I can talk now, and I can write about it! From September to December last year, I experienced what many people have experienced when told that you may have Cancer.
I want to share part of my journey, dealing with uncertainty, waiting days and weeks, scans, biopsy, and to see the hand of the Lord on all this. I realise people I know are going through this, and I hope you are encouraged.
During March and April, I started to feel unwell. It started with a sharp pain in my lower back, and it did not stop. After three weeks, I went to the doctor, who gave me strong painkillers, sent me to see the physio and booked me for an MRI scan and an X-ray. Unfortunately, the pain did not ease, and by June, I found myself entering the MRI scanner. This was a new experience for me.
I am well used to hospitals as a minister, but now it was my turn. The scan lasted for over forty minutes. Finally, after two weeks, the consultant called to tell me the good news that I was fine, but he was referring me to the urologist as he found that my prostate was enlarged.
It did not take long for the urologist to contact me, and my blood test showed that my PSA was high, and he immediately ordered another MRI scan for September last year. This was different from my other scan. I was more relaxed and only lasted thirty minutes.
In the first week of October, I got a letter from the consultant saying that I needed a biopsy. He wanted to have tissue samples of my prostate and given that my PSA was high and my age, he wanted to do this.
Suddenly I experienced what many others have experienced: “A parallel reality”. Everything externally seems normal. Life goes on with family, friends and ministry, but internally everything changed. It was confusing at best, and I was lost in many thoughts of “what-ifs”, and the word Cancer became not just a terrible illness that affects many, but it became personal.
I shared the letter of the consultant referring to the biopsy with my family, my wife and my four children, and even though I felt their love and support, I know that the news was very unsettling.
I shared the news with close friends, my sisters and dad, and my elders. I asked them to pray, and they did. Thank You!
So, the journey began, and after three months of waiting, the biopsy and the uncertainty became real. Yet, during all this process, I battled with a lack of peace, doubts, and different emotions, and I came face to face with the reality of fighting an illness. This illness took my mother’s life, other family members, friends, and brothers and sisters in the Lord. I began to think about my legacy and my death.
In all this, the Lord became so real, the meaning of suffering and eternal life brought me comfort, but the thought of leaving behind those I love was painful, honest and raw.
Externally, all was fine, ministry, new assignments, people, coffee, preaching, walking, the dog. Church, friends and Cliftonville FC.
There was one prayer that I started to pray, Lord increase your presence in my life and help me to fight this will all I got!
Why Am I sharing this? First, I want you to get and make an appointment with your doctor. Second, having gone through this, I have a more profound empathy for those with Cancer and their journey. Third, it is a journey that involves families and friends. Finally, my biopsy came back clean, and I am so thankful for so many who prayed for my family and me.