When Mike Balla noticed some pain and swelling on his foot, he initially thought it was a bug bite and expected the symptoms to go away. When they didn't subside, he decided to go to an urgent care facility and was given some antibiotics.
Two weeks later, the antibiotics failed to have any effect, so he decided to go to the emergency room. That's when he received stunning news. A bug didn't bite him. He actually had cancer.
"When the emergency room doctor came in and said we're waiting for an oncologist to come in and talk to you and I said, well I'm here for an insect bite and an infection, and I think you have the wrong room," he told WJW-TV.
The doctor told him that it wasn't a mistake and that the swelling on his foot was caused by adult acute myeloid leukemia. He was told that the cancer can spread quickly and that he required immediate treatment.
"It's called acute because if people don't get treatment right away, it can take people's lives within days and weeks," he said.
He was rushed to the hospital's main campus and began chemotherapy treatment. His cancer went into remission, and he received a bone marrow transplant from his brother.
A few months later, Balla learned that his cancer had returned and he began another round of chemotherapy.
He is now cancer-free and wants to encourage people to pay attention to their bodies and seek treatment, even if they believe the issues are minor.
“I have learned that you have to kind follow up and make sure that you're listening to your body," he said.