Cancer. That word seems to just commit broad daylight robbery. It suffocates life. Anyone who has ever had a doctor even circle around the words tumor or cancer can immediately feel the ground vanish from under their feet. I spent the last four years either in hospitals with my mom, car being repossessed, and jobless with a newborn, living in a house without running water, heat, and mice included. At the end of 2015 I thought, well I lived through all of that and better days were insight.
I brought in the New Year with so much hope. It seemed the storms had passed. And now I was riding high with all the amazing things that were happening. I thought for sure this is my year. I was working, I had a new car, all my bills were paid timely, I was clearing up my credit. A morning radio landed literally on my lap. I was writing and completing books, ideas and projects, forming a business to one day leave a legacy for my son. Because that’s what good parents do. They leave an inheritance for their children. So that is what 2016 is suppose to be about.
It did not ever included hearing my dad had cancer, surely didn’t included hearing that it was aggressive ( on a scale of 1 to 10 the doctor put dad at 8-9 in aggressive rate) and he needed to begin treatment immediately. It definitely didn’t included hearing that his PSA levels were so high they now warranted more screening because Metastatic Prostate Cancer is highly probable. That was the news I was hearing March 19, 2016. But 2016 is my year. I mean, come on! I put so much on hold for everything and everyone else. Sweet Jesus you have got to be kidding me!
A week before, my dad called, told me he had been going for tests and different biopsies because of irregular test results from his physical. My dad goes to the doctor twice a year for checkups, he is very religious about his health. Most people go once a year for a routine physicals only. My dad goes twice, that’s how serious he is about his health. He is a healthy, active, doesn’t smoke, clean living, hardworking man. He told me that his doctor wanted him to bring family with him to go over his results at his next visit. Up until that time my dad had been going to his appointments on his own and wasn’t asked to bring anyone else. I already knew it wasn’t good news. Doctors never ask you to bring family with you when they give you test results unless it’s bad news.
I for sure thought the last four years was enough. My mom had kidney problems related to years battling diabetes, she was in a bad car accident last summer, she spent weeks in the hospital while doctors waited to see if she would need dialysis. She came home two days before Christmas. I thought for sure the roller coaster ride was over. I thought for sure I wouldn’t be pulling out tissues to dry my tears over my mom. Well I was right. I wasn’t pulling them out for her, I was pulling them out for my dad now.
You can’t begin to imagine the amount of anger that boiled inside me. I began my list of “WTF” I began my, are you kidding me God list! I began my list of why me? In the coming days I went to work like a robot. Work was getting on my nerves, people were irritating me and I was a short fuse waiting to light it up. Then on Friday March 18th the day before I was to go see my dad. I called him and we joked around. He then began to tell me about how his job would pay for his funeral, that all his papers were in order, and the life insurance policy was paid up, that the union at his job, and so on, and so on in that moment I snapped.
“Dad, should I even bother coming tomorrow or should I go straight to the funeral home and pick out a casket?” He was silent for a beat, then said,
“Oh no Fafa, not me I’m going to beat this. Young guy like me, cancer has some nerve to come for me. ”
“Then why are you speaking like there is nothing else to do but wait to put you in your grave.”
I took a breath and told him. “We serve God. He is our great doctor and no matter what the next round of test say you will be fine.”
He laughed and said, “Of course my daughter, of course.”
I called my five year old and told him to come say hello and say a prayer for his grandpa. I knew I was upset and I needed my five year old in that moment to bring me back down. So there he is my five year old baby boy praying for his grandpa and he said,
“Thank you God, for loving me and for protecting me. No harm shall come near my family, heal my grandpa, Jesus loves me. In Jesus name Amen. Bye grandpa, have a good day.”
He handed me the phone and he ran back to watch Peg Plus Cat. It’s funny the details you remember.
When I said hello, my dad’s voice was soft as he said in his thick Haitian accent,
“Oh Fafa, you are doing a great job with him. You are a good mom. Thank you for that.”
We then went on and talked and the air seemed to get back to our normal joking banter that we have. My dad and I weren’t always close. I spent a good many years being resentful that he wasn’t around. It wasn’t until I had my son that he and I began to bond. And I am so grateful to God that he healed that part of us now, so grateful. That night however I crumbled. I put on my worship music and sung my heart out. That is how I go before God’s throne. Singing is how I speak to God. Two song came on back to back “God of Miracles” by Chris McClarney and “When You Walk in the Room” by Bryan and Katie Torwalt. And I cried out and said,
“No. I have too much to do and too much going on. No, I will not lose focus and this will not eat away at me like everything else did for the last four years.” I sang. I have sung these songs many times before. And I heard that small voice.
