I was emotionally drained last weekend. My husband and I together with my younger brother visited two close relatives who are stricken with a debiliating disease. My uncle, who is in his late 40’s discovered just a few months ago that he is only living on a fourth of his liver. Three-fourths of this organ is destroyed by cancer. Operating on the diseased liver would cost him his life so his doctors performed an operation that would block the supply of blood to the tumor. After weeks in the hospital, he came home last week but still under observation.
When I saw him last Saturday, it was as if I was meeting a new person. You see, my uncle is a sports buff. When he was still in his teens, he would be riding his BMX bike every chance he gets. He would also frequent the gym and would be running in the morning and in the afternoon. I remember he would also join marathons too. Years have separated us but we have been reunited in the last five years or so. i found out that he continued his healthy lifestyle that he has influenced his teenaged son to go biking with him too. But last Saturday, I saw a frail man who lost so much of physique and aged 20 to 30 years. I couldn’t believe my eyes.
It was the first time I talked to him face to face after finding about his condition. He explained to me the procedure that was done to him and why he lost so much weight. He had other visitors too that afternoon that I couldn’t get the chance to talk to him privately. I wanted to share with him the gospel of Jesus Christ but the timing was just off. So, instead I just told him that I wanted to pray for him. First, he called his sons and his other friends. As we were gathering in a circle, he started calling everybody. I was overwhelmed because this was my first time pray for someone among people I don’t know. But I was determined to pray for him no matter what they think of me or whatever their belief was. I was there to minister to my dear uncle. Then, I prayed. It was not a scripted prayer as I was pouring out my emotions to God. After the prayer, I found my uncle sobbing and almost all the people around him were also in tears. Seeing this man in tears broke my heart. I just hugged him and told him that we love him and that my family and I are there to pray for him and help him in anyway we can. He thanked me for the prayers and said that he was touched by the words. I hugged him again and left. I couldn’t stay anymore as we were also going to visit an aunt in another place.
We had to travel from the south to north that day. Traffic was bad as usual but I had to see my aunt that day too. She was here in the Philippines for a vacation. My aunt is based in San Diego California and was diagnosed 5 years ago with cancer. On her fifth year, doctors found out that her disease metastasized already. She completed yet another round of chemotherapy sessions in the states. Last month, I heard she was here for a vacation. I was really surprised that she, a cancer patient, travelled thousands of miles to her native land, alone. Then, I saw her posts in Facebook. She was having the time of her life here. She has been busy exploring some of the best places in our country. In fact, she has been to more places in the past weeks than me who has been a citizen for almost 40 years! Her schedule was so full that we only had dinner that weekend because I have to take her to another relatives’ house again for another trip.
The last time I saw my aunt, the cancer was not detected yet. But when I saw her now, cancer and all, she looked healthy except for her hair which was short because of her chemo but other that that, you wouldn’t imagine her being sick. She looked so radiant and laughed a lot over dinner.She showed me pictures of my cousins whom I haven’t seen for 30 years, I guess. She would tell me her adventures to Palawan, Davao, and other wonderful places. She shared that she was so blessed to experience all the love from family and friends who provided for her during her stay.
Se shared a funny incident in Davao. They were supposed to go hiking in one of the areas there but the people in charge of the trail have to check her blood pressure to make sure she can make the climb. My aunt knew that she wouldn’t be able to do it since she is hypertensive. But when they checked, her blood was as healthy as that of a teenaged girl! When she told me this, I said, “The Lord really wanted you to climb that mountain!” She laughed in agreement.
It was really The Lord who provided that once in a lifetime experience for her. Indeed, God was with her all the time. From her diagnosis, to her difficult chemotherapy sessions, to conquering the heights in Davao, The Lord Almighty, did all of that for her. I know that there is more to her life. People see that she is God’s walking miracle.
It was a high and low emotional ride for me to witness two different people both stricken with a life-debilitating diseases. I am thankful for my aunt who has found The Lord even before all this has happened in her life. The joy that fills her heart now is because of the unspeakable joy she found in Jesus Christ. On the other hand, my uncle is still coming to terms with his condition and his relationship with The Lord. I know our God is patient, merciful and gracious. I pray that in God’s perfect time, my uncle would experience the joy that only comes from having a right relationship with God.