On 14 August 2018, I was sitting opposite IY, a doctor friend who had suggested that I went for a PET/CT scan after my routine annual blood tests showed a raised level in two tumour-markers which had been normal a year ago. The scan had been completed and she had just spoken to the Radiologist. There was a large (5cm) tumour in my right lung, with spread to some lymph-nodes, a left rib and my right hip bone. IY told me she would refer me to an Oncologist, HL, who in her opinion, was the best. She made an appointment for me to see him that same afternoon, after I had collected the films from the Radiology Centre. IY asked how I felt. I told her again that I was asymptomatic, no cough, no breathlessness, completely normal. She said, “I meant, regarding the diagnosis.” She looked anxious, so I hastened to reassure her that I was ready to go HOME to heaven if that was God’s will, where my sister, mother and father have gone before and are waiting to welcome me.
“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through,
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue;
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”
Also one of my favourite poems in secondary school was this one by Robert Louis Stevenson:
“Under the dark and starry sky, dig my grave and let me lie, glad did I live, and gladly die. I lay me down with a will..
Home is the sailor home from the sea and the hunter home from the hill.”
“Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace.
I want to see my Saviour’s face, Heaven is a wonderful place.”
Knowing that she was also a Christian I shared that after I had passed my promised 3 score and 10 years a couple of years ago, I had asked God why was I still on earth and He reminded me that I still had several pre-believing friends, so my work on earth was still incomplete!
Apparently, even now my work on earth may still be incomplete. HL told me that he proposed I do an MRI brain to confirm that there were no metastases there and also arranged for a CT-guided needle biopsy of the lung tumour. These were done on 15th August and 17th August respectively as I had tennis on night of 15th and lunch with three friends on 16th.
God is so good to me. Although the tumour is malignant, i.e. a cancerous growth, I do not have to undergo any operation, nor chemotherapy. The drug I have to take is known as “targeted therapy”. One tablet a day with minimal to very mild side-effects, and HL is optimistic that I will be around for 3, 4 or even 5 years.
I have derived much comfort from Psalms 23, 40, 41, 46 & 91.
The following songs resonate within me:
“Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand;
But I know who holds tomorrow; and I know who holds my hand.”
“Coming suddenly, coming soon, coming certainly, night or noon
Jesus, I humbly pray
Wash all my sins away and keep me till that day when Thou shalt come.”
“…until then my heart will go on singing,
Until then with joy I’ll carry on
Until the day my eyes behold the city,
Until the day God calls me home.”
Please continue to pray along with me for my pre-believing friends, one of whom said, “You are so stoic, I don’t think I could be like you.” I told her, “I am not stoical, it is because I have Jesus that I have the confidence either to carry on or to go whichever is God’s will.”
By Dr Susan Toh (YCKC Bulletin 8&9 September 2018)