Hallelujah! In the holy name of the Lord Jesus, I bear testimony.
I was having a good and smooth life until August 21, 2008 when my friend invited me to a private laboratory for a blood test. After arriving at the laboratory’s reception counter, the receptionist asked if I would like to take up a package that included scanning of the abdomen. Surprisingly, I agreed without any hesitation. The test result showed a big lump on my right adrenal gland. I was advised to perform a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, because the doctor was unsure of the size and malignancy of the tumor.
What is An Adrenal Gland?
Initially, I was not afraid at all but the more information I read from the Internet, the more worried I became. A tumor on the adrenal gland was uncommon. The adrenal gland is a gland seated on top of each kidney. Although it is small, it is a vital organ that produces a number of vital hormones essential for survival.
The Guidance of the Lord
At that moment, I was lost, anxious and did not know what to do. Then, I turned to God and prayed for guidance and direction. A few days later, I went to the Sri Kota Hospital in Klang to do my MRI scan which took about 45 minutes. While I was in the drum, I prayed unceasingly to control my anxiety. When the scan was finally over, it showed that the tumor was sizable measuring 6.7 cm x 4.9 cm. Even though, we were slightly relieved when the radiologist told us that it was most likely a non-functional benign adenoma, we were advised to refer to a surgeon.
Following that, I went to the Assunta Hospital to consult a surgeon. The doctor asked many questions which worried me. When I asked him if the tumor was cancerous, he told me that I had to undergo two sets of 24-hour urine test to determine whether there was an excess of hormones in the urine. When a tumor develops in the adrenal glands, it often causes too much of a particular hormone to be produced. The type of hormones produced depends on the part of the adrenal gland that is affected by the tumor. Some tumors may not cause an overproduction of hormones and show no symptom. These tumors are known as non-functioning tumors and are not cancerous.
The test result would take about two weeks and it was indeed a time of testing with anxiety. Thank God, the results came back in less than two weeks and I anxiously went for the “judgment.” I thank the Lord again as there was no excess of hormones in the findings. The doctor said that I was lucky but the tumor was too big to keep. According to the doctor, he could not be certain of its real condition unless it was taken to be tested again.
Something really puzzled me; I wondered whether it was out of concern or worry that the doctor kept repeating that it was a major surgery and had to be done by a good team of doctors. When I asked about the risk, he told me that I could die on the operating table if the doctors were not careful and caused the blood to gush out uncontrollably. What a straightforward answer but a true one!
I told myself: “In all circumstances, we just need to ‘Trust and obey for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.’”
Because the adrenal glands are fed by numerous blood vessels, the surgeons involved need to be alert for extensive bleeding during surgery. In addition, the adrenal glands lie close to one of the body’s major vessels (the aorta), the spleen and the pancreas, and specifically the right adrenal gland lies underneath the liver. The surgeon needs to remove the gland without damaging any of these important and delicate organs. The doctor recommended the Putrajaya Hospital because a team of specialists is required to perform such a major surgery. We thanked him for his advice and concern.
Later, we consulted a deacon and he recommended me to go to the University Hospital. A date was fixed for the operation and the trip we had initially planned to visit the churches of Taiwan had to be canceled. We were disappointed for we had been looking forward to visit the churches there. However, after the departure of our brethren to Taiwan, we received a call from the hospital; informing us that the operation had to be postponed because one of the doctors in the team would be unavailable. We were frustrated because we could have gone to Taiwan and returned in time for the operation.
I felt dejected and did not understand the whole arrangement. To comfort me, my husband asked me to pray for understanding and most importantly was to accept His will. With that assurance in our hearts, instead of going to Taiwan, we went off to Port Dickson for a holiday. During the vacation, we unexpectedly received a call from the hospital, informing us that the operation was scheduled on the following Thursday.
Feeling confused, we went to the hospital to inquire the next day after we have returned home. I was asked to be admitted the following morning for some tests prior to the operation. Since this operation had come unplanned, I had to go to the office to settle some work and also to settle things at home. By the time everything was settled, it was already 2 pm. The hospital called and urged me to report to the hospital immediately. After my arrival, hurriedly, I was admitted and a number of tests were conducted on me.
