June 10, 2004 marks a day I shall never forget. The day began like most days, but that soon changed. Where should I begin? I shall begin at the very moment when that day changed all thoughts I ever had about my own life.
For about one year I asked why I would cough on a daily basis. The answer to my question finally came on June 10th. A doctor from the Veterans Affairs asked me to sit down to hear his answer to my question. When he told me that I have a tumor in my left kidney, I sat in numbness for a long while. I was not able to speak, but only stared into his eyes. It was when I saw enormous amount of compassion and empathy in his eyes I began to talk. We talked about my mortality. Eventually, I left his office wondering how I should tell my wife about this shocking news.
About twenty minutes later, I drove in our garage. My wife came out to greet me, and that alone was not her usual practice. When she saw my expression, I began to tell her that I have cancer. This news began to change all thoughts we ever had about our own mortality.
Plans for the following tests began to take place. There was a staff of doctors who had great interest in my case, and often discussed about the most effective plan to save my life. As for my own plan, I turned to God's merciful love.
After the following seven tests and five surgeries, tumors from two kidneys, bladder, and my right knee were removed. Now was the time for future treatment. The decision was for me to receive the interferon treatment. I must use this treatment to build up enough immune system against further growth of tumors.
A STRUGGLE WITH PATIENCE
The next five months proved to us that "patience" resolves any frustration that comes from having the lack there of. As for us not having patience, we wrongfully focused on an original solution for my recovery. This solution was simply to remove the tumor in my left kidney. This would later prove to be a very bad decision.
Starting with the first CAT SCAN, the team of doctors began to realize that I was faced with more than just a tumor in my left kidney. Without this knowledge of their realization, my wife and I began to think that these doctors did not appear to be anxious about removing my left kidney. Further, this seemed to us that something was not right. After all, I was originally given 17 months to live even if my left kidney was removed, and it is possible that I could die even sooner? I should also add that even my nephew and niece held to our conclusion as well. Regardless how we felt in our hearts, we placed our trust in God's merciful love. I especially encouraged my family to allow these doctors follow their personal belief in all they had learned from the results of the many tests I was given.
Approximately four months later, we were advised that my health issue was very complicated. The doctor in charge of this team therefore explained about the final plan for my recovery. He began by explaining my right kidney, bladder, and right knee had tumors. They had to be removed first, and then they would remove the tumor in my left kidney. He also said they will remove half of my kidney. However, much to his surprise only one third of my left kidney was removed.
After my surgery one of the doctors assisting the chief surgeon explained to me that I should be discharged six days later. Instead, I was ahead of this plan, and I was discharged four days later. The chief of surgeons who saw me eight days later to remove my staples expressed his amazement over how soon I was discharged. He said I should have a very good recovery after four weeks of my surgery. This was not only GOOD NEWS, but again, God's merciful love was shown in this occasion.
What did I learn during our struggle with patience? It is not important to know how and when situations ends, but we must trust in our Lord's merciful love shall always be with us to the end of any given situation in our lives. Amen.