Healed from Cancer - A Personal Testimony
Chaz & Sandy Rawlings
Date: 27 July 2014
TO: The Parishioners of Christ Church Cathedral
We have asked the Dean to read this letter to the congregation for us because we know we would break down before the end of it and our testimony would then be lost.
Chaz and I met at a family gathering in Grahamstown, Eastern Cape in 2007, Chaz travelling all the way from England whilst I travelled from Limpopo. One thing led to another with the result that Chaz came out from England the following year and we were married on the 8th of December 2009. Chaz fitted into life in Polokwane very easily, formed firm friendships, started a thriving vegetable garden, joined various clubs, became involved in community work such as the CANSA Relay for Life and so we were well on our way to living happily ever after.
Chaz underwent a back operation in August 2013. Although the operation was a complete success, he started feeling off-colour and after many visits to doctors we eventually were able to consult Dr Wreyford on 3 October who told us that Chaz had stage 3 rectal cancer and that he had a malignant tumor as big as my fist. We were devastated. Dr Wreyford acted very quickly and within ten days Chaz had been for blood tests, biopsy a CT scan and was operated on 14 October 2013.
And so began our fight against this insidious disease – an enemy that brought fear into our lives. This fear of the unknown took over every waking moment and invaded our minds whilst we slept. We were terribly distressed but at the same time had to be strong for each other and also had to reassure our children, grandchildren, family members and close friends.
Chaz began a 6-week daily course of radiation and chemotherapy at the end of October (excluding weekends) which lasted until 13 December 2013. We had so hoped that the tumor would shrink to a size which would allow Dr Wreyford to remove it but this was not to be. We were crushed to learn that the treatment had hardly had any effect on the tumor and that it had in fact attached itself to the bone. An operation was therefore out of the question. We were inconsolable and feared the worst.
A very brave Chaz started his second round of chemotherapy at the beginning of February 2014. He would receive treatment every two weeks for a period of six months. This would prove to be a very difficult period for us but we were determined to make the most of the bad situation that we found ourselves in. And so every second Friday would find us at the Oncology Clinic. Chaz with poison being pumped into his veins and me keeping him company. We tried to make light of it - but it was really scary!
In that same month, encouraged by Joe and Jenny Stamp, we began attending services at Christ Church Cathedral. We immediately felt welcome and were heartened by the uplifting message that we could take back home with us each week. Attending services gave us the added opportunity of coming before the Lord in prayer and asking Him to lay His healing hands upon Chaz. I struggled a bit with saying “Thy will be done” because I so badly wanted my husband to get better and I so badly wanted us to have many more years together.
I firmly believe that the Lord led us to become part of this congregation. I firmly believe that the Lord placed you as Angels along this very difficult road that we have been travelling to comfort us, to support us, to pray for us but most of all to remind us that the Lord our God is always with us and that He will never forsake us.
There have been many instances where a member of the congregation has come up to us either at church or in town and given us a word of encouragement, a warm hug or prayed with us - ending with the message that the Lord is good, trust in Him; Chaz will be healed. Each time we go up for Communion I am reduced to tears because either the Dean or Rev. Kwena or Rev. Pat will stop for a moment and pray for Chaz asking God to heal him. You have no idea how much this has meant to us and how the caring that you all have shown us lifted our spirits and given us renewed hope.
Chaz had his last chemo session on 11 July which was followed by blood tests and a final CT scan last Friday. It was with great trepidation that we went to see the Oncologist, Dr Jansen on Tuesday for the results.
We hoped and prayed that the tumor had shrunk and that they could at last operate and remove it. We thought that with the tumor removed and more chemotherapy the remaining cancer cells could be destroyed.
We listened with disbelief as Dr Jansen told us that there was no sign of the tumor on the scans, the blood tests were clear and that Chaz was free of cancer. We were stunned and could only stare at Dr Jansen. After a few minutes of silence he had to remind us that he had actually given us good news.
We still cannot comprehend that a tumor as large as that could just disintegrate without a trace in a matter of just over 5 months. We praise the Lord for his goodness and mercy.
We would like to thank you all for your prayers, for the unconditional love you have shown us, your warmth and your support. You have played a huge role in giving us back our future.
With our love and appreciation,
Chaz & Sandy Rawlings