I discovered my breast cancer in June 2016.
The Holy Spirit prompted me, out of the blue, to go for my mammogram. Thank God I did not dismiss the prompting. My last mammogram was done 3 years ago.
The mammogram report did not indicate anything unusual and even my doctor said that an ultrasound scan was not necessary. Again, I was prompted to go ahead with the scan. They found a lump. At this point, I should be swirled in anxiety and fear but instead, I was filled with peace.
Biopsy done on the 0.5cm lump revealed it to be stage 1 breast cancer. Thank God for early detection! I was advised to go for another surgery to take out the surrounding tissues and lymph nodes to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Thereafter, I was to see an oncologist for treatment. Due to the nature of the cancer cells, I had to go through both chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
As I was recovering after my second surgery, matters started to crop up at home; the worse being my helper wanting to go home (because her father was “hospitalized due to snake bite”) and she promised to return after 2 weeks. Ever soft-hearted and regarding other’s need above our own, my husband agreed despite my protest. I was really upset that my husband couldn’t see that I needed help at home and that if my helper did not come back, it would be difficult to get another maid within 2 weeks, let alone train her! Feeling helpless, I turned to the Lord, asking Him to help me submit to my husband’s decision; trusting in His promise that “all things work together for good to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).
Unfortunately, my helper did not come back. We had to scramble for a new maid 2 weeks before my chemo treatment started. We could only trust God to take over the matter and provide. Not only did He provide the right helper for us, He opened the doors for her to arrive just a few days before my chemo. God wanted me to learn that He is above all and that He is in control of my situation no matter how helpless it seemed.
My first chemo was a harrowing experience. After setting up the catheter and giving me some drowsy medication, both the nurse and my hubby left me alone. However, I had such bad reaction to the chemo drug that I woke up from my sleep; my chest had tightened suddenly and I couldn’t breathe or cry for help. I pressed the buzzer but no one came. God heard my silent cry and answered. Only then did the nurse and my hubby come. I thought I could have died. The nurse switched off the drug immediately and subsequently adjusted the dosage. After the scare, the nurses kept checking on me. My session stretched to 6-7 hours instead of just one hour.
My second chemo was no less eventful. In view of my hypersensitivity to the chemo drug, I was given pre-treatment drugs. However, one caused me to break out in a rash and the other caused me to shake and turn white. In the end, I had to have anti-allergy injections for these pre-treatments! The nurses had to wait for my body to settle down before giving the chemo drug in small doses again. It turned out to be another long session.
By then, I was pretty shaken…how was I to go through the remaining 10 sessions?? I didn’t understand why the Lord allowed this to happen and was emotionally and physically down. Then my doctor decided to switch me to another chemo drug. I was really fearful that I could be sensitive to it as well. When I related these 2 incidents to my TCM doctor, instead of encouraging me, he cautioned that such allergy could be fatal and told me how one of his patients died at his first chemo session.
On the way to my 3rd chemo, fear gripped me and I was inconsolable despite our prayers. The thought that I was going to die (from allergy) kept resonating in my head. It seemed so real. Out of this darkness, a verse came to mind: “resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Then my mind suddenly cleared and I realized that these were not my thoughts but the devil’s. Even so, why was I fearful of death? Do I really believe in God? Do I truly believe that “though I walk in the valley of death, He is with me?” As I drew on the little faith I had, I was reminded that God loves me enough to send Jesus to die for me and that even in death, God’s love for me never changes. He will never leave me or forsake me. With renewed confidence in God, I surrendered. I thought to myself that even if I died that day, it would have been in God’s perfect will. Upon my submission to the Lord, the dark thoughts immediately stopped and God’s peace came upon me. I stopped crying.
My subsequent treatments with the new chemo drug were uneventful but the accumulated effects took their toll on me. My hair started to fall out and I lost my sense of taste. I was tired easily and my arms began to feel numb. I felt ugly and couldn’t bear to look at myself in the mirror. By taking away my strength and self esteem, my Heavenly father forced me to be still. As I waited upon Him, I realized that I had taken so many things for granted. All that I have and everything that I am, is from the Lord. I am nothing before Him. The pride I had in my own abilities dissolved before His mighty throne and changed my view of God.
Through this journey, many brothers and sisters prayed for me. As a very private person, it was great effort on my part to share what is happening. God, however, placed it in my heart to be open so that others could pray for me meaningfully. Somehow, I experienced peace and comfort when God’s people carried me in their prayers.
Having cancer was God’s way of testing my faith and molding me into gold. I praise my Heavenly Father for the trial he had designed for me. Through it, I see His love and how it was not only for my good, but for my family as well. Indeed, all things did work for good to those who love Him. May the Lord be praised forever!