21 April 2006
This email is for all of you. Many of you have been asking about me and I must let you know how I am doing. Thank you so much for remembering me and my family in prayer. It’s been three weeks since my surgery and I’m recovering very well. Praise the Lord. The wound has dried up and all dressing has been removed. Thank you for coming by to visit, calling to find out how I am doing, emailing me your love and concern and sms many encouragement. Things are pretty much back to normal but I still will not carry baby for extensive periods of time, probably only like 5 mins. Here, John can help me out. I’m really blessed to have 2 independent children 😉 I believe Li-Ann is very independent as well just that right now there are some things she is unable to help herself.
I was at the clinic last week for a change of dressing and heard that the biopsy results were out. However I was scheduled to see the doctor only this week. I went home a little anxious wondering why I have to wait one more week. Is it because the results were unfavourable? Were they waiting for me to recover a little more before they tell me what else is involved? As I felt the worries creeping in, I prayed for the Lord to take them away. And God did. He sent this strong and faithful lady to pray for me. She felt the Holy Spirit’s prompting to call me and she obeyed. Isn’t God good? And towards the end of the week, I had information from a very reliable source that everything will be fine. God sent this kind lady as well. Thank you dear sisters 🙂
My appointment with the doctor was on Wednesday, 19 April. The first thing he told me was: all the lumps add up to 9cm!! My eyes nearly popped out!! I thought it was only 5cm!!! And the funny thing was that the mammogram and scan showed similar dimensions. I was trying to read the report he gave me and I realised that my whole breast was really not very healthy. I am so thankful that we decided on mastectomy quickly. I recalled that when God gave me the peace for this surgery, He meant it for my good. Praise the Lord!!!! So the diagnosis is extensive ductal carcinoma in situ (extensive DCIS). It’s still stage 0 cancer. Thank God for that!!! Hubby was very thankful and that evening we brought the children out for a celebration. Think we went to the right place coz there was some credit card application promotion and we got a slice of cake for free and can redeem a whole cake later on when the card is approved. WOW!!! Wonderful!!!
With this diagnosis, I don’t have to go through radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However it is suggested that I go for hormonal therapy to lower my risks. I saw an oncologist yesterday and she told me what I need to know. She felt that my risks are higher coz I’m under 40 years of age and that may mean that it is hereditary. So I may be a carrier of mutated cells. As far as I’m aware I’ve a couple of relatives who had passed on because of cancer but not breast cancer. And what’s more this risk is about 1% per year and it’ll be cumulative, that is in 20 years, it’ll be 20%. That can be quite a scary figure. To confirm, I can choose to do a genetics test. But I possibly won’t do this. This drug that I’m supposed to take, tamoxifen, apparently is a very established drug. Estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer cells. So tamoxifen works against the effects of estrogen on these cells. It is often called an “anti-estrogen.” As a treatment for breast cancer, the drug slows or stops the growth of cancer cells that are present in the body. It is recommended that I take this for 5 years for optimal benefits.
However as with all drugs, there are side effects. I’m currently reading up on it and will welcome anyone who has information to share. I’m very suspicious of the effectiveness of this drug as while it may be able to reduce risks of breast cancer, it increases the risks of other forms of cancer, like that of the womb or even the liver. So it has carcinogenenic properties. And the body, over time may also develop resistance to this drug and the body is left even weaker to fend for itself. Right now I’m taking some natural products that contain phytochemicals and polysaccharides said to help build the body immune system to fight against illnesses and even cancer. I’m reading up and finding out more information on this as well.
After I came back from the oncologist clinic, I felt very very tired and just had to rest. Probably information overload. I felt like having a good cry but can’t do it as the children were home. I know that I’m alright and am reluctant to ingest anymore drugs on a longer term basis. The Lord has assured me of His role as my Father through the story of Hagar and Ishmael in Genesis 21:1-21. When Ishmael mocked Isaac, Abraham listened to Sarah and sent away Hagar and Ishmael. When their water ran out, she feared the death of her child. Another familiar story but what was emphasized was that the Lord heard the cries of the child and told Hagar to take care of her son and He will make him a great nation.
When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down nearby, about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there nearby, she began to sob.
