Cancer, like death, is no respecter of persons. It does not care about your age, gender, race, or religion. It has no pity on anyone and when it knocks on your door, your days are numbered, except for a few.
Four years ago, I had ongoing stomach pains. I was advised by my doctor to have umbilical hernia surgery. After that surgery, I still experienced the same pain, and then I was instructed to have endoscopy which showed nothing except for bacteria and was given antibiotics to take. I requested for a colonoscopy, but I was told that I am not yet 50 years of age. Most probably if they did a colonoscopy on October 2017, they could have found the cancer/polyps and removed it before it spread to my liver and lungs.
By December of 2018 to January, 2019, I experienced some weight loss and loss of appetite. I went to my own doctor and I was instructed that I need to lose more weight since my blood pressure was elevating, exercise more and watch what I eat. I knew something was still wrong so I took the initiative and called my gastroenterologist for an appointment. By February 1, 2019, I was told that I have tumors in my colon and liver but need to verify where it started from. By February 4th, they told me that I have stage 4 colon cancer and it is metastatic to my liver and later to my lungs after the PET scan.
We went through a stage of grief and adjustment to the new reality where death seems imminent. The hardest part is watching my three kids, Daniel (10), Katalina (8), and David (7) who is a special needs son with a rare genetic disorder which affected only 11 kids in the United States and Netherlands, struggling to understand what it is, why, when and how it is impacting them. It was the beginning of a transformative journey.
My faith in Christ grows and it sustains me emotionally. Prayer and meditating in God’s Word helps me psychologically to remain positive and celebrate life every day and embrace the possibility of death as a door to life eternal in eternity.
My family of faith, friends, co-workers, my blood family, and people we don’t know personally have and continue to provide support which makes the journey easier. My church family coordinates a care group lined up for cleaning, picking up our children to and from school, providing dinner, laundry, care for our special needs son, shopping, help our kids homework and meeting other needs that arise. I am also grateful for our own pacific island community supporters, Tongan church communities, & employers that I worked with throughout my career for their generosity and support as well.
Cancer is a blessing in disguise. It deepens my faith. Cancer strengthens my marriage bond & family relationships. Cancer creates new friendships and enhances old friendships. Cancer creates a community of love and care. I definitely agree with Anne Graham Lotz in her book, “My Cancer: A Journey of Faith.” She writes, “
Cancer Can… …enrich love …refocus hope …strengthen faith …deepen prayer …command peace …bolster confidence …increase endurance …multiply friendships …enhance memories …open doors …realign priorities …grow courage …create empathy …tenderize compassion …develop character. Cancer can be a blessing in disguise. Cancer can be the preliminary to bearing much eternal fruit. Cancer can be a display case for God’s glory.” The last 3 months, I have experienced and see God’s glory, love & amazing grace manifested through people and communities and through it all I can encounter cancer better.