The best shape of my life

Posted: December 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

On my 45th birthday, I made a decision…it was time to get in shape.  About 20 pounds overweight and recovering from heel surgery, I was tired of just feeling mediocre.  So when 2011 started and I was given the go-ahead to workout, I started with a vengeance.  Obsessed is what my kids called me.  I worked out almost every day for at least an hour, logging my time on a detailed spreadsheet. became my favorite website, as I couldn’t bear to run the same path twice.  I changed my poor eating habits, the hardest of which to give up was my 10 pm bowl of cereal; 30 pounds later, I was shopping for new clothes.

Summertime brought my usual schedule of camps, missions’ trips, and the normal youth pastor duties.  I thrive on it.  After 20 such summers, I often joke that even at my age, I can run circles around the students.

I was in the best shape of my life, feeling on top of the world and blessed in every way.  I didn’t know that was all about to change.

The first strange symptoms started Labor Day weekend with feelings of fog and breaking into full sweats at random times.  My legs started to feel heavy; my brain was a few steps ahead of my body.  The first doctor thought it was anxiety, in spite of my effort to explain how “unstressed” I felt.  Muscles in my arms began to have constant tremors, which I could do nothing to stop.

Early November brought my 46th birthday and a feeling that something was definitely wrong.  My tongue was thick and my words slurred.  A change of doctors and the tests began; after a few weeks, I was referred to a neurologist.  By this time, Dena & I were searching the internet and had read all about the “big 3” neurological diseases.  As we researched with dread, I realized that I was having every symptom under the ALS description.

Reading that and hearing it confirmed by a neurologist are two different things.  On November 29th, I was told that I probably did have ALS, but we needed MRI’s to rule out tumors.  Something I had never prayed for began in earnest:  “Lord, let it be a tumor.”

6 days later, December 5th, brought the news we had feared:  The MRI’s were clear and the EMT confirmed that I had ALS.

As we wrap our brains around this news, we continually go back to the only thing we know for sure…the promises of Scripture.

2 Corinthians 4:16 “So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.”

  1. Collosians 1:9-11 “For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously.”

    Dena showed me this passage when I was going through a tough time. And I hope it brings you as mmuch comfort as it brought me.

  2. Sheri says:

    You are on my heart and adrians heart every day. We pray for you continually. God is a healer, and God has already healed us. So we are to thank God for everything. So that is what we have been doing, we dont know why this had to happened, but yet Gods plan is perfect. And what is faith if we dont believe, and what is believing if we dont have faith. So we believe that you are already healed, we speak it into existence out of faith. When there are two people in agreement, and in agreement with his will he works. And that is our belief for you. Anything and anything is possible with God, and we are believing that the Lord is going to shock these doctors with what is to come… If God is for us who can be against us 🙂 We love you Patrick!

  3. Todd Neva says:

    Thanks for sharing. Now pack on those pounds while the eating is good. Obesity is a good thing for PALS. 🙂

  4. Todd Neva says:

    PS We just hosted a Christmas party with our small group, which is led by Toby Locke. He said, “Hey, a friend of mine about 45 years old was just diagnosed with the last week or so.” I asked who it was… small world. He said he sent an email to you with my name. Now I am feel sorry for you; you’re getting bombarded. But I hear you’re already in touch with Ed Dobson. You’ve got a good resource in him.

    • Shelly A says:

      Todd, it’s a small, small world. Toby’s dad was pastor of our small church in Maine when Toby and I were small kids.
      Pat, Dena, and kids: please know we’re praying for you without ceasing. Love, Shelly, Tim, and boys

  5. Crystal Von Hagel says:

    Pastor Pat,
    I stand in a crowd of thousands that were blessed to call you their youth pastor for the most influential years of my life & join with them lifting you, Dena, Paige & Parker up in prayer daily. You have dedicated yourr lives to a higher calling by serving God faithfully in ministry & glorified God in the lives you lead. God has used you to change & transform lives through the years & I will be forever thankful for the impact you had on mine. All though the reason for you being plauged with such a disease is unknow it is not our place to question God but to trust that He has a special purpose for this & I know that you are trusting Him to guide you through this journey.

    • Lisa Van Berkel says:

      From a fellow former youth reigning from the same church… I am lifting you and your family up to our Father who loves you dearly and is sovereign over all.

      Take heart, He has overcome the world.

      Much love,


  6. Hey Buddy!!! ;0)

    Im praying for you and I have my church out here in LA praying for you as well!

    One thing I have learn from you is that God has a plan for all of us and HE has you on this path for what ever reason.

    You are loved by many and I love you to… your my buddy patrick duuhhh! haha!


