Michael Lay's Cancer Battle

I remember it like it was yesterday, seeing my brother Michael elated with joy as he held his bride under the St. Louis Gateway Arch.  It was the happiest I had seen my brother in a long time.  That happiness would come to a screeching hault two months after that beautiful October day when Michael suffered a seizure on December 29th, 2008.  Michael stayed in the hospital where he brought in the New Year of 2009.  It was a wake up call for Michael that would put his life on an unexpected journey no one could predict.  

After the seizure, Michael continued to push forward.  He and his wife gave birth to their 1st child, Walker, and once again Michael was on cloud 9 and enjoying life.   

On April 3rd, 2013, Michael was admitted into DePaul Hospital complaining of a persistent headache that had been bothering him for almost a week.  I remember telling him to go get checked immediately because my neighbor had a brain aneurysm that he almost didn't catch in time.  While being admitted into the emergency room, Michael collapsed.  Emergency surgery was performed where a mass was discovered on the CT scan.  We were told after the surgery that there was a mass that was on the CT scan in 2009, and that it had increased in size over the 4 years.  The tumor Michael had was a Anaplastic Astrocytoma brain tumor, and it was diagnosed as a grade 3 cancer.  Michael was treated at the Siteman Center of St. Louis at Barnes Jewish Hospital, with a series of radiation treatments to have the tumor removed.  The treatments and chemotherapy took a toll on Michael, but he hung in there and came out cancer free.  He rang that bell loud and proud on his final day of treatment.    

Through it all, Michael continued to push forward in life.   In September of 2013, Michael was given another blessing, with the birth of his beautiful daughter Tatum.

In late September of 2016, Michael went in for a scheduled MRI, and it revealed that the tumor in Michael's brain had returned.  He underwent his 2nd surgery on November 15th, 2016.   The tumor was still a grade 3 cancer at this time, and Michael started taking a cancer pill called Temozolomide for 5 days of each month which started in January of this year.

In July, Michael went in for another scheduled MRI that revealed that the cancer was growing again while he was on chemo.  The medication that he was taking was stopped.  

On September 18th, Michael was scheduled for his 3rd operation, and this time the tumor had progressed to a Giloblastoma grade 4 tumor.  Michael came out of the surgery like his previous 2 surgeries, doing just fine.  He passed all test and was sent home.  After a week he went in to have his stitches removed from the scar above his left eye, and shortly after, a fluid started to seep out.   Michael went back in to have the scar checked, and was stitched up with dissolving stitches.  Michael left on his own will.  He was walking, talking, smiling and laughing.  Being his normal jovial self.   

A few days later, things started to take a turn for the worse.  Michael was starting to show very abnormal behavior.  He had a hard time contolling his balance, his attention span started to wander and he spoke of random incidents at odd times.  Michael was readmitted into the hospital where they discovered massive swelling off his brain.   He was given steroids to decrease the swelling, and after brief stint in the hospital, Michael was sent to the Barnes Jewish Rehab & Treatment Facility to get better.  But getting better never happened.  Michael continued to decline as his mind, body, and soul began to give up on him.  He couldn't walk, talking was minimal, he had a hard time staying alert, he had a hard time staying awake, and he could barely remember or recognize people, places and things.  Michael was starting to lose his 9 year battle to brain cancer.  

Throughout all of this, we all remained hopefull that Michael would pull through.  He was scheduled to start chemotherapy on the morning of October 19th, but Michael was unresponsive when it was time for him to get up to leave.  He was taken to the emergency room at Barnes Jewish Hospital, were he finally awakened later that evening.  Michael stayed in the hospital for almost a week as doctors tried to decrease the swelling on Michael's brain, but to no avail.  

Michael was sent to hospice on Oct. 24th where he rested for his last remaining days.  Michael Vincent Lay passed this morning, October 31st, at 3:05am.  

Speaking on behalf of our entire family, his regression over this past month was completely unexpected.  No one was preparred for his death, as we all thought Michael would come out of this.  He has insurance, but there are a lot of cost that his type of insurance does not, and has not covered, since his diagnosis.  On top of that, there will be cost for his homegoing (funeral) service.  With Michael's death, he leaves behind two wonderful children who miss their father dearly.  His presence will not be there, but his spirit and memories will live on with them.  We are also asking for help with Michael's two children with their daily needs from food, clothing, school supplies, medical cost, and counseling as they learn to deal with the loss of their father.  

Please help with whatever you can, as soon as you can.  The bill collectors have been calling around the clock, his funeral plans are already in the works, and his kids will need all the help they can moving forward.  This has taken a toll on my mother, and she needs all the support she can in this dire time.  Whatever is on your heart to donate, we GREATLY appreciate it.
  • Jocelyn Sanders 
    • $25 
    • 45 mos
  • Daron Greene 
    • $150 
    • 45 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $130 
    • 45 mos
  • Anthony & Aesha Binion 
    • $100 
    • 46 mos
  • Don Johnson 
    • $50 
    • 46 mos
See all


Philip Lay 
Webster Groves, MO
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