A Turning Point

The year 2010 was an eventful one for me; perhaps it was the most important year of my life till date. Over a period of six months, my life was slowly making a turn. In many ways, I was turning from wrong to right, although in the natural it seemed to be quite the opposite.

January 2010 started like any other year and the dawn of a new year always brought about a sense of freshness and hope. The year ahead was full of promise and possibilities, and I dived headlong into it. Very soon, I was heavily engaged with work and ministry, and my calendar started to fill up. One morning, a sharp pain hit my right shoulder and left my right arm immobilized. I tried to lift it but it was very painful. The highest I could lift my arm was for it to be level with my shoulder, but not any higher than that. A day turned into few days and before long, it was weeks when I would wake up each morning with this sharp pain running across the length of my shoulders. On some days, it was excruciating just to get up from bed and my wife would have to gently pull me up. In March 2010, we decided that I should go for a check-up as the pain didn’t seem to be subsiding and three months were enough to prove that it was more than something superficial. We suspected rheumatoid arthritis to be the culprit.

A routine check at the hospital turned into a 3-day hospital stay, with immediate hospitalization required. The doctors found something we were not looking for and they needed to confirm their diagnosis. Apparently my blood counts were much lower than normal but they didn’t find the rheumatoid factor in my body. Finally, on 7 April 2010, we were told that I had a form of leukemia called hairy cell leukemia. It was a rare and chronic form of leukemia, which left us wondering to be shocked or grateful. I guessed we felt both and I still remember the initial few days were a blank as we allowed the diagnosis to sink in. The good thing about chronic leukemia is that it allows time for treatment without the sudden threat of death, although all forms of leukemia can be deadly.

Many prayed with and for us at this time and we were confident that something good would come out of this episode. It is always easy to ask “Why me?” in situations like these, but I prefer to ask “Why, God?” and “What do You want to do?”. There was an improvement in the next two months as we prayed but not significant enough for us to know that healing had taken place. In June 2010, we decided to start on chemotherapy and this was when the show became interesting.

I was in the hospital for the most part of June. In fact, I was hospitalized twice! I discharged after my treatment was over and I was back in the hospital again five days later, and I admitted through the A&E department no less. I caught an infection and complications arose, which at most was a few days of medical leave for a normal person, but it was a matter of life and death for a cancer patient.

My condition started to improve in July when I completed all the rounds of treatment. My blood counts improved each week, but there were also weeks when they dropped drastically. All in all, mine was a gradual healing and in 23 August 2010, I was given a clean bill of health and I have been cancer-free for more than a year now.

And the shoulder pain? It was completely gone the week that we learnt of the diagnosis. God is absolutely amazing and good, isn’t He?

by Fu Ceming