By guest writer, Dan Bakay
This article is brought to you by: M.C Shine
3763 Lapeer Rd, Port Huron, 48060, Tel:810-327-2406/ www.mcshine.com
What do you do when you are told by the doctor, “You have CANCER!’’ What do you say? How do you feel? A feeling of disbelief came over me! How dare my body have ‘CANCER!’ On May, 2, 2016 this is what I was told by a cancer specialist.
I noticed that I was experiencing fatigue when I could not ‘run’ up a flight of stairs. As more time progressed, I was losing weight (a total of 50 lbs. in three months). Oh how much I was to learn of my condition in the future!
I scheduled an appointment with my family Dr. to have a complete physical on March 22, 2016 only to learn that my family doctor would be leaving his practice at the end of the month. After testing, I was diagnosed with ‘Anemia.’ Which is only a symptom (I learned later) of what my condition truly was! I was prescribed iron and vitamin C which was to boost my energy and strength, or so I was told. Then what happened to me while in the pulpit preaching a sermon on April 3, 2016 during our worship service began to reveal what was ‘REALLY’ taking place in my body.
Halfway during the message I fainted, pulling the pulpit down on top of my body. If I had not pulled down the pulpit, it may have fallen down on me and maybe taken my life! It could have been much worse because of the weight of this oak pulpit. It took two grown men to pull it off of me. There were not any bruises or any pain in my body and I could only say ‘Thank You God’ that I was living! It was no coincidence that we have a fire station next door to the church. One of our members ran over to get help when also ‘911’ was called and the paramedics came. With the diagnosis of a ‘syncope’ (fainting episode), I was to be put on a stretcher and taken to the hospital. Seeing all the first responders kneeling on the altar tending to my needs, laying on my back after being ‘out’ for about 10 seconds, I asked them and the Church if we could bow and pray for all those who came to help. I never want to pass up an opportunity to pray for those I may never see again this side of heaven. After we prayed the workers wanted to put me on this stretcher and take me out of the Church. I told them, “The only way I will be taken out on a stretcher is when God takes me home!” What I was to learn in the months ahead was a journey of complete faith in this God I serve!
My wife, Patti, put me in the car, after I walked out of Church on my own. She took me to the hospital where they began tests to find out what was happening! After a week of testing, nothing was determined as to my condition. It was told to me in the hospital that I needed a ‘Bone Marrow Biopsy,’ which would determine if I had ‘Leukemia.’ I was scheduled to have the biopsy at the end of the month. It was very painful with only a local anesthetic to draw out bone marrow to be tested. We had to wait over the weekend to find out the results. How hard that was to wait over the weekend to receive the results! Then to find out, ‘I had Leukemia’(Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), cancer of the blood).
There was no time to waste. I was put in the hospital for the 1st of many rounds of chemotherapy which I never complained about. I chose to look at ‘Chemo’ as a healing agent to get rid of this cancer in my blood, not a poison that all of us think of! How much my faith would be tested over the coming months!
During this time I was asked if I wanted to consider having a Bone Marrow Transplant. The process would entail wiping out all the ‘bad’ cells and replacing them with ‘good’ ones. Sounds pretty simple, right? What I was to experience the next few months would simply be astounding!
The prognosis was, “To be referred to a cancer specialist at Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit to discuss having a Bone Marrow Transplant.” From May-July there would be rounds of Chemo given at our local hospitals here in Port Huron in preparation for me to go to Karmanos Hospital in Detroit to receive my transplant. Not once did I really fret or fear because I “KNEW” God was with me and His hand was guiding all of the circumstances. I knew I needed to get better because God needed me for His work and for my wife, Patti. She needed me because we only have each other as we have lost everyone in both of our families. Our Church needed me too!
We went down each day to Karmanos, August 1-3, 2016 and finally on August 4, 2016 I was committed and confined to the hospital for nearly 25 days! Imagine that, I had not been a patient in the hospital since I was 8 years old and now I find myself here at 64 years of age!
