My faith in God is an extremely significant part of my life. My senior year in high school my faith was tested and I questioned my faith. I had a life threatening experience that changed my entire life. There are many reasons why I wanted to tell my story, mostly to encourage people that even though we face unexpected situations in life, God will always give us comfort and will help us overcome our problems. With only 8 months till graduation, I knew a chapter in my life would be ending and I would start a new beginning. One night my life changed completely and my dreams and future were put on hold. That night my brother found me on the floor having a seizure. I had a CT done and an MRI and I was diagnosed with Astrocytoma brain tumor stage 2 and needed to have surgery. During the operation the surgeon discovered that the tumor was deep and surrounded by nerves. As a result, he didn’t want to operate because they feared that I’d be paralyzed on the right side on my body. I had an appointment with a radiologist to discuss radiation and chemotherapy as an alternative to surgery, but he explained that the outcome would be the same as it they operated on me.
Desperately, we tried the other hospitals in Oregon, but unfortunately, no surgeon could help me. My family and I started to go to prayer group and having people pray over me gave me peace in my fragile state of mind. Because I was young, I was fearful for the future or even if I had future. At that time, having an optimistic attitude was very difficult for me. With the uncertainty about my life, I became a very different person. During that time, nothing mattered anymore. I thought that I had to face this alone, so I kept my feelings hidden and pretended I was all right, but inside I felt so scared and lost. Unfortunately, during that time, it affected and tested my faith. Instead of leaning on God, I bitterly ran the other way. I started to resent God and doubt his love for me, which I later regretted and was ashamed that I felt that way. I forgot that with hardship we should trust in God and believe in his promise that he would never leave us during our pain.
Months later, with all the prayers, my miracle finally came. My dad had a job interview and as he was waiting, he saw Time magazine fall 1997 special edition “Heroes of Medicine”. On the cover of the magazine, there was a picture a brain surgeon named Dr. Keith Black. The article was titled, “The War on Brain Cancer.” The Lord was leading me to one of the most talented brain surgeons in the country!
I had the tumor removed and although the surgery was successful, there were some complications. Removal of the tumor caused severe problems with my ability to speak, write and read. Relearning everything over again was one of the biggest challenges of my life. I struggled and had difficultly with the simple things I did before. To make matters worse, I was told that I had stage 3 cancer and needed to have radiation and chemotherapy. My life was a rollercoaster and at times, I wanted out. I realized, however, that the Lord was carrying me when I couldn’t stand on my own two feet. I was not alone.
I don’t know why we struggle in this world, but I know we don’t have to go through battles by ourselves. I used to be angry with God and asked why I had to go through this; but now I know, he was the one who got me through this difficult time of my life. The relationship with Jesus changed my life by removing the bitterness inside of me. Some people tell me that I’m strong for having gone through this, but I know that it was Jesus who gave me strength to go on. I want to encourage people by saying that God has a plan for each one of us and if you put God first in your life, he will direct your path.
It’s been ten years and I’m still cancer free…