In 2004, I had an operation for colon cancer. My surgeon wanted to tidy things up by giving me a small doze of chemotherapy but decided against it when he found out I was also a heart patient. Since then I had lived a fairly healthy and active life until middle of last year, when I began to feel lethargic, lacking in energy and motivation to do anything. I also had a persistent cough which I didn't pay much attention to. I finally went to the doctor's at my husband's insistence end of last year.
The long and short of it is that my cancer has come back with a vengeance and is now affecting my liver and lungs. My surgeon very quickly ordered a scan, followed by a liver biopsy. So I waited patiently for the results and for a consultation with my surgeon, scheduled for the 15th of January.
The Sunday before Xmas, during breakfast, I suddenly developed the shakes that went on for just over 20 minutes. I knew it was time to get to hospital. An xray showed I had a lung infection, and parts of my lungs had actually collapsed. I was warded, put on antibiotics and drips, and it was when the oncologist talked about palliative care that I suddenly realised My, this is getting serious! There was talk of radiotherapy for my lungs and chemotherapy for the liver, and wherever else the cancer might be lurking in my body.
I was soon settled comfortably into the oncology ward. I had my family with me daily , with soups and congee to tempt me. Our daughter made Leon and me a special X'mas lunch,with crackers, hats, and sparkling juice, as I had insisted that the rest of the family went for a pre booked Xmas lunch.
On boxing day, a radiotherapy doctor came to tell me that they had arranged for me to start radiotherapy on my right lung that very day. Have you ever heard of any decision and action being taken so quickly in a public hospital? I had 5 sessions of radiation on 5 consecutive days, and all the side effects that I was warned against, like nausea, burnt and blistering skin, a possible sorethroat, etc never happened. There is not even the slightest colouration on my skin.
Then the oncologist came to tell me more about chemotherapy and all its possible side effects. Lying there on the hospital bed with nothing much to do, the mind began to wander. Do I really want to go through all that? How much more time is it going to give me? It could be just a few months. Do I want to drag my whole family down this road with me? I spoke to the children. I wanted to know if they would support me should I decide to refuse treatment. It's my life, my decision.
The next morning, in my semi wakeful state, I had a revelation. Wrong! I was so wrong! If I truly believed that God got me into hospital earlier than scheduled, that God made it possible for me to have radiotherapy at such short notice, and for me to have come through it all unscathed,...... and I had been emailing friends from far and near to say, '' Don't worry about me. I'm in good hands, God's hands''...... If I truly believed all that, then how dare I now say I want to make my own decision regarding my treatment! So that morning I handed everything over, to let God and the oncology team decide what the best treatment for me will be and I will go along with it. I felt such a sense of peace, and relief, with no sense of anxiety, no fear. That morning God taught me an important lesson in submission, submission to the God I have worshipped all my life, submission to a God who knows what is best for me. After that, this chorus just kept going around in my head. '' How marvellous , how wonderful , This my song shall ever be. How marvellous , how wonderful is my Saviour's love for me. ''
Then I had another revelation. I felt a strange detachment from my body, and I told myself, "My body is not me, and I am not my body. I am ME. I am spirit, I am soul." It matters not to me should I lose my hair. It matters not to me should my remaining days on earth be few or many. The only thing that matters is the fact that when this cancer riddled body finally gives up, I know where I 'll be going! I'll be going home, back to my creator.
Therefore I shall continue to sing this song through my treatment because it is true! God IS marvellous , God IS wonderful , and my Saviour has proven time and time again of His great love for me!
Dear friends, God is real! Jesus stands at the door and knocks, but He is not going to come charging in to take over our lives. WE have to make that all important decision and to take that courageous step TO OPEN THAT DOOR!! Then, and only then, can we experience just how real, up-close and personal He can get. So, that is my prayer for all of us, that we experience the reality of God in our lives, knowing that it has all been made possible because Jesus died on the cross for the love of each and everyone of us. Amen.