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It just disappeared! cancer < GOD

1 May
We sat around the table as a family. All five of us agreed that we would seek God for an answer, especially my mom. She wasn’t getting up without hearing something. One by one over the next three hours, my brother, dad, daughter and I left. Alone at the dining table, my mother waited for her “sign.”

 

Three months earlier on May 24, 2005, my mom was diagnosed with stage three rectal cancer. The hard, immovable mass was the shape of half a baseball, had tentacles, and had begun spreading to her lymph nodes. The advised treatment by Kaiser was six weeks of chemo and radiation to ideally “shrink” the cancer; then surgery to cut out the remains and perform a colostomy, ultimately rerouting her rectum to an external port at her side with a bag attached to receive the waste.

 

The “C” word had gripped me with fear; our whole family was in turmoil. Out of desperation, my dad suggested he and my mom go to a place he’d seen healing first hand; at the battered women’s shelter where he often volunteered, they prayed for things like a broken leg and back pain and seen people healed right before their eyes. Yet, even with these stories of miraculous healings, my mother’s mantra was, “Why would God heal me?” And while she couldn’t fathom why God would heal her, in particular, of cancer; she allowed the women of Shepherd’s Gate to lay hands on her, and ask God for a miracle.

 

As they left the property, the Director of the Ministry, Steve, offered my dad prayer as well, adding, “We don’t know what’s ahead, but I’m sure you’re going to need prayer as well.” And while my mother felt no different as they got into the car to leave, my dad claims that not more than a few minutes later, suddenly the Gift of Faith (see 1 Corinthians 12:7-11) was dropped into him and, “I just knew she was healed.” In the nine months leading up to this moment, my dad had been searching the scriptures, reading, and re-reading all accounts of healing.  The Bible has 43 recorded miraculous healings, and my dad knew each one intimately. Apparently, the reading of scripture had prepared the soil of my dad’s heart so that when prayer was added to the fertile ground of hope, faith sprouted in abundance!

 

The same day, my father gathered the family in the kitchen, “I know you are going to be healed; I know Elaine is going to be healed of cancer by Jesus.” We all looked at him with doubt in our hearts and concern on our faces. But he insisted, “I have read accounts where Jesus healed over and over again. I think God was preparing me; I know God heals. I can’t convince myself that he doesn’t. It would be like trying to convince me that the Pacific Ocean was not out there to the west. I know it is; just like I know you are going to be healed Elaine.”

 

While most wives might be encouraged by their husband’s declaration of faith; years of mistrust concerning my dad only made my mom uncomfortable and nervous. She didn’t trust her husband’s motives and she didn’t think God would do something so extravagant for her; the best plan of action in her mind was to take the doctor’s advice and go for the full medical treatment with all the bells and whistles, even if it did mean never using a toilet the same way again.

 

photo(13)Two weeks later, my dad’s proclamation about her healing began to take shape…the only problem was, we had no evidence. In the bathroom, just as she was about to flush, she spotted a fleshy clump with root-like fingers floating in the bowl; a similar but smaller specimen had appeared during her last bathroom visit. Yet even with two occurrences of abnormal items in the bowl, it didn’t yet register to her that she had seen firsthand “exhibit A and B” of her personal miracle. Out of habit and not thinking, she flushed the toilet.

 

Sixteen days later on July 11, 2005, my mother started chemo and radiation treatment at Kaiser Hospital in Walnut Creek. After only one week of treatment, her Oncologist called with some peculiar results. “Good evening,” Dr. Lui began. “Well, I have looked over your chart and it’s a bit strange. The cancerous mass is malleable and has become granulated tissue. When I examined you several months ago, the mass was solid…hard as a rock. Now the tissue is clumpy and gelatinous. It appears to be coming apart.” He paused and then added, “I cannot attribute this to your receiving only one week of chemo and radiation treatments (his records would later show he changed his mind). I might even classify it as miraculous.” But before we could start celebrating he went back into doctor mode and advised, “However, I think we should still proceed with your medical treatments just to be safe.”Being a good patient, my mother did continue her treatments for four and a half more weeks. Even while the evidence was mounting in favor of a miracle, she still needed to be fully convinced in her own mind that God was doing something phenomenal for her.  So there we sat…around the dining room table; my mother intently seeking God’s will about the situation. After we had all gotten up and left, she remained, determined not to move until He spoke. She wasn’t willing to simply adopt my father’s faith; she needed something of her own. As she sat quietly, eyes closed, she says at one point this large eye was all she could see in her mind. It filled her head and this tranquil blue eye was fixed on her. Along with the intense onlooker, who she could sense was God, came this verse into her head, with power and life:

