Around the middle of 2021, I discovered that I was pregnant, so I arranged to see an obstetrician at the hospital.
During the check-up, I also decided to raise the issue of the two lumps on my right breast.
To be honest, I did not think much of my lumps as there was no unusual discharge or pain on the affected breast.
The only thought I had was that it would be good to just kill two birds with one stone and to put my mind at ease.
An ultrasound scan of the breasts was scheduled, and I was asked to do a biopsy after that.
Little did I know the drama that would ensue. That phone call from the hospital sent me on an emotional roller coaster ride.
Not the kind of news you’re ever ready for
“Your biopsy results are out. We would like to check if you are available tomorrow as the doctor would like to speak with you.”
I had a bad feeling about it and told myself to be prepared for the worst.
True enough, the next day on August 25, 2021, I was officially diagnosed with Stage 2 ER+/HER2+ breast cancer.
Although I had prepared myself for bad news, I still bawled my eyes out the moment I heard this. I was rather inconsolable, and it took a long while to regain my composure.
The doctor spoke a lot that day, but all I could recall were the many questions I had.
“What am I going to do now?”, “Will I be okay?” and most importantly, “What about the baby I am carrying?”
I was at a loss.
Even though I was told that the survival rate is high and my breast cancer is highly curable, I was still terrified as the two tumours were rather huge and the cancer cells were aggressive.
The recommended treatment was for me to undergo mastectomy first.
However, I was very certain that I would keep my baby no matter what. Thus, surgery was out of the question as general anaesthesia might put my baby in danger.
I was then offered an alternative treatment plan, which was to undergo four sessions of AC chemotherapy. The chemotherapy drugs used in this case are considered safe during pregnancy.
Nonetheless, I was told that there might still be possible risk of miscarriage.
It was not an easy decision to go ahead with both my pregnancy and cancer treatment simultaneously.
Although I tried to google to find out more as well as hear from those who have gone through a similar ordeal, ultimately my husband and I decided to just trust God and lift everything into His hands.
When I began my cancer treatment
After I hit my second trimester, I started my chemotherapy.
I felt nauseated for the first week after each session. There was once I also vomited very badly because I forced myself to eat despite not having much appetite.
But I thank God that my side effects were otherwise manageable. Physically, I was doing alright too. What really affected me was when my hair began to drop soon after the first session.
After much thought, I decided to shave my head. And my husband was super supportive — he said he would do the same.
His love for me really gave me a glimpse of God’s unconditional love.
During this period, I could also see God’s hand at work through many divine moments, such as family members and friends checking in on me right when I was having a pity party.
Deep down, there was an unspeakable peace in the midst of all the chaos.
I remember feeling really down one of the days when my hair started falling in chunks. Almost around the same time, one of my friends texted to ask how I was feeling.
She reminded me that I am loved whether I am feeling good or not and that I am doing well! Simple but really timely.
Whenever the fear of death crept in and I started doubting God and losing hope, I would also immerse myself in praise and worship.
I was especially ministered by God through the lyrics of “Desert Song”.
I know that God is always good, and He is always in control no matter the outcome.
And as I surrendered my life to God, He showed up again and again, assuring me that He is with me.
Deep down, there was an unspeakable peace in the midst of all the chaos.
Giving birth at 32 weeks
After many discussions between my oncologist and obstetrician, it was decided that I would be induced at week 32 of my pregnancy since my baby was growing well.
The main reason for the earlier birth was to make room for more targeted chemotherapy.
As planned, I gave birth to my premature baby in January 2022 and she was transferred to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) shortly after.
Whenever I visited my daughter in the hospital, I felt super guilty and upset that I could not breastfeed her and had put her through so much because of my cancer.
After all, I breastfed my firstborn for three years, so I felt that I was short-changing my second child. Hence, I “bargained” with God to keep my baby safe and healthy.
And guess what? God not only answered my prayers, but also went above and beyond what I asked Him for.
Initially, the hospital told us that my daughter would probably need to be hospitalised for at least 46 days. But less than a month in, the nurses called and informed us that she could be discharged.
In just a week, my girl had “graduated” from the NICU to the Special Childcare Nursery. It meant that she had made tremendous progress in a short span of time and could breathe on her own.
We were able to bring her back home on February 14, 2022 and she has been growing very well!
This also allowed me to focus on getting back to health instead of having to worry about her since I had to restart chemotherapy after giving birth.
Trusting God in my battle
As someone who has been through such a tough time, I cannot deny the power of prayers.
Many times as I lift my troubles to God (and more often than not, even before I can bring myself to do that), I see His providence.
Just looking at how the health of my preemie turned out, I am constantly reminded that God knows exactly what we need.
My two tumours have also shrunk, although based on my recent mammogram, there are many spots on my affected breast that could be cancerous.
As such, a mastectomy is necessary, and I will most likely need to go for chemotherapy again.
Although I do not know when my battle with cancer will end, I trust that He will see me through it all.
I am wholeheartedly believing and praying for complete remission. I am also boldly declaring the full restoration of my health, and that I will be able to be with my family and see my children grow up.
“And then, after your brief suffering, the God of all loving grace, who has called you to share in His eternal glory in Christ, will personally and powerfully restore you and make you stronger than ever. Yes, He will set you firmly in place and build you up.” (1 Peter 5:10)
The journey for every individual might be different, but I know that God will always remain the same.
God knows us and He is in control, so we can trust in Him that everything will be beautiful in His time.
“Faith” is the baptism name I chose for myself as a reminder to put my faith in God, and through this ordeal, I see myself trusting God like never before.
After becoming a Christian, I have experienced first-hand the tangible presence of God, my Abba Father.
It is not something that I can explain scientifically, but an experiential faith that God is love and love never fails.
There is this blessed assurance that everything will be alright no matter what.
Many people say that I am brave, but I really am not. It is only because I know that I am a child of God and I am loved by my Father that I can have hope for the future.
- When was the last time you received a piece of news that shook your world? How did you respond to it?
- Do you have trouble believing that God is good when your circumstances don’t seem to reflect that?
- Is there an area of your life that you need to entrust to God?