Fear not for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” Isaiah 43:1-3

“Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Isaiah 46:4-5

My ordeal started on the first week of October 2017 when my uterine bleeding came back. I just had a D&C two months before (a procedure where I was on general anesthesia). My activities went back to normal after my D&C until I noticed that I had started bleeding again. My OB prescribed that I undergo Hysteroscopy with Polymectomy and Endometrial Curretage after my latest ultrasound showed that I had polyps. Hysteroscopy is allegedly a minor procedure where an instrument with a lighted camera is inserted into the uterus to see what is inside and determine the cause of bleeding. The OB can see through the monitor every nook and cranny of a woman’s womb — talk about technology at its finest. (When I had Oopherectomy at Makati Med in 2007, I had not heard of this instrument yet.)

Anyway, for the month of October, I saw red everyday (literally). I thought my hemoglobin count would drop as there were times I felt weak and lightheaded. Thankfully, a week before the procedure, I had my blood tests and the results were normal. I got the clearance for the procedure after a series of tests (ECG, chest x-ray, urinalysis, etc.)

On November 2, 2017, a day before the procedure, I was brought by my loves to the hospital. My twin bro and his family who spent a few days of vacation at our place also accompanied us. I was still my normal self— ebullient, and almost carefree.

Later, however, after I was settled in a private room, and my hub and boys had gone home, and I was left alone with my sister, yes, after the lights were off—- a feeling of dread crept in, engulfing my being. I was restless the entire night. Not for a second was I able to sleep. Aware of what I was going through, my sister prayed for me and anointed my body, hanging on to God’s promise of healing, deliverance and fulfilment of his purpose in my life. I was crying and shaking the whole time. It was a powerful moment, divinely orchestrated, reminding me I was not alone in my ordeal. Praise and worship songs from my sister’s phone filled our room and brought me comfort.

Hours later when shafts of light entered our room, there by the window was a spectacular sight: a perfectly-arched rainbow as though beckoning a new hope and beginning. As if it were not enough, a pair of immaculate white pigeons fluttered by and several chirping sparrows perched on the railings across my hospital window. I felt a sense of peace and joy as I uttered a prayer of thanks for signs of his protection and presence.

I was fetched by the OR staff at around 9 am, Friday. I was wheeled into a waiting room (one nurse said it was actually a labor room) where one co-patient (we have the same OB and we were to undergo the same procedure) was already chitchatting with a female nurse. She looked to be in her thirties, looking so glam with her thick false lashes and pink cheeks. She seemed so relaxed while I was all jellybeans inside. Later, however, she voiced her fears. It was her first time go under the knife and she was in jitters. I hummed praise and worship songs and encouraged her, despite my own fears, to trust in the Lord in whose hands our life depends.

Minutes later, a middle-aged woman was wheeled into the room. She was as frightened as a rat as she told the nurse that she had been listless and anxious for almost a month after learning she would have to undergo a D&C— the first for her. I felt a burden to initiate a prayer for the three of us, and with their consent, I did, asking the lord to allay our fears and thanking him for the healing and protection. right after I prayed, the OR staff fetched the younger woman for her turn at the OR. I saw her smile at me for the corporate prayer we shared.

I was next on queue. My hands and feet were clammy. I felt like I was on the edge of a cliff— in a point of no return and utterly desperate. At that moment I was helpless. Like one being led to slaughter, I was but a recipient of all that the doctors and nurses would do. All in all, I had six injections–two for blood tests and four just for the IV insertions). Minutes before my turn to be operated on, the nurses were scrambling for a vein to reinsert my IV. The first three attempts caused parts of my wrists (both of them) to get swollen. Finally, on the fourth attempt and after hearing one nurse pray, “Lord make it hit this time, please,” (to which I silently agreed), she succeeded. I had to check whether the part would get swollen again. Thankfully, it did not. By this time, I felt so spent already. It had been almost 16 hours since my last meal and here I was being readied to get under the knife. I had never felt so weak in my life.

I checked the clock when I was fetched by two robotic OR staff: 1:30 p.m. I had waited for three long hours. Inside the OR, everything seemed to happen in a blur. While I felt comforted by the presence of my dependable OB, I was oblivious to the hustle and bustle around me. All I remember was that nurses placed me on a cardiac monitor because my heartbeat zoomed like a bullet train. They had me on Isoptin to regularize the heartbeat prior to that painful spinal injection that turned everything at a standstill. By this time, only one thing remained with me: HOPE.

I woke up inside the recovery room. After making sure the effects of the anaesthesia have subsided and I could already move my lower limbs, a nurse wheeled me back to be reunited with my family at our private room.

It has been over a week now since I was discharged. I still feel sore. I ache here and there. I feel as though an elephant has stepped on my back, making my breathing ragged. Through it all, the hope remains. It is a hope that inspired and continues to inspire me to endure pain. Now I understand what being sick truly means. And I can empathize with those in similar situations.

I have been given a new lease on life—again. And I am thankful. If there’s one lesson I take to heart from this trial, it is this: Each moment is precious. You’ll never know when the final curtain falls. So live with a heart of love— for your creator and savior, for your family and loved ones, for those whose lives you touch. In the midst of pain and suffering, fix your gaze on the One who knows and loves you better than you do.

The God who richly provides us everything for our enjoyment is also the same Father who refines our character. My ordeal was allowed. It was something inexplicable and my sense of dread was real. Should I complain? I groaned. I cried for deliverance. And grace he gave so I could pull through.

The clay in me to my potter says:

“You know what is for my ultimate good. I praise you even through moments of pain and darkness. You’ve proved yourself faithful. When I was 17, foolish and ignorant of your love, I went through a deep valley and your right hand rescued me. It is 2017 now, 27 years after that deliverance and I found myself skidding into yet another valley again. Once again, I hang on to your love. To me it is the only thing that remains certain. Indeed, you are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.”

May Corrie ten Boom’s words reverberate in my soul when the dark night looms:

There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.”