 

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
 Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.”
Psalm 32:8-9

 

This was the confirmation she had been longing for; without hesitation she too believed God was healing her and that she no longer needed the chemo and radiation treatments. That very afternoon on August 15, 2005, she called her doctors, “I believe God is healing me of cancer so I won’t be showing up for any of my chemo or radiation treatments.”  While they couldn’t stop her, the doctors advised highly against her decision; it was a death sentence in their minds.

 

On October 21, 2005, during Dr. Lui’s third examination since my mother had stopped her treatment, he became flustered and panicked.  In an authoritative, but frantic way, he ordered the nurse to get him prepped for a biopsy so he could remove tissue from the original cancer site. Duriphoto(14)ng the first examination after my mother stopped her chemo and radiation treatment, he refused to take a biopsy; while the mass of tissue had shrunk to only one tenth of its original size and God’s healing was materializing, Dr. Lui was still convinced logic would prevail and the cancer would need to be surgically removed. By the second visit, the tissue abnormality was now the size of an M & M, and Dr. Lui was still on track to do his job regardless; he didn’t care that his target was rapidly shrinking before his very eyes. But by this third visit, all hope for “business as usual” was gone…literally!  At the original cancer site, the rectal wall, previously engorged by a firm tissue mass of cancerous cells, was now totally pink and smooth, with no signs of abnormality. ALL THE CANCER HAD DISAPPEARED! Grabbing for metal devices, trying to find the right length and tool, Dr. Lui pinched and cut a piece of tissue from the site of origin as my mother winced in pain. “I’m sending this out to the lab immediately,” he said. “While it looks like there is no cancer remaining, we need them to test these cells because we can’t be sure it’s gone.” I don’t think Dr. Lui was against my mother being miraculously healed, it’s just that he’d never seen it happen before; he didn’t know what to do with himself. He was a doctor, without a job.

 

As we waited patiently over the weekend for the test results, there was rising hope that indeed, my mother had been miraculously healed of stage three rectal cancer! I’m sure it sounds odd that we weren’t already popping the champagne cork; but when you’re in the middle of a miracle, you aren’t quite sure what’s happening.

 

Doubts plague your thought life, “Is this what normally happens when someone does only part of their chemo and radiation treatment?”

 

“Is it a temporary glitch and the cancer will come back with a vengeance?”
“Did we imagine this whole ordeal? What is going on?”
The other difficulty with front row seats to the miraculous is that it’s nothing like it would be in a movie; there’s no soundtrack playing to a crescendo, lighting and close-ups to signal one intense moment over another and no voice-over to clue you in on what’s happening.

 

However, when the test results came back negative for cancer, when my mom flatly refused surgery altogether, and when each year every exam only confirms the lack of any cancerous cells…over time, this miracle only becomes more real and shines God’s glory over our family!  I now can confidently testify that God personally stepped into our lives, and did the impossible. We each were beautifully confronted with the Truth that God the Father is good, that Jesus the Christ does heal, and that the Holy Spirit personally brings life altering revelation from the throne of God.

 

Witnessing a bonafide Biblical sized Miracle pretty much messes up all prospects of remaining an average “churchgoer,” a “theological exert” or an aloof Christian with a laundry list of requests for God. I was face to face with my Creator, nowhere to hide; and I was now on the hook to respond in some manner…

 

What would you do if faced with a miracle? How would it change your life?  Who would you tell? How would you celebrate and acknowledge the event?
Intersecting Story: Origin of the Species
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