Monday, November 10, 2008

A Journey in Faith Against Cancer - Part 3

This article is part of a series which might be better understood by starting at the first post.

Growing In Faith Through Obedience

Recently, I was in a conversation with a co-worker about the 2008 presidential election. I indicated that I was not a supporter of Barack Obama's and stated that one major reason was his unfettered support of abortion. I told her I could not support abortion under any circumstances.

My co-worker then said, "What if it was your daughter? What if the doctors said that having this baby would kill her and you had to choose between the life of your daughter and her baby?"

Dismissing the fact that less than 1% of abortions are performed for such catastrophic situations, I thoughtfully considered her comment. "Well," I said, "Don't forget, you are speaking to someone who doctors said would surely die if I did not have chemo and radiation. One thing this experience has shown me is that I don't have to be afraid to obey what God says. His mind is above the mind of man and He is all-powerful. I know that He can override all that the world has to say when we obey Him."

Yet, it was not easy to arrive at that understanding. As much as I would have liked to think that I did not trust and rely on the world, my own fear in this experience showed me that I did. For three weeks after God told me not to proceed with chemo and radiation, I had no idea what I was supposed to do to fight this cancer. 

I was fine for the first day, four days, eight days...but as more time passed, the more concerned I became. I thought that the answer would be clear...and quick, but there are so many alternative cancer treatments out there; it was very confusing. Every day that passed with no specific treatment plan was another day where the cancer could be spreading throughout my body.

This led to one of the darkest days for me. In tears, I questioned the Lord about what He was doing. I had followed His direction not to have chemo and radiation, but now I was no closer to the treatment I was supposed to take (it seemed). I had obeyed His words, but now all I heard in return was silence. The tears flowed, and I could not stop them; I was inconsolable. Where was God?! Carest He not that I perish?

In response, God reminded me that He is faithful. But if He is faithful then why was He not directing me to the right treatment? Why hadn't He told me what to do? My faith was in a real crisis and I even started to doubt that I had heard Him correctly.

Over the next few days, Jesus once again showed Himself faithful. He was always faithful, but at a time when my faith was in crisis, He taught me that once more. Jesus began to lay out His plan for me and sent others to confirm the words He had given.

It started with Him leading me to a book called "Cancer - Step Outside the Box" by Ty Bollinger. This book provided overviews of a number of alternative cancer treatments that are available. At that time, I felt like a treatment facility would be the best method for me as I wanted to have proper medical supervision. I contacted the author to ask about any first-hand knowledge he may have had on the featured centers in the book.

After Ty had answered my questions he said, "Take another look at the chapter on Protocel as I am hearing from dozens of people who are being cured from cancer with this treatment."

I responded, "Well, that is not really what I am looking for, but I will read that Chapter again if that is your recommendation because I know that God has led me to your book." I also asked him to forward me contact information for a few of the people he was hearing from.

I began to call and speak to a number of people who had used Protocel successfully. I was certainly intrigued by their testimonies, but was not quite sure if this is what God wanted me to do. Plus, my preference was to be part of a medical program.

I identified 4 clinics (1 in Mexico and 3 in the United States) that I thought would serve my needs. Nothing worked out. I visited one, but it didn't have the level of medical oversight I wanted. A couple of others required payment in full upfront and was not covered by insurance. I called the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), but although they promised to return my repeated calls, they never did. I even tried to sign-up for clinical trials, but did not meet the requirements for participation. No matter what I tried, it was a closed door. It was not hard to see that this was not what God wanted for me.

Yet in the background was still Protocel.

I began to look more closely at Protocel again and found a book by Tanya Pierce called Outsmart Your Cancer. This book covers various alternative cancer treatments, but Tanya was so impressed with Protocel and the many testimonies from cancer survivors using it that she created another book dedicated just to that treatment.

As I read the story of Protocel's history, I learned that the creator - James Sheridan - was a Christian man who had prayed since a child for God to give him a treatment to deal with cancer. A Biochemist by trade, he worked for Dow Chemical for a number of years and even the Michigan Cancer Institute.

