“Even without doing a bone marrow examination or any further tests, your blood reports and other clinical findings clearly show that the Leukemia has relapsed.” Those were my doctor’s words as he confirmed what we had all been fearing. Straight to the point, no beating around the bush. After around seven months of being in remission, the leukemia was back.
It all started with a fever and some chest pains on my sternum area some time in mid July. Antibiotics and pain killers weren’t of much help and in two weeks my blood counts, especially platelet counts, started falling rapidly. By mid August I needed blood and platelet transfusions to get by. Severe bone pains especially on my rib cage and thigh bones set in and at one point I got to interact with increasing doses of morphine for some days.
Morphine, when necessary, is a good drug. It was the only drug that seemed able to handle my pain. But, the fun and games begin when the pain subsides and they have to reduce then stop the doses. That’s when you’re hit with something called withdrawal symptoms. I pity my people for the dramas they had to witness during that period. However, I kept reminding them, last I checked, this drug’s main chemical component is opium!
We flew into New Delhi, India early morning on Monday 25th August 2014. Went straight to the same hospital I had been treated in for close to 5 months last year. Admission was almost immediately on arrival and treatment started that night. By the way, the doctors happily accepted us back. It was nice to see familiar smiling faces including the security personnel and support staff. I continue to be amazed at the expertise God has blessed the doctors with. And the whole team’s passion and commitment to its work is unrivaled.
From around 3 weeks before we traveled to India, I knew the leukemia was back. I tried to deny it but I could feel it. I had so many questions I needed God to answer, so many thoughts recurred in my mind. Why Lord is this happening to me again? Did you not heal me in January this year? Did I not hear you right when you confirmed I was healed and you gave the same message to several other people? Why now of all times? Am back at work and just settling in well. I recently proposed to my long time girlfriend and sweetheart, Irene Murangi, and we’re weeks away from getting married. I don’t get it Jesus. You’ve always been good at this timing thing, what’s going on? What will the thousands of people who’ve heard my testimony say? How will we face my doctors who we left baffled when we told them am stopping treatment against their strong advice not to? Why Lord? Why?
I was dejected. I was angry at God for letting things take the turn they had. For some time I struggled with prayer and bible reading. Between the intense pains that tormented me for weeks and the feelings of despair, several times I prayed and asked God to let me go home. I begged Him to call me home and let me rest. But all I seemed to get was silence.
God did start to speak eventually, or maybe it’s me who started to hear. He spoke through His word, most of which was read out to me by my parents or shared by family and friends. He spoke through words of encouragement spoken by people directly or indirectly. He spoke through inner promptings and reminders He quietly brought to my attention.
The message was clear. God loves me. He loves us all more than we can ever imagine or comprehend. God will not share His glory with anyone or anything. He is capable of defending His own glory better than any living being in heaven or earth. His ways and thoughts are way above ours. And most importantly He has been, is and will always be in control. He’s seen the beginning and the end and everything in between. Nothing captures Him by surprise. He doesn’t have A plan, He has THE plan.
These words reminded me of a beautiful analogy I read in a book earlier this year; “The Grand Weaver: How God Shapes Us Through the Events of Our Lives” by Ravi Zacharias. The author gives a description of how sarees are made in India. The process is painstaking and can take weeks or months as it involves weaving the masterpieces thread by thread, line by line. All this time, only one person, the weaver, has the design in his mind and every weave that he does ultimately contributes to the final design. In our lives God is the Grand Weaver. He knows what the final design looks like and pulls together all the varied strands of life to reveal His grand design. As the author so articulately puts it:
“God the Grand Weaver seeks those with tender hearts so that he can put His imprint on them. Your hurts and your disappointments are part of that design, to shape your heart and the way you feel about reality. The hurts you live through will always shape you. There is no other way.”
There is no other way… Not all my “whys” have been fully answered. I believe it’s a process. Every so often I need to remind myself of the truths I have shared above. But one thing am glad I can confidently say is that I have peace. That peace that surpasses all human understanding. This too shall pass. And what a testimony we shall soon share as we give God all the glory.
Last week on Thursday I was discharged after 25 days in hospital. I am on a short break before my next chemo later this week. We learned the hard way that a relapse is much more serious than the first occurrence of leukemia. The disease is “smarter”, more aggressive and more resistant to drugs. For this reason progress has been slow. I believe my bone marrow had at one point almost completely stopped making platelets. Since I was admitted all through to 2 days before my discharge I have had to be transfused every 2 to 3 days just to keep my counts from being critically low. But, I thank God the counts finally started picking from around Monday last week.
It’s so good first and foremost to be pain free. It’s nice to be home in our little apartment not too far from the hospital. We miraculously managed to get the same apartment we lived in last time!
I have settled into life in Delhi despite being cooped up in hospital for over 3 weeks. I have taken up some of my old hobbies. When am strong enough and up to it, Saturday and Sunday evenings are reserved for English Premier League football games. I think I may have even gotten my mum to take up an interest in football. Where “interest” is her asking me which teams are playing and checking if am okay whenever I shout after a goal is scored or a clear chance is missed…
I end, as usual, by thanking all those who have continued to support us in prayer. Your prayers mean so much to us. I’ll keep you posted on specific prayer points as they become clearer to us. For now, pray for healing, for strength on this journey and for provision. May God bless you and keep you.