BY Lim Siew Choo
Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will help you; I will strengthen you. I will uphold you with the right hand of my righteousness.
For many years, my prayers have always included, “God, have mercy on me. Forgive me all my sins. When it’s time to go home to you, Lord, just pluck me off from this earth. Spare me, oh Lord any kind of major illnesses, surgery and hospitalisation.”
However, God showed me His goodness beyond my human understanding. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in July 2018, had to go through 2 rounds of chemotherapy, went through surgery and was hospitalized for 7 days. Despite all this, I did not get angry or upset. Instead, I focused on thanking God for the good health He granted me the previous 57 years, and for providing me with good doctors and nurses to treat my cancer, and for caring family and friends to journey with me.
Daily Bible verses keep popping up (from Bible App) to remind me that all things happen for His purpose. One definite purpose is to bring glory to His name. One timely verse was Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Going for my first chemotherapy appointment, I heard the music for “Give Thanks” when I stepped into the clinic. And I knew that God was reminding me to give thanks in all circumstances. God has been gracious to me. During my first round of chemotherapy, I only suffered indigestion and fatigue for the first 2 days after every session and 1 week of mouth ulcers, and lost all my hair. And I lost only 5kg. Compared to other cancer patients, these side effects are so mild!
When I was scheduled for surgery, my sister told me to opt for a B1 ward, even though I am entitled to A1. She told me that in B1 wards, nurses will walk in more frequently, and there are other patients/visitors to look out for each other. But in an A1 ward, no one will step in, unless a patient presses the call buzzer.
So, I opted for a B1 ward. But God has it all planned. I was put in an A1 ward after my surgery, as there was no bed available in the B1 ward. I was thankful for the private room because I had leg massagers cuffed to both legs and the air pump was so noisy that I imagined I would be thrown out of the ward if I were in B1!
During my second round of chemotherapy, the only side effect I suffered was one week of rashes on my hands and legs. My appetite was back to normal, and I regained the weight I had lost. Friends who came to visit me were surprised that I looked the same, except for the hair that was gone.
God’s plans are perfect. My chemotherapy sessions were delayed by one week on each of the two rounds. After the second round, the follow-up treatment is Radiotherapy, which can only start 4 weeks after chemotherapy ends. And that break was the Chinese New Year period, when my family who are overseas came back for the holidays. So, God gave me the window to spend time with them, without disrupting my treatment!
My Radiotherapy went smoothly. I had darkening of the skin at the radiated area, and some “sunburned” effect. The doctor was pleased that the skin did not tear (which happens to some patients). Although some skin peeled off and caused the “sunburned” area to be painful, it was only on a small area and the pain was bearable. Perhaps this was because God inserted a ”rest period”, 2 weeks after I started my 5 weeks of radiotherapy – when the machine broke down for a few days.
The cancer is now in remission and I have started on 10 years of oral medication. I am thankful for the peace deep within me throughout the 9 months of my cancer journey. I see God’s goodness, mercy and providence in the whole episode. He has always been there for me, reminding me constantly.
This is an article taken from The Journey newsletter. To read more stories, click here.