Hi I am Sheeba, this is my Testimony: To Jesus Christ Be All the Glory
The Diagnosis In the design of God’s will, I suffer from GERD. My problem heightened in the last two years as I had considerable challenges with my breathing. Consulting a pulmonologist only resulted in being poorly medicated with no improvements to my health. I sought one doctor after another in the hope of finding relief. Finally an ENT doctor checked my voice box and vocal cord with a laryngoscope but came up empty with any conclusive solutions except more impotent medication.
At last I turned to my Great Physician. The Lord promises to do what is impossible with men (Matthew 19.26) I said: O Lord my God, I am broken and empty. I am nothing before thy sight, but if you wish to use me I am available for you. Rabbi, my teacher, speak to me your words, you are the treasure of hidden wisdom and knowledge, fill this empty vessel with your living words and let me proclaim your Good News to all who are thirty.
As I started to read the Bible regularly, the Spirit of the Lord guided me in understanding His words with clarity. God was teaching me to know Him intimately through His words and prayer. In the following two month, I was given an opportunity to share His words at our church’s women’s ministry. I gladly agreed to serve the Lord. That evening I knelt and prayed to the Lord and told Him that I had difficulty breathing and could not speak continuously. How then was I to share His words with His people? I petitioned the Lord to reveal my problem. Within two days I consulted a Gastroenterologist. He performed an endoscopy as my frame had gotten thin and I had lost 10kgs. My medical reports confirmed that I had Esophageal Cancer. As my family stood in disarray at this shocking news, I thanked my Lord for revealing this problem to me. My heart rested content in the hope that my Lord would heal me, even as my family were unsettled in their hearts with the whole matter.
Waiting on the Lord One month following my cancer diagnosis, I had a lot of follow up tests and scans done. This part of my life was filled with travel from one hospital to another; one test after another; one doctor after another. Finally a second opinion on my lab biopsy from Mumbai confirmed that I had cancer. My situation had gone from bad to worse. My breathing diminished and I was not able to swallow food. The doctors were concerned about my cancer’s rate of growth and worried that it may have spread to other parts of my esophagus.
I was referred to a Radio Oncologist to provide radiation therapy to kill the cancer. Unfortunately in my case, the Radio Oncologist refused to treat me due to my young age and the long term side effects. I was sent to another Gastroenterologist to surgically remove my cancer. His assessment of my tumor made him helpless and he hesitated to operate given my tumor’s location and complexity in my throat. The cancer was situated at the center of my voice box, food and wind pipe. Any wrong move by the surgeon would mean drastic life-long problems. I stood to lose my voice. This doctor declared my surgery complicated and said only four doctors in the world were talented and trained to handle it. By the grace of my God, one of these surgeons – Dr. Reddy (Dr.R), lived in Hyderabad, India. Getting an appointment with this world renowned surgeon became my next challenge. It was in a race against time, as my life was at risk. Yet my God was in full control.
The Promises of God Never Fail By the mercy of God, we got an appointment in a few weeks time. I traveled from Bangalore to Hyderabad to the Institute of Gastroenterology and consulted Dr. R. He was a very pleasant and humble man, down to earth and elderly like my father. He reviewed my report and assured me the surgery would be a simple one. In order to confirm the location of my tumor, he did a Narrow Band Endoscopy. All seemed well, or so I thought. After the results were evaluated, Dr. R seemed perplexed. As a guest lecturer at Harvard Medical School and a man of many prestigious awards in his field of medicine, Dr. R was shocked at my cancer. In all his years of experience, he never saw a condition like mine, and therefore he did not want to operate without further consultation with another specialist in Japan – Dr.Ii. If he was not able to perform my surgery, I needed to travel to Japan to get it done. This meant that I needed to spend more than 25 laks in addition to all that I had already spent to treat this cancer.
Dr. R was honest about my situation. There were three major complications in performing my surgery:
- I might lose my voice permanently
- Nothing can be done to stop the internal bleeding, as they had to operate through endoscopy. He was afraid that he lacked resources to treat me.
- As they operate the inside of my throat, I might have a hole on the outside of my throat.
As Dr.R laid out the details, the Lord spoke three powerful promises to me:
“I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” (Jeremiah 32:27)
“Can I not give life to dry bones?” (Ezekiel 37:3-5)
“I have spoken; will I not bring it to pass?” (Isaiah 46:11)
I was in the midst of a fierce storm, but the Lord was my Shelter and High Tower. The Lord alone was my Dwelling place; therefore, I closed my eyes and worshiped Him:
O Lord my God, to you alone are all things possible. You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for you.
The Power of the Gospel unto Life
Dr. R said he will consult Dr. Ii and let me know if he can operate with his guidance. My sister, husband and I went to our rooms. There we read the scripture and prayed. The Gospel of John (John 6.1-12) tells the instance of a large crowd following Jesus. Moved with compassion for the people Jesus asks his disciple Philip where to buy bread to feed them. Philip in all practicality weighs the cost at half a year’s wage to feed such a massive crowd. At this most overwhelming time Jesus performs a remarkable miracle. He feeds the multitude. I was reminded of my situation. The cost to Japan was more than 25 laks. Dr. R said he lacked the equipment to do the surgery in India. I realized that the Lord was testing my heart as He did Philip to see if I would believe Him. My God knew how He was going to heal me and treat me. I only had to believe in Him.
Whom Shall I Fear The next morning, Dr. R agreed to perform the surgery with the help of Dr. Ii. The only condition was that I sign a High Risk form releasing the doctors from any responsibilities in the event I die during or after the surgery.
Again the Lord spoke to my heart:
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. (Psalm 61:2-3)
The Lord answered:
“I have bought you for a price; I have engraved you in the palm of my hand; death cannot snatch you from my palm.”
I attended the surgery and within an hour it was complete. However, there was more shocking news to come. While performing the first surgery, the doctors noticed the cancer to have spread and it had gone deep inside my esophagus. I needed to have radiation after the surgery
The Lord Who Owns All My Ways The Lord would take me to another place of worship after my surgery. The next forty days, at the Baptist hospital, would also become my place of ministry. Forty days of intense radiation to my throat physically weakened me and I had to endure severe burning pain. This all happened two weeks after my surgery. However, it is here, that God would pour out of me the faith that He gave within my heart to speak of the great Hope that I have in His unfailing love. The Lord would refine my faith in a fire and use me to speak of His goodness in the midst of my trials. Since my Jesus suffered, I too was granted the privilege not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him. In my deepest of pain, the Lord showed me His great strength. He allowed me to walk amongst the lowly and downcast, to be a voice of comfort to the people whom He loves. Since Christ Jesus comforted me, this Lord is in the midst of the broken hearted, and has asked me to comfort others. I have come to bear witness to this great God of Glory. This is One and Only God who saves men from sin and death.
I am a cancer survivor by the power of Jesus Christ and His grace. Do you want to know this Jesus as your personal Lord and Saviour?
Thank you for reading. God Bless You.