“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25
I pulled out my bible app and found the verse. And a sense of peace came over me. I calmed down. The devils assigned to me that day did not win. The usual you deserve this, nothing good happens to me dialogue did not come. Jesus walked into my room that Friday night and dried my tears and I knew all was well. Saturday I went to work super early to leave early so we could drive to Long Island. There in the doctor’s office he gave us the news. Prostate Cancer. But I didn’t crack I didn’t fear. I brought Jesus with me into that appointment and I knew all would be well, still. After the doctor’s visit my uncle and I followed my dad back to his apartment. My son and I stayed with my dad while my uncle ran some errands. My dad took his grandson to the park and I took a nap. We talked about what the doctor said. We decided on a treatment plan. But all the while I felt Jesus and remembered the bible verse and knew He was still in the room, He was still restoring.
I talked to my dad all week. I would check on him to make sure he was okay. Prostate cancer is treatable, not curable. Many men go on to live long lives with prostate cancer. Making sure it doesn’t spread and early detection is the key. Because while a man may not die from prostate cancer when it metastasizes to bones and other organs that where the danger is. And that is the test results we were now waiting for, to hear that the cancer was not outside the prostate. Cancer is not just a body eating thing. If you allow it, it becomes a mind and peace eating thing.
I refused to let one more year of my life be eaten by things I could not control. I invited Jesus in right at the beginning this time. I was not going to wait for the Devils and demons to sink their claws in me. Not this time. I was calling on Jesus now. I was not begging. I was using my authority. I was using my rightful given power as child of God. I was hurt, I was pissed but I was not going down, not this time. Not again. I’m 33 years old for crying out loud. Enough already. This is my mind frame when I came into 2016 and I was holding on to it this time.
When my dad called to tell me that there was a spot outside the prostate that was being looked at I started to panic a little. But Joel 2:25 kept playing in my mind. God was going to repay me for the years that have been lost. So surely my dad was healed and he was going to live. I gravitated and held on to that. A couple of weeks have passed now and when I talk to him I say,
“Dad, you are fine Eli prayed for you and you are healed.” Then he and I share a giggle. But in my heart to heart I never said out loud, that I truly believed my baby boy has Jesus walking in him and that day he prayed for his grandpa he healed his grandpa.
So here we are now to April 2, just two weeks after the doctor’s appointment. I called my dad and we did our normal greeting and our conversation went like this.
“Hi Dad. How are you?”
“Oh I’m good Fafa how are you, how’s my grandson?”
“He is good, he is napping, thought I’d give you a call. So any news from the doctors?
“Yes, actually, he wants me to come back on the 16th to see him. The scan showed something near my ribs. But the darndest thing, the scans of my prostate are clear. There is no cancer there.”
“Wait, what dad. No cancer?”
He lets out a laugh.
“No, none. My PSA is still high, but no cancer, just need medication to bring down the PSA. But there is something near my ribs. I don’t understand how I could go from having Prostate Cancer, to no cancer, to something was found near my ribs.”
“Well dad the same way the cancer left your prostate, whatever it is near your ribs is on it way out of your body. So thank you God for that.”
“Yes, my daughter God is good. So I will see you on the 16th.”
“Of course dad. I know God is with us and he is restoring us. So whatever it is, it’s taken cared of.”
“Kiss Eli for me, love you my daughter”
“Love you dad.”
That sentence for years was hard to come out of my mouth. “I love you dad.” For years I couldn’t say it. And now freely I say it to my dad without a problem or any lingering reservations. We said our goodbyes, I went into my room and started humming. I didn’t realize I was crying until I looked in the mirror.
Let Jesus walk into the room. Open the door and let him make the changes you cannot. This song is the soundtrack to my 2016 so far. I invited Jesus into the room of my heart, into the room of healing for my father. While we wait to hear what these new test say. I already know that the God of miracles has already walked into the room and all is well.
“When You Walk Into The Room”
by Bryan and Katie Torwalt/ From the Album Kingdom Come
When you walk into the room
Darkness starts to tremble
At the light that you bring
And when you walk into the room
Every heart starts burning
And nothing matters more
Than just to sit here at your feet
And worship you
We worship you
We love you
We’ll never stop
We can’t live without you, Jesus
We love you
And we can’t get enough
All this is for you, Jesus
When you walk into the room
Sickness starts to vanish
Every hopeless situation ceases to exist
And when you walk into the room,
The dead begin to rise
‘Cause there is resurrection life
In all You do
Come and consume, God
All we are
We give you permission
Our hearts are Yours
We want You
We want You
My dad and Eli, after we came from the doctors March 19, 2016.
Prostate cancer is higher in African American men and even higher among Afro-Caribbean men. Please tell your fathers, uncles, brothers and grandparents to get checked. Early detection is always best. While a man can live a long life with prostate cancer it can spread. Be vigilante like my father was and get your physicals. He turned 60 February 20, 2016.
As always make the day grand and make it count out loud. I love you for reading and thank you sharing.