    Renee!!!!! :0)

  7. Lisa Russell says:

    I will say that many times I have come home and said to Gordie where do Patrick and Dena get all of there energy! Your schedule is crazy and that’s not changing – I can tell! (:
    My bible reading was in Romans 8:18-30. I thought I would share these verses with you about our future Glory. Praying for you and your family.

  8. Kathy Mrak says:

    You and your family are in my prayers EVERYDAY!

  9. Tim Mowers says:

    Hey Pat, sorry to hear the news of your diagnosis, but so thankful that you have our great God and Savior to lean on and to guide your through this difficulty. Our kids are at BBC, when you spoke in chapel earlier this year they asked if we knew you? They both appreciated your ministry there. I will make sure they are aware of your condition. I am sure they will want to pray for you. We trust the Lord for His grace for you and your family.

  10. Mel Stull, Jr. says:

    Hey bro, I have been praying for you! I am praying that the Lord will shrink-wrap the entire Mc Goldrick family in His most awesome peace that is beyond measure!

    During my quiet time this morning, I came across a verse that reminded me of you Patrick, it is Ephesians 1:13:
    In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.

    You and I, belong to King Jesus and His Promised Holy Spirit dwells in us! He is as close as the mention of His name!

    Love ya Bro,
    Mel 😎

  11. Debbie Deal says:

    Pat, I am sooo sorry about your diagnosis. I will keep you in my thoughts and follow your blog. Dana, keep your chin up. I know you guys have a fierce battle ahead.
    Best wishes

  12. Patrick, my brother in the Lord and my friend. You and your family are constantly being lifted up in prayer. Hold on to the promises of God. Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” He has a plan for you and your family through all of this. If I or anyone can do anything for you at any time all you have to do is ask. We love you, are praying for you, and believe “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) I thank God for you.

    In Christ,
    Mark Reynolds

  13. You are in my prayers

  14. Judy says:

    God is truly amazing. You have been used by God to do so much good, I can’t help but wonder what He is up to and what His plans are. You are loved by many including me. Lots of prayers are going up to the Father for you and your family..

  15. Michael Chambers says:

    This is disturbing news.My thoughts and prayers are with you Pat.

  16. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus! Philippians 3:14

  17. Patrick,
    Please know that we are praying from afar…this is your journey…walk well…walk strong…you are loved…♥

  18. Karen Davis says:

    We were so shocked when we read the news. We will be praying for you and your family. Love, Chris and Karen Davis

  19. Praying for you both and the kids! I can’t imagine. Hope you can see God in all the little ways as He reveals Himself each day.

  20. Alan Bonjour says:

    Having been through both Crohn’s Dx and now a Spinal Cord Injury, I know that this brings changes quicker than we would like, yet always trust that God can and will use this “for good” both in your life, and in your testimony to others. Praying for you & family as you go walk through this.

  21. Patrick, My heart and prayers are with you and your family today and always. May God be with you in your journey and give you strength and peace. Love, in Christ, the Surratt family

  22. Chelsea Kellar says:

    You are loved by all. You have been such a wonderful encouragement to me! My prayers are with both you and your family. God is a healer, and HE is gracious. Everything happens for a reason, according to HIS plan, not ours. Have faith, pray without ceasing, and trust in God. HE will see you through.

    Love you!

  23. Katy Geshay says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this news, Patrick. We will be praying for you and following your blog as you go on this journey. Katy

  24. Gail (Barrett) Carr says:


    Mindy Barrett (daughter) and both Mike and Joe Barrett where blessed by your teachings at CBC. But as a single parent YOU are a true blessing! You made the trials and tribulations of raising three children alone so much easier by helping me build that important foundation of God!
    Now through the years, we have met some trials and tribulations that we never expected in our lives, from Mike in Iraq and heart surgery, Joe in a severe car accident with head injuries, and Mindy recently losing her husband to cancer and now a single mom of a 3 yr daughter.
    But through all these trials, We know the teachings of our Lord and Saviour and know that He has great blessings for every ounce of trial we are given. This has been passed through you!
    I feel sure in my positive faith and love of the Lord that He has great adventures for you and your family. He is using a loving man of His Word to teach us all how to handle life and the trials we are faced. Please know that we are All sending you prayers, love and support. We look forward to how you will be blessing others by your trials and faithfulness to the Lord.
    It’s only through our true trials and tribulations do we realize our true Blessings of the LORD.
    May God Bless you with those Blessings! Love to you, Dena, Parker and Paige.
    Gail (Barrett) Carr

  25. andygiessman says:


    Becky and I are praying. I hope I can write a few words that will encourage. I think back on the interactions we have had from the “chance” meeting at the Knoxville, TN airport, to lunch discussions at TLC, to the classroom at BBS. You have always been a man in ministry I look up to. The elective class you taught at BBS was among my top three! God used you to minister to me and helped shape me. Thank you.
    Again, we are bringing you, Dena, and your family before the throne.
    Blessings and love,

  26. David Meyer says:

    So sorry to hear this, Patrick and Deana. I will be praying for you. –David Meyer

  27. Patrick and Dena, the Harbour Shores Church family will uphold you in prayer in the time ahead. We pray for God’s sustaining grace and help in this time of trouble. May you find continued hope in Him and may He be glorified in you.

