In my high school years in Taiwan, a sudden diagnosis of lymphoma, a cancer of the white blood cells, transformed my life. The early symptoms, mere stomachaches, and colds escalated quickly, taking me from a school environment to the sterile rooms of a hospital.
My family’s faith was my stronghold. Instead of succumbing to fear after confirmation of the disease, we turned to God in fervent prayer. Through this intense experience, I internalized a valuable life lesson: “Prepare yourself when you can, not when you need to.” This ethos, rooted in my parents’ unwavering faith, became my compass.
The cancer treatments were grueling. The side effects of the chemotherapy sessions included nausea, fatigue, hair loss, and an overwhelming sensitivity to even the slightest sound. The pain and disarray reinforced the biblical truth, “A living dog is better than a dead lion” (Ecclesiastes 9:4). But after all these sessions, I was desperate not to experience this again, even if doctors predicted an 80% chance of recurrence.
However, the shadow of cancer returned. A lump on my neck signaled its resurgence. But amid these trials, God’s providence shone through. A seemingly chance appointment at the National Taiwan University Hospital connected me with Dr. Chen. Under his watchful care and the boundless prayers of my family and church community, I confronted the disease once more. This time, the treatment was even more intense, and the possibility of a bone marrow transplant became evident.
Remarkably, in a divine twist, my eldest brother’s bone marrow was a perfect match. This life-saving revelation had even appeared in a dream where he was my rescuer. The transplant process was tumultuous, with high fevers and moments of unconsciousness, but God’s mercy prevailed. The words from Luke 1:78-79 resonated with me, “Through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Emerging from this ordeal, the directives were clear: two years of rest. Through my recovery, I reflected deeply on the journey. From the hospital bed to my home, the collective love, faith, and prayers of my family and church community became my lifeline.
Today, as I pursue a PhD at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, the memories remain vivid, but they are a testament to God’s marvelous grace and the incredible strength He instilled in me. This experience not only transformed my values but gave me a mission to share the wonders of His love and mercy. I would like to conclude this chapter of walking out of the valley of death with David’s Psalm 23:
The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
He restores my soul;
He leads me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, 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.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil;
My cup runs over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the LORD
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