5 April 2006
I’m HOME!!! So glad that I can come home. Yes I asked and the docs said ok. I came home on Monday, 3 April.
I have SSSSSSSOOOOOOOOO much to thank God for….where do I start?? Please give thanks along with me. I must warn you that this email is very very long but I pray that you can share my excitement as I tell you how God has been so REAL to me and teaching me many wonderful things. I thought of making the email short but I know I cannot coz then I won’t do justice to the Lord and the burden of not sharing will suffocate me.
1. God MUST be glorified
From the time I knew of the result of the biopsy till the op is 1 week. Within the week I got a second opinion, spoke to the nurse, knew what the docs recommended, spoke to a few friends, finally the plastic surgeon and then the surgery. Actually I didn’t realise so many things happened so quickly within the week. But I’m glad coz when I stared at my affected breast the days before the surgery, I really didn’t like the look of it and I wanted to get rid of it FAST as well. When the nurse told me the docs suggested mastectomy, hubby and I agreed. I spoke with a friend of a church mate regarding breast reconstruction. She got hers done about 3 years back in NUH as well. Her motivation came when her hubby told her that the prosthesis is of a rubbery/plastic texture and asked if she would be able to take the heat in our hot weather. I thought that is a very practical consideration as I’m VERY afraid of heat, especially when I’m with the children. So God sent this lady to help me make my decision just the night before I went to see the docs. She also assured me that the plastic surgeon is a very good one. Since we’ve already decided on the options it won’t make any difference whether we delay it for a week or a month. So when we met with the team on Wednesday last week, it was a very quick meeting to confirm what needs to be done and when-I really left the how-tos to the docs and I was already checked into the hospital by late afternoon. I remembered a friend reminded me to make all decisions by faith. I reflected and saw that as I obeyed God to go through the surgery, God put EVERYTHING into place.
God also brought a friend to visit me the night before my surgery. It was a very good time of fellowship. We don’t usually get 1 hr of uninterrupted time of sharing. God gave me a chance to talk through the decision one more time and also to tell me why I must go under the knife. As I spent time with the Lord, He wanted me to discover Jesus like how Paul and Silas did when they were arrested (Acts 16:16-40). I learnt that the word joy, in Greek – chara, is the supernatural result which flows from the glorious discovery of our Lord and Saviour in every circumstance where we wish to find Him. And I’ve found the joy-so real, so overflowing and so full of peace and indescribable. A few friends suggested healing services and alternative ways of cure. I’ve read and considered and you know what? When this friend prayed for me, God told me the second and more important reason why I must go for the surgery-so that He may be glorified. If I had gone for the healing sessions or found some cure, those who know about my situation will probably do likewise – go for the healing sessions or buy the cure. And God will be missed.
2. Joy of restoration
Before I laid down to rest the night before the surgery, I spent time with the Lord. As I read Psalm 71, the first part of verse 16 remained in my mind and stayed with me till my surgery
‘I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD;‘ (This is NKJV-happened to have this Bible with me. the NIV version is slightly different and is not as meaningful in my situation. Do read the whole Psalm below, it’s very beautiful. I read it a few times and knew EXACTLY what the Lord wanted me to do. Don’t skip it if you have time to read it below. Be encouraged.)
|1 In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame.
2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;
3 Be my rock of refuge,
4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,
5 For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD,
6 From birth I have relied on you;
7 I have become like a portent to many,
8 My mouth is filled with your praise,
9 Do not cast me away when I am old;
10 For my enemies speak against me;
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
12 Be not far from me, O God;
13 May my accusers perish in shame;
14 But as for me, I will always have hope;
|15 My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
of your salvation all day long,
though I know not its measure.
16 I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign LORD;
17 Since my youth, O God, you have taught me,
18 Even when I am old and gray,
19 Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God,
20 Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter,
21 You will increase my honor
22 I will praise you with the harp
23 My lips will shout for joy
24 My tongue will tell of your righteous acts
God also told me that I will only suffer a little while and He will restore. It’s so reassuring-He knew what I would go through before I went through it and knew I needed restoration. That’s my GOD J so BIG, so GOOD and so much in CONTROL. I was refreshed by
1 Peter 5:10-11
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.
