“the scan isn’t to see if you have cancer or not. you have cancer. it’s to see if it spread.” with those words i sunk to the floor of my dorm room at liberty university. suddenly, it all made so much sense. my dad’s sudden and fervent request that i stay home and start university the following january. my cousin’s facebook message saying how strong i was and that she was praying for me.
the reality of the situation didn’t sink in. even up until the day of surgery (the first of what would end up being six surgeries in just one year and ten months) in october of 2012. i hadn’t fully grasped what was happening. “we’ll take out the large intestine and give you a colostomy bag” (aka poop bag… any grey’s anatomy fans out here?) the surgeon said. three months later they’d put the end of my small intestine back inside of my body and all would be well. as it turned out, that was not the case and i had quite a roller coaster of two years ahead of me.
fast forward to a couple of weeks post-surgery (silly me thought i was going back down to school just shy of three weeks after surgery. ha. no way.) and i get the sit down with my family. turns out that the cancer had indeed spread. “stage 3a cancer”, they called it. chemotherapy would be the next step. my brother-in-law (who wasn’t there) called and, in true fadi fashion, made me laugh with a well-timed comment “well, i know you’ve always wanted to shave your head and see what it looks like… now you might get the chance to.”
the hardest thing for me was seeing how hard this was for my family and for my friends. i, by the sheer grace of god, was okay. i wasn’t too happy about all the needles and blood work and i.v.s that i had to sit through (neither were my tiny veins), but aside from that i was genuinely okay. when the oncologist told my that i should freeze my eggs i was just a little freaked out as he was simultaneously telling me i should begin chemo as soon as possible. but i wasn’t worried or scared because i knew my god was faithful. i had hope in my god for all of his promises are yes and amen. he doesn’t lie. he is a good father.
may 21st, 2014. i went in for my third surgery (with hopes that it would be my last) and woke up four days later. i lost around three liters of blood and had to get opened back up a few hours later when they discovered the internal bleeding. they couldn’t stop the bleed so they packed me with gauze and left me open with a mesh covering. i was sedated in an induced coma-like state for four days. over the course of those four days, they went back in again and were able to stop the bleeding. it was in these four days (and the summer that followed) that i most tangibly saw the hand of god at work in my life (thus far).
because i know who my god is and i know that he works every single thing for my good, i was able to walk through that process. i used to be a very “i can do it. i don’t need help” independent, head-strong woman. (who am i kidding? i’m still pretty independent and head-strong). with several belly button to waistline opening surgeries and the toll that chemo took on my body, i was given no choice but to ask for help with things. god used that process to show me that relying on other people at times and letting others help me was not a sign of weakness. that i cannot do this thing called life on my own and that i have family (both natural and church) that will stand with me and support me when i literally don’t have the strength to stand on my own.
i used to view this disgusting, repulsive thing called cancer as a monster, but i have realized that every single thing will bow at the knee before jesus. my god is bigger than cancer. my god is a healer. he is a miracle-working god. he is the god who spoke everything into being. he is the god of the impossible. he is the god of restoration. he purchased my healing with the precious blood of his son and i am so grateful that he’s not done with me yet.
those of you facing health problems of any kind, i stand with you in prayer. i pray the healing power of the blood of jesus and the finished work of the cross on calvary over you right you.
so much love,