I arrived at Royal North Shore Hospital at about 9.30 am Wednesday morning on 28 Jan 2009, completely unaware of the day ahead. I’d woken up lazy, sleepy, relieved that I’d get the day to strip the pictures off my bedroom walls, start the year afresh. I’d just set up my uni timetable for the year. I had managed to squeeze all my subjects to a Monday. Thank goodness I’d have a great routine with enough spare days to work. When I arrived at hospital I thought, “Great, this will be a quick trip, suss out why I’ve been dizzy for the last few weeks. Nothing too serious.”
Mum drops me somewhere and I search aimlessly for the the hospital emergency department. I am suddenly aware of how giddy I am. Trying to focus on street signs, silencing all construction noise so I could focus on my destination. I stumble into ER triage and go to the front desk. The nurse looks at me as if I am a ghost. I realise I haven’t looked in the mirror today. “Are you always so pale?” She asks.
Nurses and doctors hover around me. Question after question. When did you start feeling dizzy? Any chance you are pregnant? Have you been fainting? I hear the doctors whisper amongst themselves. Her haemoglobin is only 26. An average person is 120. They come over to me “Do not get out of bed.” I needed the bathroom, so I get up to go and three nurses grab my sides “No you can’t, we will get you a bed pan.” I refused and said I could go, they allowed me. Back in my bed in ER all sorts of doctors are coming to see me. One saying I need a bone marrow biopsy, another saying I need a blood transfusion. All these terms are circling in my head. What is going on with my body? After all the medical procedures I was escorted up to ward 12d. The Haemotology ward. I didn’t know what this meant. I thought it was just a spare room in the hospital where I would stay a couple of nights while the nurses watched my progress and I would go home over the next few days, live the normal life I’d had the day before this one.
I finally got an appetite for food having been unable to eat all day due to procedures. I scoffed half a lasagna from the hospital cafeteria. There was a knock on the door of my ward. The doctors face was familiar. Quite angular features, a tooth chipped and a little off centre. His voice echoed a deep “Hello,” and the room shook. “Come in,” I said. Feeling small. So insignificant. Mum and dad took some steps backwards and dropped into the two available chairs behind them. I push away my lasagna, suddenly I am not hungry anymore.
The next words that come out of the doctors mouth is, “Your daughter has been diagnosed with A.L.L. An acute form of leukaemia. If chosen not to take treatment, she will be given three months to live. If taking treatment she will be in hospital for six months and be infertile for life.” The rest of the doctors words are a blur to me. Parts of that conversation flow through my thoughts like waves on a beach. But the thing that was clinging most to my heart was the anger I had with the devil. He knew that these are the words that would ruin me. Instead. In that gap was Jesus. Filling that space between emptiness and despair. The devil disappeared as soon as I cried out, “Oh Jesus, Oh Lord…”
As soon as the doctor had left I proclaimed that nothing could ever stand in the way of my love for Jesus. Not a diagnosis. Not a sentence on infertility. Not any words of weakness, sickness or disease because I already knew that he taken all of that away already. He took it when he died on the cross. Every promise he has made has come true. He promised Abraham generations, even though he married a woman who was unable to fall pregnant until 99 years old. God lives to perform miracles. So leukaemia is not a diagnosis. It is a name. And no name is higher than Jesus Christ. This is part of my life. Each vision, revelation, each experience I’ve had has equipped me to deal with this battle. I think this story will unravel some events in my life that I see as a key to discovering who Jesus is, how is has opened my eyes in so many ways.
Everyday I make a decision to be strong. To shut out any thoughts of weakness. I have made a decision that this disease has already been conquered and I am already made well. There is no weapon formed against me that will prosper. I am strong. I am healthy. I can eat with hunger in my tummy. God’s word is the truth, and the truth shall set you free. I speak everyday that I am free. I am not bound to this thing. Chemotherapy will pass through my body with ease and symptoms will be minimal.
I am strong in my mind, body, soul and spirit. This is a battle that I can’t get through on my own. So those reading, keep calling, messaging me, inviting me out. I can’t do this alone. The best thing you can do is tell me about your life. That gives me hope to persevere.