So if God has ordained difficulty for me, He has also ordained restoration. WOW!!! Again, I have the peace. God is sssssssoooooo very good right? I really cannot give thanks enough. And since I will be restored, all I need to do is to rejoice and rejoice and rejoice. I was singing hymns and praises to God as I waited for the surgery. CM and some friends felt they wanted to extend support and be with me, and I believe the Lord knows-that’s why surgery was especially early J In fact they rescheduled some surgeries to fit me in and I was the first. PTL!!! That time of communion with the Lord was very good. I have never felt so much peace and joy and I know everything will be fine. He showed me that He is carrying me and will carry me through. The team of docs and nurses were very good and reassuring and I was so glad that once I was given the GA, I slept like the next minute and didn’t know anything. By the time I heard people calling my name at the recovery room outside the operation theatre, I thought-Eh? So fast? You mean it’s over? I could not believe it!! But it was done!!! Hurray!!!!
3. Quick restoration
-Day 1- regain partial consciousness by evening and started feeling very itchy. I got hubby to help scratch and the next bed’s lady’s helper also helped me when hubby was not able to attend to me. She is so kind. She must be Godsend 🙂 I was out of GA by midnight and was able to rest. I stopped using the morphine although I was able to control it. I didn’t feel any pain.
-Day 2-I was up and sitting and am very happy 🙂 the docs came by and were very happy at how I was progressing. I had to bring in a girdle to wear to help keep the wound together. The only one I could find was one I wore 10 yrs ago when I got married. So I was reminded that this year will be our 10th anniversary!!! WOW!!!! Sounds like a long time… The girdle is super tight and took 2 male docs to help me to wear. I felt the stress immediately-how to urinate?? Along came this nurse who helped me with the girdle and she said she is using one too. All the nurses and I looked at her and she shared that she is getting married and so had to keep her figure; she’s a little on the plump side. She told me that her girdle is very convenient-had buttons below like rompers, a zip at the side and flaps in front to button. That’s the PERFECT girdle I need!!!! So when CM came to visit me I told him to go get it immediately-thankfully not too far away, she bought it at this maternity shop at Jurong Point. That really helped me to be more independent as I later on was able to go to the bathroom myself. See how God knows my immediate need? Thank you Father 🙂 as I talked to God, He reminded me that I will experience joy as I abide in Him. As I read John 15:1-17, verse 7 stood out-
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.
Instantly I was reminded of Psalm 71:16 ‘I will go in the strength of the Lord GOD’. His words were with me as I went into the OT and there I found joy 🙂 God is teaching me so much about joy!! This is sssssssssooooooo exciting!!!! I can’t wait to share!! And God proceeded to tell me about this the next day…
-Day 3-I was unable to sleep as I really found it very difficult to use a bed pan and finally asked for the portable toilet to use. It was a great relieve to be able to let gravity help. Thereafter I made it a point to take walks to the further toilet to get some exercise. It feels so GOOD to walk. I fear that lying down will give me more backaches. So unless I have to, I won’t. Many friends came to visit and by this time, I had many flowers and people to cheer me up. I thank God for all the friends and family members who came to share in my joy. I appreciate all the prayers, gifts, hugs, kisses, emails, sms and phone calls. I believe the Lord knows that I won’t be able to contain my joy and excitement till I write this email and so He gave me the outlets-God is so humourous…heehee….
God taught me more about joy in the follow verse in Philemon 7
Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.
