By Helena Ooi
From Sister to Sisters
Titus 2:3-5: “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
When we are young we don’t think too much about our health. Many of us work hard at the expense of our health with the excuse that we do not have time to exercise or to have proper meals. As the saying goes, “When we were young, we use our health to chase wealth; when we are old or stricken by illnesses, we use our wealth to chase our health.” The law of nature applies here, for every action there is a reaction; for everything that we do, there are consequences.
To share my own experience; I belong to the workaholic group. I always put work first. Now looking back, I asked myself, “What have I achieved?” Yes, I have achieved the status which I never planned for. I was never ambitious and never planned for big things in life. I just wanted to do my best in whatever I was asked to do. When you are pushed upwards to take on more responsibilities, there will always be a price to pay and I found out that the price tag for me was my health!
The bad news came in April 2011 during one of my routine blood checks. My reading for CA19.9 was over the allowable level. Doctor advised me to check again after 2 months, which I did. Test results showed the index went up again. Doctor advised me to go for scopes. Results came out all clean. I had another blood test in October 2011. The marker went up double! On November 23, I went for a CT scan and results indicated there was a mass of around 3cm attached to the tip of my appendix. The doctor couldn’t figure out what caused it neither did he know what it was. Another doctor was recommended to look at my case. After some consultation and discussion, we decided surgery was the only option.
Sometime in December, I was informed of the results of the colon biopsy and it was diagnosed as cancer stage 2. How did I take it? It was disbelief at first. I was praying so hard that after the surgery, all will be well! First thought that I had was, “Am I going to die?” I have no answer. Anyway I subjected myself to accept the fact and trusted GOD to grant me strength and grace to do whatever is necessary.
My chemo started around end December 2011 and completed on 4th August 2012. I was in and out of hospital twice a month. On 4th September 2012, I went for my follow-up and the doctor declared I was cleared of cancer! Praise the Lord for His blessings!
I am so thankful for all the brethren who had prayed for me!
I am blessed with a wonderful husband who is always by my side all this while walking through this journey with me. His love, patience and concern have provided the comfort and assurance to me. He had never complained though he had to juggle between his work and at the same time attend to me!
I am also blessed with good family support, their show of concern as well as their visits.
GOD has blessed me with a sister and brother-in-law who provided me with a second home where I can take my meals and have my rest there. They took care of me after my surgery as well as during my treatment!
Above all these, I am thankful to GOD for His provisions, love and mercy without which I am sure I would not have come this far! It is His assurance via His word that provided the peace while I went through the treatment.
What are my reflections on this journey?
1. When things we prayed for are not fulfilled, it does not mean GOD did not answer our prayers. The answer is there; it can be “No” or “wait”. We need to have faith in GOD as He knows what is best for us according to His timing. He knows how much we can take (1Cor 10:13). Everything which happened, there is a purpose for it! (1 Cor10:11)
2. Be thankful for your body as long as it is healthy. There are many people who grumble about how they look, take all kinds of supplements and in extreme cases went for plastic surgery (some failed cases were highlighted in the newspapers.)
3. Take care of your health. Eat and do everything in moderation. Some people just enjoy their life as if there is no tomorrow. They drink and eat excessively, smoke and have a very unhealthy life style.
4. Go for regular check-ups as recommended by your doctor.
5. Get knowledgeable about food items and the nutrients in them.
Manage your work stress. Only take the job which gives you the
1. pressure you can bear. It is no point earning lots of money but at the end of the day, you have health issues, family issues and other issues due to your work.
2. Make time for your family. Some people can work day and night in the name of bringing home more money to provide more a comfortable life for the family, leaving no time to be spent with the family. No quality time for communication, building bonds with children and spouse, no family outings and other activities. This could result in a dysfunctional family where a lot of social problems will arise later on.
3. Appreciate those around you and never take them for granted. Life can be cruel at times. My niece of 50 years old passed away last year due to pancreatic cancer. I have good memories with her when we were young. I remember rocking her while she was a baby. As time passed by, we grew up and went our separate ways. Each of us were so busy with our own lives and families that we hardly meet with each other. It was only during those rare occasions of marriage, birthday and full moon celebration that we managed to meet. Even then it was “Hi and bye” with few words exchanged. I did not even know where she was working and how was her family life till she passed away. Sad, but true! So, we need to put effort into caring for our loved ones; a call, an e-mail or sms to enquire how they are!
4. Appreciate and be contented with what you have been provided with. Some people always wish for things they do not have. E.g. big house, big cars, overseas trips, branded products, social status, etc. They are so discontented and envious of what others have. This causes feelings of jealousy, criticisms and various bad feelings or actions which go against Christian principles. As a child of GOD, we should be content with what we have been given; we do our best to earn a decent living. We should not worry too much about tomorrow as stated in the bible (Luke 12:22-30).
5. Faith in GOD is the fundamental foundation for a happy life. Christ is our rock and our anchor. I have been depending on Him ever since I accepted Him as my Saviour! I rely on Him for strength when I was studying in UK. I rely on Him throughout my marriage life for small and big things. I rely on Him when I have issues with my work.(Roman 5:1-2, Prov 3:5-7)
6. We need both physical and spiritual health to walk with Christ. Our body is the temple of GOD (1Cor 6:19-20) and it is our duty to take care of it so that we can do the spiritual part of the work. We need both physical and spiritual strength to be an effective Christian.
This leads me to think of my “spiritual” health. Where am I on a scale of 1-5? I would say very low! I know I have plenty of faith in GOD; however, the bible did say faith alone will not suffice. Faith has to be accompanied by works (James 2:17).
I am really grateful for some brethren in the church who are really doing their best in God’s work in areas such as visiting, organising activities for the church, doing personal studies with prospects, BCC, Sunday School, ladies fellowship, outreach work, water the plants and so on.
During the Lord’s Supper, I am always thankful for our ladies who prepared the unleavened bread and those who prepared the Lord’s Supper for the Sunday morning worship!
There are also many other areas in church work where each of us can contribute, no matter how immaterial it may look, it does contribute to the overall growth and functions of the church.
In summary, we need to appreciate and be thankful for GOD’s gift to us no matter what it may be. In times of difficulties, call upon GOD for grace and mercy to be able to face our troubles. In good times, be thankful and share with those who are less fortunate. Contribute in whatever way we can afford e.g. in kind, in deed or monetary form. GOD has mentioned in 1Cor 12:14-27 that the church is just like our body. No one is more important than the others, the head cannot say it is the most important part of the body as without the others, the head has no use. So, dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all unite and work for Christ. Forget about our differences; contribute in whatever ways we can with love and faith! In non-doctrinal matters, let’s agree to disagree but let’s get things done. TEAM work (with Christ as the head) is the key to doing everything. The meaning of TEAM: Together Each Achieves More
Have a blessed week ahead.