September 26, 2016
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
Michael Moya could not understand why his body was covered with red dots.
He was a healthy 25-year-old co-op engineering student. It was August 2011 and he was concentrating on his work. So he ignored the spots.
"But one Friday morning I started to feel dizzy," Moya said to the audience at the Sept. 10 Edmonton charismatic prayer breakfast.
He blacked out in a parking lot, and those red dots that had transformed into bruises were not healing. He was also coughing up blood.
Tests were done at Regina's General Hospital, and Moya went back to work.
A few days later the hospital phoned.
"We want to see you right away," said the caller.
Moya and his father went to the hospital's admitting area. The minute they saw his name, he was sent to the emergency area. When he arrived there a doctor told him, "We are sorry to say this. You have cancer."
Immediately, he was put under the care of the head of Regina's top cancer researcher, Dr. Mohammad Salim. "He gave my dad heck, and said if we had been five minutes later I would have been dead."
For a month they battled, trying to put the acute lymphoid leukemia into remission. Moya was also told his chances of survival were low.
While he was never afraid of dying, Moya said the medical episode and potential prognosis gave him pause to think about his life. "I was not appreciative enough of my family or self. I was an introvert, never interacted much."
A crucial test came. Fluid would be taken from his spine. If it was bloody, the news was bad. Clear, it meant he had a chance.
It came back clear, and "I began to go through the chemo process."
Moya drew smiles and chuckles from the breakfast crowd when he complained about the hospital food and described strategies he used to avoid having to eat it.
As expected, his treatment had side effects - eye problems and his head feeling like it was going to explode. That feeling reached the point where he put bags of ice on his head.
Moya returned to Edmonton and the Cross Cancer Institute. It meant going back on chemo and taking pills that "smelled like skunk."
SLIPS INTO COMA
Trips to emergency, pancreatitis, unconsciousness. He woke up Christmas Day to see all of his family members surrounding his bed.
"Seeing all their love . . . ," said Moya as tears filled his eyes at the memory.
He slipped into a coma and dreams filled his night, dreams of Satan and falling into hell.
Finally, the three-month battle reached the point where consideration was being given to "pulling the plug" on the comatose man.
Father Andrew Bogdanowicz came to Moya's bedside and gave him the Sacrament of the Sick and the Holy Eucharist.
In February, Moya awoke from his coma.
Moya said he prays for the mother and baby who donated their umbilical cord blood for his subsequent treatment.
Now cancer free for four years, he operates a landscaping business and is a graduate from NAITs mechanical engineering technology program.
A St. Thomas More parishioner, Moya is also exploring his artistic side and donates earnings from all of his religious prints to charity. "I am an example of God's love. God saved me, and he really loves me."
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