Ok got to get to work…and that’s why God brought all the visitors. One friend who came by mentioned another friend’s baby is also warded. She had a shriveled bile duct and so her jaundice level remained very high for more than a month. My heart went out to the family immediately-this baby reminded me of my baby Li-Ann when she was in hospital for operation when she was a few days old. I can imagine the uncertainty the parents felt. And I wasn’t sure if I could remember the dad coz the last time is saw him was when I was in the university more than 10 years ago. Maybe he doesn’t even remember me. Anyhow CM and I felt that we must go and visit the baby and her parents and to encourage them and pray for them. It was a very good time of fellowshipping over the next 2 days and I assured them that their baby, Ariel, is in good hands. She has the same team of doc as Li-Ann and the surgeon is excellent and so are the nurses in the pediatric ward. God also gave them another family whose baby is going through the same situation to encourage one another. God has also assured the father that in spite of all these, his baby Ariel (meaning God’s lion), will be ‘a lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing;’ (Proverbs 30:30). Such a timely encouragement for the father who is leading, protecting and providing for the family!!! He is GOOD!!! We saw Ariel yesterday and her tubes were off her and she could take more breast milk now. She is very cute and active and mommy is so glad she can carry the baby. The doctors will continue to monitor her condition regularly even after she is discharged. Please pray
-God will help her liver to function well and will preserve her for His works
-God to show the parents the purpose of Ariel in their lives
-baby can be discharged soon, to enjoy her time with her 2 siblings and to be strengthened in the comfort of the home
God reminded me that being in the body of Christ, my gifts are not just for me, they are for the body of Christ. And as brothers and sisters-in-Christ, we are to challenge one another to dig deeper into God’s Word. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us what we must do:
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Let’s unite as a family. Don’t be a stand alone target for the devil. We have each other. And let’s remind each other about the GREAT God whom we have.
-Day 4-I was sitting up all day until I had to go to bed at night. It was good and I felt stronger. So God went on to teach me about this peace that He gave me. I was told to read Job 1-3. Nothing new coz I already read it but the learning point was that job was in such great despair because he had lost his peace. He felt fear, dread and had no rest. He even felt that he should not be born!! I was reminded in Luke 22:31-32 of the Lord’s protection on Simon Peter
Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.
He has done the same for me. He will do the same for you too, my sisters and brothers. Be strengthened!!
-Day 5-I couldn’t really slept as I was wondering how I can encourage my parents. I really want them to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. I actually had to take some time to pray before I went back to sleep. And God gave me the answer when I met Him in Word. Isn’t He good? I know that Jesus is my peace and yes I find it hard to explain the peace He gives me. But in Matthew 10:34 Jesus said something else rather contradictory
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
The definition of sword (Greek-machaira) is ‘knife’ and the opposite is peace (Greek-eirene). The sword, meaning the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 6:17) had divided the righteous from the unrighteous, the humble from the proud, the faithful from the unfaithful and the genuine from the Pharisee. His Word cut to the heart, dividing friends and family, saints and synagogues. How then is peace possible? Colossians 1:19-20 tells us (please read in full context v15-23)
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
So until the fullness of the Godhead made peace with death, we can never experience peace with the God. The CROSS is the answer. That’s how I can share with my parents. WOW!!! A lot to share and God showed me how. thank you Abba Father…
I came home on day 5-lunch was provided on time at the hospital and I was quickly given my medication and we were home by 2pm. so now I am R&R at home 🙂 I am getting FIRST class service 🙂
4. Posture of trust
All of you have asked how we will cope now that I need to recuperate and rest. Please give thanks
-CM’s on leave till this week. He’s managing the household and children very well. The children are very well-behaved and helped out at home and even when they were at the homes of friends. Even Li-Ann was easy.
-John didn’t feel neglected although his birthday was on Sunday as we celebrated it the previous weekend. Such a wonderful God!!! As a mom I really wanted to celebrate for him and not want him to feel that I wasn’t there for him. God knew my need and met it perfectly.
-Li-Ann was not neglected either. We were rather worried how we should send her to school but we received a letter to say that school for the babies has been suspended till further notice because of HFMD. YES!!! PTL!!!
-Friends babysat the children when my mom was unable to. A friend even shared how john and Rebecca also helped her family to grow. I pray that my children will impact many for Christ.
-How about meals? CM was concerned as he would be back to work next week. I wasn’t thinking-still R&R and told him I would consider that when this week’s up. A friend spoke to me and gave me ideas for simple meals. A good one was to ask a helper whom she knows to make some dumplings so I can freeze up for the family. I was just thinking of getting some dumplings!!! And God knew!! With this, we can still eat simple yet healthy food coz I can choose what I want to put inside the dumplings, including the flour for the skin. WOW!!! Very exciting right?
