Executive Director’s Health Journey
Some serious neck and knee conditions for Mike Thompson, Executive Director of the House of Hope, were put on the back burner because of his work to start-up the men’s substance abuse recovery program and his high deductible medical insurance. However, his condition continued to decline and difficulty managing pain made it obvious surgery could not be put off any longer.
Having faced a neck fusion surgery of 3-discs a decade earlier, a 4th slipped disc made it impossible for Mike to lift more than 20 pounds and resulted in an agonizing and painful existence. Compounding the neck and weight lifting restriction challenges, Mike's left knee needed replacement surgery.
Before the knee replacement on December 19, 2022, Mike picked up his physical exercise and carefully monitored his calories which resulted in 140 pound weight loss. After five weeks of recovery Mike was snowshoeing on the Hospital Trails, which helped him lose another 40 pounds prior to his neck surgery, on February 20th - for 180 pounds total weight loss!
Mike stated; "after surgery I could not lift more than 10 pounds for months, but they told me to walk, so I hit the hiking trails outfitted in a goofy looking neck brace. It must have been a strange sight for a guy in a neck brace to be out snow hiking at the end of February and all of March.”
The final challenge was the loss of Mike’s voice for several months and the uncertainty of whether he was going to get it back or not. The location of the surgery in his neck came without the risk of losing his voice. After surgery and several months of talking in a whisper, it became apparent that Mike was one of the 5 percent who lost his voice as a result of the intrusive procedure.
Before losing all hope of regaining his voice, Mike went to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist where a scope revealed one of his vocal cords was damaged. It was either cut and gone forever, or so stretched out it may not recover at all. Considering Mike's work depends on him having a voice (leading, speaking, sometimes preaching and mentoring others) this was a great loss. However, this was a perfect time for God to glorify himself in this time of need.
The first miracle happened one morning when Mike was sitting with the residents and leaders at the House of Hope, and a sense of boldness and God-given faith compelled him to confidently state in a squeaky, barely audible tone, "Men, I want you to know that I am no victim!” Then he quoted Romans 8:28, “God said he would work all things together for the good of those who love Him and who are called according to His purposes''. The miracle, according to Mike is, "God would give me the faith to trust Him and have no regrets, anger, worry or fear about the future. That is the kind of miracle we all need in challenging times. Rather than being a victim we can all trust God that He is at work on behalf of those who love him.”
The second miracle was only days after giving the faith talk to the House of Hope men, Mike woke up one morning and began to speak with a clear voice. A visit to the rehabilitation doctor confirmed what God had done; his missing vocal cord was back in place.
A week later Mike spoke with the House of Hope men at the Evangelical Free Church in Radisson, a church he pastored 17 years ago. Since then speaking opportunities have flooded in, and the biggest challenge is turning down speaking opportunities that he would love to take.
THE FINANCIAL CHALLENGE
Previous medical bills and current medical bills from the knee replacement and neck fusion surgery, along with rehabilitation services have stacked up in the tens of thousands. Pastor Gary and Pastor David from Spider Lake Church are holding a fundraiser to help Mike with his medical bills.
Mike says, although it is greatly humbling for me, I am grateful for everyone’s concern, more than words can express.”
Please join us for a cookout benefit for Pastor Mike at the Sylvan Dale Barn on Saturday, June 10 from 4-6pm. The cost is $15 per adult, $10 per child. Funds will help pay for Mike’s medical bills.