James a cancer survivor

James a cancer survivor

Sep 7, 2017

During my matric finals, my eye started watering constantly and I didn't know why. After many visits to many different doctors, one doctor realised something was blocking my tear duct. The doctor said I would lose my eye if we didn't diagnose the problem fast enough. I went for an operation 2days before one of my exams and they took a sample of whatever was blocking my tear duct. I wrote my exams and passed everything but got the results from the doctor a few days later. He said I had cancer and had to get treatment for it. The cancer was in my sinus next to my eye and had also spread to my left eye. The doctor told me that I would lose my left eye.

I received treatment for the next 10 months and after treatment, the doctor told me everything was clear and my left eye did not have to be removed. I applied for Actuarial Sciences at Stellenbosch University and went to start my studies there in 2012. I got saved in Feb of 2012 and finished my first semester in Stellenbosch. After the June holidays, during the first week back to University, a day after my birthday, I felt a bump on the inside of my left cheek. I went to go see the doctor and he told me the cancer had returned but this time it had spread to my lymph nodes. He told me that he didn't think that I would be able to be cured but that they would try treatment again.

I discontinued my studies and went back home to Port Elizabeth to start treatment again. I received treatment again for 6months and finished with treatment 2days before University started again in February 2013. The doctor told me the cancer was all clear so I decided to return to Stellenbosch University. I started studying again and everything was going well until the exams in June.

I felt a bump on the inside of my left cheek again and went to go see the doctor. After scans, he told me that the cancer had returned. The doctor said that this time it was localised and I could therefore have an operation without receiving any treatment. I finished my exams and then went for an operation where they removed the tumour. Afterwards, the doctor told me the operation had gone well so I continued to study until the end of the year.

While on holiday in December of 2013, I felt a bump for the 4th time. I went for scans again and it was the same problem, the cancer had come back. I was really discouraged but I felt the Lord say this is the final lap. I decided to continue studying in Stellenbosch while I had treatment in 2014.

I started with my second academic year. I was in a residence (Majuba) and had to drive to Cape Town every 3rd week for chemo for 5months (January until May). I had to spend 3nights in hospital and my mother would fly from Port-Elizabeth to Cape Town every 3rd week so she would be with me during chemo. I missed a lot of classes but everything was going well academically until the radiation started in May. I had radiation 5times a week (Monday to Friday) for 6 weeks and had to drive from Stellenbosch to Cape Town.

The driving meant I had less time to study but in the 3rd week of radiation, I started to experience the side effects of the radiation. The inside of my mouth had so many sores, it felt like I had 100 cuts inside my mouth. I couldn't eat, was in pain when I spoke and missed class for the next 3weeks. I lost 7kg within a week and was on painkillers and morphine most of the time. Eventually, I finished the radiation and treatment and as I finished, the exams were about to start. I was able to write the exams and passed half of them.

It took about 2 months for my mouth and body to fully heal but as soon as I felt better, I went for a scan and the cancer had cleared. This was the 1st time I fully believed that I had been healed, and I was. After over 100 days in the hospital, 18 weeks of radiation and 4 operations, the journey had come to an end.

People always ask me what was the most difficult part and I tell them: learning to fully trust in God. In the beginning,

my faith was like a mustard seed but as the treatment got tougher and the doctor's reports got scarier I had to put more and more trust in the Lord. Eventually over the 4 years that mustard seed had grown into a tree and I bared the good fruits of good health and unshakable faith among many others. Am I glad I had the experience? Yes, I am.