God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
As I read this, I could understand my mom’s anxieties and helplessness. I’m sure she wishes to do more for me. God also assured me that He’ll not forget His children; He’ll not forget me.
But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
the Lord has forgotten me.”
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget,
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;
your walls are ever before me.
I remember God’s promise to restore me. Please pray that God will direct me to the right people and right information source so I can find out more.
However, in spite of all these emotional ups and downs, I still have the peace. I have come to realise why I have this peace – I have the eternal perspective in mind. I have learnt that whether I have only a day, a year or ten years or more, my SOLE objective must be the salvation of souls. Everything else is secondary. And this is further strengthened as I read Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life” as part of the 40 Days of Purpose (DOP) project launched by my church on Easter Sunday. This is another good book you should lay your hands on. It’s under $20 and very easy and inspiring to read- about 4-6 pages a day and will only take you less than 1/2hr. Although I’m only into the 5th day of reading, God has confirmed the most important reason for my being.
“For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, …everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him.” Colossians 1:16 (Msg)
“It is God who directs the lives of his creatures; everyone’s life is in his power.” Job 12:10 (TEV)
So I’m made for God, not the other way round. And if I’m no accident, then The Lord must have his plans for me
“Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love.” Ephesians 1:4a (Msg)
I feel secure when I know all these. There is no fear. Everything is in my Father’s hands.
Even as I sang praises with the children today, the songs also ministered to me and I want to encourage you too:
THERE IS NONE LIKE YOU
|There is none like you
No one else can touch
my heart like You do
I could search for all eternity long
and find there is none like You
|Your mercies flow like a river wide
And healing comes from Your hands
Suffering children are safe in Your
There is none like You
WHAT A FRIEND WE HAVE IN JESUS
|What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations?
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful?
Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
|Are we weak and heavy laden,
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge;
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield thee;
Thou wilt find a solace there.
I also want to give thanks that my parents went to church with me on Easter Sunday. At first only my mom agreed to go but she managed to persuade my dad to go as well. They sat through the whole 2 hr video introduction by Rick Warren on the 40 DOP. There were Chinese subtitles, even for the songs!! At least there was no excuse to say they didn’t understand what was said. Thankfully I’ve prepared Rebecca and told her not to bother her grandparents and she was very good. Little Li-Ann was quiet in her carrier and fell asleep too. I was very touched by what Rick Warren shared about his father wanting to share Jesus even on his death bed. As the song was sung, I was not only reminded of my parents who were unsaved but also that of the state of hell – that there is perpetual torture. The pain will not go away after some cream or ointment for burnt is applied. The pain is eternal. My finite mind cannot imagine how painful that will be. It may be so bad that the unsaved can’t even cry out. I could not help but wept. My mom noticed and asked if I’m alright. I told her I thought of her, my dad and my brother. She got a little emotional. I think she understood what I meant. I thank God for being in TOTAL control. While I was excited, I was able to keep my composure and not jump and hit the roof 😉 That would be more like me. I felt a great sense of peace and joy. I didn’t feel that I had to make my parents feel comfortable or to make sure they get the best seats so they would see everything. It’s really unlike the past rallies that I’ve brought them to. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit doing His work. I only need to do my part.
The next day, Monday, I asked my mom directly if she has received Christ. She told me she has not coz she felt that it would be a BIG decision and so she cannot be hasty. I believe she is referring to the commitment she has to make. She also told me that she is reading “The Purpose Driven Life” that I gave her. That was FAST!!! Take note this was Monday when I spoke to her. I told her my intention of getting the Chinese version for my dad but she said there’s no need as after she read, she told my dad all about it!!! WOW!!! Dad also cannot ‘escape’ when mom’s passionate about her objective. Hee hee….Guess this is where my mom and I are quite alike. She wasted NO TIME!!! Today she told me she is at Day 5. I better make sure that I’m reading too. I pray that God will speak to my parents as they read the book. I’m so encouraged 🙂 May this encourage you too as you pray for your unsaved family members.
Now can you understand why I can feel the Peace even amidst my recovery and consideration of the hormonal treatment? All the joy and excitement far outweighed my own anxieties. I am reminding myself to wait upon the Lord and to sit and receive His Word.
I pray that you would also have the eternal perspective in mind and live each day simpler and more focused.