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.
Finally, the day came, and after almost six weeks of my biopsy, an envelope from the health trust came through the letterbox.
Waiting for news as important as the outcome of a biopsy can mess with your mind and emotions. I experienced something like that as I lived that parallel reality of my inner life, which became so aware of my mortality and the fragility of life and the external life where I needed to function as expected by being a husband, father and church leader.
I am so blessed for my family, friends, and elders in First Church. Their prayers carried me and lifted me up when I found myself staring at the unknown, facing a powerful illness.
I was not sure how I would react as I held the envelope in my hands, was the news of cancer now a reality and or not. But, I was also so ahead of myself thinking about the next step. That is so human, isn’t it! We miss the present because we are always more concerned about the future, which we do not control.
I got a cup of coffee, walked to my office, and I sat down. I opened the letter, read it twice, and put it down on my desk. I reached for my Bible reading that day, and I wrote on my journal the words, “Lord, you are faithful, and I want you to know that I am yours. I thank you that I am clean and no cancer cells were found on my body that you created”. The words of Colossians chapter 1 verse seventeen spoke to me so powerfully “ He is before all things and all things hold together”.
During all this time He was holding me, and he was not letting me go. I now realised He never let go of me, sometimes I was so aware of it and other times I wasn’t.
I know I am writing out of my own experience, and I believe that if the outcome of the biopsy had been different, I would have praised him because He does not change, and I would have still felt his arms around me, holding me tight and not letting me go.
I called my wife and I told my kids, they were relieved. Then, I called my sister and I asked her to share the news with my dad and my other sister. Finally, I told my elders and friends, thanking them for their prayers and support.
I am so relieved, yet my heart went to those I know who are battling with cancer. I know that despite the outcome, God’s arm is enough, more than enough to hold them, to love them and to care for them.
I understand that act of praying is therapeutic, it brings comfort and healing. But also it is about convictions. It is knowing that the Jesus we praise and worship is the very one who has giving death its final kick on the backside and for it never to hunt us.
I know I have struggled with my thoughts on the “what ifs”, but his right hand guided me even then.
Now I need to be checked in five more months, which is ok. The consultants and the nurses were excellent, and they are faithful witnesses of what public service should be.
At the end of the biopsy, when I was in so much pain, the two junior doctors beside me held my hands. They were holding me just as if Jesus was in that operating room.
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. I am so thankful for so many who prayed for my family and me.