To me, cancer is a curse word. I don’t use profanities and whenever I’m around people who do, I cringe on the inside. That’s the same way I feel when I hear the word cancer. But not only does it make me cringe, I now associate it with pain. A pain that stems from the loss of my mother.
I was 21, and my mother was 50, when she first got diagnosed. She passed away only six months later. “I have stage 4 terminal breast cancer,” she said to me one day, showing me her damaged breast. I was devastated. I didn’t have the words to encourage her.
The doctors told her it was terminal and spreading fast. “There’s nothing we can do for you,” they said. “Chemotherapy, or no chemotherapy, you have a few more months to live.”
So we turned to the one thing we all had in common; our faith. I was born into a Christian home and had the privilege of hearing about God’s word from a young age. We went to church every Sunday, attended church activities, prayed together as a family when we could, and were taught to love God and revere Him. So when we were faced with the most challenging situation of our lives there was no one else to turn to but God.
We prayed, fasted, and asked pastors around the world to pray for her. I remember sending a letter to Rod Parsley’s ministry, so they could send our prayer request to Israel and have it prayed for in God’s chosen nation. But in December of 2009, we lost her.
I have never felt so much pain in my life. When I had traveled home for the summer, I didn’t know that was going to be the last summer I would spend with her. It happened so quick. She was healthy, she was strong, she was hard working.
Growing up in Nigeria when HIV/AIDS was rampant, there was this slogan in broken English we used: “AIDS no dey show for face.” It meant, if a person has HIV, you can’t tell from just looking at them, until the sickness had taken a toll on their physical appearance, which is usually in the final stages of the person’s life.
I felt that way about my mother’s situation; the cancer didn’t show in her face. In fact, that summer, we celebrated her 50th birthday, fought about frivolous things, and generally had an amazing time together as a family. We didn’t know that in a couple of weeks we were going to be hit with terrible news. But God was my strength in that difficult season. He was my anchor. People thought I was going to breakdown because I was the one, finally, doing the encouraging. I was telling my mother’s sisters not to cry, consoling my father and brother. My father was in awe of me. But I knew where that strength came from.
If you’re facing a tough situation, whether it’s a family member’s cancer diagnosis or any other terminal ailment, my advice for you is to look to God, our creator. Even if you don’t believe He is there, if you reach out He will reach out back to you and provide you with a community of people to carry you through that difficult time. For me, it was a resident doctor, asking my permission to pray with us and a nurse who took time out of her busy schedule just to hold and console me.
Cancer shouldn’t be feared, because a lot of the time it can be treated if it’s caught early. If not, there’s always hope in Jesus Christ.
Evi Idoghor is a Christian writer, content creator for letstalknationblog.com, and a graduate of chemical engineering from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Consumed by her love for writing and desire to affect change, Evi launched her online platform, Let’s Talk Nation, to tap into her creativity and start meaningful conversations that make a difference around the world.
Most of her writing has been influenced by her time spent in America, living from coast to coast. In addition, she has lived in Nigeria and South Korea and loves traveling around the world while learning about rich cultures. You can follow her on Instagram at @eviidoghor.
Originally Published on iridescentwomen.com
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