Though we missed the opportunity to visit Taiwan and the operation was postponed, we strongly believed that God knows best and had a better plan for us. Isaiah 55: 8 (NIV), “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord.” I told myself: “In all circumstances, we just need to ‘Trust and obey for there’s no other way. To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.’” This hymn often rang in my heart and I found the strength to carry on.
Once, I had this picture in my mind—the Lord was holding my hand and leading me into a beautiful, shining silver building. I was very happy and walked joyfully like a little girl beside the Lord.
Full entrustment to the Lord and the Peace Received
I finally met my surgeon the night before the operation. She explained the possibilities that could occur during the operation. According to her, if the tumor had enlarged and become attached to the liver, a part of the liver would have to be cut in order to get access to the adrenal gland. However, if the tumor had attached to the aorta, she would have no other choice but to close the incision. Then, I would have to undergo chemotherapy to shrink the tumor before I could go for another operation.
This explanation shocked us greatly and we became worried. Once again, we had no choice but to trust and ask for God’s mercy. In our prayers, we asked God to grant the surgeons wisdom and to guide the hands of those involved in the operation. That night after our prayers, I slept soundly until I was awakened by the nurse to get ready. Around 8 am, after taking some medicine, I bade goodbye to my beloved husband and was pushed into the waiting room.
While being pushed to the waiting room, I was not fearful at all because I strongly believed that the Lord is with me, He would never forsake me.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me…” (Ps 23: 4 NIV)
I do not know whether it was a dream, a vision or an imagination. Once, I had this picture in my mind—the Lord was holding my hand and leading me into a beautiful, shining silver building. I was very happy and walked joyfully like a little girl beside the Lord. “Yes,” I told the Lord, “I am not afraid because you are with me.” Yes, indeed, why should I be afraid when the Lord was holding my hand? The Lord had been giving me His assurance.
The Mercy of the Lord
I really did not know what happened and how long I remained in the operating theater. My husband had waited for six hours before he could see me again! According to him, the waiting was indeed too agonizing and difficult to bear. During this period of time, other than praying, he occupied his time by writing and answering calls. In one of his writings, he had written: “Though the children and I will miss Siew-lee a lot but if it is the Lord’s will for her to return home, I will accept the will of the Lord. I want her to go without hesitation because to be with the Lord is far better than anything.” However, it was His will that I am to remain!
When the doors of the operating theater opened, the doctors walked out hurriedly and looked relieved. They told my husband that the operation had been successful and had gone smoothly. We praised the Lord; if it was not for His mercy, I would have died on the table, just like what the first surgeon had warned.
Thanks and praises to the Lord. Prior to the operation, I was informed that I would have to stay in the intensive care unit (ICU) for close monitoring after the operation. However, my condition was stable and I was warded in an acute room near the nurses. I went home four days after the operation. It was so wonderful to be able to go home.
The incision on my abdomen was huge. It was like the Mercedes Benz’s logo but shorter on the left side. Sometimes, I would feel sad looking at it but my husband reminded me that this is a sign of the great love of our Lord Jesus. Yes, he is right. Why bother?
One month after my operation, I returned to see the surgeon. Once again, we were thankful that the tumor was benign. According to the surgeon, the tumor measured about 8 cm, much bigger than what was seen from the MRI. The surgeon also told us that if the tumor had not been detected earlier, I would certainly have suffered from other complications should it grew any bigger and compressed the other organs. I could even be paralyzed if it had pressed or got stuck on the nervous system.
The Love of our brethren, family members and also friends
During these difficult moments, we have truly witnessed and felt the love of the elders, deacons, brothers and sisters, our family members and also dear friends, both locally and abroad. We really thanked God for the prayers, assistance, encouragement and support that have been rendered to us.
“Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’” (Mt 25:37–40)
May the Lord remember all your love.
It was the mercy and the love of the Lord that I can be here today. I will always thank our Lord Jesus for guiding my family and for granting me more days on earth. What lies in front of me, I do not know, but I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hands. The Scriptures say:
“You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps 16:11)
I am convinced that the Lord will guide me through my life, and I want to dwell in the temple of God forever.
All glory be given to our Lord Jesus. Amen.