Testimony about my journey
Many of you would have known that I had cancer last year. It started with abdominal discomfort and persisted for a while before I went to a gynae. The checks revealed that there was something big, bulky and distorted in my uterus. I was shocked and cancer popped up in my mind. My mind went blank but thankfully Sock Lip was with me.
I went through a series of tests and an MRI scan. All the tests were good, including the cancer-marker test. Nothing abnormal. So, the tumour should be benign, I thought. I was relieved but not for long. The MRI result that came a few days later showed two tumours that needed further investigations. My doctor referred me to an Oncologist in SGH. My heart sank again. Cancer became more of a reality and fears started to grip me. Waiting made me very anxious and I kept asking God why is this happening to me?
One day, KK unexpectedly called me to bring forward my appointment. My heart started to beat very fast. It must be confirmed that I had cancer. This was a death sentence. And to make things worse, the news was received on my wedding anniversary. I didn’t want to die now. Could this be my last anniversary? I wasn’t prepared for this bad news. I cried to God. Why me? I went from not blaming God to blaming God. There were moments when fear and anxiety gripped my heart; there were moments of calm and peace. At this lowest point of my life, I cried the loudest to God. I pleaded with Him to heal me.
My doctor at NCCS is a calm elderly lady, very well-respected in the medical field. I thank God for providing an experienced Oncologist. By the time I saw her, I was already tired and stressed by all the waiting. I wanted to start treatment right away but they needed to do more tests so I had to wait again! My heart sank lower. But somehow, arrangements were made and I had my first chemo a week later which is totally amazing. When I look back, I am very thankful to God for His mercy and providence.
Other checks detected more tumours than the initial diagnosis. There were 4 tumours - 1 at the uterus, 1 at the left ovary, one near the right kidney and 1 near the heart. The biggest was 9cm long. My cancer was Stage 4 B-cell Lymphoma because it had spread from the primary site. My Oncologist was concerned with the tumour near the kidney because it may spread to the central nervous system and then to the brain. It would be very difficult to treat if that happens. So, she ordered 2 different sets of chemo to be done concurrently.
My response to the first cycle of chemo was totally unexpected. I was extremely drowsy, my neck hurt badly from the lumber puncture test and I started to vomit. The doctor changed anti-vomit medicine 3 times before it was brought under control. The pain at the neck made me feel like a rag doll. Totally immobilised. The doctors were uncomfortable to discharge me even though the first cycle of the chemo was completed. I felt that I was dying slowly.
I got better gradually but each time I got better, it was time for the next cycle. After the 2nd cycle, my hair started to fall out. When I looked in the mirror, I cried uncontrollably, my heart was broken – I didn’t see myself, I was saw cancer. Chemo was really toxic. I was constantly tired. No amount of sleep can drive this fatigue away. Also, I had no appetite for food. The moment I see food, I felt like vomiting.
Thankfully the subsequent cycles were not so painful, but were frustrating. I had drips on me 24x7. I cannot bathe. I needed the nurse to clean me and I had lost my basic human dignity. In addition, my liver enzyme markers started to climb. The doctor said that if it climbed to a dangerous level then the whole chemo will have to be delayed or aborted. I didn’t want that to happen. I want to get well. Pleading to God became a daily affair.
After 10 chemo in 6 months, I am free of cancer. I cannot imagine a stage 4 lymphoma with 4 tumours can be healed within 6 months. It is nothing short of a miracle. I went through the valley of shadow of death and God showed me His goodness and mercy.
1. I thank God for sending angels into my life. I met many of them in hospital and in Cherith.
2. I thank God for my family that walked this journey with me. We cried together, we prayed together, we hoped for the best outcomes.
3. I thank God that He taught me to give thanks in all circumstances. It is easy to thank God in good times and for good outcomes. It is difficult to give thanks to God when dark clouds are looming over us. I had a long hard road with chemo but He walked with me and that I am grateful.
4. I thank God that He has been faithful despite my spiritual lethargy. One day during my chemo treatment, I opened my Bible to Jeremiah 4 and the first verse jumped out at me – “If you, Israel, will return, then return to me.” He didn’t forget me. He loves me even though I am weak. There’s something sweet about having no other option but to cling to the Saviour. It brings healing to my soul.
I thank God for His faithfulness, mercy and love. He is my Saviour, my Shepherd.