For quite some time, I prayed, “Lord whatever it takes save my family and I.” On April 8th 2011, I went to the Emergency Room and was checked into Porters Hospital. I thought I had blood clots or pneumonia because I had been slowing down and feeling tired for several weeks and finally could go no further. After several tests that day a doctor of Oncology walked in and informed us the diagnois was (AML) Acute Myelogenous Leukemia. I can’t begin to tell you the shock wave that traveled through my family. My wife took it the hardest! But I assured her God is able and will see us through this battle. To God be the glory! The next morning I met with several doctors where they were sitting on couches like players lined up on side lines, ready to give the prognosis and instructions for my disease. What they could do and the outlook of this fast moving disease, at times looked. grim at best. I told them all, I have faith that I can win this battle!
I have been in the “trenches” before with my first wife, who died of melanoma cancer within 10 months. My oldest brother died of lymphoma, then his wife died of leukemia and my youngest brother died of a rare diabetes disease. This past year, my cousin’s husband died with throat cancer. Some may say God is not real or that he cannot heal. But to them, I say my God is alive and well. The Bible tells of many being healed and many stories today around the world and at CAC testify to His healing power!
It was a few days later in the hospital that I met Pastor Haymon and his dear wife, Sister LaRonda. I could definitely feel that I was in the presence of a man after God’s own heart. He and his wife prayed for me and anointed me with oil. I felt the room lighten up and transformation of prayer take hold and I was healed. I told Pastor Haymon that I had been praying whatever it takes for my family, and Pastor Haymon said “We have to be careful in what we pray for because our God is a pray answering God.” There is nothing that can prepare you for the ups and downs and trauma that your family goes through. But knowing that the everyone at CAC was praying and fasting for me helped me to feel that all would be well.
I had to endure four rounds of chemo which made me very ill, weak and tired. I had three hospital stays, one for forty-one days and two for seven days each. In between, I was given many transfusions of blood and platelets. After the last round of chemotherapy, the Oncologist said he thought I was free of the cancer and I could rebuild and heal now. As a precautionary measure, he suggested I go through the type and cross match for a Bone Marrow Transplant. AML is a cancer that comes on very fast and he thought it would be good to have this in place should it return.
I was referred to the Colorado Blood and Cancer Institute at Presbyterian St. Lukes to get set up with a possible list of donors for a bone marrow transplant. They start with siblings and then check a national donor base to find a match. I was told that this was a precautionary procedure. However, when my wife and I arrived at the clinic we found out quite the contrary. Two doctors came in to let us know that by the last bone marrow test done at Porters Hospital enough of the cancer showed to order a bone marrow transplant. They found twenty percent of the bone marrow cells were cancer.
They explained that the procedure involved the strongest chemotherapy regime to completely wipe out the immune system, before transplanting the donor bone marrow. The doctors continued on with the statistics that only thirty percent of the patients survive without a debilitating disease or death. We felt that someone had pulled the rug out from under us, especially when our primary oncology doctor said the test results were looking good. Nevertheless, the doctors at PSL said they were able to detect more from the results. They ordered a spinal tap test and another bone marrow test because they believed that the cancer was growing more. We could call or come in the next week when the results would be back. We drove home talking to each other and remarking that this was unreal. We felt devastated because we thought the worst was over.
My wife and I went to church that night and Pastor Haymon asked us to come to the front of the church for anointing prayer. He also asked those that would take a certain day to fast to raise their hands. He asked us to look around and we saw that the entire church stood. Knowing that so many people were praying and fasting for me felt incredible. We knew this was just another obstacle by the devil, but the sight of so much support from the church family helped to boost our faith. We also enlisted our family and friends of the faith in Kansas City area to pray and many of them fasted as well.
After one week had passed, the transplant doctor called me personally. She sounded bewildered and somewhat surprised that the test had come back with negative cancer cells. Not only that, but my blood counts looked “quite well!” Our God is not only a healer, but a mighty pray answering God! I told the doctor thanks and that many people had been praying and fasting for this result. As I hung up the phone, I asked my wife “are you ready to dance?” The song “When the spirit of the Lord comes in this place, we will dance like David danced” came to my mind. We did dance around the house, with our dogs barking and dancing with us!
My family and I continue to praise God and tell everyone about the Miracle He performed for me. We want to make sure that everyone knows of His healing power and we want to “Make God Famous.”
-Gil & Tracy Leach