Beyond Barriers

Published: Thursday July 31, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Wednesday August 6, 2014 MYT 1:54:30 PM

On the wings of a prayer

Into each life some rain must fall.

Life is capricious. One moment life is as snug as a bug in a rug, and the next, you feel like you’re being tamped down by a steamroller. 

Hubby and I were happily enjoying our retirement years when he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer four months ago. Our insouciant lifestyle was immediately derailed. We took the news calmly though emotionally, we felt as if we were hit by a crashing tidal wave which dragged us out to sea.

The enormity and seriousness of the diagnosis took a while to process. Hubby is not one to fret over circumstances. Being a practical man, he finds the best way to solve any problem which arises. He Googles to get more information and weighs the different treatment options.

Hubby had nagging haemorrhoids for years before he decided to have a colonoscopy done at the hospital. During the procedure, the doctor found a malignant growth near the rectum. A biopsy was done and the CT scan confirmed that he has colon cancer stage 3. After consultation with the surgeon, a date was set to have the cancerous part of his colon removed.

A few weeks later, hubby was wheeled into the operating theatre at a private medical centre some 120km from our home in Yong Peng, Johor. Our daughters rallied around him to offer emotional support.

After his surgery, he had to lie in bed for a week. He was on drip and not allowed to eat. It was his longest week ever. During the first few days, hubby suffered post-surgical nausea and sleeplessness. A miasma of gloom shrouded the family. Hubby showed incredible courage but I knew from the drawn look on his face that he was still in pain. 

By the fifth day after his surgery, hubby could smile again and recovered his effervescent sense of humour. After he was discharged, we had two or three batches of visitors every day. Relatives, friends, ex-colleagues, neighbours and church members visited us out of concern and kindness.

News of his cancer had been so unexpected that it drew compassion from many who know him. We have been receiving prayer support and encouragement from friends and family, and for that, we are most grateful.

Hubby will have to go through six rounds of chemotherapy and 25 sessions of radiotherapy. At the point of writing, he has braved two rounds of chemo and has almost completed the radiotherapy sessions. The radiation treatment gave him chronic diarrhoea and enervated him.

Cancer may seek to break his spirit but he has faith and is optimistic that things will get better. News of cancer patients not making it even after the long haul of treatment, haunts him but he is not giving up without a fight. There have been days of discomfort and days when he feels pretty good.

On good days, he does a little gardening and tends to his vegetable plot which he has neglected. On days that are trying, I can hear him singing the old hymn from his school days – “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passing through...”

Cancer is an insidious, crippling disease that dwells a blow to one’s finances. It causes debilitating fatigue to the patient and the caregivers. It literally brings us to our knees. For things that are beyond our control, we can only hope and pray.

Tags / Keywords: mary lim, cancer

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