Journey of Faith
In the name of Jesus, I bear
testimony of God’s grace for me and my family.
Ten years ago, I was diagnosed
with Stage II nasal cancer. I was devastated as my children were very young
then; Joshua was only about six years old and was still in kindergarten. The
children were told of my condition by their daddy. Surprisingly, they did not
seem troubled by the news, and we could feel that the peace of God was with
them just as the psalmist said in his time of trouble, “Why are you cast down,
O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; [f]or I shall yet
praise Him, [t]he help of my countenance and my God” (Ps 42:11).
Simultaneous radiation and
chemotherapy sessions to treat my condition followed. Whilst undergoing
treatment, I suffered from side effects such as burnt skin, vomiting, loss of
taste, hair loss, and so forth. Most of the time, I went for daily treatments
by myself. Nevertheless, I felt blessed because many brethren in church
encouraged me and prayed for me. During that time, I saw other patients who
were worried and in despair, but they noticed that I was calm and at peace:
“[The Lord] gives power to the weak, [a]nd to those who have no might He
increases strength” (Isa 40:29).
By God’s grace, I was able to
return to work five months after I had started treatment. I returned to my
active and busy lifestyle: going to the gym every weekday morning before work
and working late often. In addition, I moved to my present home and went on
holidays with my family.
Four years later while on vacation
in Beijing, I noticed that my facial expression was unbalanced. One eye was
smaller than the other. In addition, one morning on the way to work, I could
not catch the bus, because my left leg felt weak. I consulted the doctor and
was subsequently sent for an MRI scan as well as cancer screenings. Although
the results showed that there was no cancer relapse, I was diagnosed with
Radiation Necrosis. My neck’s C3 spinal nerve was scarred due to my previous
radiation treatment, and this affected the movement of my limbs.
Thankfully, the condition is not
life threatening. However, it is permanent and comes with much suffering, as it
can only be managed through medication. I was also placed on intravenous
steroid drips to reduce swelling on the spinal cord. Yet all I can say is, “in
everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1
My condition stabilized shortly
after, and I returned to work. It did not occur to me to stop working, as I
wanted to make sure that my children have the financial means for further
studies. My mother was a widow with two children. We were poor then, and I
started to work at eighteen, because I did not have the money for further
education. Therefore, I made a promise to myself that my children will not be
denied of the opportunity. I thank God that my eldest son, Jonathan, is blessed
with the opportunity to study in Perth, Australia.
Soon after, my department’s work
was outsourced to Shanghai and Bangkok. Thus, I had to work and travel a lot
more. Moreover, the probability of retrenchment was high. One day, on my way to
work at Jurong Island, the same weakness returned. I sat at the subway station
for nearly an hour as I could not get onto the coach that ferries me to my work
place. Thankfully, as Prophet Nahum says, “The Lord is good, [a] stronghold in
the day of trouble; [a]nd He knows those who trust in Him” (Nah 1:7).
The Lord gave me strength to make
my way directly to my doctor. When my husband Ivan came, I went for another MRI
scan, and the results showed that there was another similar scar but now on the
other side of my spinal cord. I was hospitalized again for the same treatment,
and since then, I have not been able to return to work, as my limbs became
weaker and I became wheelchair bound.
A year later in 2009, due to my
immobility, I developed bedsores on my buttock. The sores turned into a deep
hole right to my tailbone. At this difficult time, I remembered the words of
Jesus, “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear
therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows” (Lk 12:7).
Between July to October 2009, I
underwent a total of three operations. The first operation was done to remove
the affected decaying tissue. I was hooked on to a V.A.C.
machine to drain fluid from the wound and to promote new tissue growth. I also
had three bags of blood infusion due to a blood infection from the wound. My
neurologist told me that I could have died if treatment had been delayed. The
second operation was about six weeks later. There was no improvement, and as my
tailbone was affected, it had to be removed. The third operation took place
about two months later. There was still no improvement and the recovery was
slow. At this point in time, I could only cast my worries and cares upon God,
for He cares for me (1 Pet 5:7).
As the use of the V.A.C. machine
was very costly, the plastic surgeon suggested rotating the buttock tissues to
cover the hole, and I agreed without hesitation. The suggestion proved
effective and both my husband and the doctor were surprised at the immediate
improvement! Just as the Scriptures say: “The Lord nurses them when they are
sick and restores them to health” (Ps 41:3, NLT) and “Cast your burden on the
Lord, [a]nd He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be
moved” (Ps 55:22).
Even though I had to lie on my
side for three weeks and was not able to feed or to clean myself, I thank God,
that at that time, my helper, Heide, and two church sisters took turns to wash
and feed me. Moreover, by God’s grace, my costly medical expenses were absorbed
by the company and insurance until 2010 when I officially stopped working. I then
received a lump sum of money from my company, which, together with personal
insurance claims, enabled us to pay for my medical expenses.
I once asked my neurologist,
“Doctor, what is the worst case scenario for my condition?” He answered,
“Paralysis and being bedridden.” But Philippians 4:6-7 reminds me to “[b]e
anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with
thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God,
which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through
I thank God that according to the
doctor, my condition is now stable. I ask God to grant me the physical strength
to exercise. I know that He is listening when we make requests, and we can be
sure that He will give us what we ask for (1 Jn 5:15). Matthew 6:34 also says,
“…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” Thus, I live each day, one day at a
time. I also thank God for each day and for each Sabbath that I can attend,
despite being wheelchair-bound, for I remember that there may be someone who
cannot come to church or who may not even awake to see the day. We may
encounter trials and tribulations, but valuable life lessons in long suffering,
endurance and perseverance are learned on our journey of faith.
May all glory be given to God.