Through consultation I was to learn that I would have a 10% chance of living just with Chemotherapy alone and up to 90% chance of having any quality of life with a Bone Marrow Transplant! What would you choose if you were offered that? I was placed on the donor list and we prayed that God would locate that “right” person to give me new life! A match was found in a 23 year old girl from Germany; even though it was 7 out of 8 markers that matched. Imagine that, a donor was found for me in such a short period of time I couldn’t say, ‘NO!’
We let the whole world know what I was to go through and truly asked God to use me as ‘A TESTIMONY’ to help other people in whatever struggle they were going through. I was ‘hooked up’ to a continuous drip of saline solution, medications and oh yes, CHEMO! At times I counted ‘12’ bags of different types of ‘medicine’ going through me! Each day my blood levels were recorded and I could see my body being wiped out of the bad cells to be replaced by the donor’s good ones. It took the donor two days to ‘harvest’ her cells. It was also the time when the airlines were having problems with the computers delaying flights. Would my ‘life saver’ be held up? These are the questions we all have when faced with the delays and detours!
Each and every day I would always try to find ‘SOMETHING GOOD’ to laugh and smile about. My laptop computer became a source of comfort with music. The nurses would wheel their carts down to my end of the hall and listen to good gospel music, sermons, and even ‘oldies and Motown music.’ In my pain, I was a source of comfort for all the nurses and doctors who came to see me. A singer/songwriter in our Church had written a song for me titled: ‘Pastor Dan’ which I played for the doctors when at least 4-7 would make their rounds to see patients. I knew that if I played the song before they consulted with me, I’d have their undivided attention; they had to listen before they talked with me! Pretty smart, huh? Each day after having my blood drawn and checked for the levels we could see I was improving. Dr. Uberti, who is the Director of my transplant team, called me his ‘Model Patient’! He said out of all the patients he has (hundreds) it doesn’t get any better than me! We always told him it was God who was doing the healing, all I am was a willing servant!!!
We can share our faith with others in the most special way when we go through these severe times in our lives! I want to tell the whole world that if God can touch and heal my life, surely He can and will touch your life, no matter what you are going through!!! All you and I have to do is ‘GIVE’ the whole problem/difficulty to Him and leave it there! If God can create a whole world, can’t He take care of your need! That’s why we are offered the greatest gift ever given to anyone, all we have to do is ask for it! The gift I am referring to is the “gift of eternal life”, not just going to heaven one day, but experiencing joy, peace, and comfort no matter the circumstance!
Now here I am writing my story, eight months later! So much has happened within this time period, too much for me to account! The moment of truth really came when my cancer specialist asked me, “Do you want to keep going through Chemo with a 10% chance or do you want a transplant with up to a 90% chance? The choice was mine to make, and I am surely blessed because I chose to put my “TOTAL FAITH & TRUST” in this God that created me! Always remember the phrase in the movie, ‘God’s Not Dead’ “God is good.. all the time..all the time, God is good!”
As a writer for Blue Water Healthy Living, I am fortunate to know Dan Bakay. His humble persona quiets my worries; his kindness envelopes my heart.
The moment he greeted me at the door, I was a friend. I walked away from our meetings with a sense of peace; a peace I hadn’t felt for quite sometime.
To know him is a blessing.
God Bless you, Pastor Dan. Through all you’ve been through, you continue to inspire and help others grow in their walk with Jesus. ~Karrie Beck
If you enjoy our feature stories, “Like” us on Facebook.
Pastor Dan Bakay
1814 Sanborn St. Port Huron, MI 48059
The video provided is not affiliated with GBS Media. We decided to share this privately recorded piece which was written about Pastor Dan to honor the way one man’s actions inspire so many!
Disclaimer: Blue Water Healthy Living is an online magazine located in Port Huron, Michigan. Our purpose is to promote healthy living by showcasing the Blue Water Area, its people, issues and surroundings. This online magazine is devoted to providing healthy living related stories, local happenings, and commentary. Often inspiring and uplifting, our stories come from our heart and soul to promote the enjoyment of a more fulfilling Blue Water Area lifestyle. The material on this web site is provided for informational and amusement purposes only and is not to be confused with any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and values of Blue Water Healthy Living.