Teammates, friends rally around high school junior diagnosed with cancer

By: 
Jay Schneider, lrlife@frontiernet.net

Many local youth shaved their heads December 26 in support of their friend and classmate Luke Michael, who was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma. Front row, left to right: Ahmad Alladin and Gage Valentine. Seated left to right: Kieran Swanson, Tytan Larson, Cree Groehler, Luke Michael, Caleb Caron, Connor Bohlen, Spencer Oorlog, Isaac Murphy, and Judd Anderson. Back row, left to right: Ethan Greenwald, Gabe Androli, Aric Williams, Jasper Morris, and Evan Lange-Wenker. Others who had their locks shaved off Dec. 26 included Dylan Holicky, Charles Slayton, Redzel Preibe, and Kymin Morsching. (Submitted photo)

One medical issue turned into a second medical issue which might have saved the life of an Elysian teenager.

WEM junior Luke Michael, who is now two weeks shy of his 17th birthday, was experiencing some back pain during the early days of October 2022. He didn’t think much of it, figuring it was pain from playing football.

He attended football practice the afternoon of Oct. 5 and told the coach he wasn’t feeling great but he would still give his best effort. Luke was hit on the side of his body during the practice and the pain was so bad that he went to the ground in agony.

At this point, assistant football coach Doug Androli called Luke’s parents, Gary and Susie Michael, and advised them they should take their son to the doctor. The Michaels went to District One Hospital in Faribault.

“At first they thought it was a urinary tract infection,” Gary said. “They decided to do a CT scan and the doctor said Luke was pretty sick and we needed to go to Children’s Hospital (in St. Paul) right away.”

It was determined Luke had a ruptured appendix and the infection from the rupture was the cause of Luke’s pain. Doctors put a drain in his abdomen to expel the infection which had developed due to the rupture. For three weeks Luke had the drainage system in. The day after they took it out Luke had more pain, so the Michaels headed back to the hospital and the drain was reinstated. This was around Halloween.

For the next couple of weeks Luke felt better, but later in November he contracted Covid. Dec. 5 he went in for a CT scan and it was determined his infection had cleared up but a second problem was identified. A tumor was located in his abdomen area.

“The doctor said the tumor started in September - right by the appendix in his abdomen,” Gary said. “The fact that it ruptured the appendix was a blessing in disguise. If the appendix had not burst who knows how long it would have taken to find this out.”

Luke’s doctors figured the appendix was ruptured by the tumor because ofthe intensity of the infection and it wasn’t until the infection cleared up that they were able to see the tumor. It wasn’t until this Dec. 5 CT Scan did the family know the cancerous tumor was even there.

Three days later, the general surgeon called the family and told them the tumor was...

To see more on this story pick up the January 5, 2023 print edition of the LifeEnterprise paper. 

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