His left arm just stopped working.
The recent medical team from Trinity included Dr. Greg Moore and Dr. Jairo Barrantes. Dr. Greg is a Diagnostic Radiologist and Dr. Jairo is a doctor of Internal Medicine and a Colombian national. Dr. Jairo examined Mike and determined that Mike had a problem with the nerve running along his spine and that the problem was at his C7 vertebra (base of the neck). He suggested an MRI and indicated concern. Providentially, that is exactly what Dr. Greg does…read MRI’s…hundreds a week.
The next day Mike, Dr. Greg and Dr. Jairo went to Medicentro in La Ceiba to get an MRI done. Dr. Jairo explained exactly what we needed and Dr. Greg sat in the control booth while Mike got his MRI. It’s not every day that someone strolls into a medical facility in a third world country with their own personal Doctor of Internal Medicine and Chief of Radiology.
After the MRI Drs. Greg and Jairo were able definitively determine that Mike has a 5mm cyst (about the size of a lentil) growing on his spine and the cyst is pushing up against the nerve that controls the left arm. This likely occurred due to Mike’s recent change in body type. In the last four months Mike has lost 50 lbs. and put on lots of new muscle mass. This loss of fat and gain in muscle caused the inside of his body to shift and rub up against his C7 vertebra and develop the cyst that is pushing against the nerve that controls his left arm.
Knowing the cause of the problem is a great relief to Mike and Erin, but now what? Dr. Jairo gave Mike some physical therapy to try and maintain strength and tone and to try and move the cyst off of the nerve. Dr. Greg indicated that we are now in a place where we treat the symptoms and wait and see if it gets worse. If the strength and sensation does not return to Mike’s arm or it gets worse Mike will need to return to the US and have a neurosurgeon operate on his spine. It could fix itself or it could require surgery. Either way, for now, Mike is still stuck with a nonfunctioning left arm.
We would like you to pray. Please thank God that He sent Drs. Jairo and Greg to La Ceiba to figure out Mike’s problem. And, ask God to heal Mike, remove the cyst and eliminate the need for surgery.