-My mom has also said she would be on leave next week and may be able to help with the meals. That’s wonderful!!!
What about after that? How long can my mom take leave? God has also told me what to expect. I was to read about how Jesus fed the 5000 people in John 6:1-15. What is in focus was what Jesus did BEFORE He fed them, v11-12 (see if you can pick it out)
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.
Remember I shared with you about my mom-in-law who was very concerned about the surgery and she also gave suggestions about my recuperation plans? God sent someone to speak to her and told her to let go. WOW! Strong words and God picked a friend in her CG to tell her that. This faithful, tough but soft-spoken lady came and visited me and shared this with me. She told me how God gave her boldness to share during their CG meeting on that Friday evening after my surgery. I really really thank God coz while I could say the same thing, I can never say them the way it comes from this lady, who is my MIL’s trusted peer. That really was another burden off my mind. MIL came with FIL to visit tonight and she asked me these questions. I told her frankly that somehow my plans stopped by Good Friday next week and we’ll take it a week at a time. I want to take it sitting down at the feet of Jesus. I don’t want to tire myself out by running around aimlessly and I may finally, still return to the same spot. God honoured this desire and a good friend came by with her 3 children to bring us delicious chicken soup and pizza for dinner!!! Ok don’t drool now; no more leftovers 🙂 !!! We all enjoyed the home-cooked meal. CM just finished cooking for lunch, we’ll be at mom’s for dinner and then we’ll check out Friday. So sit with me and receive His showers of blessings…..ooohhhhh it feels sssssoooo GOOD and refreshing. The other thing that we want to sit and wait upon the Lord is cm’s job. I’m sure I will share this excitement later on when God tells us. Akan datang….
I went back to see the docs yesterday, after a late night. I wasn’t able to sleep as I was feeling very itchy!!!! I think the Lord knows that I can take pain but not ITCH!!!! Ok something else I need to learn. The docs changed my dressing and are very happy with how I’m recovering. I’ve got one more drain left-to help drain out blood and fluids, and that may be removed tomorrow.
I want to share a very good book that hubby gave me as a birthday gift – ‘What Mary and Joseph Knew About Parenting’ by Rick Osborne. As I read the book in the hospital, I was reminded of the awesome responsibility I am given as a steward. The author took learning points from the Bible, shared from his own experiences and gave very practical tips on parenting as well. The BEST part is: each chapter can be read in 5-10 minutes and they are not related in any way and so you can pick and choose what you wish to read. I found many answers as he drew parallels to the parents in the Bible. And it’s still applicable even when the children are college going. Ok where to get it? cm got it from Life bookshop. You can probably find it at major christian bookshops or even on the internet bookstores.
So I’ve got my BIG present for my 10th wedding anniversary- a new breast and a liposuction. Don’t get envious…heehee…am sure CM will think of something too-he still has 6 mths to go…hint…hint… and God will round up the year with many lessons for me so I’m geared for next year.
Thank you for sharing in our growth, joy and excitement. Thank you for rallying friends and one another to pray. I am very touched and feel much loved. I appreciate your patience as you read this SUPER LONG email. Thank you for all the encouragement and affirmation but please, please see Jesus in all these otherwise I would have gone through it in vain and you’ll find a mushroomed headed apple 😦 quite distorted and not very pleasant looking right? Please share with your spouses, children and even the helpers. Whether they are 6 or 16 or 60 years old, let the Lord Minister to them. Let the Lord teach them from His Word. End times are near and my only prayer is that the WHOLE family be saved. I envision the day when the WHOLE family can come together to praise God and sing hymns and give thanks for how He has worked in our family. Oh it will be so wonderful…..it’ll be like heaven on earth…. 🙂 I cannot describe my joy even as I write this. I pray that you experience God’s joy and peace in a very deep and personal way.
I will update you on the results of the lump when I have them and whatever treatment required. I pray that results are favourable and NO treatment is required.
Have an EXCITING weekend 🙂