  28. Les and Judy Johnson says:

    Our church and small group are praying for you and your ffamily. You are such a blessing and inspiration to us and so many others. We are confident that there will be much fruit for the Lord as you go thry this–because of your faith, and trust in Him. who is so worthy.

    He walks with us and carries us thru all that comes into our lives.
    We know this to be true because we have witnessed this inour lives.

  29. Robin Hern Schmidt says:

    We will pray for your family that God will give grace and peace and healing. He is the great Physician and also the great Healer. May God give you the comfort that you need. Our prayers are with you.

  30. Tina Winner says:

    My prayers continue daily for you-Dena and my wonderful neice and nephew –

  31. Pamela E. Bennett says:


    Jonathan told us Christmas night about your condition, we were shocked but know you are in God’s hands. I was for sure I wouldn’t be able to sleep after hearing the news but slept most of the night and felt rested this morning. I want to say so much, my heart is heavy and full but I know God is in control of everything as I can tell by your story you know as well. Our prayers are with you, Dena Paige and Patrick as well as your extended family.

  32. Pamela E. Bennett says:

    Continuing to pray and using google to learn more about ALS. By the way I meant our prayers are with you, Dena, Paige and PARKER.

  33. Dave & Char Boehning says:

    Dear Patrick and family, I am so sorry the Lord has chosen you to go down this road. I do know that He will never leave you or forsake you. As He has with my life, your new ministry will be a difficult one but filled with blessing for you and others. Char and I are praying for you and your family and know that His will is going to be accomplished for you. The verse that the Lord gave me is Nahum 1:7, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and He knows those who trust in Him.” The Lord obviousy knows He can trust you with this assignment. It is such a comfort to kown that He is with us every step of the way. God bless and again we are praying.

    • Vickie Kline says:

      Hi, Dave and Char! You may not even remember us, but we met at Word of Life when you were on leave from the Philippines back in ’78. We kept in touch for a little while, then lost track of you. At that time, Ken and I had a 10 month old boy, who is now 34! You had several girls, I think. (Our family has grown exponentially since then! :)) You have come to mind every so often over the years.

      I’m sorry for using this as a vehicle to try to get up w/ you, but this is one of the things that came up when I typed your name in Yahoo. I’d love to catch up and see how you’ve been. We’ve even asked other ABWE missionaries that we have met if they knew you. Ken and I are both on facebook, too, if you want to get in touch w/ us.

      Blessings~Vickie and Ken Kline
      Aiken, SC

  34. Theresa Truran says:

    Patrick, I attended Cornerstone for a while. My daughter was the one with MRSA in her heart and spine and went through liver failure, kidney failure, a brain bleed, disintegration of her skin and a host of other serious complications. That situation, and others, have resulted in a quest for more effective ways to restore health. I have, by the grace of the Great Physician, discovered a more excellent way, a Biblical way, to approach many health crises. I also study Hebrew and have come to appreciate more fully that in Messiah are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Your story wrenched me at a visceral level; I am offering to share what I’ve learned. Lately, I have been immersed in a study of phytotherapy and orthomolecular medicine. I believe the biophsychosocial model is optimal for establishing a protocol for homeostasis. I don’t have a medical degree from a university. I am actually relatively new to the wonderful world of plant essences and their abiblity to restore some of the electrochemical imbalances that lead to disease. The amazing results speak for themselves and are backed by Scripture and history. I believe at the very least, they could help you in this very difficult part of your journey. If you are so inclined, call me and I could more fully share what I’ve been exposed to that would help you. I believe I could offer many effective tools for fighting this adveristy. At the very least, please know that I am before the throne of the Almighty asking Him to reveal His Light/Messiah to you in a way that you have not experienced in the past. May you know His Truth Patrick, and may His Truth set you free!
    Theresa Truran 248 366 4090.

  35. Stuart Williams says:

    Patrick, I met you several years ago at SEMP Toronto. Loved your heart and love for Christ and the students in your care. I am praying for you and your family. Stu

  36. […] wrote the first couple posts, then he dictated and eventually I was writing them all. When Patrick passed away, so I […]

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