Testimonies come in all shapes and sizes, but the following testimony is one of a mother’s journey with her son that was diagnosed with a rare cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma.
My name is Tanya and I have four wonderful boys, although their father and I divorced many years ago, he has played his part over the years.
During 2012, my boys and I were living in Muldersdrift in a cosy cottage on a beautiful plot. In the main house, lived people that rescued animals. My second eldest son, Bradley, who was nine years old, would happily wake himself up at 5 am and walk to the main house that was surrounded by rescued dogs, horses and a fat pig. Bradley would collect manure and help mix it into the soil, and later in the day, he collected fresh vegetables in the gardens. In November 2012 the lady from the main house called me and asked if Bradley had hurt himself because she noticed a small lump on his lower left back next to his spine. He had not hurt himself nor was he feeling sick, so she suggested we have it checked out.
Two weeks later, it was confirmed that my nine-year-old son had a rare form of muscular cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. Our world came crashing down. He had to start chemo immediately, this resulted in me losing my job and then our home. We were forced to move into a family member’s house, which already was housing three other families, and we lived one of those bedrooms. This was a house, where some people were abusing drugs and alcohol yet there was still a strong presence of the Lord. My father-in-law is a priesthood holder in the LDS church.
Bradley was admitted for two months of aggressive chemo, and by Christmas and his birthday, he had lost all his hair. Truthfully, I had become angry at God, I questioned: “why Bradley, why my family?” It was difficult to explain to a nine-year-old the idea that he had to be poisoned in order to make him better. By then Bradley had stopped eating in the hospital completely, after six days, his oncologist told me to make him eat or my son would die. I was lost. I called my father-in-law, he and another relative came to the hospital and performed an administration on Bradley. Two hours later, Bradley started eating again and I immediately understood my faith was weak.
There are a book worth of events that have taken place, in the past six years I can testify to the goodness of the Lord and the renewal of my family’s faith in the Lord.
Once Bradley could come home, the other twelve kids in the house had started getting home visits from the missionaries. One of the missionaries caught Bradley’s attention, the times when Bradley could not get out of bed, the missionaries would go to Bradley and pray with him. However, there were nights when Bradley felt well enough to get up, he would join the teachings from his colour-blind missionary that always played and won at I spy. Bradley and his younger brother Dean were eventually baptised under the teaching of that missionary.
So much has happened, we have experienced two years of aggressive chemotherapy, radiation and one back operation. One and half years of being in the clear and then a relapse. Another two years of chemotherapy, more radiation and another two back operations. We moved into a place of our own, lost a job and found another one through a church member. And Bradley, still being a teenage boy, had a quad bike accident. He smashed his left knee and broke his left clavicle.
I can testify today that I know the Lord, and I know he has never left our side through this journey. The Lord paid our rent many times when I was not working, fed my family through the most wonderful earthly angels. The Lord sent me a wonderful mother-in-law and partner that would help me through this journey. He answered my prayers in the most faithless and difficult times.
Bradley is now almost two months clear of cancer and he carries his scars of all the operations and radiation. His spine is growing slower in certain areas, which has resulted in permanent scoliosis of the spine. He attends biokinetics twice a week to strengthen his core muscles again. The recovery he has made so far is remarkable.
Today and every other day I thank the Lord for granting me more time with Bradley and his brothers. I also thank the Lord for teaching me that I still need to accept His perfect will and timing.