I grew up in a close-knitted family in Singapore. We did many activities such as sports, board games and housework together. Choosing to come to Australia to study was a tough decision as I would be leaving so much behind. I would constantly miss my family.

In September 2018, my mom worst fears became a reality. Having no signs or symptoms, she was diagnosed with end-stage adenocarcinoma mucosa, also known as stage 4 colorectal cancer. For those who like stats, colorectal cancer is the most prevalent cancer resulting in highest deaths rates among all cancers in Singapore. The odds did not look good.

After two chemotherapy sessions, cancer showed no signs of slowing its growth. I was emotionally affected and had to stop placements as I could not handle the stress. I felt helpless as I could do absolutely nothing to make the situation better.

Week after week, my mum survived one session of Chemo after another. As the drugs killed many epithelial cells, she suffered from many ulcers in the mouth. She is extra sensitive to hot or cold, not being able to taste food, defecation became a torture, it pained my heart to see it. She could not do simple tasks such as opening a refrigerator, had no social life due to the risk of infection. The number of things we took for granted, she realised how blessed she was.

In the face of an uncertain future, all that she had amassed will be useless, only what she invested in God could be brought to heaven. She rededicated her life back to God, and she never knew her future. She took each day to learn what God has promised, sharing it to as many people as she could.

After one year and three months, two operations and 13 chemo sessions, today my mum is medically declared cancer-free and gives the glory to God. Doctors, family members, close ones were fearful she would not make it past her battle this time, but clinging on to the bit of hope from God, she came up victorious.

Amidst pain and suffering daily, she believed in this: Victory is not determined by the results tomorrow, but decided by how you face it today. Never underestimate how God works through your challenges. God did not just give her life, He gave her the reason for it. Whatever the challenges can be, we can face it with God.

Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Where there is shadow, there is a light, a sense of hope. I encourage you to do the same, we fought not with strength, but with hope from God.

Ivan Thong
Physiotherapist
Uni-Generation UQ5, Hope Church St Lucia

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