Yet, the discovery of the Protocel formula was no academic endeavor. God gave him visions of the formula long before he was equipped to develop it. Without retelling the entire story, it is recounted in the book that when God revealed the meaning of the formula vision to Mr. Sheridan, he knew he had received his marching orders.

I too felt that I was being given my marching orders. I felt God's hand leading me and impressing upon me that this was the treatment I was to take. I committed this to prayer and started seeking God for confirmation. While I knew in my heart what God wanted me to do, I was a bit nervous.

Protocel is a treatment that you take on your own. You purchase the treatment from a dietary supplement company and take it as directed. I had really wanted to find a treatment plan that was being administered by a doctor. "You see," I told God, "I don't want to have to do this on my own. So can you please find another treatment for me?" God's answer was that I was not alone; He would be with me.  

Talk about scary! It shouldn't have been, but it was. Yet, Jesus was trying to show me that I didn't need to hold on to anything in this world to feel secure. Each step of the way, God was leading me to let go of my dependence on the world and to rely solely on Him.

As I began to accept the undeniable fact that this was God's path for me, I received a call from my mother. She had been hit pretty hard by my diagnosis and was being terribly supportive through the ordeal. Yet her fear over my situation was great. Further, coming from a family with a number of people in the medical field, she did not initially understand my decision to decline chemo and radiation. In fact, she spent most of the early days trying to convince me to come visit her to get 2nd and 3rd opinions. I had to remind her, there is no 2nd or 3rd opinion for God.

In her phone call, she was excited to tell me that her co-worker had met a woman who was high up in the American Cancer Society (ACS). The co-worker had provided the woman's contact information and my mother wanted to conference her in on a call with me at that moment. I really was not up to the call. I knew the position of the ACS and understood that their recommended treatment for cancer was the medical party line. I really didn't need one more person telling me how important chemo and radiation was to my recovery. Out of respect for my mother I agreed, but I also knew that I would soon have to put an end to this. I was deciding to obey God and I could not keep entertaining conversations that tried to get me to do other than what God had stated.

My mother patched the woman in on our call, introduced herself and expressed gratitude to the woman for agreeing to speak with us. She gave the woman a brief overview of my history and I braced for a lecture on the importance of chemo that was sure to come.

Then, the woman spoke. "First, I am a minister of the Gospel and what you need to do is pray, fast, and seek God for guidance. God is still a Healer and He still performs miracles. This is not the time to be putting poisons in your system, and that is what chemo is: poison. I have seen God's healing power in people at my church and know that He will answer your prayers."

I literally could not believe my ears! I was stunned. Never in a million years would I have expected this type of advice from someone at the ACS! This woman knew nothing about me, but she was describing exactly what I was currently doing: praying, fasting, and seeking God for guidance.

I responded, "I am a Christian and that is exactly what I am doing. I know that God is a Healer and I thank you for your encouragement." This was not what my mother wanted to hear at all. She spoke up and started explaining why she felt it was also important to follow the doctor's advise and take chemo and radiation, but it was too late. I needed no more confirmation from God of what I should do. He had told me, He confirmed it, and I needed to continue being obedient.

The next day, I shared with my mother that God had revealed the treatment I was to take. Again, this was still a struggle for her at that time. I also shared that I would not be coming to visit and get additional doctor opinions. There was no point, I would simply do what God said. While disappointed, she called the specialist she had found for me and informed him of my decision. What a surprise for her to hear that this doctor was about to go to a medical conference where the doctors would be discussing Protocel! My mother also found herself coming into contact with people who had been cured of cancer via alternative methods or were familiar with alternative healing. In her own words, God began to convict her over time as these situations allowed her to become more comfortable with my decision.

You see, my prayer since God had told me not to do chemo was that He would give those who loved me peace with this decision. In a lot of regards, this experience was harder for them than for me. I knew what God had told me, but all that they had was my testimony of what God said. I prayed that He would show them that this was His work, and Jesus was faithful even in that. This experience was not only being used to increase my faith, but to increase the faith of those around me.

I had declined the chemo and radiation. I now had the treatment I was to follow. All that remained was to see what the Lord would do.

Read the next part of the article

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