You may have heard that cancer is curable. But you need to know that inspite of good medical research and care, the cancer can return. My type of cancer was considered the milder one. In 2019 I went through 6 sessions of Chemotherapy, from January to April. There was a gap of 3 weeks between each session. There were some bad side effects and that is the time I found solace in prayer and importantly others praying for me. God gave me courage and grace to endure and by June 2019 I was cancer free.
This led me to think that I now needed to lead a full life and make the most of the extended time given to me by the Lord. My children arranged for us to be with them from August until November, partly in Dubai and the remainder in UK. Anjean and I were overwhelmed with joy to be with them. I did a lot of travel, and met so many of our friends, community members and family. I even got an opportunity to play tennis, which I had not done in the past 25 years.
However on my return to India, in December I was diagnosed with a mild relapse of cancer. So after a round of investigations I was given 6 sessions of radiation . The subsequent report was good,
Then in April suddenly I saw some nodules on my right arm and shoulder. My doctor sent me for a petscan and it showed that the cancer had spread to 4 different areas. I was shocked. Over and above the shock, I was given to understand that Non Hodgekins Lymphoma is generally curable; but if it returns , then I fall in the category of 40% where it will not be cured. So this left me quite stunned.
Then began the chemotherapy at end of April, which was given in two parts ….a full day session and a half day session to complete one cycle. I was scheduled to take 6 complete cycles. Again I saw the provision of God in my finances through family, friends and medical insurance. By June 2020, I was again given a scan which showed an all clear report. My doctor though recommended that I complete the 6 cycles so that the treatment dealt with the cancer thoroughly. This last part has been very painful and I have had bad side effects. Constant Diarhoea and inability to retain a normal meal. Anjean has been rock solid with me at this time to standby me, praying and looking after all my needs…truly an angel to me as her full name is really ‘ Maria dos Anjos’.
I am grateful to my children, who have been doing their best , even though so far. They give us the feeling as if they are with us, with their numerous phone calls and even zoom meetings to pray together.
I specially acknowledge a good neighbour Hansel Baptista. He has gone out of his way to help to take us to and fro to the Hospital for these sessions. Hansel has become like a family member to us, in the absence of our children. Likewise Ben and Sandra, have always been ever ready to help us at any time ( we specially appreciate the times of intercession) . Aroon and Elaine from our Community and neighbours Avina and Carmen have made special efforts to reach out in significant ways . The call to pray from current community leader Eugene Peres, via telephone network of members, before every chemotherapy session has been a blessing.
Yes , prayers from my own Community of Jesus and Communities in India and all over the world, specially London, Glasgow and Dublin and Manila, and the Brothers from the Servants of the Word, have sustained me with courage and grace, to live a life fully. The Lord’s presence is sufficient indeed. Romeo Fernando and his team of intercessors from the Community of the Good Shepherd have been consistently praying for me.
Finally I acknowledge Fr Nigel Barett our Parish Priest from Our Lady of the Rosary, who made a special effort to bring me Holy Communion on a few occasions when I needed the Lord so much.
This has set me thinking about a lot of things.
Did I seriously think that after the first round of treatment and being cleared of traces of cancer that I will not get it again.?
Did I ever realize that many caṇcer patients suffer much more than me.
Am I aware that I have courage and a positive approach , only because this comes from the grace of
God and that many people known to me and even not known are praying for me?
What am I going to do in the months ahead? How will I respond to a God who loves me so much?
Finally , should I not accept that the final call can come any time irrespective of all the medical treatment I receive ?
So this second round of cancer relapse has helped me to realize and relook at life.
Importantly it is a reminder to me that my life on earth is limited. It has given me the assurance that whatever happens, as long as I live now…………
‘If we live we live to the Lord ; and If we die, we die to the Lord , whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.’ ( Romans 8:14)