It was in October I first felt it, lying in bed leisurely, the promos and ads work I guess. No panic though because the last time I found one it was a cyst, phew almost scared me. October was exactly 6 months since I called my parents and before I’d speak to my father, tears were streaming down my face and I didn’t know why.
My father died in June and was buried in the front garden of our house in Uneme-Erhunu. I flew to London shortly after and I was restless, couldn’t bear to be alone so I got on an aeroplane to the US. After celebrating my thirtieth birthday and visiting a hair supply store (as they call it), I got on a plane to London in September armed with 8 different wigs and a mannequin head thrown in, I was ready for new beginnings as if it would be that simple. In December, I made my way back to Nigeria. Anxiety had dealt with me but there were bright spots, for example, I got to see my friend get married in Lagos. With the new year in sight, I knew it was time to cut my hair again, so when the doctors told me I’d need neoadjuvant chemotherapy two months later, I couldn’t believe I had prepared for this.
The marathon took off, I’d come to quickly learn that there was more to Chemo than a glistening scalp…..yet I was glad I didn’t have to wear the Aladdin style wig that the cancer wig shop gave me, they need to stock wigs for black women (another post, sigh)…..all my hair, my teeth, my mouth, the fatigue, the sick feeling…oh my days. I became neutropenic one time which marked my lowest point, I was in hospital for 5 days, most mornings I’d wake up with blood in my mouth, on my pillow, I could not eat. I thought if this can happen on earth, I don’t want to imagine hell because this feels like the thick of it. I was wrestling.
I wrestled with my faith. I wrestled with anxiety, life, dying, God, the realness of it all.
But God chose to use this period to heal me, from anxiety, bitterness and unforgiveness, I had nothing left to hold on to. God chose this period to teach me about trusting the only eternal one who created humans and the universe out of a love so deep that God became human to redeem all of creation.
The marathon continues and I’m glad I’ve had more time since then and I do pray for more time as frightening as the statistics are. I want to encourage anyone going through tough things and even those who might have everything going well, yet you feel an emptiness inside… don’t dwell on the temporary, use the time to build for eternal, think about love, how best to love your neighbour. You are certainly not alone, Jesus, King of Kings is alongside you every single moment.
Tough times don’t last, Loved people do.
What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.