Middletown pastor, now cancer-free, finds reasons to dance

The Rev. Michael Bailey cancer-free five years after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

MIDDLETOWN — The Rev. Michael Bailey and his wife, right there for anyone who wanted to watch, have been parking lot dance partners twice.

They danced five years ago when Bailey, 69, was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and again after his urologist recently declared him cancer free.

In 2018, Bailey, pastor of Faith United Church in Middletown, was informed by Dr. Nilesh Patil, his urologist, that eight of 12 prostate cells were cancerous. Even before the dire diagnosis, Bailey told his wife, Patsy, that regardless of the outcome of the medical appointment, they would return to the parking lot and have a “Praise Dance.”

Then last week, in the same parking lot after an appointment at UC Health West Chester Hospital, when Bailey was informed that his prostate cancer hadn’t returned after five years, the Baileys danced again.

When you’re married for close to 50 years, have three grown children and 11 grandchildren, and you’re told the cancer is in remission, you dance with the love of your life, he said.

“Both were meaningful,” Bailey said when asked the difference between Dance 1 and Dance 2. “That’s not my last dance. I’m still dancing.”

As a Black man, Bailey understands he’s at an increased risk for developing prostate cancer over white men and other men of color. One in six Black men will develop prostate cancer in his lifetime, according to the National Cancer Institute. Overall, Black men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with — and 2.1 times more likely to die from — prostate cancer than white men.

When Bailey was 30, he started having his prostate checked every six months, though he said he “cringed” before every examination. His PSA was always within range until summer of 2018 when his number was elevated.

He was sent to the UC West Chester Hospital where more tests confirmed he had prostate cancer. He delivered the news to his three children and they reacted as he expected: his oldest son, Michael, 49, went to the gymnasium to work out; his daughter, Marie Edwards, 46, prayed at church; and his youngest son, Marvin, 43, phoned.

Marvin walked outside, looked down, immediately found a four-leaf clover and sent his father a photo.

Bailey called the clover “part of God’s grace” that signaled he was “going to survive this.”

He considered medical options and decided on robotics to remove his prostate. Bailey was asked by Dr. Patil about his miraculous recovery.

“‘God’s hand was totally on me throughout the process,’” Bailey told the doctor. “‘I trusted the Lord No. 1. Secondly, I trusted your team that was assigned to me.’”

During the phone interview, Bailey’s voice softened.

“You can see the end of the tunnel or the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “I chose to see the light. I had to go through it. I had to experience it. God is so good. Through trials and tribulations, God is still good.”


The Journal-News is starting this “Good News” feature that will run every Saturday in the ePaper. If you have a story idea for a future feature, please send it to staff writer and columnist Rick McCrabb at rick.mccrabb@coxinc.com.

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