In May 2009, my neck suddenly swelled up one day. When I went to the hospital for a check, the doctor diagnosed me with hypothyroid, a condition due to insufficient hormones in the body. The doctor told me this is typically lifelong and there is nothing I could have done to prevent or cure it. I was crushed – I have always been healthy and now suddenly, I have this lifelong ailment at such a young age.
In Feb this year, I had an attack of rheumatoid arthritis which was so bad that I could barely walk. It started out as what I thought was a back sprain but the pain quickly spread all over my body to the point where my joints were completely bent and where I couldn’t move. I remember the first morning I woke up with this full blown attack, I couldn’t get up from my bed and had to use my handphone to call my mum to come into my room to help me. I went to the hospital where the doctor misdiagnosed and overdosed me, causing me to throw up for three days. I went to another hospital to rediagnose the situation and was then given nearly 2 months of medical leave.
During that time, my mobility was severely limited and I was unable to do simple things like hold a cup. Every morning, my mum had to help me get up from the bed and everything I used to do with ease and without thought became an epic event – Changing clothes, getting into and out of cars, walking to open the door, brushing my teeth, writing… Even sleeping was painful as I was afraid to lie down to sleep for fear I wouldn’t be able to get up. At night, I would lay awake sweating profusely because of the pain. Many times, I cried out to God, feeling helpless and disheartened.
Upon hearing what had happened to me, Ps Darren activated the pastoral staff, the House of Prayer (HOP) and the Chosen Gen tribe while my dad alerted the Hallelujah tribe leaders to pray for me. Ps Derek Hong and his team also prayed over me when they were at BBTC. Almost every day, people came to visit me. They brought me food, magazines, DVDs & prayed for me. I was very moved and grateful for the support and because of this, my spirit remained strong and my faith unmoved. I want to thank all of you who prayed for me. I felt God’s assurance that He would tide me through whatever I needed to undergo and I rejected the doc’s diagnosis that my illness would be lifelong.
After 2 months staying at home to recuperate, many rounds of blood tests and check-ups, I got better and was finally referred to a rheumatoid arthritis specialist for long-term treatment. This doctor upon examination told me, “I know your medical report says you have RA but I don’t think you do because people with RA don’t recover but you did.” He sent me for another round of blood test and I continued to pray and wait with anticipation for the results. When I saw him on the following week, he told me that all my results which were earlier positive came back negative and that he hoped never to see me again! I was amazingly healed! No lifelong arthritis!
There were many times that I felt a sense of despair during those two months, wondering if I am really to be plagued by this for life, and how I will be a burden to my family and future spouse. But the Lord assured me in His quiet and gentle way that I need not worry, only to hope in Him and that He is my healer, the faithful one who cares for His own. In the midst of my sickness, I experienced the reality of Lamentations 3: 22-23 for myself:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
It was this Hope that kept me going. As I woke up each morning, I experienced His gradual divine healing and began to appreciate the little things I could do on my own again… making myself a cup of tea, being able to write. Those were markers of recovery. Painful as this journey had been, it was also a time of being still, quite literally, and being able to know God as I had never known before – His healing power, comfort, strength and love.
In my latest visit to my endocrine doctor just a few weeks ago, my blood test also showed that my hypothyroid condition is improving, to the surprise of my doctor. She halved my daily dose and told me if I am lucky, I may one day not need medication anymore. I told her I will pray until that happens, and I am continuing to hope in the Lord!